Roger Williams Park Zoo

April 15, 2012 — New England isn’t really an area much known for its zoos. But it does have a few. The ones I’ve visited, though, have been small, relatively sad things that make you feel slightly guilty for paying the admission fee.

But I’m not anti-zoo. Far from it. People need to see exotic animals up close. We do. To have that experience makes us better animals. It’ just that bad zoos…well, let’s just say that it should be a pretty large insult in our society to call any place a “bad zoo.” In fact, I think I’ll start using the phrase on Yelp and TripAdvisor.

Of all the New England zoos I’ve visited, Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, RI, seems to be the best. This 140-year-old zoo is not big, but it does have a few of the large anchor animals that any real zoo needs (elephants and giraffes are the Macy’s and J.C. Penny’s of the zoo world) and a decent variety of animal species in general.

It’s missing a few features that would elevate it to an elite class of zoo (none of the enclosures are large and none contain animals that would maul you if you fell in), but the upshot to all that is you can have a grand adventure here in just a few hours instead of having to invest an entire day.

Most importantly, none of the animals look like they’re on suicide watch. That’s generally my criteria for a good zoo, I guess.

Included solely for its name:
Death's Head Cockroach.