Time Heals All Wounds
New England Public Affairs Assistant Allison Chown fulfills
a childhood dream as she takes a ride atop Ruthie, with the
help of Zoo Elephant Trainer Bill Sampson.
Buttonwood Zoo prepares to Reopen in New Bedford
Its presence in the New England seaside city helped create a name
for New Bedford. And, just as the majestic mill buildings are evidence
of the humble beginnings of the Industrial Revolution, so, too,
was Buttonwood Park and Zoo evidence of a simpler time of life in
What child didn't pay a visit to the Whaling City's zoo and say
hello to Emily the Elephant, quite possibly among the more famous
ladies of the area, an icon in her own right.
But time was not kind to the park, or the zoo. Hard economic conditions,
neglect, and disrepair slowly contributed to the transformation
of the once beautiful family gathering place into little more than
an eyesore. Something needed to be done.
This summer will mark the emergence of Buttonwood Park and Zoo
from a dark cocoon in which it has been hidden for the past decade.
Through the vision of the Friends of Buttonwood Park and Zoo, the
hard work of countless volunteers, and the willingness of local
students to continue the tradition, Buttonwood Park and Zoo are
ready to reintroduce themselves to southeastern Massachusetts once
"We always knew we had something here, something that is really
special," said Hank Rudin, Executive Assistant with the Buttonwood
Park Zoological Society, and among those spearheading the revitalization.
"It was a point of coming together, working together and making
the Zoo great, again."
The renovation, once complete, will cost about $10.5 million, much
of which has been raised through fundraising efforts by the Friends.
It is hailed as the "Berkshires to the Sea." This 10-acre gem is
home to a number of animals, fowl, fish, and amphibians common to
the northeast. Black bear, cougars, otters, and Emily the Elephant
are ready to greet visitors who seize the opportunity to return
to the Zoo to embark on a New England safari.
The region's agriculture comes to life in the Zoo's new Domestic
Animals Complex, constructed with the assistance of students from
the New Bedford Vocational Technical High School. Here visitors
will see oxen, draft horses, a working sheep dog and other farm
In the new Aquatics Building, glass walls will allow visitors to
walk along an icy trout stream while observing upland wildlife on
a wooded hillside. Take a close look at the coast where fresh water
turns to salt water in a special exhibit featuring one of the Bay
State's endangered species, a Diamondback Terrapin turtle.
Guests may also examine an exciting collection of salt water creatures
living in a salt marsh tidal pool, and explore Buzzards Bay in a
10,000 gallon marine habitat featuring crustaceans, fish, and other
animals common to this area.
Buttonwood Zoo has launched an effort to save and preserve many
of America's endangered species and has secured piping plovers,
bald eagles, Plymouth red-belly turtles, and other animals, which
can now call the sanctuary of Buttonwood Zoo home.
Because every modern zoo is a center for wildlife conservation,
the new Buttonwood Park Zoo includes a Wildlife Education Center.
WHEN YOU GO:
|Buttonwood Park Zoo is open
daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. To get there, take I-195 West to
exit 13A onto Route 140 South. Cross Route 6 and continue
south on Brownell Avenue. Turn left onto Hawthorn Street,
and left into the Zoo.
|Two classrooms open into an auditorium and these,
coupled with a lobby, public dining area, and restrooms, enhance
the service center. Zoo educators will work in cooperation with
local teachers to create an unique learning environment.
Back to home