Rogers Williams Park Zoo in the 1990s. Photo credit: Courtesy of the Roger Williams Park Zoo

In 1872, Ulysses Grant was president; there were 37 states in the union; the U.S. Patent Office issued the first patent; the Metropolitan Museum of Art opened in New York City; suffragette Susan B. Anthony was arrested by a U.S. Deputy Marshal and charged with illegally voting and a portion of Roger Williams Park was officially designated as the Roger Williams Park Zoo. One hundred and fifty years later, the Zoo is the third oldest in the United States.

What started as a scattered collection of small animals purely for entertainment has today evolved into one of our region’s foremost centers for conservation and environmental education. In 1986, Zoo became the first zoo in New England to earn accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. In 2018, the Zoo was humane certified by American Humane.

2022 will be filled with special activities and fun as the Roger Williams Park Zoo celebrates its 150th birthday.

April 1-3 Kick-Off Weekend

This is not an April Fool’s Joke! 

April 1– Media Event. Select dignitaries and others are invited to watch as a time capsule is buried beneath The Sentinel Dog. 

April 2 – Free Saturday for Providence City Residents (with valid id or proof of city residency)  Party for the Planet Earth Day Celebration!  In partnership with the Providence Parks Department and P3, exhibits about the city’s parks and neighborhoods.  Entertainment by Fiddle N’ Fun.

April 3– Visitors will enjoy $1.50 admission, entertainment, treats from Dunkin Doughnuts and more surprises. Watch how our animals celebrate the day with birthday treats, we couldn’t leave them out of the party.

  (Non-members require advance tickets, available online only)

What else is happening in the Zoo:

•          Timeline throughout the Zoo

The Zoo’s timeline will be shown through the zoo showing photos and sharing milestones from through the years

•          Surprises daily

One guest per day, for 150 days, will win a grab bag filled with commemorative goodies and other treats starting on April 1. And follow us on social media for contests and ticket giveaways

•          Photo opportunities throughout

Smile when you take a photo with Roger the Red Panda and a birthday cake. Look for other historic markers that will make you say “cheese” 

•          Zoobilee returns in 2022

Zoobilee! – Feast with the Beast returns to celebrate its 30th year. Zoobilee is the Zoo’s largest single-night fundraiser featuring fine fare from dozens of the area’s best restaurants and caterers. Guests enjoy fabulous entertainment, including live music and dancing and other fun surprises! This is an adults-only evening event (21+)

  • See us float 

The Zoo’s special 150th edition float will join in several parades this summer.   Come out and cheer us on as we make our way through the various processions

  • Providence St. Patrick’s Day Parade
    • Saturday, March 19th
  • Gaspee Days Parade
    • Saturday, June 11th        
  • Bristol Fourth of July Parade-
    • Monday, July 4th

·                 And our Spectaculars will be even more Spectacular

  • Asian Lanterns Spectacular
    • April 13-July 4 (Wednesday-Sunday)                  
  • Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular Presented by Citizens
    • September 29-October 31
  • Holiday Lights Spectacular
    • Nov 25- -January 1 (Select nights)

The Zoo is open every day except Saturday, June 25, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. Last entry at noon August 27, 2022.

Zoo Hours: October 11 – March 31, 10 am – 4 pm; April 1– October 10, 9 am – 4 pm.

The last admission is a half-hour before closing.   

All (non-member)  tickets must be purchased in advance online at TICKETS

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp.

He currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals.

He is a member of Local Independent Online News Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.