Celebrate 150 Years With Roger Williams Park Zoo

The Zoo’s 150th birthday festivities will kick off April 1.

150th Sentinel Dog

Forget the Columbus saying—we Rhode Islanders have a different rhyme we should all commit to memory, and that is that Roger Williams Park Zoo has been ‘New England’s Zoo since 1872.’ Which, if you do the math, means 2022 marks the beloved Rhode Island destination’s 150th year!

The Zoo has come a long way since a portion of Roger Williams Park was first officially sanctioned to house a collection of small animals for the public’s entertainment. In fact, it was the first zoo in New England to earn accreditation with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in 1986, and, more recently, it was humane certified by American Humane in 2018. Today, it is hailed not only as the nation’s third oldest zoo, but also as one of the region’s foremost centers for conservation and environmental education.

Most of us, however, likely remember Roger Williams Park Zoo as the first place that introduced us to a real, live elephant, as the place that showed us the importance of wildlife conservation or as the place where we made some of our most cherished family memories. And that is just as worthy of celebration.

Luckily, the Zoo is ready to party! In honor of its sesquicentennial, Roger Williams Park Zoo will host a jam-packed schedule of birthday festivities throughout the first weekend in April.

The fun kicks off Friday, April 1, with a time capsule burial beneath the iconic Sentinel Dog statue. (Can’t make it in person? No problem, the Zoo will also stream the ceremony on Facebook Live.) Then be sure to stop by the following day to attend the Zoo’s Party for the Planet. There you will meet community friends, participate in fun activities and enjoy animal enrichment. The birthday bash also lands on a Free Saturday, which means Providence city residents can visit the grounds for free. Rounding out the celebratory weekend, visitors can enjoy $1.50 admission rates on Sunday, April 3. You will also get the chance to experience special animal enrichment (including birthday treats for the Zoo’s furry, feathered and scaled residents), keeper talks, live entertainment and more fun surprises. Note: for the discounted rate, non-members must reserve tickets online in advance. Reserve your tickets here.

And the celebrations won’t end there. Starting April 1 and spanning the next 150 days, one guest per day will win a grab bag filled with commemorative goodies and other treats. Plus, a timeline of the Zoo’s history and milestones will be displayed throughout the grounds, Roger the Red Panda will regularly be available for photo ops, a special 150th edition float will make appearances in various state processions (think: Gaspee Days) and more! For more information about the Zoo’s 150th birthday plans, visit its website here.