The entrance to the Buttonwood Park Zoo
|Date opened||1894; August 12, 2000 (renovated)|
|Location||New Bedford, Massachusetts, United States|
|No. of animals||250+|
The Buttonwood Park Zoo, located in New Bedford, Massachusetts, United States, is a ten-acre zoo located in the center of Buttonwood Park. It is owned and operated by the City of New Bedford, with the support of the Buttonwood Park Zoological Society.
The zoo opened in 1894 and reopened in 2000 after major renovations. It is home to a variety of North American wildlife and it supports many conservation programs, such as the Cape Cod Stranding Network.
On January 3, 2014, Asian elephant Ruth escaped her enclosure and was found outside in subzero temperatures during a blizzard. The zoo was cited and fined $777 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture under the Animal Welfare Act for failure to secure access. Ruth subsequently suffered frostbite of her ears, tail and vulva. Portions of her ears fell off, and on November 5, 2014, approximately 10" of her tail was surgically removed.
In 1969, the Buttonwood Park Zoological Society (BPZS), a private, nonprofit corporation, was founded to manage the membership program, run concessions, produce zoo events, and coordinate fundraising. The City of New Bedford supplies one-third of the money needed to operate the zoo, and the remainder is covered by concessions income and contributions from the BPZS.
By the 1990s, the zoo was in deplorable condition and in need of renovation. The zoo closed in late 1995 for renovations. The zoo re-opened in August 2000.
The zoo houses over 200 animal species from around the world. Exhibits feature animals from the barnyard as well as the wild.
The exhibits are categorized into five main areas:
The Wildlife Education Center is an educational building at the heart of the zoo. It contains two classrooms which host educational programs and business and private meetings.
The North Woods Gift Store and Bear's Den Cafe are open daily.
Annual events at the zoo include "Boo at the Zoo", "Holiday Lights", "Cabin Fever Week", and "Spring Fling Week".