The Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island is a nationally recognized, acclaimed, and award-winning zoo. The zoo itself is one of the top tourist attractions in Rhode Island, and may very well be considered the very best zoo in the entire New England region by many. Some of the accolades bestowed upon the Roger Williams Park Zoo include several conservation awards including the International Conservation Award and the North American Conservation Award from the AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums).
It is interesting to note that the Roger Williams Park Zoo is the third oldest zoo in the United States, opening its doors in 1872. Each year, the zoo welcomes more than 600,000 people from not only Rhode Island, but the world. Over the years, as animals and wildlife have become more and more endangered, the main goals of the zoo have shifted from entertainment and recreation to wildlife conservation and awareness. In addition to its membership to the AZA, the zoo is also a partner of the Species Survival Plan (SSP), a nationally recognized system of research, breeding, and record-keeping of endangered animals.
The staff at Roger Williams Park Zoo is highly trained to interact and care for the animals on site, and can offer unique information to guests regarding each animal's daily routine, habitat, and personality. Additionally, all zoo staff is involved in conservation fieldwork all over the world, which makes them even more knowledgeable than most. The zoo and its crew pride itself on being an invaluable center for environmental education, animal awareness, and science.
Visiting the zoo, guests will have the chance to see and learn about more than 130 species of animals, many of which are rare. The various exhibits available at Roger Williams Park Zoo include animals from all over the world featuring the likes of giraffes, elephants, gibbons, moon bears and much more - all within natural settings closely resembling the animals' natural habitats.
Some of the most popular exhibits at Roger Williams Park Zoo are special exhibits, not available year round. 'Flutterby: Butterflies in Bloom', is available between May and September 2009, and allows visitors to experience more than 2,000 square feet of greenhouse filled with various species and varieties of North American butterflies and the nectar plants they feed on. Guests can witness butterfly births (hatching out of their chrysalis) and learn how to set up a butterfly garden at home. A year-round exhibit that draws much attention is 'The Fabric of Africa', which allows visitors to "go on safari'' in Rhode Island! Exotic species including some of the world's tallest and heaviest land mammals are featured as guests see elephants bathing in their water hole and giraffe eating the highest leaves.
Though only two exhibits were mentioned, the Roger Williams Park Zoo offers a plethora of exhibits, animals, information, and adventure for guests interested in animals, wildlife, and conservation. Guests may visit for a modest fee while members may visit throughout the year at no cost (aside from their annual membership fee.) Visitors can call 401-785-3510 for more information on visiting, making donations, or conservation efforts in the area.