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The Buttonwood Park Zoo is dedicated to preserving the future of wildlife by creating engaging and educational experiences that connect the community to the natural world.

The Buttonwood Park Zoo was established in 1894 and is the 12th oldest zoo in the United States. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and called “one of the finest small zoos in the United States” by that organization, BPZOO meets the high standards of the AZA for exhibit quality, animal care, educational programs and conservation projects. 

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For Families:

  • ZooCrew: Children ages 6 - 10 can join us during the weeks of February and April break for our Winter and Spring ZooCrew sessions (daily or 4-day registration available). During the Summer, children ages 4 - 12 can join us for week-long sessions spanning through July and August. Teens aged 13 – 17 are invited to apply for our Counselor-in-Training program, with deadlines due January 5th, 2024. ZooCrew Scholarships are available for all sessions and ages: for more information, please contact

  • Creature Creations: Join us for Creature Creations, an indoor art class led by instructor Kathleen Patrick and a zoo educator. This fun program will introduce your child to a featured animal, either inside the classroom or at an animal habitat, then lead them step-by-step through a painting of that animal.

  • Puddle Jumpers: Each Spring and Fall, Puddle Jumpers gives preschoolers a safe space to explore the natural world through guided hikes, nature play, and getting outdoors! A Zoo educator will meet the group at different DNRT locations each week and lead a 50-minute nature exploration activity.

  • Deja Zoo: Visit the Zoo after hours to participate in this private escape-style experience. Get your team of up to 10 players to see if you have what it takes to solve puzzles, decode clues, conquer challenges, and work together in order to stop your timer and earn a place in our Hall of Fame!


For Schools and Community Organizations:

  • All schools located in New Bedford get FREE field trip admission and FREE on-site education programming year-round.

  • On-site programming at the Zoo can be in either 20 or 45-minute increments and can involve either an Animal Ambassador encounter or a Science on a Sphere demonstration.

  • 45-minute Zoo2You programs can visit your facility for $125 per session for all groups, plus an additional one-way charge of $1 per mile measured from the Zoo to your location for groups located more than 15 miles away.

Gary Lunsford, Director of The Buttonwood Park Zoo

Sarah Henry, Executive Director of The Buttonwood Park Zoological Society 

425 Hawthorn St, New Bedford, MA 02740

(508) 991-4556

Contact email:

Hours of Operation: 9am–4pm November–March; 9am–5pm April – October 

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