But, did you know we have a zoo right here in Connecticut? This year the zoo is celebrating its 90th birthday!
The Beardsley Zoo is located in Bridgeport, Connecticut. From West Hartford, the trip to Bridgeport takes a little over an hour. We actually visited last spring, so you will notice that the twins look a bit younger in this posts’ pictures and baby girl was still growing away inside me. I was hoping to be able to make another trip to the zoo before doing a post, but it just didn’t happen. So, I’m pulling together the pictures I took from our spring trip (and desperately trying to remember everything we did) for this overview.
The zoo is located within a very pretty park in Bridgeport called Glenwood Park. After entering the park, we followed the signs to the zoo and then found parking. The parking area was a bit crowded that day. I’m guessing it was because the buses for several school groups were taking up a significant portion of the space, but it isn’t a huge lot, so parking could be a bit of a challenge. We found a spot, though, got the twins in their stroller and headed towards the entrance.
For this trip (like with many) we were using a pass from our library’s museum pass program. With it, we were able to access the zoo for free.
There was a bit of a line, but it didn’t take long to get to the front.
At the entrance, you can also rent a stroller. There are single or double stroller options.
Once inside, we took a look at the map. The zoo is pretty much one big loop, so you can follow the loop around and see all the big attractions.
One fun thing at the zoo was the peacocks roaming freely. I just had to watch my kiddos to make sure they didn’t drive the birds crazy. I didn’t really love having the birds in the eating area, but it was fun to see them as we roamed around the rest of the property.
There were also vending machines in this area if you needed to grab a drink.
As we made our way through the first section of the zoo grounds, we stopped to see the Andean Condor and we passed two buildings, the greenhouse and gift shop. We didn’t go into the buildings because my kids were ready to see the animals!
Our first animal stop was a visit with the wolves. The zoo has an observation building where you can get an intimate look at the wolves in action. We kept the stroller outside and let the kids explore on foot.
After the wolf viewing, we continued down the path to the prairie dogs. I guess I had never seen a prairie dog before, because the little rodent-looking creatures were not what I was expecting. This animal exhibit was actually pretty fun. You could go into a tunnel under their habitat and pop your head up into these viewing domes. From there you could feel at one with the prairie dogs. The kids loved it. That tunnel is not for someone who is claustrophobic, though.
We continued on the path through the rest of the zoo. The main path is paved and very wide so you can easily maneuver through with a big stroller. We were using a double umbrella stroller that day, but I might be sporting a triple jogging stroller in the future and that would have done just fine.
As we continued on we saw bison and a few other animal habitats. The bison were very fun to see, but we couldn’t see much in the other habitats. The walk in this back area of the zoo, however, was very pretty and peaceful. Check out the picture of these gigantic animals (plus check out me and Bruiser posing with them 🙂
As you make your way through the back area of the zoo, there are picnic tables where you can stop for a snack or some lunch.
After we made it around the big loop, we stopped to see the tigers and take a walk through the aviary.
Make sure you get a picture of the kids on the alligator statue in this area. It seemed to be a popular picture-taking destination.
This area has lots and lots of picnic tables where you can grab a seat and eat some food. You can bring your own lunch or grab something to eat at the Peacock Cafe. Many of the tables had umbrellas, which would come in handy during the hot summer months. There was also a play area in the center where the kids could burn off a little energy while you grabbed a bite to eat.
If you would prefer to eat indoors and/or want to purchase some food, head to the Peacock Cafe which is in the same area. The food options are your basic grill fare, but a variety of options exist and the prices seemed reasonable. I’m trying to rack my brain to remember if there were high chairs available in the cafe. I thought there were, but it seems I didn’t snap a picture of any (which I usually do) so I can’t say with 100% confidence. They do seem to have booster seats, though.
One other cute activity available in this area is taking a ride on the carousel. It is located indoors and costs $2 per child. Parents are encouraged to ride with the little ones, but older children are free to check it out on their own. Sparkles was still going through a phase of being completely scared of carousels, so Bruiser was our only participant.
I had brought lunch for my kids, so they just chilled in their stroller and had a bite to eat. They also didn’t play on the playground because it was more suited to older kids. They were way too young.
Honestly, I wasn’t very impressed with this section. Several of the exhibits seemed to be missing animals and the animals in the remaining exhibits just didn’t seem to be in the best of environments. I am hoping that my less than stellar experience in this section was just because it was early in the season and maybe they were in the process of making some pre-summer refurbishment, but I really hope there are plans to make some improvements to this area. Even things like the food dispensers and wet wipe stations being empty seemed to indicate that this area wasn’t getting a lot of attention.
At the goat exhibit we met a guy who told me he was there to see his goat. Apparently he donated a goat to the zoo several years ago and would come by for regular visits. That was fun to see.
After the farmyard exhibit, we made our way over to the rainforest building. Along the way, my husband pointed out this rare item. My kids had no clue what it was and will probably never use one in their lifetime.
To enter the rainforest building, we had to leave our stroller outside. Inside we found, monkeys, free flying birds, reptiles and more. The exhibit was very nice and definitely worth a visit if you can manage it without your stroller.
Outside the rainforest building, I got a “cute face” picture from the twins. This was their favorite party trick last spring. I would ask them for the “cute face” and they would give me their best glamour shot pose 🙂
At this point, the kids were starting to get sleepy and we needed to get back on the road for our drive home. We got them back in the car and headed out. As we exited, we took a ride through Glenwood Park and I snapped a few pictures. If you have time, the park looked like it had a great playground and there were plenty of pretty places to let the kids run around and picnic tables where you could have a meal. Just a thought in case you wanted another little activity after leaving the zoo. I need to go back and check this area out a little more.
Overall, we had a really nice time at this zoo. You can easily explore it in a few hours and my toddlers had a lot of fun. My favorite exhibits were the wolves, prairie dogs, bison, wetlands aviary and the rainforest. The carousel was also a fun extra. There are a few animal exhibits that could use some updating, but I’m hoping that is in the works. We look forward to future visits to our home state zoo.
Have you been to the Beardsley Zoo? Any tips? What were your favorite exhibits?
Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo
1875 Noble Avenue, Bridgeport, Connecticut 06610
Phone: (203) 394-6565
Get directions here:
Hours & Admission:
- Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is open daily from 9 am to 4 pm.
- It is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day
- WINTER HOURS
- Monday through Friday: Café and Carousel are open at 10:00am – 3:00pm
- Monday through Friday: Gift Shop is open from 10:00am – 3:00pm
- Saturday and Sunday: Café, Carousel and Gift Shop open at 9:00am – 4:00pm, The New World Tropics Building is open from 10:30am to 3:30pm daily
- Adult Admission (ages 12 & older) = $12.00
- Child Admission (ages 3 -11) = $10.00
- Senior Admission (62 & older) = $10.00
- Under 3 years = FREE
- Connecticut Zoological Society Members = FREE; Become a member the day of your visit and receive free admission that day.
- Some libraries have zoo passes through their museum pass programs. Programs vary by library, but, for example, West Hartford’s program would allow FREE admission for 2 adults and 4 children.
The Zoo accepts all major credit cards. Parking is FREE.
- $2 per child
- Single stroller rental fee is $5.30 (includes tax)
- Double stroller rental fee is $7.42 (includes tax)
- Wheelchair rentals: $6.00 (no tax on wheelchair rentals)
Click here for the most up-to-date information on zoo hours and rates.
Tips & Things to Bring:
- The zoo accepts all major credit cards for the entrance fee.
- Bring cash for the vending machines, vendor carts, and the carousel ride.
- The zoo is very stroller-accessible; bring your own or rent one. Rental strollers are not appropriate for babies, however. Your child must be able to sit up on his or her own to use one.
- If you have a small baby, consider bringing a wearable infant carrier instead of a stroller so you can be more mobile and get up closer to the exhibits.
- The zoo is fairly spread out, so even if you have a little one who likes to walk, you might want to bring the stroller just in case he or she gets tired.
- The only place I saw that was unable to accommodate a stroller was the indoor portion of the rainforest building. We were able to take our stroller everywhere else.
- Bring your lunch or purchase your lunch at the Peacock Cafe. There are plenty of picnic tables located throughout the park and near the cafe.
- There is a play area for the kids near the cafe, though it was mostly elementary age kids playing in this area.
- The restroom we visited near the zoo entrance was very spacious and had a counter that could be used for diaper changes. We didn’t check out any other restrooms while we were there. From the map, though, it looks like the only other restroom location is in the Peacock Cafe.
- You will be outdoors for most of your visit to the zoo, make sure you dress for the weather. Sunscreen, hats and sunglasses in the summer and warm clothes in the cooler months.
- Make sure to take a ride on the carousel near the Peacock Cafe.
- After your visit to the zoo, it may be fun to let the kids play on the playground in Glenwood park. After you exit the zoo, make a right in to the park and you will see the playground area on your right.
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