Franklin Park Zoo

Another wonderful day, sunny and warm. I had to go to work for just an hour for a mandatory meeting. The meeting was at 11:00 in the morning so it kind of limited what I could do for the day landing right in the middle like that. So after the meeting I decided to run some errands while I reviewed my options for the afternoon. As I was driving up Rt 128 I saw a sign for the Franklin Park Zoo. That is on my bucket list but I hadn’t planned on that for today…still there was the sign…maybe that was where I was meant to be today.

So I wrapped up my last errand and headed north on RT 28.

Franklin Park Zoo is another Urban Zoo. This time within the confines of Boston. Rt 28 becomes a main road known as Blue Hill Avenue though Mattapan into Dorchester, both subsections of Boston. They are neighborhoods similar to the boroughs of New York City.

Traffic was heavy and I missed the entrance to the Zoo the first time and had to turn around and retrace my steps. When I found parking it was in a secondary, unpaved lot. That one was almost filled too.

The paved path from the parking lot to the zoo entrance was marked by stencilled “hoof prints”. The kids ahead of me on the path were finding these stencils a lot of fun.

I was at the Franklin Park Zoo a couple of years ago but so far nothing looked familiar, not even the entrance which I seemed to remember had a large statue in front of it. I was wondering if I was having a “senior moment” as I paid my admission and asked for a map.

Admission is a bit pricier than Buttonwood Zoo and their senior discount starts at 62 so I paid the full fee of $16.00. As I looked at my map I began to understand why it looked so different. This was the Zebra Entrance. I was at the Giraffe Entrance when I came here before! I wasn’t losing my mind.

Franklin Park is much larger than Buttonwood and has many more exotic animals. They have some fun interactive exhibits too but first things first. It was almost 2pm so lunch was on my mind. There’s an indoor-outdoor  snack bar call the Giddy-up grill.

As far as I know that’s the only option for food. You can get candy and snacks at the gift shop but I wanted  something a bit more lunch-like. I hesitate to say more healthy!:)

I ordered a cheeseburger and onion rings and a bottle of juice. Nothing was cooked to order. It was all in warming  ovens. It showed in the taste, the hamburger was warm but the bun was hard, very hard. There was a wilted lettuce leaf , a tomato slice topped with a pickle  slice. I only ate a few bites as it had a strange flavor that I just couldn’t put my finger on. I chose to sit outside so the little birds appreciated my “fussiness”. I had better luck with the onion rings which were very good.

As I sat at the little table under an umbrella I watched the carousel revolve and a couple of male peacocks with tail feathers trailing that would make a bride’s train look short! They never displayed but they were still beautiful.

The Franklin Farm was on the other side of the tables. Here are farm animals, horses, goats, sheep, chickens, to name just a few,  some of which are available for petting as long as a staff member was present.

After lunch I started to work my way back to the entrance so I could go through the Zoo in an orderly fashion but I kept getting side tracked.

My first detour was to an aviary. Here ducks were swimming around and although there was a feeding station, they weren’t too interested in the offerings the kids were throwing into the water. As you crossed the bridge you soon saw why, there was a big feeding tray and it was freshly filled so it looked as if everyone had already eaten their fill.

As I exited I saw a dirt mound off to my right. I decided to check that out before I went back to the entrance. What a nice surprise.

 There were those little prairie rodents! Yup, a small colony of prairie dogs. As I approached the sentinel dog went on alert but he didn’t “bark” or whistle. It was pretty clear that these guys were used to people and didn’t consider us a threat. It made taking pictures at lot easier than in the wild. That little sentinel dog was quite a ham. It was as if he was posing for you. Then he ran down into a hole , popped back out and threw him self down on the dirt, little paws stretched out as if to say…I’m done..too tired.

He was such a little drama queen.

That’s a good place to break for today. More tales from the Franklin Park Zoo and pictures coming up next post.

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