While the Homestead at Southwick’s dates back to 1803, the 200-acre Zoo actually began as a dairy and vegetable farm in the early to mid 1900’s. Justin Southwick, founder of the wildlife park, had a passionate interest in exotic birds and fancy poultry.
His unique collection of rare birds brought visitors from all over the Blackstone Valley and beyond. His knowledge and dedication led him to be acknowledged as one of the world’s leading authorities on migratory waterfowl.
Although Justin was urged to place a donation box at the entrance in 1956, the Zoo’s official opening was in 1963, and incorporated in 1965. Southwick’s has since grown and expanded to become home to over 850 exotic animals from around the world, including many endangered species.
Privately owned by the Brewer (Southwick) family, the Zoo does not receive federal, state, or local funding of any kind; it depends solely on the admission proceeds from Zoo visitors and patrons.