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Safety Rules & FAQs

Review our Safety Rules and Frequently Asked Questions to help prepare for your next visit to the zoo! Do you have a question that isn’t answered below? Submit it using the contact form, or email us at [email protected].

Visitor Information
Please note that certain questions and answers in our FAQ section may change depending on updates to zoo policies or state regulations, so please check for updates before planning your zoo visit.


Visitor Information
Please note that certain questions and answers in our FAQ section may change depending on updates to zoo policies or state regulations, so please check for updates before planning your zoo visit.

Safety Rules & Guidelines

For your safety and the welfare of the animals, please obey all posted signs and guidelines throughout the Southwick’s Zoo property.

Southwick’s Zoo staff will remove anyone who violates zoo safety rules. We reserve the right to inspect anything that is brought into the zoo.

Respect the animals.

The health and well-being of the animals is our top priority. Do not disturb any exhibit animals by any means, including an attempt to pet, feed, handle, or trap exhibit animals. Be kind to the animals.  Those who harass or do something intentionally to harm an animal, will be escorted out of the zoo.

Deer Forest:  Please follow rules posted at the Deer Forest entrance. Guests must stay on the pathway at all times. Do not run, yell, or chase the deer. Only feed the deer the food available in the forest as outside food can make them very sick. Plastic bags are not allowed in the deer forest or petting zoo.

Do not throw any objects into animal habitats.

Foreign objects like coins, rocks, trash, straws, cell phones, or any plastics can create serious health hazards to the animals. Never throw any objects at animals or into their habitats, and DO NOT try to feed animals plants growing in the zoo. All animals are on special diets and the incorrect food can make them extremely ill. Do not reach over any barriers to try to give animals objects.

• Pets are not allowed on zoo grounds

For the health and safety of the animals, pets of any kind are not allowed on zoo property. DO NOT leave pets in your car while you are in the zoo or Galliford’s Restaurant & Tavern. 

Service Dog Policy:

In compliance with ADA regulations, service dogs are allowed in the zoo. All guests with service dogs MUST check-in at the Guest Services window upon entry. As defined by the ADA, service animals are animals trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. Pets providing emotional support, well being, comfort, or companionship are not recognized as service animals under ADA regulations. Please be aware that Pets, emotional support animals, and therapy animals are not allowed inside the zoo.

For the safety of the service animal and the animals in the zoo, service dogs not allowed in the following areas: Deer Forest, Petting Zoo, Parakeet Aviary, Elk Forest (Train Ride), or the Bird Show Area. We also ask that those with service animals please keep their distance from the following exhibits: lions, tigers, cheetahs, servals, leopard, chimpanzees, and giraffes.

Bicycles, skateboards, rollerblades, heelies, child scooters, and pedal toys are not allowed in the zoo.

Do not cross any fence or barrier within the zoo.

Visitors must stay on the pathways and cannot cross any fences or barriers. Do not go over, under, between or otherwise cross any guardrail, fence, moat, wall, or other safety barrier. No visitor should sit on, stand on, or hold children over such barriers. Do not try to touch the animals. Touching is only permitted within the deer forest (please do not touch antlers, however) and in the petting zoo. This is for the health and safety of our animals and our visitors. Those who cross barriers will be escorted out of the zoo.

Southwick’s Zoo requires all guests to remain on designated pathways at all times. Climbing or crossing barriers or entering restricted areas is prohibited. Visitors found doing so will be escorted out of the zoo.

Guests are not allowed to bring food for the animals, and guests are not allowed to feed the animals

All animals in the zoo have their own specific diet that is closely monitored and managed by our animal care team and veterinarian. Any food not part of that diet can be harmful, even if it seems like they could eat it, and can make the animal extremely ill.

Feeding of the animals is only allowed in the petting zoo, deer forest, and Parakeet Landing, and U with food that is provided by the zoo. Important Note: Please do not give deer feed to the goats in the petting zoo, or goat feed to the deer. It makes them ill, only feed them the food available in their area.

Wear proper attire.

Guests must wear a shirt and shoes while in the zoo. We strongly suggest wearing comfortable shoes such as sneakers or boots due to our uneven terrain. We do not recommend wearing flip flops, open toed shoes, high heels, or other similar footwear. Please remember that we a family friendly attraction, so clothing with offensive language or imagery are not permitted.

Children must be supervised at all times

Adults are responsible for the safety of children in their party,  and children must be supervised at all times while in all areas of the zoo including play areas, near/on rides, and in the gift shops. Never leave children unattended. Children MUST be accompanied by an adult while in the petting zoo and deer forest.

Do not run in the zoo.

Our zoo is located on a hill, and some pathways are uneven and bumpy. For your safety, please do not run. Be very careful with strollers, wagons, and wheelchairs.

Alcohol and smoking are not permitted

Alcohol cannot be brought onto zoo grounds, and alcoholic beverages purchased in Galliford’s cannot be brought into the zoo. Southwick’s Zoo is a smoke-free facility, so smoking and vaping are not allowed within the zoo.

Frequently Asked Questions

Jump to a section:
Admission  •  General Questions

Admission Questions:

Can I purchase tickets when I arrive at the zoo or do I have to buy them online?

Tickets can be purchased at the entrance or online. Click here for admission information.

I purchased tickets online for a specific date and entry time. If I can no longer visit on the date I selected, what are my options?

Please be aware that all tickets purchased online are non-refundable. However, tickets can be rescheduled for another date! In the event that you are unable to use your date and time specific  tickets due to weather, illness, etc, please email our Guest Services at [email protected] with your Reservation ID.

If I’m running late, will I still be allowed to use my date and time specific tickets?

Yes, arriving up to a half hour or so past your entry time is okay. Any longer, and we can change their reservation to a later time.

Do I need to print my tickets? Can they be shown on my phone?

If you do not have access to a printer, you can show your tickets on your phone at admissions.

Do you accept credit cards?

We accept all major credit cards.

Do I need to purchase tickets for/make a reservation for a child under the age of 3?

Admission is free for children under the age of 3, so you do not need to purchase a ticket or make a reservation for a child that is 2 years or younger. Note: Ride tickets are required for children under the age of three to go on any rides (excluding the Woodland Express Train which is free for kids 2 years and under).

Can I exit and re-enter the zoo the day of my visit?

Yes, you may exit the zoo and re-enter the same day. Be sure to get your hand stamped at admissions to show when you re-enter. You may also show your wristband if you have one when re-entering the zoo.

Are military rates available ?

Yes, our military rates are available at the entrance. Active service people receive free general admission, general admission is $20 for the dependents of active service people pay, and general admission is $15 for veterans. Military ID or other proof of service is required for military rates. Military rates are not available online.

Do you offer an EBT discount?

Sorry, we do not offer an EBT discount.

Does Southwick’s Zoo offer memberships?

We do not have our own membership program. However, members of the non-profit EARTH Ltd receive free admission to our zoo. You can learn more about EARTH memberships here.

I’m a member of Zoo New England, do I get a discount on admission at Southwick’s?

Southwick’s Zoo is privately owned and is not affiliated with Zoo New England or Roger Williams Zoo. The only memberships that will get you free admission to our zoo are EARTH Ltd memberships.

I plan on paying with cash. Is it ok if some of bills are heavily ripped or damaged?

Sorry, we cannot accept money that has been ripped, taped together, or vandalized.

Can I purchase a gift certificate to give as a gift? Where can Southwick’s Zoo gift certificates be used?

Yes, gift certificates are now available to purchase online. Please note that gift certificates are delivered by email to be printed at home. Southwick’s Zoo Gift Certificates can be used to purchase admission online or at our entrance. Gift certificates are also redeemable at the Purple Peacock Gift Shop and the Zebra Cafe. Gift certificates cannot be used for EARTH Memberships, animal encounters, animal rides, mechanical rides, attractions, at Gallifords Restaurant and Tavern, or food and retail venues (exclduing the Zebra Cafe and the Purple Peacock Gift Shop.

General Visitor Questions:

• Is Southwick’s Zoo open year round?

Southwick’s Zoo is not open year-round. We are open seasonally from early to mid April through October. After we close for the zoo season, we typically offer our annual Winter Wonderland event during evenings in November and December. Please be aware that, after Winter Wonderland ends, zoo grounds are completely closed until the start of the next zoo season.

Galliford’s Restaurant & Tavern, the full service restaurant located at the zoo, remains open year-round. Visit www.gallifords.com for current hours and menus.

Is there a fee for parking?

Parking is always FREE at Southwick’s Zoo!

Are you handicap accessible?

We are handicap accessible, however please be aware that we are located on natural terrain. This means that there are hills and inclines to manage, and some paths within the zoo are unpaved. Electric wheelchairs/scooters are best to navigate the park if you have limited mobility.

Do we have to bring a stroller or can we rent one?

You can bring your own stroller. We do have a limited number of rentals available as well. We offer the following rentals: strollers, double strollers, wagons, wheelchairs, and scooters. Click here for rental information.

Can we bring our own lunch?

Guests cannot bring outside food (including coolers and full lunches) into the zoo. Smaller items such as small snacks, beverages (i.e. water bottles, juice, coffee, etc,), formula and other childcare necessities, or food required for medical reasons are permitted, however.

Reminder: Guests ARE NOT allowed to bring food for the animals.

Can I bring my dog to the zoo?

Sorry, pets are NOT allowed into the zoo. Pets are not to be left in vehicles in the parking areas.

Service Dog Policy:

In compliance with ADA regulations, service dogs are allowed in the zoo. All guests with service dogs MUST check-in at the Guest Services window upon entry. As defined by the ADA, service animals are animals trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. Pets providing emotional support, well being, comfort, or companionship are not recognized as service animals under ADA regulations. Please be aware that pets, emotional support animals, and therapy animals are not allowed inside the zoo.

For the safety of the service animal and the animals in the zoo, service dogs not allowed in the following areas: Deer Forest, Petting Zoo, Parakeet Aviary, Elk Forest (Train Ride), or the Bird Show Area. We also ask that those with service animals please keep their distance from the following exhibits: lions, tigers, cheetahs, servals, leopard, chimpanzees, and giraffes.

Can I bring in food for the animals? Can I feed the animals?

No. Food for the animals is not permitted as it can seriously harm our animals. The United States Department of Agriculture prohibits visitors from bringing any food into the zoo to feed the animals. Any food brought to the zoo for animal consumption will be confiscated. Feeding “people food” purchased for human consumption or even feeding plants growing in the zoo can be VERY harmful to the animals and is NOT ALLOWED.

Visitors are not allowed to feed the animals. The only exceptions are the deer in Deer Forest, goats in the petting zoo, and parakeets in Parakeet Landing, and visitors can only feed animals in these locations their specific food provided by the zoo.  *DO NOT bring deer feed into the petting zoo. The deer and goats have different diets, and the incorrect food makes them very sick. Do not feed the alpacas in the petting zoo.

Where can I find First Aid?

First Aid kits are located at all dining and retail venues. A first aid station is available at the main entrance.

What kind of animals are in the zoo?

You can find our animal exhibit list here.

Can I have a birthday party in the zoo?

Visitors can book birthday parties in the zoo during our normal season. For more information, click here.

Will the zoo donate passes to my organization’s fundraiser?

We receive a very high volume of donation requests each year, and we try to fulfill as many as we can. Visit our Donation Guidelines page to learn more about how to request a donation of 2 general admission passes for use in fundraiser raffles, auctions, etc. Please be aware that all donation requests must be mailed to us with a self-addressed and stamped envelope, and we do not accept requests sent electronically (i.e. email, our contact form, social media, etc.).

Does Southwick’s Zoo have a room for breastfeeding mothers?

Yes, we do offer a room for breastfeeding mothers looking for privacy. The room is next to the family restroom, on the left side of the large building located between the petting zoo and the Bactrian camel habitat. The nursing room has two sides divided by a curtain and has rocking chairs and a changing table.

Do I need to worry about bees and other insects?

While we try our best to control bee and yellow jacket populations in the zoo, please remember that we are located in a rural, forested area, so bees and other insects are naturally occurring part of the environment. If you are allergic to bee stings, please remember to be cautious and bring any necessary medical items. If you are stung by a bee in our zoo, first aid kits are located in all concessions stands and a first aid room is located near the main entrance.

Does the zoo close if it rains?

Southwick’s Zoo remains open rain or shine during the normal season (mid-April through October). If the zoo must close due to severe weather (i.e. blizzard, hurricane, etc.), a notice will be posted on our homepage and social media.

Reminder: While our zoo is open rain or shine, rides, many attractions, shows, and smaller food and retail locations are weather permitting. Certain features may be closed or may close early on rainy days.

Are drones allowed in Southwick’s Zoo?

No. Drones are not permitted on or above zoo grounds at any time.

Are weapons allowed at Southwick’s Zoo?

No. Weapons of any kind or objects that appear to be weapons (toy guns, toy blasters, squirt guns, knives, etc.) are not allowed on zoo grounds.

peacock perched on wall