Safety Rules & FAQs
Click here for 2021 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.
• 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. Pets cannot be brought to Zoofari Drive Thru tours.
Service Dog Policy:
In compliance with ADA regulations, service dogs are allowed in the zoo. 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 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.
• Respect the animals.
The health and well-being of the animals is our top priority. Please do not yell at them or bang on enclosures. DO NOT throw any objects at the animals or into their habitats, and DO NOT try to reach over fencing to touch or feed animals.
Follow the Rules in the Deer Forest
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, 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.
• 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 anmal 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
• Do I need to wear a mask in the zoo? Do I have to keep in on for the whole visit?
Following MA state regulations, visitors must wear a face mask covering their nose AND mouth during their entire visit. Per CDC guidelines, guests who have received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine must still wear a mask. Please check in with zoo staff at admissions if you are unable to wear a mask for medical reasons.
• If I have a medical condition, do I need to wear a mask? Am I still allowed to visit?
Guests who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons are permitted to visit. Please notify our admissions staff when you check in at the entrance. You will be given a sticker so staff within the zoo will be aware that you are unable to wear a mask.
• Can I purchase tickets when I arrive at the zoo?
Tickets cannot be purchased at our entrance. Admission must be purchased in advance online for a specific visit date and entry time. If you have pre-purchased admission, you will need to make a reservation for your visit date and entry time.
• Is there a time limit to how long I can spend in the zoo?
While we do not have a strictly enforced time limit, we ask that visitors try to limit their visit to about 3 hours to avoid crowding on busier days.
• I have unused 2019 or 2020 tickets. Will I be able to use them during the zoo’s 2021 season?
Yes! The expiration date of unused 2019 and 2020 admission tickets has been extended to October 31, 2021.
• If I’m running late, will I still be allowed to use my 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. Please note that each entry time has a limited number of tickets, and we must keep track how many guests enter during each time slot.
• Are military rates available ?
Yes, our military rates will be available during our 2021 season. Active service people receive free general admission, general admission is $15 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.
Admission Related Questions:
• 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. Please be aware that, at this time, admission tickets must be purchased online for a specific date and entry time.
• Do I need to purchase tickets for/make a reservation for a child under the age of 3?
Admission if 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).
• Do you offer an EBT discount?
Sorry, we do not offer an EBT discout.
• 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.
NOTICE: Following current state restrictions, guests must purchase admission online. Tickets cannot be purchased at our entrance at this time.
General Visitor Questions:
• 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 into the zoo. Large containers including coolers and full size backpacks are not allowed into the zoo. Guests can still bring smaller items like water bottles, snacks, and food for childcare, however. Please be careful to remain 6 feet away from other guests while you are eating and drinking. Please stay off of main pathways when eating and drinking.
Reminder: Guests ARE NOT allowed to bring food for the animals.
• Can I leave the zoo and re-enter?
Sorry, at this time, we cannot allow guests to exit and re-enter the zoo.
• 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.
Our service animal policy can be viewed under the Safety Rules & Guidelines section on this page.
• 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.
• Can I bring a backpack?
Guests cannot bring any large bags or containers in to the zoo including, but not limited to coolers, full-size backpacks, large diaper bags, etc. Smaller bags are still permitted.
• 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.
Zoofari Drive Thru Questions:
The Zoofari Drive Thru is a new option for guests to explore the zoo from the comfort of their vehicle. Click here for the Zoofari Drive Thru Information page.
• Is the zoo open as a walk thru during Drive Thru Zoofari tours?
No, the zoo is not open for walk thru visitors during the Drive Thru tours. Drive Thru tours utilize our existing roads and pathways within the zoo, so, for the safety of all visitors, the zoo is closed as a walk thru during the drive thru tours.
• Do Zoofari Drive Thrus need to be booked in advance?
Yes, tickets for the Zoofari Drive Through must be purchased in advance online. Each date has a limited number of tickets, and they often sell out. Regular zoo admission cannot be used for Zoofari Drive Thru tours, and they cannot be applied to the price of a Drive Thru Zoofari ticket.
• What time should I arrive for my Drive Thru tour?
Please arrive at least 30 minutes before you selected tour time. Please be aware that you must arrive and check in within 15 minutes of your selected tour time. If you arrive and check in more than 15 minutes past your selected time, we cannot guarantee that you will be allowed entry.
• How long is the Drive Thru?
Each drive thru tour will last approximately 45 minutes.
• Is the zoo fully paved?
Please be aware that not all paths in the zoo are paved, so some sections may be bumpy. We are also located on a hill, so some pathways on the drive thru route are somewhat steep.
• Can we stop and get out of our car?
Once the tour starts, guests cannot stop or get out of their vehicles. Guests must remain seated and car doors must remain closed at all times when inside the zoo. You may open your windows, however.
• Do I need to wear a face mask?
Drive thru tour visitors do not need to wear a mask since they remain in their vehicles. However, we ask that guests wear a mask during any interactions with zoo employees such as during check-in.
• Will restrooms be open?
A port a john will be located next to the waiting area. However, guests are not permitted to leave their vehicle while in the zoo, and restrooms within the zoo will not be open during drive thru tours. Tours last about 45 minutes, so please plan accordingly.
• Will there be food available to purchase?
Concessions (cash preferred) will be available while you wait for your tour to start selling water, snacks, ice cream novelties, popcorn, and cotton candy (prices range from $3-$5). Wait times will vary depending on volume and speed of cars in front of you.
Galliford’s Restaurant & Tavern will also be open for takeout. Drive Thru guests are welcome to place on order (online or by phone) to pick-up after their tour. Learn more at www.gallifords.com.
• What animals will I see?
Please view the Drive Thru Map (found on this page) to see which habitats are on the route. While many species are more active in the evening, please remember that some animals may choose to go indoors and off exhibit. We cannot guarantee what animals will be outside and visible at any given time.
• Can I bring my pets?
No. Pets are not allowed into the zoo, so they CANNOT be brought to Zoofari Drive Thru tours. The only exception is service animals. Reminder: 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 and are not allowed during Zoofari Drive Thru Tours.
• What happens if it rains?
Drive thru tours are rain or shine.
• Do EARTH Members get a discount?
EARTH Members will receive a 50% discount on select Drive Thru dates/times. Members will receive an email with details (be sure to check your spam/junk inbox).
• Does the roof have to be on my Jeep or Convertible?
For safety reasons, Jeep and convertible roofs must be kept on during the tours.