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prairie dog in the snow

Black-tailed prairie dog

Winter Visits

Hop out of hibernation and head to Franklin Park Zoo this winter! There's snow much to see!

  • View fall/winter hours
  • The Zoo is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
  • In cases of inclement weather, the Zoo may be closed. To check if we’re open on the day of your visit, please call 617-541-LION (5466).

Which animals am I likely to see?

More often than not, you’ll be able to see the following animals:

  • Tropical Forest animals (50+ species of exotic animals including western lowland gorillas, ocelots, ring-tailed lemurs, Baird’s tapirs, pigmy hippopotamuses, free-flight birds, and more)
  • Lions
  • Red pandas
  • Wattled crane
  • Zebras
  • Bird’s World
  • Franklin Farm
  • and more

Are there any animals that might not be on exhibit?

When the temperature begins to drop, we’re often asked “What happens to the animals?” Many of the animals who call Franklin Park Zoo home are incredibly adaptable and can tolerate cold weather. These animals, like our lions, can be seen year-round. But others aren’t as able to acclimate to the cold temperatures. When the temperature is too cold for them to enjoy their outdoor exhibit, they stay indoors in their warm, off-exhibit space.

  • Aussie Aviary
    Aussie Aviary closes for the season at the end of September and reopens in the spring. On warmer days, it’s still possible to see birds in this exhibit space, although guests are not permitted to walk through.
  • Butterfly Hollow
    This exhibit is open mid-June through mid-September. Many of the butterflies in Butterfly Hollow are tropical insects and wouldn’t survive the New England winter. Native butterflies either migrate or pass the winter as eggs under the bark of trees.
  • Giraffe Savannah/Serengeti Crossing
    Giraffe are savannah animals and can’t tolerate harsh New England winters. When the temperature is too cold for our giraffe to be outside, they stay inside their heated barn. Warthogs are also inside keeping warm during the winter. Unlike our giraffe and warthogs, the zebras, wildebeests and ostrich can be seen on exhibit year-round as long as it’s not icy.
  • Gorilla Grove
    Gorilla Grove’s indoor Observation Outpost is closed for the season, and the gorilla troop can instead be seen in their indoor Tropical Forest exhibit all winter. You can still explore the outdoor area of Gorilla Grove at any time.
  • Outback Trail
    Kangaroos aren’t allowed outside if it’s below 40 degrees because they’re subject to frostbite, especially on the ears. Occasionally, they’re let out in mid-winter if there’s a stretch of mild weather.

Many other animals may be outdoors and on exhibit depending on weather conditions, particularly on milder winter days when the temperature is above freezing.

Where can I go to warm up while visiting the Zoo?

Kept at a balmy 72 degrees, Franklin Park Zoo’s Tropical Forest is a great place to escape the cold! The Tropical Forest is an oasis in a New England winter, complete with water fountains, free-flight birds and 50+ species of exotic animals.

Bird’s World is the oldest building at Franklin Park Zoo and home to birds from around the world including tawny frogmouths.

Is there indoor dining during the winter?

Indoor dining is available at the Giddy-Up Grill. The Giddy-Up has plenty of indoor seating and serves a fine selection of wraps, sandwiches, salads and pizza as well as many other kid-friendly options. You can also check out the Things Wild gift shop near the Outback Trail.

Both the gift shop and Giddy-Up Grill are open from 10:00 a.m – 4:00 p.m. during the winter.

Are there any special events planned for the winter months?

Absolutely! We hold education programs year-round and offer many special events –many with winter or holiday themes—throughout the winter.