Just inside Boston's large Franklin Park is the aptly named Franklin Park Zoo. This century-old, 72-acre animal park features some of the best wildlife exhibits in New England, as it is home to more than 200 species. Visitors are welcome to view them all within a wide variety of main exhibits, including the Tropical Forest, a three-acre structure that simulates the natural environment for a variety of native African animals such as bats, gorillas, crocodiles, lemurs and hippos.
The African-themed Kalahari Kingdom houses a lion named Christopher, who guests can see through the glass or up close by way of a Land Rover replica that appears to have “crashed” into his den.
The zoo’s other fascinating exhibits include the Outback Trail, the Children’s Zoo and Tiger Tales, which is home to two rescued tigers named Anala and Luther. Perhaps the zoo’s modern day claim to fame is its appearance as the backdrop in the Kevin James 2011 comedy film Zookeeper.
During the summer (April 1-Sept. 30), the zoo is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and until 6 p.m. on weekends and major holidays. In winter (Oct. 1-March 31), hours are until 4 p.m. daily. The zoo is easily reachable by car just off Storrow Drive, I93, or Route 128. Convenient public transportation options are also available via subway and bus. Free parking is offered year-round.