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Roger Williams Zoo - a MPG meet up

Last year I had the opportunity to view photos taken at Providence's Roger Williams Zoo. In particular the eagles they have on display there. I love eagles. I draw them all the time as they are a perpetual favorite tattoo theme. I knew then, as I looked at all the wonderful photos, that it was a place I had to visit. And so we did.

As with the previous couple of weekends, it threatened to rain. I kept a close eye on the weather in Providence and took a gamble that it would hold off until at least closing time. Well, it almost did. Unfortunately it was damp and threatening enough to scare off almost everyone that signed up to go.

I had never bee to the Roger Williams zoo before but I had the impression that it was on a scale of the Bronx zoo in NY. Boy, was I surprised. In reality it reminded me a lot of our own Beardsley zoo in Bridgeport.

Although small, the zoo had quite a few displays but the feel of the place was very antiquated. The design is very much Victorian in nature with very little sign of modernization. The elephant enclosure looked like the set of Jurassic Park with it's steel cable fencing and thick metal posts. The Africa area was relatively open with some attempt at naturalization of the enclosures but the viewing areas overall throughout the park were placed awkwardly. It proved a challenge to get any good images.

The joke when we first got there was that we would walk away with some awesome images of animal hind quarters. It seemed that every animal was turned away from the spectators as if to say, "kiss this!" Not very engaging.

To make matters worse, a good portion of the park was closed of in preparation for a pumpkin carving festival. I thought that was poor planning by the park's managers as the set ups could better been reserved for an 'off' day rather than on a weekend when there is higher visitor volume.

As you can tell by now I was not overly impressed by the place. Our own Beardsley zoo is hands down better while the Bronx zoo makes Roger Williams look like an overpriced petting zoo, even if they don't have eagles. Which reminds me... they only had one eagle on display. A poor pathetic creature that sat alone on a section of a branch in an attempt at making it feel at home. Had it not been for a broken wing I'm sure it would have flown off for a much better place than this.

Overall we got some great shots of the animals we could get to and the day wasn't completely miserable. I for one won't return there so keep an eye out for the Bronx and Beardsley zoo trips next year. In the meantime, check out some images from this trip.


  1. Hhmmm...after reading this I'm not so upset anymore that I missed it.

  2. Thanks for your assessment of this zoo. It had been on my list of places to visit. I'm glad that I did not drive all that way for nothing. I like Beardsley zoo, especially in the winter. It's quiet, I'm usually the only one there, and the animals are not usually hiding from all the people.


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