I had been to the zoo several years ago but not with my daughter. She is two and a half and had recently proclaimed giraffes to be her favorite animal. So we headed down to Roger Williams Park (RWP) Zoo to see the giraffes and enjoy some family time together. We got there right at opening on a beautiful Sunday morning.

Lions, Tigers, and Snakes, oh my!

My daughter, Emma decided that she wanted to see the snakes first–much to my snake-fearing husband’s horror. We walked through the entirety of the park and started at the back end of the park. It was like we had the park to ourselves at that end of the zoo.

We saw red pandas, sloths, aardvarks, cheetahs, zebras, seals, and on and on. I think we walked by every animal. The seals were playful in the water and we spent a lot of time watching them swim by the glass tank walls. As we watched, behind us, we heard some excitement and turned around to see the giraffe by its fence reaching up to the leaves above with its long purple tongue. What an amazing view!

Our favorite sites were definitely the giraffes who were running about, eating and playing in the yard. I loved the elephants too who you can see so close up. If you time your visit to their area right, you can catch bath time too!

Petting Zoo!

The petting zoo was also a highlight of the day. You can feed the animals or enter the pen and pet them and interact with the goats and sheep. The interactive play area adjacent to the petting zoo allows kids to play in a farmer’s market, harvest plastic fruits and vegetables from the garden and climb atop a pretend cow. It’s a cute area for the under 6 crowd. It was tough to pull Emma away. As we were leaving, we noticed they were setting up for a magic show.

Camel Rides, Zip Lines & Water Play Areas!

For added cost, there are camel rides, train rides, a zip line, giraffe feedings and more to add to an already great family fun day! The train called The Woodlands Express is designed for all ages.


After seeing the monkeys and flamingos, I stopped at a concession stand to get some popcorn. I turned my back for just one minute, but my husband and daughter had taken off for the kids play area. There were a couple of sprinklers and some small water discovery play areas. She was soaked! But boy was she having a blast! In that area there were other discovery play spaces including a tree house.

All Aboard at RWP Carousel Village

Another idea to extend your trip is to add on the RWP Carousel Village. It is a bit of a walk or a drive from the zoo itself. In addition to the traditional carousel, there is a bouncy house, pony rides and a café in this village. On Fridays all summer, they have Food Truck Fridays for some extra delicious fun!

This spot is definitely worth the easy drive. We can’t wait to go back!

A few helpful tips!
  • Definitely get there at opening time on a busy weekend day. We were able to get parking and see the animals in the morning hours when they are more active.
  • You can bring in your own food and drink to save on costs!
  • Not only is it less busy and parking is easier, but many animals are up and about, eating or playing.
  • We were especially impressed by the Snow Leopards – what gorgeous, powerful animals!
  • Buy your tickets ahead of time online so that you don’t need to wait in line for tickets at the door.

Roger Williams Park Zoo
1000 Elmwood Avenue, Providence RI

Originally posted July 2017

Don’t miss a thing! Subscribe to our e-newsletter!

    Leave a Reply