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Saturday, June 22: Stone Zoo will close at 3pm (last tickets sold at 2pm) in preparation for our event, A Wild Affair. Please plan your visit accordingly!

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Nature Play at Zoo New England


Experts agree that children need access to nature the same way they need good nutrition and adequate sleep. Here at Zoo New England, we encourage children to discover nature’s playground!


Following national guidelines developed by the National Wildlife Federation and the Natural Learning Initiative, both Franklin Park Zoo and Stone Zoo offer designated Nature Play spaces for children to reconnect with the natural world.

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What is Nature Play?

Instead of metal and plastic structures found in standard playgrounds, nature play spaces incorporate surrounding landscape and vegetation to bring nature to children's daily outdoor play and learning environments.

Why are Nature Play Spaces Important?

Research indicates that when children play and learn in nature, they do so with more vigor, engagement, imagination and cooperation than in wholly artificial environments, and that symptoms of attention deficit and depression are reduced.*

Nature Play at Zoo New England

Both Zoos feature discovery tables and areas for log play and fort building, giving children opportunities to connect, learn and play in nature. Children can climb into an oversized bird’s nest at Stone Zoo and enjoy water play at Franklin Park Zoo's rain barrel.

Where to find them

Be sure to discover our Nature Play areas for yourself during your next visit to our Zoos! Here's where to look:

  • Franklin Park Zoo: Along pathway on the left between Hyena and Baird’s Tapir exhibits. Map.
  • Stone Zoo: Across from Snow Leopard exhibit. Map.

* Sourced from National Wildlife Federation