Skip main navigation
Close menu

Mass. Department of Mental Health hosts family Wellness Safari at Franklin Park and Stone Zoos

The Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH) and Zoo New England have partnered to raise awareness about children’s mental health to mark Mental Health Awareness Month.

On May 14 and 22 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., visitors to Zoo New England’s Franklin Park Zoo and Stone Zoo are invited to participate in a Wellness Safari. A map will guide participants to signage at particular animal exhibits. As guests enjoy the Zoo’s natural environment and connect with wildlife, they will also have the opportunity to find tips on initiating family discussion and nurturing wellness in children.

Throughout the week, the zoos are lighting up green. Green is the color of children’s mental health awareness and both zoo’s entrances will be illuminated in green in honor of this.

The Department of Mental Health will offer complimentary tickets to families through local community organization and advocacy groups. DMH will sponsor tickets to Franklin Park Zoo on May 14 and Stone Zoo on May 22. The two locations allow DMH to reach a cross-section of residents and diverse communities.

“The Department of Mental Health is happy to support an enjoyable family experience at the Franklin Park and Stone zoos,” said DMH Commissioner Brooke Doyle. “This is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to focus on listening to and supporting the children in our lives.”

Information on mental health resources such as HandholdMA will be available to participants. DMH collaborated with the Executive Office of Health and Human Services and the Office of the Child Advocate to launch in 2020 to assist families in assessing their children’s mental health needs. The website is an interactive, family-friendly tool that helps parents and caretakers find accessible answers to frequently asked questions about their child’s mental health. To date, the site has assisted more than 36,000 visitors.

Copies of ‘Isaac’s Story,’ a children’s book produced by DMH and other children’s mental health experts, will also be available to Zoo New England visitors on May 14 and May 22 while supplies last.

“We are pleased to partner with the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health on this important initiative,” said Cynthia Mead, Executive Vice President of External Affairs and Programming. “The physical and mental health benefits of connecting people and nature have long been known, and we are so happy to welcome families to the Zoo who can enjoy a memorable day outdoors together.”