Which Boston Zoo? Or no zoo?
June 15, 2013 7:29 AM   Subscribe

Boston mefites! Would like to take my husband and 4 year old to the zoo tomorrow for Father's Day. Which zoo, Franklin Park, or Stone Zoo, is the most fun? Also, any restaurants around the zoos that are recommended?

We're driving down from New Hampshire. Been to the Aquarium and Museum of Science. Daughter has never been to a zoo.

If the ones in Boston are not recommended there's a possibility we could go to the York Zoo in Maine instead.
posted by MadMadam to Travel & Transportation around Boston, MA (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The Stone Zoo is pretty sad, really. It's been getting a little bit nicer over the years, but it's still kind of on the rinky-dink side. I haven't been to the Franklin Park Zoo in a long time, but the Stone Zoo is about two miles from my house, so I go every once in awhile, and it's not terribly exciting.
posted by xingcat at 7:35 AM on June 15, 2013

Yep only been once or twice but the Stone zoo would be fine for small kids if you live quite close.

The Boston Zoo is ok, but uninspiring if you've been to a significant zoo like San Diego or Bronx. It's next to the iffy part of town so drive in and out.
posted by sammyo at 8:38 AM on June 15, 2013

Not recommending the Stone Zoo over any other, because I have not been in it, but, if you opt for that one and you are looking for food:

1) There's a Friendly's right up that road, since you have a 4 year old with you.

2) in Stoneham, only a little bit further, is a good Thai restaurant, Taste of Siam (Main St./Rte 28)

3) a little further up the same street (Main Street/Rte 28) is a small but good Indian restaurant, Rang

4) If you head into downtown Melrose instead, there is a Turner's for seafood

5) Italian -- Bobby C's, main street Melrose (close to the border of Malden, right near Oak Grove Station on the T) -- they have a Sunday buffet brunch that is usually very nice. Mother's day is always packed (and a special higher price, because they put out the works). Not sure if this is true of Father's Day -- if so, the only way in is reservations.

6) If you are searching for pastry, of a delicious nature, D'Amici's, Main Street Melrose
posted by instead of three wishes at 10:02 AM on June 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Taste of Siam is very good. Also, Spice Thai in Melrose is terrific, as is Mexico Lindo (which is Mexican food, natch.)
posted by xingcat at 11:21 AM on June 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Despite living here for a long time, I never went to the Franklin Park Zoo until a couple of years ago because back when I was a kid in the 1970s, the story always was that white people were not safe in that part of Boston even in broad daylight.

I was very pleasantly surprised by FPZ. It is definitely old and not up to the snuff of the big name zoos, but has a lot to see and is an excellent place to walk around on a nice day. The gorilla house is fun, and the big cats are great. Stone Zoo is much. much smaller and not as well-kept, but maybe a better choice for people with little kids. My one complaint about Franklin Park Zoo is that parking is hard to come by.
posted by briank at 11:35 AM on June 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

We've been to Stone Zoo many times, and while small, I wouldn't call it sad. Just went to the zoo in York for the first time and found it unexpectedly lovely: not too crowded, or expensive, just lots and lots of monkeys. We did the whole thing (including paddle boats) in 3 hours, which is just about right with kids. The other local option is Southwick, out in Mendon, which is bigger, more expensive, and IMO not as much fun. Kids and zoos are a magic combination. Bring sunblock and water and you can't go too far wrong.
posted by libraryhead at 1:38 PM on June 15, 2013

Best answer: We've been to Franklin Park, Stone, and the York one. Franklin Park has absolutely delighted our son every time we've gone (he was probably about 1.5 and then 2 the times we went there). It's surprisingly big for being right in Boston, and the two times we've been there have been pretty magical childhood times for us. Stone zoo was decent, but it is a lot smaller and the animals are not quite as interesting. Despite that, our son was pretty pleased with it (aged about 2.75 for that). York Animal Kingdom was fun, but it feels like a different scale than the Boston ones. Son was 2 for that one. They have a pretty cool deer feeding area there that was a big hit with the little guy. If I had to recommend one I would say Franklin Park is the biggest bang for your buck.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 3:56 PM on June 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

We go to the Stone Zoo all the time... but only because it is really nearby and because my kids are 4 years old or younger. I would never recommend it for people coming in from any distance. The Franklin Park zoo is what you want, they even have a brand new playground that looked really nice (but wasn't open yet) the last time we decided to drive in.

No suggestions for food around Franklin Park though, there isn't a lot around the zoo itself, but you are only a short distance from Boston and then it's whatever you want.
posted by katers890 at 5:41 PM on June 15, 2013

Best answer: Strangely enough, I was just at Stone today, and have been to Franklin Park in the past.

Absolutely Franklin Park, without question.

Stone is very small, and what I noted most were the single animals in almost every exhibit (even the otters). Both the Dino play area and the more traditional playground were not in good shape (The 'Dino Dig' interactive was FULL of water - yes, it's been raining here for weeks, but the entire area looked like no one has been caring for it at all), and in general I found that at $14 for an adult Stone was overpriced for what is there. Franklin is $17, and has more interesting exhibits, a wider selection of animals, and much nicer play areas that tend to inspire imaginative play.
posted by anastasiav at 7:43 PM on June 15, 2013

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