APRIL 2022 VOLUME 25, ISSUE 2
P U B L I S H E D F O R F R I E N D S O F R O G E R W I L L I A M S PA R K Z O O
welcome! By Stacey Johnson Executive Director, RWP Zoo and RI Zoological Society
A hundred and fifty
about the marvelous web of life that exists in their very own
years of family fun! A
century and a half bringing the wonders of nature to the people of Rhode Island. A zoological sesquicentennial! It is Roger Williams Park Zoo’s big One Five Oh; and it is my pleasure to kick off our birthday celebration as my first contribution to our membership magazine.
the Zoo every year in addition to creating experiences for every guest that empower them to join us in conserving wildlife and wild places. From the interactive displays and direct contact with our passionate team members to the
Animal exhibits were included at Roger Williams Park’s
animals themselves, these moments build connections and
establishment in 1872 so visitors could get a closer look at
wildlife; and the first landscape design from 1878 clearly shows habitats for elephants, waterfowl, bears, bison, monkeys and deer distributed throughout the park.
The Zoo takes a scientific approach to all its activity, as well as helping increase our scientific understanding of the natural world. We actively participate in 55 Species Survival
It is also important to recognize the public/private
Plans® which propagate endangered and threatened
partnership between Rhode Island Zoological Society and
species in zoos and hold leadership positions in seven
the City of Providence that has advanced the zoo’s success
of the programs. Our team members have contributed
for sixty years, because connecting people with wildlife and
to six scientific publications in the past five years. Our
the park have always been inextricably linked.
veterinarians also serve as adjunct instructors for the Tufts
Today’s professional Zoo has four mission pillars – recreation, education, science and conservation. In today’s urban society, we know our guests’ primary reason for visiting is to enjoy time outdoors with family and friends, building a closer connection with nature and each other – no different than the reason an earlier generation’s visionary leaders established this park. Roger Williams Park has been called the Jewel of Providence and the People’s Park and both are as true today as they were in the 1870s. Education is a top priority for us, and we work hard to make it fun. My belief is that a trip to the Zoo should focus on having a great time and accidentally learning something – whether it is something about an animal’s natural history, how they can take action to become better stewards of our shared environment and natural resources, or spark curiosity
We welcome almost 35,000 young people on field trips to
University School of Veterinary Medicine, teach sections of a
What I can tell you is that there are species of New England wildlife that owe their existence today to the efforts the Roger Williams Park Zoo and there are organizations and projects protecting wildlife in South America that were launched and sustained with resources, inspiration and expertise that came from Providence. I hope you are thinking, “The Zoo does all that?” because my reply would be that we are just getting started. Your stalwart support has helped place us in a position to grow into the zoo of the future – in which we are champions for empathy and engagement with our guests in Rhode Island, and to engage them as stewards for nature around the world. Congratulations for the legacy your stewardship has created in an institution that was among the first of its kind in the course at the University of Rhode Island and provide animal welfare expertise to Brown University. Conservation is also key to who we are and what we do.
nation. Thank you for supporting your zoo as it continues to strengthen its regional reputation for excellence in conservation, science, education and recreation. Happy birthday to Roger Williams Park Zoo!
Simply put, conservation is the wise use of resources. So, our commitment to saving endangered species and sustaining wild places starts right here. We strive to use best practices in everyday operations to conserve the Earth’s resources through environmentally friendly behaviors such as managing our carbon footprint, along with reducing, recovering and recycling other materials, promoting a healthier planet for all. Science and conservation go hand in hand; and it is often difficult to put our projects in one category or the other.
Roger Williams Park Zoo Detailed Timeline
A menagerie building opened, exhibiting a wide variety of exotic creatures including a tiger, a leopard and a pair of lions. The Zoo’s first elephant, Roger, joined the Menagerie in 1893.
Betsey Williams bequeathed her 102-acre farm to the City of Providence for public use in memory of her great-great-great-grandfather, Roger Williams, the founder of Providence.
A “menagerie” of small animals and birds was brought to a section of the park so that visitors could get a closer look at wildlife. This led to the official designation of this portion of Roger Williams Park as a “zoo.”
1890 Alice, the Zoo’s second elephant, and most famous resident moved to a new elephant barn. Thereafter, elephants that joined the Zoo family were named in Alice’s honor.
The Zoo continued to grow and include more animals. There were no admission gates or naturalistic habitats as a 21st-century visitors’ experience.
Sophie Danforth established the Rhode Island Zoological Society (RIZS), the nonprofit organization that continues to support and maintain the Zoo. Providence resident and wildlife enthusiast, Sophie Danforth, established the Rhode Island Zoological Society (RIZS), the nonprofit organization that continues to support and maintain the Zoo. Sophie’s legacy continues on as one of the Zoo’s greatest champions.
Thanks to funding raised through the Rhode Island Zoological Society, the Zoo’s animals moved inside a newly fenced compound for greatly improved security, maintenance, and husbandry conditions.
The Zoo enjoyed a “rebirth” opening with a new nature center, the iconic polar bear exhibit, a boardwalk through a native wetlands area, and a field for North American bison.
Roger Williams Park Zoo was the first zoo in New England to earn accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
The rebirth continued through the late 1980s and into the 1990s with the opening of The African Fishing Village, Elephant / Giraffe Pavilion and Plains of Africa (1989-1991), a new cheetah exhibit (1993), The Marco Polo Trail (1996), and Australasia – Where Worlds Collide Where Worlds Divide (2000).
An operating agreement and lease were signed between the City and Society in 2005 that fully transitioned management of the Zoo to the Society.
The zoo’s iconic polar bear exhibit closed, and ultimately converted into a splendid new American bald eagle exhibit, adding a new species to the collection of conservation success stories featured in the North American exhibit area.
The major overhaul of the Fabric of Africa exhibit was completed, with the addition of wild dogs, wildebeests that share the enclosure with zebras, a significantly enhanced elephant yard, and a renovated and expanded Textron Elephant and Giraffe Pavilion.
The John J. Palumbo Veterinary Hospital, dedicated by Sophie Danforth and her daughter Stephanie Chafee, was completed. It featured 55% more square footage than the previous facility and appropriate and separate facilities for each medical function.
Hasbro’s Our Big Backyard opened. This outdoor play and exploration area includes the CVS Health Treehouse; a greenhouse for education programs and a variety of events; Our House, with education program space, and The Nature Swap, a “trading post” that fosters interaction with nature; plus a “backyard” with a number of unstructured play areas.
The Zoo’s first venomous snake exhibit opened in the spring to showcase the timber rattlesnake species, the focus of one of the Zoo’s important conservation initiatives.
The ALEX AND ANI Farmyard opened with a walkthrough barn to the public and interactive features like a contact yard where people pet and feed goats and sheep.
The Zoo announced Tree Kangaroo Awareness Month to celebrate the opening of its new Matschie’s tree kangaroo exhibit in the World of Adaptations building, making the new baby, Holly, visible to the public for the first time.
The Zoo added a Komodo dragon in the World of Adaptations making Elsie the only Komodo dragon in New England. The Soaring Eagle Zip Ride opened offering breathtaking views 115 feet high allowing riders to see out over Providence and into Narragansett Bay in comfortable side-by-side seats.
2017 The Faces of the Rainforest exhibit opens in November 2018 as part of Phase One of the Zoo’s 20-year Master Plan.
The Zoo’s new commissary building is fully operational, allowing for the preparation of healthy, nourishing diets for the over 150 animals that call the Zoo home.
Thanks to support from the city of Providence and Rhode Island Commerce’s HArT Recovery Grant Program, the Zoo launches its first-ever Holiday Lights Spectacular - soon to become an annual tradition.
The Zoo welcomed 835,000 visitors, a record-breaking number.
Roger Williams Park Zoo partners with Hanart Culture to put on its first Asian Lantern Spectacular—a walk-through event featuring over 50 dazzling, hand-crafted lantern displays inspired by wildlife and wild places.
Make every Zoo visit a memory-making adventure!
Membership helps you save with FREE admission every time you visit during regular Zoo hours. Members also enjoy discounts at Zoo gift shops, on education and family programs, and for special events like
Become a member today
Asian Lantern Spectacular and Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular!
Win a Family Zoo Membership! We’re celebrating our 150th birthday with 15 weeks of giveaways!
Follow us on social media for your chance to win a FREE yearlong RWPZoo family membership each week beginning April 7th. Join us weekly as we highlight our rich history and shine a spotlight on building a bright future for wildlife and wild places together. 9
Discover the Wild Gift Shop Make sure to stop by our Discover the Wild Gift Shop during your next Zoo visit! Stock up on our new limited-edition 150th RWPZoo swag for the entire family.
SAVE THE DATE!
ZOOBILEE! FEAST WITH THE BEASTS PRESENTED BY BANKRI RETURNS TO CELEBRATE ITS 30TH YEAR ON
SATURDAY, JUNE 25TH PRESENTED BY
Celebrate the art, beauty and wonder of 2000 years of tradition
April 13 – July 4, 2022 Journey through a wonderland of illuminated larger-than-life lanterns inspired by our wild world. The Zoo is transformed into a dazzling evening experience with interactive displays, delicious Asian-inspired cuisine and performances. This enchanting multicultural experience is sure to delight all ages!
Tickets sold online ONLY. Visit rwpzoo.org/lantern 11
Kids’ Corner 1
Make Your Own Zoo (From firstpalette.com)
Supplies you will need: • A4 or Letter size cardstock • Crayons or colored pencils
To celebrate our Zoo’s 150th birthday, find out how well you know our wonderful history and see how much of a Roger Williams Park Zoo fan you are!
What name has been passed down to the elephants throughout the Zoo’s history?
• Craft sticks or wooden ice cream spoons
• Plastic tray or any wide box (e.g. pizza box, large shoe box) • Self-hardening clay or salt dough
a. Mary b. Harold
• Green feathers
• Small rocks or egg carton tray
• Brown or gray poster paint
This person founded the Rhode Island Zoological Society and without their kindness and generosity, the zoo would not be here today.
• Paint brush
a. Roger Williams
• Flower shape craft punch or foam flowers
b. Sophie Danforth
• Green pipe cleaner or toothpicks
c. Betsy Williams
d. Matthew Danforth
1. Make some paper animals.
Which Zoo building used to be the original Menagerie building, dating all the way back to the very beginning of the Zoo?
2. Prepare a box or tray. 3. Make a layout for your zoo.
a. The Gift Shop
b. World of Adaptations
4. Cover the enclosures with clay.
c. The Faces of the Rain Forest
5. Create a watering hole.
d. The elephant/giraffe house
6. Make a fence. 7. Add plants.
What majorly successful event did the Zoo hold between 1992 to 2000?
8. Create flowers.
a. Meet Elsa the Albino Alligator
9. Add rocks.
b. Animatronic Dinosaur Exhibit
10. Put sand on the paths.
c. Tropical Safari Extravaganza
11. Place the animals inside their enclosures.
d. The Polar Bear Express Answers located on bottom of page.
Guess Zoo? Can you identify these animals? 2
Wild Trivia Answers: 1: C • 2: B • 3: A • 4: B; Guess Zoo Answers: 1. Cheetah 2. Elephant 3. Emerald Boa 4. Flamingo 5. Golden Lion Tamarin 6. Ostrich 7. Sloth 8. Tree Kangaroo
Answers located on bottom of page.
Zoo Happenings Spring – Summer 2022
SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR ANNUAL MEDIA SPONSORS!
ASIAN LANTERN SPECTACULAR April 13 – July 4
FLOWER ARRANGING WORKSHOP April 30 Roger Williams Park Zoo is supported and managed by the Rhode Island Zoological Society and is owned by the City of Providence
YOGA WITH THE ELEPHANTS
Editorial Roger Williams Park Zoo Department of Marketing and Public Relations Corrie Ignagni Vicki Scharfberg Nate Amaral
BRONX ZOO DAY TRIP
Designer Sara Beatrice Tandem Designworks Photo Credits Roger Williams Park Zoo
WILD is an online publication of the Rhode Island Zoological Society, Roger Williams Park Zoo, 1000 Elmwood Avenue, Providence, Rhode Island 02907-3659
FOOD TRUCK FRIDAY AT CAROUSEL VILLAGE
For membership information call (401) 785-3510 x375 or visit rwpzoo.org.
Fridays, April 15 – September 30 2022 RHODE ISLAND ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY BOARD OF TRUSTEES
PUPARAZZI PHOTOS AT CAROUSEL VILLAGE June 3, July 8, August 5
YOGA WITH THE ELEPHANTS August 6
BREW AT THE ZOO August 27
Officers Patrick T. LeBeau, Chair Nancy Allen, Vice Chair Sandra L. Coletta, Vice Chair Margaret Ferguson, Secretary Kristen Adamo, Treasurer Board of Trustees Martha Bower Douglas Caniglia Cheryl Cohen Barbara S. Cottam Sarah Denby Marta Gomez-Chiarri Pamela W. Heffernan Kimberley M. Little Liz Rollins Mauran Jeffrey Mello Howard Merten John J. Palumbo Steven M. Parente Karen Silva, Ed.D., CHE Maribeth Q. Williamson
Ex-Officio Stacey Johnson Executive Director Rhode Island Zoological Society/ Roger Williams Park Zoo Wendy Nillson Superintendent of Parks Providence Parks Department Chairman Emeritus Sophie F. Danforth* Trustees Emeritus Margaret E. Curran, Esq. Thomas P. Dimeo* Jocelin Hamblett James S. Harper III, VMD* Bradford B. Kopp Arthur D. Little Nancy G.R. Moger Richard Nadeau Jane S. Nelson Cate M. Roberts Philip A. Segal, Jr. Robert F. Stoico *deceased
Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. With its more than 200 accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation, and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. For more information visit www.aza.org
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