New exhibit coming to Buttonwood Park Zoo this summer

Photos: Buttonwood Park Zoological Society

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — The Buttonwood Park Zoo on Wednesday announced its Aquatics building is being transformed into a new exhibit, set to open this summer.

The Rainforests, Rivers and Reefs exhibit kicks off a plan to redevelop the New Bedford zoo over the next 12 to 15 years, according to a spokesperson for the zoo. It was made possible by a $450,000 donation from the Stoico-FIRSTFED Charitable Foundation.

Mayor Jon Mitchell said the city should be excited and thankful for the future of the zoo.

“It needed to be updated,” said Mitchell. “It has been almost 20 years since the zoo has had new exhibits, and now we’re on the cusp of having two more exhibits back to back. We have the expanded elephant exhibit and now this new exhibit.”

Once the exhibit opens, officials say it will be dynamic and will feel as if guests are venturing into a rainforest. Children will also be able to touch and feel baby sharks, crabs, and starfish, among other aquatic sea life in the reef section.

The project will cost a total of $1.2 million. The exhibit is expected to officially open in July.