This week, life in the city is starting to feel like a version of itself once again after the pandemic shut everything down. Last week, Zoos (Franklin Park and Stone Zoo) opened up and this week playgrounds and splash pads followed suit!
Of course you probably know, outdoor seating at restaurants is also now available making the city feel less of a ghost town when you walk down the street.
This weekend, we got tickets to go to the Franklin Park Zoo. We love Stone Zoo but when I heard the playgrounds were open, I knew we needed to go to FP.
You need to make a reservation for a time slot when you buy your tickets. We selected to arrive at 10 AM. Of course we were 10 minutes late, and there was a line to get in since it’s the earliest time slot. We only waited about 10-15 minutes and it was painless. Everyone over the age of 2 was wearing masks (except for T who refused). He kept his on for about 5 seconds in line.
Spots are limited for each time slot and do fill up. When you buy your tickets, you’re asked to agree to their terms:
Wear a face mask/covering in compliance with the MA Department of Public Health Guidelines.
Maintain social distance of 6 feet between other guests not in your party.
Enter the Zoo at the time listed on ticket. Please arrive no more than 5 minutes before your assigned time.
Respect Zoo rules to protect humans and animals.
The zoo has carefully directed foot traffic in the same direction so visitors follow a safari walk guided by arrows and lines with tons of hand sanitizer. If you’re familiar with the park, you follow the park by staying left at all times so the red panda is first and the ostrich and zebra are last.
The cafe was open for take out food options as was Dip’n’Dots. Some of the shops and bathrooms along the way were closed however as were some of the exhibits. Here is a map of what is and is not open, red being closed:
It looks like a lot, but there were still tons of animals to see. If you can’t zoom in mainly the Tropical Forest (gorillas, hippo, sloth, anaconda and more) and the contact farm are also closed.
Our favorites at Franklin Park Zoo are the giraffes, lions, tigers and prairie dogs. Ok, the last one was my favorite. Tommy missed the jaguar and sloth from Stone Zoo. He is animal obsessed for those who don’t know.
I think the Franklin Park Zoo has one of the best playgrounds in the city and the boys were pumped to be able to play on one. I tried to limit our time using it since T wouldn’t wear his mask. We just made sure to have the kids wash their hands as soon as they finished playing. No one was coughing, it felt sort of relaxing to watch the kids enjoy themselves!
I overheard one of the other families, complain they felt the park was crowded. I did not feel this way and I was standing 10 feet away from her. It felt more quiet mid day during lunch when we left at 12:30. We also went on a Sunday with perfect weather so likely it was at capacity. If we were to go back, since my kids nap early, I think I’d attempt a 2 pm arrival.
There was never a shortage of hand sanitizer. It was prominently visible and labeled everywhere. We of course did bring our own.
Honestly, it just felt good to enjoy the city for one of it’s many offerings and see other people enjoying the same thing. We maintained our distance from other people, everyone is on the same page and totally respected each other’s space! If you are considering visiting, I would definitely recommend it! You can reserve your spot here. Also thank you to Esmeralda in Cambridge for my mask and the boys. It’s one of the first, I’ve worn that is actually comfortable to keep on my face.
We did not get lunch at the park but instead opted to pick up sweetgreen on the way home. Tommy was bummed but it was time to go as he fell asleep within 30 seconds of the car being turned on.
What have you enjoyed in the city this week? It almost feels normal albeit wearing a mask.