Daily Update 4/12/10: Seeking Your Feeback, and My Favorite Zoos

I’m going to call a halt to voting for Wheel Questions. I think we’d stand a chance in a one-on-one fight, but this business of voting daily for 30 days tilts the field towards institutional organizations, like schools and prisons. And I don’t want to annoy y’all with repeated calls for votes. Thank you to those of you who voted! We moved it up from 295th place to 167th place and would most likely have gotten into the top 10 before the end of the month. Not bad for a national contest of 300, but not good enough.

Do you want me to keep doing daily updates through April 30 on fun stuff around New England that’s not an “event”? Do you have any suggestions on how to format the website so that first-times who peek in will like it and subscribe? Please email me at johnny@weirdbostonevents.org and let me know!

Johnny’s List features the “biggest list in New England” of a lot of things: the most outdoor concerts, the most fireworks, the most festivals (I think), and definitely the most haunted houses. So here’s what I believe to be a complete list of zoos in New England, along with my recommendations. I don’t want to trigger email filters, so do your own googling to find the websites. But first, I forgot to mention last week, The Hot Laps Karting Center in Keane, NH, which is another serious mini-car racetrack.

Everyone’s already heard of the New England Aquarium. Did you know that you can get a behind-the-scenes tour? They have a ton of special events there. And don’t forget the Mystic Aquarium, another world-class aquarium, in Mystic, CT, and two tiny ones on Cape Code: Woods Hole Science Aquarium and ZooQuarium. But in Metro Boston, there’s also the Franklin Park Zoo, which is open year-round, and despite what you’ve heard from 20 years ago, is both safe and fantastic. They have more animals in the summer, of course, including a butterfly garden, gorillas, and zebras. And the third is the Boston Nature Center and Wildlife Sanctuary, in Mattapan, which is basically one of Mass Audubon’s many parks with a small nature center. The Blue Hills in Canton has a small nature center too, the Blue Hills Trailside Museum.

Speaking of butterflies, you can also find them at the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory in Western Massachusetts, and The Butterfly Place up near Lowell. You can find a polar bear at The EcoTarium in Worcester, which is decent but not one of New England’s best, and giraffes and chimpanzees and a gated deer enclosure that you can walk into an feed and pet the deer, at Southwick’s Zoo in Mendon, MA which is the largest zoo in New England, down near Rhode Island. Mendon also has my favorite Drive-In Movie Theatre, so it’s a good excuse to go there for the whole day and do both.

I’m also a fan of the Stone Zoo in Stoneham, which has kangaroos, mainly because it’s so close to Boston and features events all year. You could most likely bus there. And I recommend everyone to check out the Roger Williams Park Zoo, in Providence, RI and the Capron Park Zoo in Attleboro, MA. I’ve been to the Capron Park Zoo and wasn’t expecting much but it turned out to be fantastic, and they have an entire park and “award-winning” playground too.

York’s Wild Kingdom, Zoo & Amusement Park is supposed to be a great one, but it’s way up in York Beach, ME. I’ve never seen the Buttonwood Park Zoo in New Bedford, MA, the The Zoo at Forest Park in Springfield, Lupa Zoo in Ludlow, MA, or the World of Reptiles & Birds in Edgartown, MA which is on Martha’s Vinyard, but that about rounds out the actual “zoos” that I know about.

I’m doing my best here to bring you good content. Please take 30 seconds and tell your friends about www.WeirdBostonEvents.org. If some people email me and want me to keep going, tomorrow I’ll write about farms that are open to the people, which are sort of zoos.