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“Nice to see the pumpkins but not worth the long wait”

Roger Williams Park Zoo
Ranked #3 of 117 things to do in Providence
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Roger Williams Park Zoo, one of the nation's oldest, exhibits 100 rare and fascinating species from around the world including African elephant, giraffes, moon bears, snow leopards, flamingos, harbor seals, timber rattlesnakes and more in naturalistic enclosures. The Zoo also features seasonal activities, family-friendly education programs, and special evening events, like the nationally acclaimed Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular, scheduled throughout the year. In addition, the Zoo participates in collaborative conservation and breeding programs to help ensure the future survival of threatened and endangered species both locally and around the world. Visit our website for more information.
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Stroller parking, Activities for young children, Activities for older children, Lockers / storage, Food available for purchase, Bathroom facilities
Level Contributor
268 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 129 helpful votes
“Nice to see the pumpkins but not worth the long wait”
Reviewed October 20, 2013

We visited The Roger Williams Zoo Pumpkin Spectacular on Saturday October 19th 2013. We had purchased the buffet dinner for 25.00 that allows for front of the line entrance to the pumpkins. The buffet was good with hotdogs, hamburgers, turkey, mashed potatoes, mashed butternut squash, pulled pork, stuffing and squash soup. There was also soda, water, coffee, hot cider, hot chocolate and water. All the food was of good quality and while seating is a bit crowded we did not have any problem finding a seat at a picnic table. All items were refilled before they were empty.

We arrived about 5:00 and had no problem parking in the general lot. We had pre-purchased tickets and had no delay in entering the buffet. Once we had eaten we were then escorted into the spectacular again with no wait.

We left the event about 7:00 and the line to enter was huge. Cars were actually backed up onto the highway about 3 miles. While this is a nice event it is good to arrive early or the best suggestion is to purchase the buffet for 25.00 and have the front on the line access.

Visited October 2013
1 Thank edfc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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852 reviews from our community

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English first
Rochester, New York
Level Contributor
185 reviews
77 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
“Not impressed by this zoo”
Reviewed October 19, 2013

Okay, so we visited in October, so we expected the zoo to be scaled back a bit. However, we did not expect to pay full price, yet find 90% of the shops and concessions closed, a lot of construction going on, and many exhibitions off limits. We felt like asking for 1/2 price after leaving here, and definitely felt let down considering the rave reviews this place gets. Our 11-month old son did love the up close experiences with the giraffes, but that was the highlight of a pretty drab visit.

Visited October 2013
Thank toddone1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Springfield, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
21 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“The "Museum" and zoo need help”
Reviewed October 18, 2013

I know people rave about this place so I will simply make it brief. The zoo is strictly for kids. Over 400 acres in this place and even though the reports are of clean exhibits, for the larger or free roaming animals (3 elephants, giraffes and red wolf and bears) their cages are woefully inadequate for the size they need to be comfortably houses. DO NOT GO ON A WEEKEND ..It is too crowded...There were no lectures about animals extinct or in danger in the wild. Just the usual signs in front of cages...The only trainer or personnel we saw was a man trying to get an elephant to perform....I hope in the future, all the confinement areas will be enlarged.

The museum is more like a few rooms with exibitions, Posters on the wall of comets and planets....A man tring to talk above the screaming kids about fossils.....You can get thru it in 15 minutes for adults.....For kids under 8 its fine....
There was a great and scary lack of security..kids climbing over railings and thru fences to get alook at animals and noone around except staff emptying garbage cans...
We left not seeing the gardens or the rest of the park....too crowded..we also could not get a full map of the park at the museum..we were shown a piece of paper but no hand out to know if we could walk or had to ride to the gardens or other attractions....

Visited October 2013
1 Thank tonuch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North Haven, ct
Level Contributor
152 reviews
81 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
Reviewed October 16, 2013

I have been going to the Roger Williams park and zoo for quite a few years so decided to give the Jack-o-lantern spectacular a try. The 1st time we went, was 2011...we decided to skip a year and go again this year (2013). The best pieces of advice i can give are...1) get there either AT 6 (when it starts), or at 9....any time btwn 7 and 9 is complete CHAOS. I should have known this, but instead arrived at 7:30pm...WORST TIME TO GO!....2) GO DURING THE WEEK! I would avoid this place like the plague on Fri/Sat nights. If it's as busy as it is on a Monday night (the night i go), i cannot even begin to imagine how crazy it gets on a Fri/Sat night...PLUS, you save a few bucks if you go Sun-Thur....3) LEAVE SMALL CHILDREN HOME!...and when i say small children, i mean children that are still in a stroller. Not sure why any parent would take a child that small to something like this anyways. They cannot see from stroller, get bored, and i witnessed NUMEROUS melt downs by kids tired of waiting in a line that was barely moving. Use common sense.....and 4) if you are a AAA mbr, USE IT!...it saves you $2 per ticket!....Over all, it was a nice evening. But if crowds and lines arent your thing, you may wanna skip this...there are some parts on the walk that literally become a stand still. I think this is because of people taking pictures...They also tell you no flash...but ppl dont listen....its those ppl that also hold up the line and cause most of the insanity. If more ppl used common sense, i would have given this experience 5 stars...unfortunately, other peoples stupidity, caused a 1 star less vote.

Visited October 2013
2 Thank lisa0208
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
32 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Jack O'Lantern Spectacular - Awesome Event!”
Reviewed October 9, 2013

While visiting Providence this past weekend, we headed to the Roger Williams Park Zoo for the Jack O'Lantern Spectacular ---- and we were truly amazed! We saved a few dollars for being AAA members at entrance, but we felt that the experience was truly worth the price (regularly $15/adult Friday thru Sunday). We went at dusk on Sunday night and didn't have a long wait at all for the magical pumpkin trail of 5,000 carved jack o'lanterns. The pumpkins were a mix of traditional (eyes and mouth) carvings and very intricate, professional, artistic designs. This year's theme was pumpkins across the USA, so there were pumpkins for every state/region of the US. There was a "grand finale" exhibit of many jack o'lanterns all together which was truly specatacular. The whole event was beautiful and stunning and I didn't want to leave! The no-flash photography I took just doesn't do this event justice - it was hard to capture in pictures (or words) just how beautiful this trail of carved pumpkins was... I highly recommend this activity! (If you're a family with young kids, just beware that it's pretty dark for most of the walk, so keep good tabs on your kids or perhaps wear something reflective so you can easily find each other as you stroll from one side of the trail to the other to see all the pumpkins). It was a great date activity. We were able to purchase pumpkin ale as we waited in line and left with a bag of kennel corn, too.

Visited October 2013
Thank Emily F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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