Plymouth for Animal Lovers


October 20, 2023

If you’re an animal lover visiting Plymouth, you’re in luck! This beautiful section of Massachusetts has an abundance of nature trails, bird watching, whale watches, and zoos. Depending on the time of year you could see all manner of animals. Birds build their nests in the spring while squirrels and raccoons gather food for the winter.

Whatever time of year you choose to see Plymouth, check out these places that will excite any animal lover.

Buttonwood Park Zoo

Animal lovers, be sure to check out Buttonwood Park Zoo in New Bedford, Massachusetts. First opened in 1894, it’s the 12th oldest zoo in the USA and has been recognized by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums as “one of the finest small zoos in the United States.”

One of the major reasons for this is the zoo features over 240 species of animals for visitors to see and learn about. There are Asian elephants, red pandas, foxes, eagles, harbor seals, otters, and more thriving in their enclosures. You may find your new favorite animal among them, or discover new facts about animals you thought you knew everything about.

The zoo is open year-round with the exception of some major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. From April through October the zoo is open from 9am to 5pm with last admission at 4:15pm. From November to March the hours change to 9am to 4pm with last admission at 3:15pm.

Buttonwood Park Zoo

Mass Audubon North River Wildlife Sanctuary

If you’re a bird lover, you can’t miss the chance to visit the Mass Audubon North River Wildlife Sanctuary in Marshfield, Massachusetts. Named for the scenic river that winds along its northern boundary, the sanctuary’s fields, oak forest, and salt marsh attract a wide variety of birds. 

Grab a pair of binoculars and bring your birding guide to walk along the half-mile boardwalk. Throughout the year a variety of birds can be found in the forest and marshes, including scarlet rangers and ovenbirds. Meanwhile, harbor seals like to swim beside the riverside platform.

The sanctuary’s trails are open year-round from dawn to dusk, so be sure to dress appropriately for the season. The Nature Center is open Wednesday through Friday from 10am to 3pm. It offers indoor discovery rooms where you can learn about local wildlife and plants.

Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary

The ocean is full of incredible creatures, so marine animal lovers should check out Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary in Scituate, Massachusetts. Sitting between Cape Ann and Cape Cod, it is New England’s only National Marine Sanctuary.

It’s a premier whale watching spot, with Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises and Captain John Whale Watching Tours being environmentally responsible standout tours. The sanctuary also supports sustainable recreational fishing, offering information on local species as well as guidelines regarding fishing limits as well as when certain fish are in season. It’s a great way to responsibly and ethically enjoy the sea.

Animal lovers of all ages will have a great time in Plymouth county. You can explore the wildlife sanctuaries to be one with nature. Or you can head over to the zoo for a full day of fun and animal education. The choice is yours!