The Franklin Park Zoo, located in Boston, Massachusetts, is one of the oldest zoos in the U.S. It is operated by Zoo New England, which also operates the Stone Zoo in Stoneham, Massachusetts.
The 72-acre (290,000 m²) zoo is located in the northeast portion of Franklin Park, Boston's largest park and the last component of the city's Emerald Necklace.
The zoo was founded in 1913. In 1920, when the zoo was free to all, an estimated 2 million people visited the zoo. It was managed by the city until the MDC took control in 1958. The MDC started charging admission to the zoo and got rid of problem areas, such as the bear exhibit.
In 1983, the three-acre (12,000 m²) Children's Zoo was rebuilt, which was the most popular exhibit during that time. The new Tropical Forest Pavilion was completed in 1989 at a cost of $23.5 million. The zoo was finally accredited by the AZA in 1990. After being accredited, the zoo's attendance jumped to 200,000 and was the only zoo to be run by a state government(besides the Stone Zoo).
Franklin Park Zoo's management was handed over to the Commonwealth Zoological Corporation (whose name changed to Zoo New England in 1997) in 1991. In the late 1990s the zoo faced many problems, including multiple budget cuts and dwindling attendance. The zoo is now doing well financially and continues to grow due to the kindness of many supporters.
The zoo hopes to one day become a regional zoo, which means it must get 1 million visitors a year. Studies show they would need 400 animal species to reach this goal.