Mamatoga Review: Ashville Game Farm and Exotic Zoo

Last week Finn, Lev and I took a little drive to visit the Ashville Game Farm and Exotic Zoo located on Lick Spring Road in Greenwich. It was a beautiful day without a cloud in the sky, and my two animal lovers couldn't wait to see what this zoo had in store for them. The animal fun started right as we entered, because right on the other side of the gate there is a small enclosed pool full of alligators, some teeny tiny but others quite large. The kids were mesmerized from the beginning, and the excitement only increased when we walked in to the gift store and met Sheri, one of the zoo's many volunteers, who had with her a baby kangaroo named Jill wrapped in a little blanket. This was just the beginning of the many hands on experiences the kids had at the zoo. Just inside there is a small indoor area with exhibits that had Jill's brother, a larger boy kangaroo named Jack, and several snake and reptile enclosures along with another smaller enclosure of alligators and dozens and dozens of little turtles. In addition to the many different types of birds we had a little escort following us on our tour, a small baby peacock named Henry who was very friendly. Our first stop in the outdoor part of the zoo was the large area that had the alpaca, several goats and a turkey that took a particular liking to Finn. We got to feed them and have an up close view of their camel, Kenobi, who was in a neighboring fenced in area. There were emus and ostriches by the camel, and we lingered in the enclosure with the friendly goats since Lev wanted to feed each and every one of them. One of the best parts of this zoo is the size, it is large enough to have plenty to look at but small enough for little ones to explore on their own without having to resort to a stroller or carrying. Close by the goats and camel was a small pond with some beautiful white swans, and past them we saw a family of black bears including a small very charming cub. There were a number of different monkeys, little Capuchins and Spider Monkeys as well as Baboons and Macaques. As we walked we learned about the zoo from Sherie, which relies on volunteers and interns that are studying zoology and animals as staff, which lends a family atmosphere to the small zoo. All of the volunteers we met that day knew all of the animals by name and what their preferences and schedules were and shared little details about their personalities and where they came from. We had a very relaxed time on our tour, and we saw a full grown peacock, the kangaroo kids parents, some African porcupines, as well as some pigs and ducks before our tour was through. It was the perfect length for four year old Finn and three year old Lev, and because of the small size of the zoo they didn't get overwhelmed by choice and we took our time seeing each and every animal they had and actually took the time to read every little information sign as well. It's the perfect way to fill a morning or an afternoon, you don't have to commit a full day but will still walk away with a full experience, and at $13.50 for adults and $10.50 for kids age four and up it's also a great deal! The zoo is open seven days a week from 10-5 with some limited hours and days after Labor Day, and you can find out more information at their website or at 518-695-4337. The kids really fell in love with the baby kangaroo, Jill, and Sherie promised to bring her over our way next week when Julie is back so her kids can meet her too, so we'll keep you updated on how big she's getting! [slideshow]