Welcome to our first frugal adventure share!
Mr. FE and I look forward to our weekend escapades, and we like to keep them frugal so we can stay on our path to FIRE. We prefer the bulk of our day trips to be no longer than a two-hour drive each way and are lucky to have an abundance of things to do in New England within reach.
Last Sunday, we were on one of our adventures and came across this beautiful park in Hudson, NH. Formally known as Benson’s Wild Animal Farm, the park originally opened in 1926 and closed its doors in 1987.
I grew up in New England and have a few memories of my parents taking me to Benson’s Farm, where they once housed a zoo and lots of amusement rides. My favorite memory of Benson’s was Story Book Hill which highlighted some of the characters from the nursery rhymes I used to read as a child.
*As you move through the old photos showing the history of Benson’s, please note that we don’t agree with keeping animals in cages, nor do we agree with having innocent animals perform needless circus tricks. We only wish to share a little background on the park.
*Historical photos of Benson’s Wild Animal Park
John Benson, the founder of Benson’s Wild Animal Farm.
A tiger show.
A train ride.
Some Zebras and a Giraffe from the exhibit on Benson’s Boulevard.
The Elephant Ride
In the background you can see a bit of Story Book Hill which was my favorite part of Benson’s when I was a little girl.
A family enjoying the Cockatoos in one of the aviaries.
Benson’s Park Renovations
After 1987, Benson’s Wild Animal Park remained abandoned and fell into disrepair until the Town of Hudson decided to turn it into a park in 2009. The town renamed it “Benson’s Park” and did some major renovations to bring the park back to life.
A side view of The Elephant Barn.
What Benson’s Park Looks Like Today
Benson’s Park is only an hour’s drive from Boston, MA and a great place to enjoy the afternoon. There is plenty of room to move where they have a 3-mile loop for a short hike through the woods. Or if you prefer, you can remain on the paved walkways and take in the view of the lake.
There is no shortage of wildlife around the lake and throughout the wooded trail. We came across snakes (eww!), frogs, deer, a beaver, otters, a gigantic turtle, baby turtles, a family of bunny rabbits and many different species of birds.
For amenities, there are picnic tables throughout the park so you can have a quiet breakfast or a healthy lunch. A dog park is located on the opposite side of the parking lot. They have a new playground area for children. And the best part about this frugal adventure was the price tag…FREE! There is ample free parking as well.
A beautiful view of Swan Lake in the Spring! If you look closely, you’ll see how clear the water is. There are also some Canadian Geese frolicking about on the lake.
A wooden bridge overlooking a small brook. We look forward to seeing how this park looks in the Summer and Fall when everything is in bloom!
A peaceful trail. Still a little damp from the recent snow melt.
We counted 26 baby turtles on this log!
“The Old Woman In A Shoe”
A stone sign with the Mother Goose nursery rhyme “The Old Woman In A Shoe”.
A place to remember 9-11. The picture on the right shows two steel beams from the WTC which were donated by the local fire department.