If you've been to the Buttonwood Park Zoo since COVID hit the SouthCoast last year, you've probably missed out on one of the zoo's most treasured experiences.

When the Buttonwood Park Zoo reopened to the public last spring, the duck feeders in the bison habitat were gone. In normal times, you could pay 25 cents for a handful of duck food to then feed the waterfowl in the habitat and get a firsthand interaction with the animals at the zoo.

After nearly a year without the duck feeders, the zoo was able to reintroduce them to the public late last month, and they're back better than ever, with some upgrades to make the feeders more accessible and safer for zoo guests.

Southcoast Health donated hand sanitizer stations so guests can clean their hands after using the feeders, and volunteer Howard Chandler built special homes for the feeders to protect them from the elements and prevent soggy food.

Photo courtesy of the Buttonwood Park Zoo

Not only are the duck feeders a great way for zoo patrons to safely interact with the animals, but they also raise money for a great cause. Every quarter that goes into the feeders is then invested right back into zoo-based and wild waterfowl conservation programs in North America and beyond. According to zoo officials, the duck feeders typically collect as much as $7,000 each year, and proceeds have historically funded programs of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums Waterfowl Taxon Advisory group, population monitoring of red-breasted geese in Central Europe, artificial nest box installation in eastern Asia for the scaly-sided merganser and genetic population testing for the Baer's pochard.

Photo courtesy of the Buttonwood Park Zoo
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The Buttonwood Park Zoo is currently operating at limited capacity, so purchasing tickets ahead of time is strongly encouraged. Find more information and start planning your next trip to the zoo here.

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