Some of the most popular summer attractions are those involving animals. People of all ages can enjoy viewing or even touching animals they don’t see in their daily lives. The zoos and other animal attractions in Connecticut feature temporary and permanent animal exhibits. There is even a drive through safari right here in the state that allows you to use your own vehicle and purchase feed for the animals.
Penguin Plaza Exhibit
Beardsley Zoo
1875 Noble Ave.
Bridgeport, CT 06610
(203) 394-6565

Date: Through September 30, 2016 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Meet Tubbs, Sal, South and Squirt. For the spring and summer of 2016, Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo has made a new home for four African penguins. The opening of this exhibit is the first time ever that the Beardsley Zoo has housed penguins. Through September 30, 2016, zoo visitors can see these four penguins at the Penguin Plaza Exhibit. The penguins’ exhibit includes a 30,000 gallon pool. Learn more about African penguins through the zoo’s storytelling, scavenger hunt and animal shows.

Drive Through Safari
Action Wildlife
337 Torrington Rd.
Goshen, CT 06756
(860) 491-9191

Date: Year round from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

At Action Wildlife, visitors can travel through the 50 acre wildlife park in their own vehicle. As a visitor driving through the exhibit, you have the opportunity to stop wherever you choose, get out of your vehicle to visit the animals and go at your own pace. Visitors can buy food to feed the animals at the entrance. Animals at Action Wildlife include, but are not limited to, bison, elk, emu, zebra, water buffalo, sheep and wild boar. Younger children will also enjoy the petting zoo with baby animals where you can buy milk bottles to feed the animals.

Butterfly Winged-Wonders
The Children’s Museum
950 Trout Brook Dr.
West Hartford, CT 06119
(860) 231-2824

Date: June 3, 2016 at 9 a.m.

Walk into Butterfly Winged-Wonders, an enclosed outdoor exhibit. This exhibit is a part of The Children’s Museum and is in the Butterfly House. The exhibit gives visitors of all ages the excitement of walking into an oasis of butterflies in what would seem like their natural habitat. The area is filled with flowers and a garden, creating the natural environment of the butterflies. Follow the rules posted while in the Butterfly House, and see if any butterflies land on your steady hand. Join them on their release on June 3, 2016 as they enter their new summer home.

Related: 5 Things In Connecticut That Exist Nowhere Else In The US

Rainforest Building
Beardsley Zoo
1875 Noble Ave.
Bridgeport, CT 06610
(203) 394-6565

Date: Daily at 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Rainforest Building is a yearly feature at the Beardsley Zoo. Walk inside to learn more about the animals from the rainforest. Get a close view of animals big and tiny. There are a few types of monkeys, including Goeldi’s monkeys, saki monkeys and howler monkeys. Try to spot the tree frogs, poison dart frogs, turtles and tortoises. Don’t be afraid; the boa constrictors along with all the rainforest exhibit animals are behind glass and pose no risk to visitors. The building is a permanent fixture at the zoo and welcome to all zoo guests.

Alligator Alley
Beardsley Zoo
1875 Noble Ave.
Bridgeport, CT 06610
(203) 394-6565

Date: Daily at 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Alligator Alley exhibit has more to offer than a glance at the American alligator. The playful river otters are especially popular, as they stay active in their land and water section of this exhibit. Visitors walking through this part of the zoo can see a gray fox and bald eagles. The eagles at Beardsley Zoo have been saved or are no longer able to fly; creating a home at the zoo helps in their recovery or survival. You can find this exhibit entrance across from the tigers. Using the zoo map can be a helpful guide to find your way to this exhibit, which is at the zoo year round.

Related: Top Art Classes For Adults In Connecticut

Kimberly Ord is a freelance writer and lifetime resident of Connecticut. Her work can be found at