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Location DB > United States > New Hampshire > Hudson > Benson's Animal Farm
Benson's Animal Farm
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 Database Info
created by geoff5093 on 5/27/2010 1:32 PM
last modified by geoff5093 on 5/27/2010 1:42 PM
Publically Viewable Publically Viewable
This location has been labeled by its creator as Public, and therefore can be viewed by anyone.
Refer to the history section for info on the park. As of now it's being repaired and cleaned up and will be opening later this year as a park.
 Basic Information
Type: Outdoors
Status: Repurposed
Accessibility: Easy
Recommendation: not very exciting
 Physical Information
Kimball Hill Road
Hudson, New Hampshire
United States
Owner: Town of Hudson
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  •  Hazards
     Interesting Features
    Not a whole lot left, there used to be a few buildings but most have been torn down or repaired. It's still cool to walk around though.
     Security Measures
  • fences
  •  Historical Dates
    Built: 1924
    Closed: 1987
     Required Equipment
     Recommended Equipment

    The zoo was founded by John Benson in 1924 as an animal-training center, and was opened to the public in 1926 with animal exhibits, a miniature train, games and exhibits.

    John Benson's career started at Lexington Park in Lexington, Massachusetts in the late 1800s. Although he was not the owner, he ran the amusement park, which was filled with all sorts of exotic animals, a theater, a women's resting building and other facilities. The women's resting house remains and is now a home. At the time trolleys took Bostonians from Massachusetts Avenue to Bedford Street and dropped them off at the park's entrance, located on the Lexington and Bedford town line. The park finally closed in 1921.

    Benson then went to New Hampshire to open his own animal park. After opening to the public in 1926, Benson's was expanded in 1932-33 with the addition of a permanent Wild Animal Circus. A special "Jungle Train" ran from Boston to Hudson on Sundays, with admission to Benson's included in the ticket price. By 1934 the parking lot could accommodate 5,200 cars. In 1940 animal trainer Joe Arcaris began his association with the zoo, performing acts with lions and other animals till the late 1970s.

    Benson died in 1943, and Boston Garden Corp. bought the property the next year. The park was closed to the public during WWII, and re-opened in 1945. Starting in the 1960s, it went into a period of decline in maintenance and attendance. It was sold in 1979 to Arthur Provencher, who reversed its decline for a while with an influx of money. However, the farm remained unprofitable.

    Toward the end of its existence as a zoo, it had a wide variety of animals, including trained lions, bears of several different species, llamas, a gorilla, elephants, monkeys, and many kinds of birds. With declining finances in the 1980s, the park added features to add family interest. After an unsuccessful association with outside investors, Provencher filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1985. In 1987, he changed it to an amusement park, whose full name was "New England's Playworld Amusement Park and Zoo," notable for a huge statue of Mighty Mouse. This change failed to stem the decline, and the park went out of business at the end of the 1987 season.
     Media Coverage

     Future Plans
    Benson's Wild Animal Farm is slated to reopen as a park of the Town of Hudson for recreational use on May 29, 2010. There will be no admission fee. Work is being done to rehabilitate the park's trails and remaining buildings, including the removal of invasive plant species and a regular police presence for public safety. The Old Lady in the Shoe, the elephant house, gorilla house and other structures are being repaired after decay and vandalism. The official grand opening and rededication will occur in September 2010, and New Hampshire Governor John Lynch has planned an appearance.

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     Photo Galleries
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    April '09
    Thu, May 27th, 2010
    posted by geoff5093
    25 pictures

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     Moderator Rating
    The moderator rating is a neutral rating of the content quality, photography, and coolness of this location.

    Category Rating
    Photography 7 / 10
    Coolness 7 / 10
    Content Quality 6 / 10
    This location's validation is current. It was last validated by Mike Dijital on 11/11/2014 5:00 PM.

     Latest Changes
  • on Nov 11 14 at 17:00, Mike Dijital validated this location
  • on Jun 2 10 at 0:57, Opheliaism validated this location
  • on May 27 10 at 14:42, geoff5093 updated the main picture
  • on May 27 10 at 14:40, geoff5093 swapped pictures 12 and 22
  • on May 27 10 at 14:40, geoff5093 swapped pictures 4 and 6
  • on May 27 10 at 14:40, geoff5093 swapped pictures 8 and 23
  • on May 27 10 at 14:40, geoff5093 swapped pictures 3 and 18
  • on May 27 10 at 14:39, geoff5093 swapped pictures 2 and 21
  • on May 27 10 at 14:39, geoff5093 swapped pictures 1 and 19
  • on May 27 10 at 14:39, geoff5093 swapped pictures 0 and 20
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