Benson's Wild Animal Farm - The Memory Lives On

Home Stager with Sharon Tara Transformations

There is such an emotional attachment to places we cherish as children.

For many Massachusetts and New Hampshire families Benson's Wild Animal Farm was more than cotton candy, amusement rides, and Colossus the gorilla

Benson's was a childhood treasure...documented in our old photographs and home movies.

Benson's Wild Animal Farm



If you were lucky enough to visit Benson's as a child, you most likely have a special place in your heart where you keep those memories. 


Benson's was for many years, and for many people, the destination for  family fun.



Benson's Wild Animal Farm was closed in November, 1987

 after 60 years of making Hudson, New Hampshire, a regional tourist attraction. 


Now, 23 years after closing it's doors, it has been reopened as Benson Park.

Volunteers have worked very hard clearing away years of neglect and vandal abuse to create a beautiful place to walk, bike or picnic.  

The zoo animals and amusement rides are gone, probably forever,

 but the memories live on. 


Benson's Gorilla House



Restoring several original landmarks is an ongoing process by volunteers.


There are plans for the back of the gorilla house to become restrooms.


The front cage area will remain and be restored for historic purposes. 



 On Saturday, September 25, 2010 at 9:00 am,  Benson Park is having a grand opening celebration with cake and refreshments for everyone! 


benson's old woman shoe






 I will share vintage photos from Benson's

 and some pictures I took

 when I recently visited the new Benson Park.  




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Michael Moquin
Bayside Foreclosure & Estate Services,LLC - Greenland, NH

Yes, I have many great memories of Benson's with my siblings! 

Aug 29, 2010 04:51 AM #1
Gerry Michaels
Glasswork Media Arts - Gettysburg, PA
GettysburgGerry Social Meida

I have seen other posts about this place, it is nice to here that it has been restored, I am anxious to see the photos tomorrow....

Aug 29, 2010 04:55 AM #2
Steve Loynd
Alpine Lakes Real Estate Inc., - Lincoln, NH
800-926-5653, White Mountains NH

Sharon, I have some great memories of Benson's we took a school trip there when I was about 10-12 years old, and I begged my folks to bring me back. I look forward to your next installment.

Aug 29, 2010 05:06 AM #3
Sally Weatherley
Vancouver Home Staging, Home Stager Vancouver, B.C

Sharon - What a lovely story.  I'm so glad they will be restoring this area.  We had a zoo in Stanley Park that we just loved as kids.  It was shut down many years ago - it really was cruel, seeing the poor polar bears bored out of their minds in their small pen.  I really miss the monkey cage, though.  Again, I know it was cruel, but they were so amusing.  So glad they will be turning Benson's back into a park for all to enjoy.

Aug 29, 2010 07:08 AM #4
Joan Mirantz
Homequest Real Estate - Concord, NH
Realtor, GRI, CBR, SRES - Concord New Hampshire

I'm looking forward to your next post.
I remember Bensons well....especially the Gorilla cage! I was so disappointed when it closed but I'm glad it's being remembered!

Aug 29, 2010 12:20 PM #5
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Michael:  Many families do, and I'm sure the new park will be visited by a lot of them.

Gerry:  It really touches the heart to see it come back to life.  It's sad to see the buildings so run down, and I'm anxious for them to be restored.

Steve:  Did your parents ever take you back?  We went many times and I was so lucky to bring my own children there.

Sally:  It is sad to see animals caged, but as children we sure did enjoy seeing them. 

Joan:  I stood at that gorilla cage and felt so sad seeing it such a mess and so neglected.  I can still remember the gorilla sitting there staring back at me and how big he was.  I am sorry to say I don't have any pictures of the animals to share, but some of the sights I share in the next post you should remember. 

Aug 29, 2010 01:52 PM #6
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC


It's would be great to create memories for a new generation.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Aug 29, 2010 03:22 PM #7
Leslie Helm
Tennessee Recreational Properties - Jamestown, TN
Real Estate For Trail Riders

Hi, Sharon. May grandparents lived in Terryville, Connecticut and they used to take us to Lake Compounce in the next town, Bristol, so I have the same memories. I wonder if it's still there.

Aug 31, 2010 06:34 AM #8
Debbie Walsh
Shahar Management - Middletown, NY
Hudson Valley NY Real Estate 845.283-3036

I definitely agree about the emotional attachment to places from childhood.  How great that it is re-opening!  The fact that you can now go there with your grandchildren will make it oh so special.  They too will love the pictures from before and after.

Aug 31, 2010 12:24 PM #9
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Lou:  I would love to visit there again with my two grandsons some day.

Leslie:  You should look into it.  I can't put into words how much feeling and emotion I experienced visiting there again.

Debra:  It won't have the wild animals or the amusement rides, but it will hold different memories for this next generation.

Aug 31, 2010 12:28 PM #10
Russel Ray, San Diego Business & Marketing Consultant & Photographer
Russel Ray - San Diego State University, CA

Unfortunately for me, the emotional attachment to many of my childhood memories is not a good one, but I've moved on. Life is so much more than just one phase.

Sep 03, 2010 12:33 PM #11
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Russel:  Sorry!  I'm so glad you have moved on.  You seem to be making some pretty happy memories for your future!

Sep 03, 2010 12:41 PM #12
Dana Sion

Make sure to check out the Benson Park Facebook page at " " a place where the past embraces the future with memories from the parks past present and future.


Mar 09, 2011 02:44 PM #13
Mr. Dana Marc Sion

Just an update about Benson Park, the voters approved the permanent bathrooms at the park and a contractor has been chosen with work to be completed by Memorial Day 2019 at the rear of the Gorilla House.

Jan 23, 2019 11:38 AM #14
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Thanks for the update Dana!

Jan 23, 2019 01:16 PM #15

May I ask if there a certain hours when it's open and I should plan my visit? I know that environment wasn't exactly conducive to wildlife, but as kids we couldn't go there often enough! The monkeys were always my favorites but I had a total blast from beginning to end. I managed to take my kids there a couple of times before it closed down. My son still remembers it with fondness but my daughter was unfortunately too young to remember it now. I'd love to bring them along with my grandchildren up there to check it out!

Aug 14, 2019 11:30 AM #16
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Steve:  Sorry I don't have any information for you regarding their hours. I have no affiliation with Bensons. I would suggest you check their website online.

Aug 14, 2019 05:14 PM #17
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Sharon Tara

New Hampshire Home Stager
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