Bensons Animal Farm
Benson’s Animal Farm
    23 Kimball Hill Rd, Hudson, New Hampshire Wednesday, July 24, 2024   
Bensons Animal Park
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2007 Visit

Benson’s Animal Farm
Benson’s Animal Farm, later known as New England Playworld closed in November 1987. It remained unchanged since the closing of the park until around 2002 when it started to be refurbished into a city park.

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. It 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.

Once located in Hudson, New Hampshire, but frequently advertised with a Nashua, New Hampshire dateline, Benson's Animal Farm was also known as:

Benson Wild Animal Farm
Benson’s Animal Farm
Benson’s Wild Animal Farm
Benson’s Wild Animal Park
Benson’s Animal Park
The Strangest Farm on Earth
New England Playworld
The Firefly Roller Coaster was one popular attraction.

Major Felix was an animal trainer at Benson's Animal Farm around 1936.

After the auction, many items from Benson's Animal Farm ended up at the Grandview Flea Market in Derry, New Hampshire.

Benson’s Animal Park

Save/Print your own copy of the Benson Park Map and Trail Guide

Benson's Wild Animal Farm reopened in May 2010 as a town park for recreational use. There is no admission fee. Work is being done to rehabilitate the park's trails and remaining buildings, including the removal of invasive plant species, and to establish a regular police presence. The Old Lady in the Shoe, the elephant house, gorilla house and other structures have and are being repaired after decay and vandalism. An official grand opening and re-dedication is scheduled for September 2010.

Bensons Animal Park was the place to go in the early 80's. If you were a kid you went there, to ride the coaster, to see the animals, to have a good time. Then it closed. The rides disappeared the animals moved, the fun was over. There's not much left of the old fun park, little to show how many thousands of families visited during the summer. The kids who visited the animals, ate ice cream and would remember the place for the rest of their lives. Only a few buildings, all alone in the woods, and some pavement mark it's former location.

Watch a slideshow of the 1987 Bensons auction.
Watch David Day's 1986 Benson's video.
Benson Wild Animal Farm elephant index.
Watch home movies of Benson's in 1964 from Louise Desclos.
See pictures of Benson's from Dave Dube.
More pictures of Benson's from Bret Bronson.
See pictures of Benson's 2009 renovation on flickr.
See some Benson's items on eBay.
See pictures of Benson's from Kathy and Bret.
Find out about the Town of Hudson's Benson's Committee and how to become a volunteer.

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