Farmington, CT

Most People Have Forgotten About This Abandoned Zoo Hiding in Connecticut

Travel Maven

There’s something particularly unsettling about an abandoned zoo—the crowds, excitement, and laughter that once filled the park seem to linger long after the facility shutters its doors.

In northern Connecticut, you'll find what was once a popular family destination that now sits decaying just off the highway. Keep reading to learn more.
Photo byAnette Gordon/Burst

The Shade Swamp Sanctuary was an 800-acre preserve that started out as a wildlife rehabilitation center during the 1930s in Farmington.

Often referred to as simply the "Farmington Zoo", it housed birds, wolves, and bears amongst various other animals.

Word eventually got out about the zoo's reputation as a rehabilitation center and soon people were bringing in exotic pets they no longer could care for. At one point, the zoo was even home to monkeys, an alligator, and a baby giraffe from a stranded carnival.

The zoo met an untimely fate in the 1960s when U.S. Route 84 took most of Route 6’s traffic. It has sat decaying and empty ever since.

Today, the zoo is nothing more than empty cages but still creepy, nonetheless.
Photo byPeter Shilling/Burst

You can walk through these abandoned ruins for yourself via the Shade Swamp Sanctuary Blue Trail in Farmington. Simply type Shade Swamp into your GPS and you'll reach the starting point. The area also features a small parking lot.

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