Peter Brewer, D.V.M, became the new president of Southwick’s Zoo in January 2016. Dr. Brewer has served as the zoo’s veterinarian for a number of years in addition to assisting with day to day operations. Justine Brewer, Dr. Brewer’s mother, held the position for the previous 20 years. “Working with my five adult children and some of my grandchildren as a family business is a blessing,” Justine stated, “Each one contributes their own expertise in many areas to make Southwick’s Zoo successful. I look forward to an exciting year.”
Southwick’s Zoo, located in Mendon, MA, is a family owned business whose origins can be traced back to Justin F. Southwick’s collection of exotic birds in the 1930s. The zoo, which celebrated its 50thanniversary in 2015, was later incorporated as Southwick Wild Animal Farm Inc. in 1965. It is currently owned and operated by Justin F. Southwick’s granddaughter Justine Brewer, her five children Peter Brewer, Cindy Lavoie, Betsey Brewer, Robert Brewer, and David Brewer. The Brewer family voted unanimously to elect Dr. Brewer as the zoo’s new president.
Southwick’s Zoo and has evolved and expanded a great deal over the past two decades. Numerous guest amenities such as food and gift venues have been added over the years, as well as many new rides including the popular Skyfari Sky Ride. This ride, which opened in 2008, provides visitors with a bird’s eye view of many exhibits. Southwick’s also now offers unique animal interactions for visitors including giraffe and rhinoceros encounters. The zoo’s most recent project is construction of a full service restaurant expected to open in late 2016.
Many animal habitats have also been updated and renovated over the past 20 years including those of the giraffes, camels, chimpanzees, rhinos, lions, tigers, and leopards. Southwick’s has grown to become New England’s largest zoo spanning 200 acres with over 800 animals. It is also the only zoo in the region with white rhinos and chimpanzees, and is home to more primate species than any other zoo in New England. Notable species added in recent years include two-toed sloths, cheetahs, scimitar-horned oryx, cotton-top tamarins, and Brazilian tapirs. In 2015, they became the only zoo in the United States with vicuñas, the wild ancestor of the domestic alpaca, on display.
Southwick’s staff and employees are excited to continue the zoo’s legacy under the leadership of Dr. Brewer.