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In 1871 Betsey Williams, great-great-great-granddaughter of the founder of Providence, donated her farm to the city as a public park. Today this 430-acre expanse of greenery, only a short drive south of Providence, includes lakes and ponds, forest copses and broad lawns, picnic grounds, the Planetarium and Museum of Natural History, an operating Victorian carousel, greenhouses and Williams’ cottage.

The park's main attraction is the Roger Williams Park Zoo, which is home to more than 600 animals (polar bears, giraffes, lemurs) and performs some interesting conservation work.