Bensons Animal Farm
Benson’s Animal Farm
    23 Kimball Hill Rd, Hudson, New Hampshire Saturday, April 19, 2014   
Bensons Animal Park


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Jay January 5, 2012 23:13:38 (EDT)

Cheryl, they sure are we love to keep up on Liz and the entire group.

Cheryl January 7, 2012 07:11:04 (EDT)

I hope reports on Liz are considered upbeat.
I love watching her progress.
Her relationship with Frieda and Billie is so sweet !

Happy New Year !

Jay January 5, 2012 09:36:36 (EDT)

Happy New Year All !!!!! Let's keep this site a little more upbeat in the New Year !!!

Cheryl December 27, 2011 18:20:46 (EDT)

December 20th elenotes has a cute picture of Liz.

Cheryl December 26, 2011 15:32:15 (EDT)

The Elephant Sanctuary
December 22,2011
Gifts we Receive from the girls

Caregiver Sam says..........

"Lizzie gives Joy to each and every person who gets to meet her."

"In the face of her sickness, she is still bright and sneaky.
She begs for attention and treats from caregivers with a gaping open mouth."

"She spins and dances with her sisters Frieda and Billie when they get into their bouts of playfullness."

"For one who has been sick for quite sometime and suffered for even more time before she got to us, Lizzie exudes happiness in such an infectious manner that we can't help but get happier in her presence. "

As their greeting cards say....

Peace on Earth
Sanctuary to all

Bret December 18, 2011 08:51:39 (EDT)

Joyce, 'Ruth' has lived at the Buttonwood Zoo, New Bedford, Mass since around 1985. Doing well.

Joyce R. December 17, 2011 15:17:05 (EDT)

Does anyone have photos or information about the elephant Ruth who was at Benson's at the same time as Liz and Queenie?

Craig Johnston December 16, 2011 17:08:08 (EDT)

I'm happy to hear they ended up at the elephant sanctuary in TN. What a great idea to set that organization up. It was sad to learn of their fate this week of their treatment with the Hawthorne Corp. At least there was some good news to that story with them eventually living their lives in TN.

Thinking back at the 1987 Union Leader article that talks about the funding boycott threat by the American Association of Zoos for buying animals at an auction..... goes to show how seemingly good intentions has the opposite effect. I never understood the logic as to why they were opposed to the animal auction. Just think if the San Diego zoo were able to bid and potentially have won, the good lives they would have had for the 19 years that Hawthorne misstreated them.

Cheryl December 16, 2011 15:19:33 (EDT)

I just looked again at those pictures of Liz and Queen swimming in the pond.

they look so happy !

cheryl December 15, 2011 22:23:48 (EDT)

Many of you already know but it's worth repeating.

Liz has TB.
She has rounds of treatments. With another to start soon
if hasn't already.

She's in good and loving hands in Tennessee and
her elephant sisters, Frieda and Billie, are there for support. They're always together.

Craig Johnston December 12, 2011 21:40:47 (EDT)

I just returned from the Manchester public library and searched for a newspaper article on the auction at that time. They keep the Union Leader on microfilm and was able to recover the following story. It would be good to provide this text somewhere else besides this forum where it will eventually get buried away.

Union Leader – October 24, 1987
Colossus and Friends Tell Benson’s Bye-Bye
By Ed Roberts

Hudson – Even the giraffe, who usually stays above the fray, could be seen with a tear in his yesterday.

Hundreds of small zoo keepers, pet store owners, animal lovers and curiosity seekers flocked to New England Playworld, formerly Benson’s Ani mal Park, to see the spectacle of more than 400 animals being auctioned to the highest bidder.

A pair of mountain badgers fetched $400, a femal squirrel monkey brought $500, the Australian Binturong $350 and a Bobcat just $150. An anteater sold for $550, a zebra got $3,750. A Pair of tarantulas netted $50.

People were buying exotic animals for half their retail value. Smaller items could be had for bigger bargains, four full size cages sold for $175 a piece. A white picket fence for $10, a birdfeeded for $25. Four elephant ride saddles sold for $145.

“We came up to see what kind of prices they’re getting and check it out. This is the sale of the century,” said Marin Scott, of the Double M Ranch in Hasting, New York, Double M runs a small circus act.

But it was a sad day for many of those participating in the sale. “I’m very sad,” said Sandra Wright from East Lebanon, Maine, who hoped to buy some stock for her petting zoo. “It’s a shame they all have to go like this”.

It was a tremendously emotional moment for Benson’s owner Arthur Provencher, who tried to save the park for the last five years despite declining financial fortunes. The proprietor could be seen with tears in his eyes as his elephants were auctioned off.

The bright spot of the day for Provencher came when the popular 550-pound Colussus the Gorilla, was purchased by a zoo in Pensacola, Fla., which is run by former Benson’s zoo keeper Pat Quinn. “I’m glad to see Pat get him. They deserve each other,” said Provencher.

Provencher was a bit disappointed in the price the elephants were sold for. The three-adult elephant act was sold for $65,000 to the Hawthorne Corp of Grey Lake, Ill which supplies elephants and tigers for animal acts. It supplies the animals for the annual Shriners shows.

Tanya, the three-and-a-half year old elephant, was bought for $14,500 by Al Jones, a Hanover man who is involved in the campaign to save Benson’s. Jones said he has worked out an agreement with Provencher to keep Tanya at Benson’s and they will use the elephant for publicity for a bailout scheme.

Four lions sold for just $800, a 14-foot-tall giraffe fetched $2,750. A pair of rare Siberian tigers went for $550. A mother and three baby baboons got $100. The giraffe was bought by David Ford of Northwood who plans to keep it with several other animals he and his family have on their small farm.

The lions were bought by Jurgen Shultz, an animal trader from New York who plans to sell them overseas. Allen Seletsky of Brookline, Mass purchased an eight-foot long red Burmese python he says he will put in a display case in his light shop for publicity. He said he didn’t expect to have any trouble transporting the snake back to Brookline inside a cloth sack.

Luther Cooper of Hooksett said he bought a 10-foot long python as a gift for his mother, who used to keep a pet snake , “But it died about five years ago,” said Cooper, who paid $140 for the snake.

Provencher said the prices for some of the animals were depressed when some of the potential bidders pulled out at the last minute because of a boycott threat by the American Association of Zoo, Parks and Aquariums for participating in animal auctions.

He said the San Diego Zoo was ready to bid on the elephant act but pulled out five minutes before the bidding started because of the threat.

Despite an entrance fee of $10 a head, more than 500 bidders and several hundred interested onlookers turned out for the auction. Provencher said the entrance fee was necessary to discourage members of the public. “They had their chance to come and see the animals,” he said.

Two Japanese sika deer sold for $325. A Wilderbeast fetched $1,050; a large female elk brought $1,000; an ostrich brought $950.

It was not clear how much yesterday’s auction earned but Provencher is expecting about 1.5 million for the two-day sale. The auctioneer, Norton of Coldwater, Michigan, will get 10 percent of the sale earnings.

Yesterday the animals. Today the Galleon ship, the ferris wheel, and the rest of the park’s novelties. Provencher said he is expecting a bigger crowd today because no animal permits or licenses or special requirements are needed to bid.

Craig Johnston December 12, 2011 20:41:51 (EDT)

I had the box turtle for a couple years until I went off to college and sold him to a freind who I have been out of touch with. Hopefully the turtle lives on today.

Liisa December 12, 2011 12:08:14 (EDT)

An article about Benson's in the Boston Herald not too long ago gave the impression that the owner made sure that all the animals found good homes when the park closed. Unfortunately, that's not true. The elephants went to the Hawthorne Corporation, a notorious company that rented them out to circuses and zoos. All of the elephants at the Hawthorn corporation were kept chained in a barn for months at a time. Finally, the government stepped in and shut them down after several of the elephants were found to have the human strain of TB, which is deadly in elephants. Two of the elephants were then sent to live out their lives at the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, finally giving them the chance to live like elephants.

cheryl December 12, 2011 07:42:47 (EDT)

box turtles live forever...
hope you kept it alive....

Craig Johnston December 11, 2011 21:31:00 (EDT)

Life long NH native here. I remember Benson's fondly as a kid. I had almost gotten a job working with the primates right before they closed.. in fact I would have had it if it were not for the closure. I went to the auction for the animals. I'll never forget how sad a day that way. I bought their Eastern Box Turtle for $20. A zebra painted jeep drove around the park with a loudspeaker with the crowd following it as they auctioned off the animals at each exihibit. The elepahant auction was the saddest. They made one last performance in the ring before the auction started. The announcer asked whoever bought the adults elephants (they auctioned them together) that they consider hiring the trainer who worked with them at Bensons. Before the performance started, the announcer said "Ladies and Gentleman" the last performance of the Benson's elephants. What was really sad for the whole audience was that the baby elephant was auctioned seperately and sold to another person. (I think the Shriner's Circus got the adults). Prior to the auction the government who helped fund public zoos threatened funding cuts to zoos who bought at the auction.. so not many organizations were bidding on the elephants.. everyone wanted to see the baby go with the adults.. I think Shriners was bidding on Tanya the baby elephant and someone else.. it got to the point the whole audience and the auctioneer was pleading with Shriners not to seperate them.. but they did not go for it and SOLD to the other person... the whole audience gave a big sigh.. it was a sad day..

cheryl December 6, 2011 13:19:16 (EDT)

Took my grandkids to the playground and for a walk around the pond. Very, Very nice !

Jennifer November 30, 2011 18:19:23 (EDT)

My mother's wallet was lost at the park today, If anyone finds it please email me at

David Stanford November 28, 2011 16:38:30 (EDT)

I'm Karen's brother, she e-mailed the link to all of us. I loved Benson's WAF, and especially the pond at the gate full of turtles! I watched the elephants poop basket loads, and pitied the cleaners. I got a small sheath knife, with decorations and thought it was like Dan'l Boone's! I think I went there 3 times; I always wished we lived closer. I remember trying to find Hudson on a map so I could go there if I found a ride. I also liked the little buildings.

Karen Stanford November 25, 2011 01:32:26 (EDT)

In the sixties my school would take field trips to Benson's. My youngest 4 siblings ended not going because we moved away and the middle kid in the family has always pouted because we moved the year she would have gone.

Yvon Hawke November 19, 2011 18:27:34 (EDT)

It's me again. :) Was just there today with my girlfriend and she loved it. SHe was there in either 1980 or 1981 and all she could remember was The Old Lady In The Shoe. She liked seing it restored. Snapped a few pics and just went back through my 2007 Visit photos; a huge difference! It was great! Fantastic restoration work for just a year's worth of work. Great job to all that worked on the grounds.

Any word about the merchandise that is over at Grandview Flea Market? It would be a shame for it to go to waste with the place shut down now. The owners should donate it all back to Hudson! That pink elephant, also!

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