Our History

The Park’s Origins

John T. Benson, born in England in 1879, was an animal trainer and dealer who traveled extensively and became United States manager of Germany’s Hagenbeck Company. Mr. Benson purchased over 200 acres of land in Hudson, New Hampshire in 1922 to house the various animals he obtained. When these animals were brought to the United States, they first needed to be quarantined, then often were trained and shipped to circuses or zoos. Thus, the quiet farming community of Hudson, New Hampshire became the location of “The Strangest Farm on Earth” also known as “Benson’s Wild Animal Farm”.

Elephant Barn Restoration & Museum Construction

Benson’s Wild Animal Farm Museum

The museum will be a unique History/Children’s Museum offering an extensive memorabilia collection spanning 60 years as the once-famous zoo and amusement park and provide fun, interactive, young children’s exhibits focusing on animal education.  It will also feature a scaled diorama of the park as the last owner, Arthur Provencher, had imagined its future, complete with a miniature roller coaster, ferris wheel and animals.

Since 2010, our mission to build and operate the “Benson’s Wild Animal Farm Museum” in the Elephant Barn structure has been funded by donations.  Those donations along with a group of dedicated volunteers helped to build the Benson Park Store located in the front of the barn and is open from April-October.  All the store profits are put back into the museum construction fund.  A new roof was added to the Elephant Barn structure last year at a cost of $120K which was paid for through our fundraising efforts with our Memberships, Event Sponsors and Supporters.

To complete the museum, our goal is to raise $350K by the end of 2023 and offer a “Grand Opening” in 2024.   Who do you know that could be our “Angel Donor” of $350K that would enjoy having their family name on the museum?

We thank you for your support!

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