This is a very small compact zoo located on the edge of Central Park in Manhattan. The zoo has three main sections, the front entrance plaza, main zoo and children’s zoo. A 4-D theatre is located on the entrance plaza between the main zoo and children zoo. Also located on the entry plaza is a gift shop (The Zootique) and art gallery. The zoo has one cafe located to the left at entry.
All exhibits are located on the outer edge of the zoo in a semi circle format and include Polar Circle, Temperate Territory, Snow Leopard enclosure and Rain-forest Exhibit. The centre of the zoo is dominated by a large Sea Lion pool.
A short 4-D movies can be seen in the theatre if you purchase a Total Experience Ticket. There are two movies to choose from at any time and usually conservation themed. Also included with the Total Experience Ticket is the Children’s Zoo. Penguin and Sea Lion feeding times are scheduled and worth attending.
This zoo is one of five zoos and aquariums in New York City managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society. Visit their website via this link to see the awesome work that they are doing to protect animals in so many regions around the world. It’s nice to know your entry ticket is helping out with this work.
Stu’s Favourite Bit
The Snow Leopards enclosure was narrowly my favorite bit. I say narrowly because watching the Sea Lions play and scale the rocks to pose for photos was pretty special.
The Snow Leopards’ enclosure was very impressive, complete with rocky outcrops, waterfalls and dense foliage that when combined with the two lookouts made for great viewing opportunities. The leopards themselves were very energetic and on one occasion a stray squirrel got a little to close and the leopard pounced. Probably not a great image if the squirrel was captured- but hey!
Go HERE to see a selection of animals found at this zoo at Stu @ the zoo TV
So what do you get for your $18.00? Answer, a small zoo with only a hand full of animals on offer. Oh yeah and a rare opportunity to see some amazing animals up close in spectacular enclosures.
Don’t be fooled by the size of this zoo! As you walk around, each exhibit draws you in and forces you to linger, to observe, and notice the unique characteristics of each animal and their authentic surroundings. Most of the animals are from cold weather temperate climates including snow leopards, snow monkeys, polar bears (Sadly Gus the polar bear passed away in August 2013, he was 27), red pandas and gentoo penguins but there is so much more.
There is a great indoor tropical rainforest exhibit where you walk up into the tree tops observing colourful birds including the victoria crowned pigeon, bats, snakes, lemurs and tamarins. It can be a little overwhelming to the senses and nice and toasty on a cold March day.
The sea lion pool in the centre garden area is a huge draw card. Seriously you could easily sit and watch these guys play for hours. You can also see the sea lions pool from the entry plaza at no charge and I can imagine many a New Yorker just popping in for a laugh, over lunch.
|Sea Lion Pool|
The 4-D movies are ok. One is a take from the movie Ice Age and the other is a short informative BBC documentary on polar bears and penguins. The Children Zoo is a great idea, especially for kids that live in the big city and rarely get the opportunity to see sheep, pigs, goats etc.
|Inside The Tropical Zone|
|Heading towards the Children Zoo|
There is no parking at the zoo, but who in their right mind would drive in New York City anyway with the great public transport to the area by either subway or Metro bus.
I’m not sure if it was that it snowed the day before we visited leaving pockets of snow throughout or if it was the architecture, but I left this zoo feeling a little nostalgic, almost pining for a simpler time. This is an authentic old style city zoo minus the small enclosures and I loved it.