This is a large zoo, claiming to be the largest urban zoo in the world. The zoo has four entrances with the Southern Boulevard, Asia and Bronx River entrances serviced by large car parks. The fourth being the main entrance off Fordham Road. Your experience may differ depending on which entry you come in by.
The zoo is divided up into many sections. At the southern end is where you can see Lions, Giraffes, Zebras and African Wild Dogs whilst walking through the African Plains. This area is adjacent to the Congo Gorilla Forrest, home to Gorillas and other Primates. You can take a monorail through Asia, ride a camel or take a stroll over the Himalayan Highlands. The Northern end is home to Bird aviaries, Tiger Mountain, Children Zoo, Bison range and Monkey House and the centre of the zoo is the location of the Butterfly Garden, Reptile Pavilion, Bears and Nocturnal House among many other attractions. The entire zoo is connected by a shuttle service.
Each section of the zoo has restrooms, cafes, retail stores and other facilities that have been themed to fit their location. All are very well signed and conveniently located.
|One of the many peacocks roaming the zoo|
Grab the total experience tickets so that you can view the entire zoo or you will end up paying separate amounts, at more cost. Jungle world, Wild Asia Monorail, the shuttle, Butterfly Garden and the Congo Gorilla Forest are just some of the exhibits and activities that will cost extra if you don’t purchase the Total Experience tickets at the gate.
There are a good amount of shows and exhibits located over the entire zoo. A few are seasonal and some are only for a short time so please check the web page and plan your visit. With so much to see and do you probably won’t be able to do it all in one day, but you can definitely give it a go. There is a traditional carousel for the little ones and the price is included with your Total Experience Tickets.
There is a heavy emphasis on education and conservation messages at most enclosures with some great interactive displays.
|Part of Tiger Mountain conservation display|
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
I had lots to choose from but I have to mention the feeling I had whilst sitting back at a cafe at the African Somba Village, eating a hot dog and looking up at the Baboon Reserve.This is one of the largest primate enclosures in the US. It’s a replica of a hill side on the African Alps and it is spectacular. You have a vista sprawling out in front of you as you watch Baboons and Ibexes mingle whilst displaying their natural behaviors in their complex social groups. I could have easily spent a large portion of the day right there. Oh yeah – and the hot dogs were pretty good too.Go HERE to see a selection of animals found at this zoo at stu @ the zoo TV
|Grab a hot dog with a great view|
|Gelada Baboons at Baboon Reserve|
Stu’s review and tips
I’ll try and keep this review brief, but being such a large zoo it’s going to be a bit difficult . I’ll start by saying I was a tiny bit disappointed on the day of my visit. This was my first big northern hemisphere zoo, and it was cold, so I did not know what to expect. I knew the monorail; butterfly gardens and a few other exhibits wouldn’t be open but was surprised at how many animals did not venture out in cold conditions. It makes sense of course, but I was shocked to see up to six giraffes housed in a small indoor enclosure. As you can see by the photo below, you could be forgiven for thinking that I was at the natural history museum. I’m probably being a little harsh so this has prompted me to look into enclosures for hot and cold climate zoos. So I’m not going to pass judgment until I do more research and do a separate post on this subject.
|Not the Natural History Museum|
The zoo is big and there is so much to see that it was a little overwhelming. I loved the size of some of the Savannah enclosures (even if they were empty) the indoor Madagascar and Jungle World enclosures are amazing and a must do. It appeared like entire Eco systems had been created with several species together in one enclosure.
|Entrance to Madagascar enclosure|
The way the zoo has incorporated conservation messages at some of the enclosures is very clever. No more so than at Tiger Mountain. The interactive display leaves you in no doubt in the tiger’s precarious position in the wild, and the part humans are playing in this.
The Congo Gorilla Forest is another spectacular indoor outdoor enclosure but a small word of warning. We paid for a Total Experience ticket that incorporates all entry prices, so we just went straight in. However others paid for the pleasure of seeing gorillas at the enclosure entry. Once in we walked the entire enclosure (again, great conservation messages) only to find a sign at the very end announcing that due to the cold weather the gorillas will not be on display outside. Maybe I missed them inside but being a gorilla fanatic, it was disappointing.
The zoo shops do not stock memory cards for your camera. They do provide disposable cameras.
The zoo shuttle only picks up from two locations, there are multiple drop off points but you can only get on near the Asia entrance and at the centre of the zoo near the main zoo shop.
You easily forget that you are in one of the world’s largest cities. The paths and surroundings are heavily wooded and the themes of some of the enclosures are quite effective. Some of the signage does look a little tired though.
|Beautifully presented enclosures|
This visit to the Bronx Zoo was a learning experience for me. My biggest hint for this zoo is do your research if you are keen to have a particular experience. This is a world class zoo that has done an outstanding job in combining, education with a sense of discovery.
I do intend to go back during warmer months. So let’s just call this my Winter Review of the Bronx Zoo.