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On a recent visit to New York, I knew that one of the things I just had to do was visit the Central Park zoo! I am a huge animal lover and could spend all day in a zoo exploring the beautiful animals, so this was always on my 'to do' list. Central park zoo is on 64th street 5th avenue, and is just on the outskirts of central park. It took us a while to find the zoo and had to ask a hot dog vendor how to get there! But once we arrived there was absolutely no queue considering it was a Friday afternoon. We walked straight up to the desk and both paid $12 each for adult tickets which I think is around £7? I think this is great value. You then are scanned in and have the usual New York 'photo opportunity' before entering the zoo. Just before you enter there is a ice cream stall which sells drinks and refreshments and also a booth full of stuffed animals. I would recommend bringing your own drink to the zoo as I was charged $3 for a bottle of water from the stall! You are given a map and you can choose to carry on straight to the 'Tropic area' or turn right to see the 'Arctic area'. We chose the sea lions first in the arctic area. The sea lions were in a huge glass pool with a little island in the middle of it and there was 2 adult sea lions and 2 baby sea lions. We stayed and watched the sea lions swim round and round and lift the heads up occasionally for a while before heading on to see the polar bear. The polar bear was very peculiar and kept swimming up to the top of the pool and throwing itself backwards until it hit the bottom, then it would repeat this ritual over and over without stopping! (Unfortunately, the day after we seen the polar bear the news reports it had died overnight which was very sad.) Just through some double doors we came to the penguins which were without a doubt my favourite! They had a huge area of ice to stand on and quite a big pool of water to swim in along with various types of ducks. We then moved on to the bird sanctuary in the 'Tropic area' which was amazing, with the birds flying freely around this huge exotic building full of trees and pools for them to live in. They had flamingos, parrots and all other exotic birds. As you leave the bird sanctuary you come into the reptile area which was full of snakes, toads, bats and other scary animals which wasn't really to my liking! However it was quite interesting to watch them. In the temperate area was the likes of the Snow leopard which was beautiful and the Sea monkeys. These were both amazing creatures and we spent a long time watching them fascinated. The whole zoo took us around 2 hours to get around, simply because we spent a long time taking pictures and reading about the animals. However if you were with kids, it probably wouldn't take very long at all. There is a small cafe which looks quite small and dirty from the outside, however it had the most amazing curly fries and pizza for $3 each! Perfect to stop in half way around the zoo as it was extremely hot and tiring. Overall, Central Park zoo was well worth the visit and the money, it is open 365 days a year 10am to 5:30pm daily. It is a great day out all for under $20 each and to anyone visiting New York, be sure to add this to your own 'to do' list!
With the New York Pass we had the option of visiting two zoos, either the Bronx Zoo or Central Park Zoo. Well Central Park is only about a 20 minute walk from our hotel, so we decided it was probably better to go to this one rather than Bronx Zoo. After a very long day in the 90 degree heat, we finally arrived at the zoo, got our tickets and went straight into the zoo. The first obstacle you'll face is the photographers, attempting to get more money out of you in the end; we declined as we all looked like utter crap due to the heat. We immediately found a little bit of shelter in the form of this huge gazebo situated in the main part of the zoo, we sat here for a while before going to look at the rest of the zoo. ======== Location ======== If you manage to get into Central Park, then I would recommend going to the Zoo. To get to the zoo, you have to get onto 5th Avenue and then enter through there. You will be on Museum Mile at this point, I believe opposite the Guggenheim. As you walk into the park, you are taken back at how different it is from the hustle and bustle of New York City. If you walk into the park, you'll see a path leading down to the left, follow this and you'll soon see the Children's Zoo on the left, keep walking and you'll then see Central Park Zoo on your right. ========== Exhibit Areas ========== I was shocked to see the different areas within the zoo, it is pretty much situated into three exhibit areas; tropic, temperate and arctic. All of these areas feature some beautiful animals, all of which seem to be well taken care of. ======== Animals ======== The first zone you come to within the Zoo is the Tropic Zone, we didn't really spend too much time here as I'm not a huge fan of birds and flying things so I wasn't too keen on things flying above our heads. Inside the tropical area, it is supposed to come across as a rainforest. We did walk out at this point, due to my fear, but we were told by one of the lovely helpers that there is a bat zone further down and you do get to see spiders, snakes, frogs and things like that. Those I wouldn't have minded seeing but birds in close proximity freak me out. Then you have the Arctic Zone, where you will find things like Polar Bears, Penguins, Puffins and even Seals. We did have some of the penguins posing for us, but it did get quite busy as it was feeding time and everyone wanted a bit of the action. When we walked out of the penguin place, we were very lucky and got to see the sea lions being fed and performing some fantastic little tricks. I do have videos of this, which I have yet to look at since I've been back. There were people mumbling near us that this was quite cruel, I agree in a way, but the animals seemed very happy and got fed to their hearts content. Picking up a Frisbee from the water, isn't really that harsh. The one animal that we thought it was rather cruel to see was the polar bear; however after talking around to the lovely helpers there, the polar bear has been there and has lived twice as long as he would have if he had been in his natural habitat. We couldn't really find anyone to justify them being out in the 92 degrees Fahrenheit which had to be a little bit cruel. The one animal that really was worth the money was Zoe the Snow Leopard, because of the heat, she had found the most sheltered place possible, that was actually in front of the window which gave us some beautiful pictures. Her friend though Chocolate I believe his/her name was, was nowhere to be seen. ======== The Good ======== We were shattered so we moved very slowly, but it took us about 45 minutes at most to get around the whole zoo and really look at the animals, and this included quite a lot of breaks as well. This was quite good in a way, as we weren't up for too much walking and we saw some beautiful animals. Even though some of the animals really shouldn't be in the middle of New York City, they all do look well looked after and they all do look happy to be there. For the price you pay, you really get to see some beautiful animals, even if the fair treatment of the animals is questioned by many. ======== The Bad ======== I have to say, at some points we did find it very cruel. On the Tuesday, we were at around 92 degrees Fahrenheit and when we actually got into the zoo, we quickly found somewhere in the shade to sit down and down the millions of bottles of water in our bag. We are used to warm/hot weather as humans, some of us struggle, but imagine being a polar bear, stuck in the middle of Central Park surrounded by the 92 degree heat when you're used to freezing temperatures. It did seem a bit cruel, I think the only animals that seemed to be well catered for was the penguins whose area seemed to be nice and cool and they seemed to be in their natural habitat. It was also quite a small zoo, we apparently saw all that was on offer and we were done in quite a quick time considering how knackered we actually were. Your only paying about a fiver to get in here, so it's not too bad considering, but still it could have been a bit different. I have read that a lot of people have moaned at the fact that the zoo is quite small, mainly due to the fast that the animals are all placed in quite small enclosures, the sea lions spent most of their time when we were there, swimming back and forth in front of us. I think the only animal we really were a little bit worried for was the polar bear, but it did look quite depressed, but I have to say, I've never seen a happy polar bear. ======== Price ======== If we hadn't have had the pass it would have cost us $8 to get in each, which may seem like a lot when you think about how small the zoo is, but we enjoyed every minute of it, it is a lovely part of New York City and it is so much more different from everything else surrounding central park. =========== Final Opinion =========== A lovely little zoo, despite the fact that some of the best interests of the animals might be questioned a little bit. I don't think the enclosure for some of the animals is big enough and cool enough considering the habitats that they are used to, I think the only animals that really got a brilliant habitat was the penguins, I could have spent all day in that little area because it was so cool. The snow leopard was gorgeous, but it looked very, very hot. I think those animals are supposed to have the thickest skin of all of cats so if we were hot, imagine what she was like. She was gorgeous though. A fantastic little zoo, despite its problems, if you get a chance to see it, then I would recommend that you do. I really wished that I could upload pictures onto this site to show you how beautiful the snow leopard was. Here is a link to Central Park Zoo's website though on the Snow Leopard's page. http://centralparkzoo.com/look-and-learn/headlines/big-cats-big-city.aspx Thank you for reading. (C) Kirsty 2009
Unbeknownst to me when I visited New York, there is a zoo in Central Park. I should have known this having seen Madagascar, but my brain had obviously stopped working. We only found the Zoo by chance when having a wander around Central Park and decided to go inside and see what it was like. We discovered it to be one of the best finds we had while in NYC. Let's start with the location. Well, it's in Central Park in the middle of Manhattan. If you enter Central Park at 5th Avenue, in what would be the lower right corner, opposite the hotel featured in Home Alone 2 (who's name eludes me). As you enter, it is a roadway where the horse carriages follow. Approximately 150metres into this road, there is a pathway going down to the right. Follow this and you will locate the Zoo a very short distance down here on the left. It takes roughly 5 minutes to walk from outside the Park to the Zoo entrance. The weather was very nice when we found it and there was not much of a queue to enter. It cost $8 for a single adult ticket and this gave you entry into the Children's Zoo located a little further up from the entrance on the right hand side of the pathway. The main Zoo is set out in a rough square shape. The first exhibit was just some information about various animals in the world. No actual animals, just words and we gave this a quick glance and continued on. You then can walk up the left hand side of the square, which is the side closest to the entrance. You pass an entrance into a small cafe that you get into through either the Zoo or outside the Zoo. The cafe was reasonably priced and served adequate portions, but it is just a cafe, so don't expect anything amazing from that. Just beyond this, you come to the first zone, which is the Tropic Zone. You enter through a set of doors and discover a very humid atmosphere that takes a few seconds to understand. Then you realise, it is like a rainforest (well, I assume a rainforest, but I haven't actually been in a rainforest, so that could be a lie). There is a small river flowing through the zone, with lots of trees and plants growing. Then there is alot of various different species of birds/ bats and other wiged things flying around above your head, below your head and level with your head. It is brilliant. you follow a walkway that leads to a set of stairs that go inside a room within the zone. They have a bat enclosure set up here with hundreds of bats flying and hanging around. There are alos snakes, spiders, frogs and even a cute little anteater and some form of monkeys. After exiting this zone, you can walk just around the corner and find a pool area with turtles swimming around. You follow the pathways inside the Zoo and wander past some more monkeys of a different form. The pathway lead you to the Polar Bears. Real Polar Bears. 2 of the things, huge and cool. Follow there enclosure and you come to some seals, who like to show off the skills they have and provide a show. Just past here is another zone, the Cold Zone (I don't think it's called that, but I can't remember the exact name now). Inside this zone, which isn't actually cold for us, but I presume cold in the enclosure part where the animals are, are penguins and puffins. Just like the seals, they like to provide a show and some love having their photo taken. After this zone, you come back outside and in the centre of the square is a big water tank with rock formation containing some Sealions. These like to show off more than all the other animals put together. Getting up on the rocks and posing like they are models. We loved the Zoo that much, that we went back again a couple days later and again when we visited NYC for a 2nd time last year. The 3rd time we went, they were doing some construction work in the Zoo to extend it and add some more enclosures for different animals. The Children's Zoo contains animals you would expect in a children's zoo, but is still fun none the less. All in all, I would thoroughly recommend the Zoo to anyone going to NYC, a must see.
Ever since I was a little girl I've always loved visiting the zoo. I've had the mis-fortune though of visiting some zoos where the animals are mis-treated and don't seem to be looked after at all. So when I visit a new zoo it can sometimes be a bitter-sweet experience. The Central Park zoo in New York though is most definitely one of the gooduns! If you've seen the movie Hitch with Will Smith you might remember the scene where they try to set up Will Smiths Character - well this scene is set in centre of the zoo! I love watching films and being able to say "I've stood in that very spot"! I love the fact that the zoo is hidden away in the middle of one of the busiest cities in the world. You completely forget that fact when you are wandering around the place and feel like you can totally chill out! We did find it quite difficult to find the zoo as Central Park is so much bigger than we thought! It took us a good 20 minutes to find it and we've since learnt we started at the wrong end of the park! If you enter the Park from 5th Avenue 64th street you should be much closer! The zoo is open every day of the year!! Tickets cost $8 for adults $3 for children and $4 for over 65 (under 3's are free) The cost of the ticket covers entry into the Children's zoo also (although we didn't venture in here as we ran out of time so can't give my opinion on this)! This is incredibly good value, the zoo is small and compact, but there are plenty of animals to see and things to do that you get quite a bargain! The zoo has been designed extremely well so you can easily walk to each exhibit one after another. That is the thing I find with alot of zoo's is that even with the maps and signposts I get so lost and you sometimes have to go back on yourself to get somewhere - not here though! There is a heart to the park and all the other exhbits lead off this. The middle of the park is home to the cutest sea lions who are fed at certain times during the day and it's worth making time to watch this as they are so funny scrambling for the fish. We were very lucky as it was so quiet that the keepers really took there time in telling us about the sea lions. Most places wouldn't bother if there were so few people around so you really know the keepers care so much. Wandering away from the main centre square you will be greated by all the other exhibits which include the polar circle where you can see the most chilled out polar bears and some cute waddling penguins! One of my favourite areas is the Tropic Zone. This is an indoor area where you can truly be one with the animals! Birds are flying over head and wandering around your feet! It is so much fun! There are other animals in here such as bats and different breeds of monkeys but they are enclosed so you need to worry about them pouncing on your head. They are through the rainforest area in a seperate section. Make sure you pick up a map as this will tell you when each animal is being fed. It's always worth going along to these as the keepers do such a great job of telling you all about the animals. The keepers here are brilliant. You can tell that they really love the animals and are so pasionate about there welfare whilst they are talking about them! If you are feeling a bit peckish there is a cafe on site providing meals, snacks and drinks. All priced reasonably and all tasting pretty good! And don't forget to stop by the gfit shop to pick up a souvenir to remind you of you trip!