Thursday, April 16, 2015

Central Park Zoo - New York City

Everything I know about the red panda I learned from a volunteer at Central Park Zoo.
We visited lots of places while we were in New York City but the my favourite was Central Park Zoo.  It isn't huge but again when travelling with kids I find bigger isn't always better.  You can do the whole zoo in half a day and it is, as the name would suggest, centrally located so you can definitely combine it with another attraction.  FAO Schwartz is right by the entrance to the park and both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History are close by. We walked to MOMA which is a bit farther away but can be done in half a day so is also a good one to combine with another attraction.

The Sea Lions are the highlight of any trip to the Central Park Zoo.  
We arrived right at 10:00 (when the zoo opens) on a slightly drizzly Tuesday in March and there were maybe a dozen other people at the zoo at the same time.  New York City is awesome but it is crowded and loud so the calm and quiet Zoo was a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the city.  Arriving right at 10:00 not only means that the place isn't crowded but it also means that you can experience the Delacorte Music Clock chiming as you buy your tickets.  My kids loved this and actually stayed and waited until the clock was done before entering the zoo.  We watched the sea lions for a few minutes and then made our way into the penguin house.  A volunteer named Chandra told us all about the penguins and let us know that the penguin feeding would happen at 10:30 so we hung around for that which was a hit.
My daughter thought it was hilarious that one of the bears has the same name as her.
After checking out the penguins we wandered around the rest of the zoo.  We manged to see the mongoose feeding in the Tropic Zone building and make it back for the Sea Lion feeding and exercise program which my kids would have happily stayed at all day.

You can get pretty up close and personal with the birds in the Tropic Zone Building
One of the best things about Central Park Zoo is the volunteers.  I mentioned Chandra who was so friendly and knowledgeable about the animals but there were others too.  I failed to get the name of the lady who told us all about the red pandas and did the commentary for the sea lion feeding but she was also great.  Maybe it was just because the zoo wasn't busy when were were there but it felt like we had our very own tour guides.

Things to keep in mind:

  • They have a 4-D movie theatre.  If you will be buying a ticket for that it is cheaper to do it online.  General admission tickets can only be bought at the Zoo.  For admission with the movie it will be about $60 (USD) for a family of four, general admission is $38 for a family of four.
  • Central Park is pretty low on maps.  We came in on the other side of the park from the Zoo and had a heck of a time finding it.  We stumbled upon an information booth but there was nobody in it.  We did find one map but it didn't help much since it didn't have a "you are here" on it.  We asked several people for directions and were told about 12 different ways to go, including at one point a young man was giving us directions and a woman came over to offer her two cents and they wound up literally pointing us in two different directions.  We did finally get there!
  • One of the polar bears had died shortly before we arrived so the remaining polar bear was not on display when were there.
  • The Zoo is located at 64th Street and 5th Avenue.
  • They do have a snack bar and a gift shop.  
  • They also have a petting zoo area which is included in the general admission price.  

No comments :

Post a Comment