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Family Fun in New York City: Central Park Zoo

Central Park ZooBack in October, my kids put our Wildlife Conservation Society family premium membership to use by visiting the Central Park Zoo on a beautiful autumn day. Located in Central Park in Manhattan of New York City, the Central Park Zoo was the first official zoo to open in the city. Renovated in 1934 with the addition of many new buildings arranged in a quadrangle around the center sea lion pool, the zoo is home to many animals including some endangered species such as tamarin monkeys, Wyoming toads, thick-billed parrots, and red pandas.

On a lovely fall morning, my kids and I made our first foray into New York City. Although admission is free with the WCS membership, parking is not. Because I drove into the city, I did have to find a parking garage a couple of blocks from Central Park, which is a little bit of a pain. I did use a parking app on my phone, which made the process easier. If you have young kids and plan on driving to the Central Park Zoo, I recommend using a stroller and/or baby carrier for the walk from the parking garage to the park. I chose an underground lot about fifteen minutes away, which allowed my kids and me to see a bit of the city as well.

Small Birds at the Central Park Zoo Sea Lions at the Central Park Zoo

Sea Lion at the Central Park Zoo 1 Sea Lion at the Central Park Zoo 2

Sea Bird at the Central Park Zoo Penguin at the Central Park Zoo

Penguins at the Central Park Zoo Snow Leopard at the Central Park Zoo 1

Once we got to the zoo, my kids and I started our adventure by eating a picnic lunch next to the sea lion pool. We got to the zoo just in time to view the sea lion feeding while we ate. My kids also delighted in watching some outgoing small birds eat our crumbs from the sidewalk! We then explored the rest of the zoo. I really loved the snow leopards, and my daughter liked the grizzly bears. My son enjoyed watching the penguins swim in the chilled sea birds house, and he really loved watching the red pandas up close and personal.

Snow Leopard at the Central Park Zoo 2 Snow Leopard at the Central Park Zoo 3

Grizzly Bear at the Central Park Zoo 1 Grizzly Bear at the Central Park Zoo 2

Red Panda at the Central Park Zoo 1 Red Panda at the Central Park Zoo 2

Swan at the Central Park Zoo Tropical Bird at the Central Park Zoo 1

After checking out all the animals in the main zoo, my kids and I headed over to the Tisch Children’s Zoo, home to the only cow in Manhattan! My daughter loved all the opportunities to crawl, jump, climb, and pretend to be animals. She especially liked the huge spider web on which to climb located next to the goat enclosure. All in all, our first visit to the Central Park Zoo was a huge success that made for an enjoyable fall day. If you ever find yourself near Central Park with a few hours to spare, I highly recommend checking out the zoo.

Tropical Bird at the Central Park Zoo 2 Patagonian Cavy at the Central Park Zoo

Cow at the Central Park Zoo Goats at the Central Park Zoo 1

Goats at the Central Park Zoo 2 Duck at the Central Park Zoo

For more information, visit the Central Park Zoo website.

Image Credits

Central Park Zoo © 2016 Heather Johnson
Small Birds at the Central Park Zoo © 2015 Heather Johnson
Sea Lions at the Central Park Zoo © 2015 Heather Johnson
Sea Lion at the Central Park Zoo 1 © 2015 Heather Johnson
Sea Lion at the Central Park Zoo 2 © 2015 Heather Johnson
Sea Bird at the Central Park Zoo © 2015 Heather Johnson
Penguin at the Central Park Zoo © 2015 Heather Johnson
Penguins at the Central Park Zoo © 2015 Heather Johnson
Snow Leopard at the Central Park Zoo 1 © 2015 Heather Johnson
Snow Leopard at the Central Park Zoo 2 © 2015 Heather Johnson
Snow Leopard at the Central Park Zoo 3 © 2015 Heather Johnson
Grizzly Bear at the Central Park Zoo 1 © 2015 Heather Johnson
Grizzly Bear at the Central Park Zoo 2 © 2015 Heather Johnson
Red Panda at the Central Park Zoo 1 © 2015 Heather Johnson
Red Panda at the Central Park Zoo 2 © 2015 Heather Johnson
Swan at the Central Park Zoo © 2015 Heather Johnson
Tropical Bird at the Central Park Zoo 1 © 2015 Heather Johnson
Tropical Bird at the Central Park Zoo 2 © 2015 Heather Johnson
Patagonian Cavy at the Central Park Zoo © 2015 Heather Johnson
Cow at the Central Park Zoo © 2015 Heather Johnson
Goats at the Central Park Zoo 1 © 2015 Heather Johnson
Goats at the Central Park Zoo 2 © 2015 Heather Johnson
Duck at the Central Park Zoo © 2016 Heather Johnson

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