Bronx Zoo

Bronx Zoo 1 - Babyccino NYC Guide Bronx Zoo 2 - Babyccino NYC Guide Bronx Zoo 3 - Babyccino NYC Guide Bronx Zoo 4 - Babyccino NYC GuideEach of New York’s five boroughs has a zoo to call its own, but the city’s flagship zoo, the Bronx Zoo, is not only the largest in New York, but also the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States and among the largest zoos in the world. It is part of a system of four zoos and one aquarium managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society, which aims conserve wild habitats and protect vulnerable special around the globe. While we visit Prospect Park Zoo here in Brooklyn more frequently, it has been a little over a year since we made our way up to the Bronx to spend a day at the big zoo. This past weekend we made the trip, arriving just before the zoo opened for the day and staying well past nap time, soaking in the beauty of a late fall day and the appreciating the smaller crowds that come with visiting outside of the busy summer months.

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At 265 acres, the zoo’s size makes it challenging to view all exhibits in a single visit. We made a big loop beginning and ending with the parking lot were we left our car, and concentrated our time in a few key exhibits I knew would be big hits with our daughter. She particularly loved the Children’s Zoo, which reopened in May 2015 after extensive renovations. There, most exhibits include interactive portions: sitting inside a large heron’s nest, climbing a rope spider web, comparing the length of your jump to that of zoo animals, riding a twisty slide down the middle of a hollow tree, and trying a pair of fennec fox ears on for size. Far from exotic but certainly popular with small children is the barnyard, where you can purchase food to feed the resident goats, sheep, alpacas, and donkeys, climb a tractor, and pump water for the donkeys to drink. I am certain she would have happily stayed in the Children’s Zoo for our entire visited had we not nudged her along!

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Other popular stops during our circuit were the Bug Carousel, where you can take a spin on a praying mantis or a grasshopper, and Congo Gorilla Forest, which allowed us to get up close and personal with one gorilla sitting right behind the glass and where we delighted in watching several mama gorillas carry around their young. The gorilla exhibit in particular is large and immersive, in many ways a far cry from old-fashioned and confining zoo habitats. Finally, the Wild Asia Monorail proved quite exciting, as I suspected it would. The train carries riders through simulated Asian habitat, permitting views of many animals, such as Indian elephants, that can only be seen from this ride. We rode the monorail late in the day, and I thought for certain my daughter, who typically would have napped two or so hours earlier, would finally succumb to sleep encouraged by the train’s gentle motion. Instead, she sat at rapt attention, gleefully pointing out animals as she spotted them through the trees, and asking to ride again when our circuit finished.

Further details:

  • While we drove to the Bronx Zoo, it is accessible by public transit by taking the BxM11 bus from stops along Madison Avenue in Manhattan or taking the 2 subway to the Pelham Parkway stop.
  • Hours differ depending on the season: in the warmer months the zoo stays open until 5pm (5:30 on holidays), while during the colder months, from November through early April, the zoo closes at 4:30pm because of the shorter daylight hours.
  • Two types of entry tickets are available: General Admissions and Total Experience; the latter grants you access to all of the zoo’s premium exhibits and experiences (like the Children’s Zoo and the Gorilla Forest). Admission to the zoo’s premium offerings can also be added to a General Admissions ticket by paying an additional fee to enter those experiences.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to do a lot of walking – a stroller or carrier for small children is definitely advised, and strollers can be rented if necessary. Certain exhibits require your stroller be left in a designated parking area outside, so be sure to carry all valuables with you.
  • For those who are less enthusiastic about lots of walking, there is a shuttle train that makes a large loop of most main zoo exhibits.
  • Food and snack stands are located throughout the park, and include a main cafe with plentiful seating overlooking a natural marsh area. You are also welcome to bring a picnic lunch and eat it in designated areas.



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