North & South America

Central Park Zoo New York

Central Park Zoo New York

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.

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