Central Park Zoo Road Trip
|The Central Park Zoo is a terrific spot to take a break from the bustle of Manhattan and enjoy some animal habitats.|
The entrance to the Central Park Zoo is near the southeastern corner of the park, best accessed from the corner of Fifth Avenue and 59th Street. If you're riding the subway. the R train stops right here. There are also plenty of parking garages nearby and the whole area is well-paved and easy to navigate with a stroller.
The center of the zoo is the sea lion habitat, visible from the sidewalk outside the zoo and the site of a number of daily feedings. There is amphitheater seating all around the tank, a nice place to stop and have a snack or just enjoy the surroundings. The tank is ringed by lots of garden spaces and benches.
The penguin and puffin house is a popular attraction, especially on a hot summer day. The cool air and personality-rich penguins make a great combination, even if the smell is a little strong. The interior space features a long bench that can help smaller children see past the crowds.
The huge indoor rain forest is a great spot for viewing all kinds of wildlife from the jungle. It won't, however, give you a break from the heat -- it's even more humid than a mid-August day in here. The birds are free to fly around the visitors here, and there are a number of habitats including swamps, high trees and a bat cave. The heavy double doors can be a chore to get through with a stroller, but there's usually a steady stream of people coming and going and there's always someone willing to hold the door.
Fans of It's a Big Big World's Snook will be excited to see a real, live three toed sloth.
Back outside, the Central Park Zoo is probably best known for the polar bear exhibit. The habitats generally transition from north to south along arctic, temperate and tropical zones. Here in the arctic, the polar bears can be viewed from multiple levels -- from above, near ground level and some underwater viewing stations where you can marvel at these large animals swimming around. There is also a large snow monkey exhibit, but on warm days they're usually seeking shelter in the rock formations.
The Central Park Zoo is open every day, from from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during the spring and summer (5:30 on weekends), and from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from November through March 21st. There are a number of playgrounds throughout the park, as well as public restrooms. There is a cafe at the zoo, and plenty of pushcarts around for drinks and snacks. Just outside the entrance to the park on this side is the famous FAO Schwartz toy store, an exciting stop for any kid.
The Central Park Zoo
TeeFour Productions, Inc.