Central Park Zoo and Tisch Children's Zoo
In a steamy rain forest or in an icy Antarctic penguin habitat, the Wildlife Center at the Central Park Zoo introduces visitors to fascinating animals - from tiny leafcutter ants to tremendous polar bears. Explore the Tropic Zone, a beautiful tree filled rain forest environment, the Temperate Territory, where sea lions and monkeys frolic, or the Polar Circle, where you can watch polar bears swim underwater thanks to a plexiglass wall.
If you are visiting with kids, don't miss the wonderful Tisch Children's Zoo, designed especially for children age 6 and under, letting little animal lovers meet gentle creatures up close. This "Enchanted Forest" features a petting zoo with goats, sheep, cows, pigs and other furry animal friends. Admission to the children's zoo is included in the price of admission to the main zoo.
Through the American Zoo and Aquarium Association's (AZA) Species Survival Program, the zoo is actively involved in helping endangered species, including rare tamarin monkeys, Wyoming toads, thick-billed parrots, and red pandas. Year-round education classes and innovative public programs - including the zoo's "Wildlife Theater" -- encourage all ages to learn more about our natural world, and become involved in its protection.At the Zoo by Jason Wiggins
The Central Park Zoo's five acres seem tiny compared to the over five hundred acre sprawl of the Bronx Zoo. Like the Prospect Park Wildlife Center, this zoo is arranged in a circle around a sea lion pool; a pathway that takes you past the outdoor pens that have monkeys, otters, water birds, and polar bears. The indoor exhibits are the tropical and polar ecosystems, with wildly colored jungle birds, bats, more monkeys, snakes, polar bears, penguins and puffins. The staff gives talks about the animals at various times during the day, which are posted on signs in front of the exhibits. You can also see some feedings if you get to the zoo at the right time.
The Tisch Children's Zoo, just across 65th Street from the Central Park Zoo, is a petting zoo with mostly farm animals; pigs, cows, sheep and goats as well as rabbits, turtles and some waterfowl. You may see staff members dressed as frogs, turtles or various other animals. Dispensing machines here give you a handful of feed for fifty cents and the animals will come up and eat it right out of your hand.
If you're visiting the city with children, don't miss these two zoos. A good visit to both will take two hours or more.