The Bronx Zoo – A Great Summer Getaway

Resting Flamingos at the Bronx Zoo in New York.

Resting Flamingos at the Bronx Zoo in New York.

  • Location: Fordham Road and the Bronx River Parkway
  • Visiting time: summer season from 10 am to 5 pm.
  • Admission: $11-$17
  • Website: http://www.bronxzoo.com/

Located in one of New York’s most famous boroughs, the Bronx, the Bronx Zoo is one of the largest in the world and it features more than 4,000 animals and over 650 international species. Spread on more than 107 ha (265 acres), the beautiful recreational spot includes wild habitats and park lands surrounded by the Bronx River.

Historical Facts about the Bronx Zoo

The zoo is part of a popular integrated system that comprises four zoos and an aquarium administered by the WCS (abbreviation for the Wildlife Conservation Society) and accredited by the AZA (the Association of Zoos and Aquariums). In the past, the land on which the zoo is built was owned by the Fordham University that sold it to the City Hall for an insignificant amount of money ($1,000). The sale was done under one condition: to use all lands to create a zoo and a botanical garden.

Initially referred to as the Bronx Zoological Park, the zoo was opened in November 8, 1899 and it featured 22 exhibits with a total of 843 animals. The buildings were designed in the Beaux-Arts style and were grouped around a huge circular pool designed for sea lions. The Rainey Memorial Gates were designed in 1934 by the famous sculptor Paul Manship, as a tribute to Paul James Rainey, a popular hunter. These gates were later included in the National Register of Historic Places.

Zoo Activities and Attractions

The Bronx Zoo is highly appreciated by families, kids, and adults alike. Children are charmed by sea lions, the dinosaur safari experience, summer camps and more. Besides, the Zoo Center provides visitors with useful information about the earliest days of the zoo. Some of the must-see features and exhibits of the Bronx Zoo are:

  • Congo Gorilla Forest
  • Zoo Shuttle
  • Wild Asia Monorail
  • Butterfly Garden
  • The Bug Carousel

Meeting incredible gorillas can be a unique experience, and luckily for you, by visiting the Congo Gorilla Forest you’ll get the chance to wander through 6.5 acres of typical rainforest where you’ll feel as if you were in Africa. The Congo wildlife safari features a wide range of surprises and you’ll certainly enjoy trekking beneath canopies of leaves or through amazing sprays of mist.

The Zoo Shuttle is an express tour of the Zoo meant to help you catch your breath and relax. The trolley provided by the zoo travels the distance between Zoo Center and Wild Asia, and it makes a stop somewhere near Tiger Mountains. With only one ticket, you have access to unlimited rides that take place several times per day. Besides, senior citizens can enjoy the Zoo Shuttle for free.

Enjoy the Wild Asia Monorail Experience & Butterfly Garden

If you want to sit back while you travel around forests, riverbanks, mud wallows and pastures, the Wild Asia Monorail is the perfect option. All you have to do is admire the views and pay attention to the guide who will help you spot all kinds of animals such as rhinos, elephants and tigers.

Are you charmed by butterflies? Butterfly Garden is the perfect place to admire a large number of butterflies and other interesting insects in a spacious greenhouse that makes you feel as if you were on a wild meadow. Besides, inside the greenhouse you’ll get the chance to listen to some classical music that matches the environment perfectly. Another important attraction is the Bug Carouse, where children can ride a wide range of huge bugs. The flight will be unforgettable since the chariots are reminiscent of all types of crawlies such as bright green grasshoppers and praying mantis with extremely long legs.

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