When most people think of New York City zoos, they usually think of the Bronx Zoo. And while this is a great zoo, it is by no means the only zoo that offers great family fun in New York City. The Central Park Zoo and the nearby Tisch Children’s Zoo both offer an excellent way to spend half a day (one of the bonuses is that you can see the zoos before the children start complaining too badly about how their feet hurt).
One of the great things about the Central Park Zoo and Tisch Children’s Zoo is the fact that you can get two zoos for the price of one. The two zoos have separate entrances, but the admission (a very reasonable $8 for adults, $3 for children over 3, and $4 for seniors) covers both zoos. The Central Park Zoo is a relatively updated version. It is modern and clean, and there is a great variety of animals. The Central Park Zoo features modern climate displays, including rainforest and antarctic motifs and animals. And, when you are done (it takes about 2 hours to get through the Central Park Zoo), you can rest up at the Leaping Frog Cafe. A simple menu and adequate seating makes a great place to regroup after seeing the zoo. Or, if you prefer, you can bring a picnic lunch. There are obviously plenty of places to sit and eat in Central Park!
Just a short walk away from the Central Park Zoo is the Tisch Children’s Zoo. As mentioned above, if you have paid to get into the Central Park Zoo, your admission is already paid for the Tisch Children’s Zoo. This is the epitome of family fun in New York City. Children will enjoy the opportunity to pet the animals and to feed some of them. There are also “exploration” stations, where children can climb and play and explore nature. Throughout the day, feedings for the marine animals at Tisch Children’s Zoo (harbor seals, sea lions, penguins) will amaze and interest them.
Not only can you see animals at the Central Park Zoo and the Tisch Children’s Zoo, but you can also enjoy a variety of special events. Starting Memorial Day and running through Labor Day, the zoo puts on Wildlife Theater, which is entertaining for parents and children alike. You can check the Central Park Zoo schedule online to make sure that you make your visit during specific events of interest.
Central Park Zoo and Tisch Children’s Zoo is open every day of the year at 10 a.m. During the summer (starting in April), the zoos stay open until 5 p.m. on weekdays and 5:30 on weekends and holidays. During the winter (starting at the end of October), the zoo closes at 4:30 p.m.