Now that school is out, there is so much time for families to enjoy spending time together. Why not begin your family’s summer celebration by visiting some of the amazing NYC zoos and its only aquarium? Following is some basic information to get you started.
This is the country’s largest metropolitan zoo with more than 6,000 animals. Popular exhibits include Tiger Mountain, World of Birds, and the Congo Gorilla Forest. They offer great holiday events as well as educational activities for all ages.
I have been to this zoo with my kids. I highly recommend that you split your visit into two (or more!) visits if you have small children – the zoo is huge! Budget tip: Wednesday admission is a pay-what-you-wish donation.
Location: 2300 Southern Boulevard; Bronx, NY 10460
Phone: (718) 367-1010
Central Park Zoo and The Tisch Children’s Zoo
Open since 1988, this Manhattan zoo has over 130 species of animals. They offer year-round education classes and public programs. Areas of the zoo include tropic, temperate and polar regions. Polar bears, penguins, monkeys, and sea lions are some of the more popular animals.
Added in 1997, The Tisch Children’s Zoo (designed especially for children 6 and under) lets children meet gentle animals up close. The Central Park Zoo also offers a variety of educational programs for children of all ages including introducing students to science concepts.
I have taken my sons to both zoos several times. On our most recent visit, the penguins were drawing a large crowd (probably because of the recent surge in penguin-themed movies).
Location: 830 Fifth Avenue (at 64th Street); New York, NY 10021
Phone: (212) 439-6500
New York Aquarium
Families can enjoy learning about the ocean life at this only aquarium in New York City. They offer education programs and exhibits featuring 300+ species of animals. They also have a gift shop, eating area and room for parking. Budget tip: Admission on Fridays from 3:00 p.m. until closing is pay-what-you-wish.
Location: West 8th Street @ Surf Avenue; Brooklyn, NY 11224
Prospect Park Zoo
Opened in 1993, this interactive zoo has three major exhibit areas designed to engage children in learning about wildlife: The World of Animals, Animal Lifestyles, and Animals in Our Lives. Hamadryas baboons and red pandas are some of the more popular animals. Their education department also offers year-round classes and programs for school groups and the general public.
Location: 450 Flatbush Avenue; Brooklyn, NY 11225
Opened in 1992, this zoo focuses on North and South American animals. It contains more than 400 animals and it is the only New York home to spectacled bears. Other popular attractions at this small zoo include mountain lions, coyotes, and black bears.
Location: 53-51 111th Street; Flushing, NY 11368
Staten Island Zoo
This small zoo maintains a zoological garden where small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibian and tropical fish are on display for observation and study.
Location: 614 Broadway; Staten Island, NY 10301