Wildlife In A Concrete Jungle: The Central Park Zoo

So this post is a little annex off of my trip to Central Park featured in this post - check it out if you haven’t already!

I was originally going to mention the Central Park Zoo with the larger post, but I really enjoyed my experience there and definitely felt that it needed a little spotlight this week. At $12 for general admission, it really isn’t the most expensive thing you can do, specially in the Upper East Side of Manhattan at an attraction that can keep visitors engaged and happy no matter their age.

I’ve only been to the Central Park Zoo one other time, for “Brew at the Zoo” last summer; it was a ridiculously fun event where we paid one price for unlimited beer, but most of the animals were away in their pens for the night and we missed out on basically everything. That being said, I was really excited to finally visit the indoor enclosures, walk the entirety of the zoo, and most importantly, meet my spirit animal: the red pandas.

My first stop was the Tropic Zone just a short walk from the entrance. This ended up being by far my favorite exhibit because, hot and humid as it was inside, it was super immersive. I got the chance to be really up close and personal with some beautiful exotic birds, bats, reptiles and lots of other cool critters.


From there, I made my way to the absolute most important area which was, as I mentioned earlier, the bamboo lined outdoor enclosure with the elusive, the adorable, the magnificent red panda. There were only two of them, and I’m slightly ashamed to admit that I stood at the fence for fifteen minutes to get this mediocre shot with a branch in its face. You’re welcome.

The Central Park Zoo is much, much smaller than most other zoos you’ll visit in the US, so it was easy for me to cover most of it in less than two hours, only leaving out the 4-D Theater, which was available at an extra cost. After taking my time at the Tropic Zone, I strolled underneath the vine-covered trellises past the sea lions, the snow monkeys, and finally up to the grizzly bears and the penguins before heading out.

I found that this was a great place to visit on your own, because not unlike a museum, you can move at your own pace and really just take it all in as leisurely or quickly as you want. The Central Park Zoo as part of the Wildlife Conservation Society is committed to the preservation of wildlife, which is a cause that is really near and dear to my heart. It’s refreshing and uplifting to visit a facility like this, where the price of admission goes right back into education about both local and exotic wildlife.