NOTE: The zoos and
aquarium below (except the Staten Island Zoo) are operated
by the Wildlife Conservation Society. For more information,
Exit 6 off the Bronx River Pkwy., the Bronx
Kids can hop from the Congo Gorilla Forest to the Himalayan
Highlands to the African Plains to see a whopping 4,000-plus
animals in naturalistic environments. Special attractions
include camel rides (seasonal), the Skyfari (glide over the
zoo for a bird’s-eye view of the animals), daily feedings,
and the new Tiger Mountain exhibit, featuring Siberian tigers.
Adults $11, children $8, kids under 2 free.
|Camels are an alternative means of transport
at the Bronx Zoo. (Photo Credit: Kristine Larsen)
Central Park Zoo
830 Fifth Ave., at 64th St., in Central Park
The Central Park Zoo has been home to animals large and small,
two- and four-legged, furry and slimy, since the 1860s. Today,
kids can befriend penguins, polar bears, and parrots. Tisch
Children’s Zoo offers educational programs for the littler
ones, from touch time (play with turtles, hedgehogs, frogs,
ferrets, lizards) to overnight pajama parties, where zookeepers
teach kids the care and nocturnal behavior of the animals. Adults
$6, children $1, kids under 3 free.
New York Aquarium
Surf Ave. at W. 8th St., Coney Island, Brooklyn
The oldest aquarium in the U.S. has everything under the sea.
Check out the “Alien Stingers” exhibit, featuring
jellyfish, sea anemones, coral, and other stinging seafarers.
Whales are an enduring favorite, as is the Aquatheater production,
starring sea lions that do their best to splash the audience.
Adults $11, children $7, kids under 2 free.
Prospect Park Zoo
450 Flatbush Ave., near Empire Blvd., Brooklyn
Prospect Park focuses on educational exhibits that promote
wildlife exploration. Children can watch baboon families interact
in their natural environment, walk among prairie dogs and
red pandas, or feed barnyard friends such as goats, alpacas,
and, a favorite, Aggie the cow. Adults $5, children $1, kids
under 3 free.
||New Zoo Residents
||Prairie Dog Pups,
2300 Southern Blvd., the Bronx
Go see the ten adorable new prairie-dog pups at
the city’s biggest zoo. Born at the beginning
of the summer, they’re now big enough to chase
each other around the zoo’s Prairie Dog Town.
53-51 111th St., at Flushing Meadows–Corona Park
With its predominantly American flavor, the Queens Zoo is home
to animals you would otherwise need to drive cross-country to
see: California sea lions, American bald eagles, bison, and
mountain lions. The buildings housing the zoo’s four-legged
tenants are interesting in themselves. The aviary, for example,
is a geodesic dome originally used in the 1964 World’s
Fair. Adults $5, children $1, kids under 3 free.
Staten Island Zoo
614 Broadway, near Harvest Ave., Staten Island
This lesser-known attraction is a mutt of sorts: part aquarium,
part tropical forest, part pony barn, part African savannah,
and part animal hospital. Exotic residents include baboons
and leopards. There’s also a children’s petting
zoo. Adults $5, children $3, kids under 3 free.
Farm Museum 73-50 Little Neck Pkwy., Floral Park
Dating back to 1697, this working farm is home to an orchard,
an herb garden, and lots of goats, sheep, cows, chickens,
and pigs. Families can tour an eighteenth-century farmhouse,
take a hay ride, and see the inner workings of a greenhouse.
There’s also a corn maze and a pick-your-own-pumpkin
patch. Don’t miss the annual County Fair (9/18–9/19),
with blue-ribbon competitions and pig races. Admission is
$5 for grown-ups, $3 for kids 12 and under; non-event days
White Post Farms
250 Old Country Rd., Melville, N.Y.
About an hour from Manhattan, White Post Farms is an animal
lover’s heaven, with traditional pony rides and a good-size
petting zoo (the baby goats and lambs are the most popular).
For grown-ups, White Post offers the Craft House, the Fruit
and Vegetable Market, and a greenhouse. Admission is $4 per