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    It's All Happenin' at the Bronx Zoo

    Bronx Zoo entranceDating as far back as Dutch colonial times, seems New Amsterdam was always abuzz about some "great whale" that had lost its way up the Hudson River or other exotic 4-footed specimans put on exhibit by a traveling sideshow.

    By 1826, New Yorkers were witness to their first rhinocerous at (Peale's Museum on Broadway) as headlines screamed:..."its body and limbs are covered with a skin so hard and impervious that he fears neither the claws of the tiger nor the proboscis of the elephant!"

    The fascination with local fauna as well as exotic species continued when, in the heart of midtown Manhattan, the "Central Park Menagerie" first officially opened its doors in 1864 to become the the country's second publicly owned zoo (after the Philadelphia Zoo, founded almost five years earlier.)

    Not to be outdone, by 1899 the Bronx boasted its own zoo with a mission to serve not only as public entertainment, but to use its wide expanses to house endangered animals. There were 843 animals in all, housed in 22 separate exhibits.

    However, the pride of its collection was its herd of endangered American bison. Today, many bison in the western U.S. are descendents of those Bronx Zoo animals.

    After nearly a century, the Bronx Zoo is now world famous for its continuing work in protecting endangered species, and boasts some 4,000 species of animals along with the title of World's Largest Zoo, comprising 265 acres of city parklands.

    Bronx Zoo gibbons
    White-cheeked gibbons
    at the Asian rain forest.



    The Bronx Zoo is open 365 days a year from 10AM to 5PM on weekdays and 10AM to 5:30PM on weekends and holidays.

    General admission prices are $15 for adults, $13 for seniors and $11 for children (kids under 2 are always admitted free).

    POP (Pay-One-Price) Pass provides seven admissions to the zoo plus special attractions (excluding camel rides) at one low price beginning at $25 for adults and somewhat cheaper for seniors and children.

    Note: Wednesday's at the Bronx Zoo are always "pay as you wish", and very popular with local school groups and large families. Just be warned that as a result it also proves to be the busiest and most crowded day of the week.

    Bronx Zoo Must-Sees

    • Highlights of the zoo include its pride of snow leopards which have been successfully bred at the Bronx Zoo, with 82 cubs born between 1966 to 1999.

    • Also don't miss the Congo Gorilla Forest, 6.5 acres devoted to an African rain forest habitat and home to 400 animals including 23 lowland gorillas, one of the largest breeding groups in North America.

    • For toddlers and kids of all ages, the Butterfly Garden (opened from March to November) is another delight as 1,000 brilliantly colored butterflies flutter freely through the outdoor exhibit.

    • If you're in the city for the Christmas season, also don't miss their special programs including a light display with animal topiary ablaze with thousands of holiday lights.

    How to Get to the Bronx Zoo

    While acres of land are given over to the animals, too little is alloted for cars which, on too many occasions, results in families abandoning their zoo plans for want of a parking space...so mass transit is always strongly advised especially during the summer season.

    By Bus
    Express Bus from Manhattan :
    Take the BxM11 express bus along Madison Avenue that travels directly to the Zoo’s Bronx River entrance (Gate B).
    Within the Bronx :
    Take Bx9 or Bx19 buses to 183rd Street and Southern Blvd, near Gate C, or the Bx12 or Bx22 buses to Fordham Road and Southern Blvd, then walk 5 blocks south on Southern Blvd to 183rd Street.
    From Queens :
    Take the Q44 to 180th Street and Boston Road, then walk north to the Bronx Zoo’s Asia gate entrance (Gate A).

    By Subway
    Take the #2 or #5 train to East Tremont Ave/West Farms Square. Walk 2 1/2 blocks along Boston Road to the zoo’s Asia gate entrance (Gate A).

    By Train From Grand Central Terminal
    Take Metro North’s Harlem line to Fordham, then take the Bx9 bus eastward to 183rd Street and Southern Blvd.

    More about the Bronx Zoo around the Web:

    The Bronx Zoo - Official Site

    Bronx Zoo and Botanical Gardens Photos

    Bronx Zoo - Are We There Yet?

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