Central Park is a New York staple and we love the Central Park Zoo. It is one of our favorite things to do on the Upper East Side. One of them – clearly, the other is shopping, but we’ll reserve that for a later date!
The Central Park Zoo is part of the Wildlife Conservation Society. Another perk is that it is open 365 days a year. So, those of you who burn your Thanksgiving Turkey- you know where you can go! It is just the right size for a few hours of leisurely fun. It has shade, benches, and even a few touch exhibits. It is great for a family outing or a romantic stroll (but please remember it is a family-oriented place).
Aside from offering birthday parties and other gatherings, the Central Park Zoo offers programs and tours appropriate for most ages and groups.
Each time we visit my kids find something new that they love about the zoo. This time they fell in love all over again at the Sea Lion pool, Polar Bear habitat, and penguins.
The number one draw for us this week hands down was the Tisch Children’s Zoo. Again.
Tisch Children’s Zoo
It doesn’t matter how many barnyard animals we meet in our travels, or how dirty or stinky they are; my kids have to pet every single one of them. Every stinkin’ one. Did I mention every one? Feeding them is just another added bonus – for the kids, not mom. I don’t know about your kids, but my kids love sticking their hands right up to the mouths of all these animals. It doesn’t matter in the least to them that these are all animal with mouths full of teeth, or that they are holding tiny little niblets of grain in their already sweet smelling sticky little hands. Thankfully, when their new friends come it is only the niblets of grain that they eat!
Sea Lion Pool
I have learned to time it so that we make it for at least one feeding/presentation. The sea lions are not modest; they love an audience, and definitely perform to it. Nothing makes my toddler squeal more than watching the seal lions splash as water as they clap and perform tricks.
Next on our list of favorite places to hang out in the zoo is the Polar Circle. First we always stop to see what the Polar Bear is up to. Lately, it isn’t very much. That guy likes his sleep. I don’t know if it is because he is not a ‘summer bear’ or because we catch him at the wrong time of day. At any rate, when we have had our fill of watching him snooze, we move on.
If any animal could be more opposite of the lazy bear it is the penguins! We could honestly watch the penguins for hours. Nothing makes my kids happier than to stand with their noses pressed against the cold glass while they watch those little tuxedo clad fellas zip through the water. We have tried to time how ‘zippy’ some of them are. The zookeeper informed us that they can swim up to 15 miles an hour! We also try to catch at least one feeding with these guys as well.
Have you ever been to the zoo in Central Park? What are your favorite things to do and see there? Leave your suggestions in the comments.