Bronx Zoo Road Trip
|The Bronx Zoo is a world-class animal park in the nearby New York City boro of the Bronx. It's a great road trip destination for kids of all ages.|
The Bronx Zoo is most easily accessed from Long Island via the the Bronx River Parkway. There are many public transportation options, but from outside the city driving will probably be your best bet. Parking is expensive, at $12 per car it's more than Disney World. The lots are all paved and well-marked. There is always an army of parking attendants working, but this can be a mixed bag as they're often young people who may never have driven a car, so be prepared for some misdirection. Once you leave your car behind, the Bronx Zoo is full of large and paved walkways that are easy to navigate with a stroller and can handle pretty large crowds.
While it can get pretty crowded, the Bronx Zoo offers many quiet spots like this pond for swans in which you can duck out of the masses for a minute. There are public restrooms everywhere, and they're large and well-maintained. We found that they were clean and well-stocked even during that last trip before getting back in the car to head home.
Of course, the main attraction at the Bronx Zoo is the animals. You'll find an incredible variety here, mostly organized by geographic region: Africa, Asia, North America. The tigers are in their own exhibit space, as are the monkeys, reptiles and amphibians. Most of these enclosed areas prohibit strollers inside, but there is plenty of stroller parking. A few of the areas even offer checking services, where they give you a numbered tag to pick up your stroller later.
The Skyfari cable car gives you a bird's eye view of the park as it shuttles you from one end of the park to another. When you enter the zoo, you are given the option to purchase just the admission or a pay-one-price for entry to the extras like the skyfari and exhibits that charge a separate admission like the Asia monorail ride and the Congo gorilla habitat. We recommend the pay-one-price. Not only will it save you a few bucks over the course of the day, but you can skip past the lines of people who are purchasing the one-time tickets.
At the other end of the Skyfari from Asia you'll find yourself at the edge of the food court and a short walk from the bug carousel. The pay-one-price will let your kids get on this nice ride until they drop. It's a very well-made carousel, and the bug theme is definitely unique. Back at the food court, there are many food options. They have the standard fried chicken fingers and hot dogs with fries, but they also offer healthier sandwiches and fruit salad. It's a little on the expensive side, but not out of line with what you'd expect at an amusement park. They offer a souvenir cup for $8.99 that gets you free refills, a good bet on a hot day.
Also at this end of the park is the Children's Zoo. Here, kids can get a closeup view of many animals. The alligators will come right up to the glass to greet visitors. Another very popular spot is the prairie dog habitat, where kids can pop their heads up from a tunnel and find themselves right in the middle of a prairie dog colony (called a 'town'). There are some active spots as well, like a giant spiderweb that kids can climb and a large slide built into a tree. The children's zoo ends in a petting and feeding area with goats, sheep and pigs.
Another highlight mentioned earlier is the Congo gorilla habitat. This area features a number of primate habitats on the way to the gorilla forest. It's a very well-done atmosphere, with waterfalls and misters that are welcome on a hot day. The pavilion that you walk through to view the gorillas is full of educational displays as well as a theater where talks are given. It can get pretty crowded in this part of the exhibit, but it is well-designed with two levels for sitting and watching the gorillas do their thing.
There are many other animals that we did not mention here, and a day spent at the Bronx Zoo will be a full day of exploration. In fact, depending on how quickly your kids walk and how interested they are in some of the animals, you may not be able to see it all in one visit.
The Bronx Zoo is open every day from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. , 5:30 on weekends. Admission is $15 for adults, $11 for kids aged 3-12. The pay-one-price is an extra $12 for adults and $10 for kids. Family memberships are available for $120 and include admission to other properties such as the Brooklyn Aquarium and the Central Park Zoo.
The Bronx Zoo
Official Site: http://www.bronxzoo.com/
Find it on Google Maps
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