Getting to the Bronx Zoo couldn’t be any easier or cheaper. Catch the BxM11 Express bus from Madison Avenue (don’t forget your fistful of quarters!), about 30min later youll be at the stop. Make sure your driver knows you want to stop at the zoo as the stop is not at the zoo itself, you have to walk under a small bridge to get to the entrance. So try and stay awake!
Photo tip: keep your eyes open as you cross the bridge into the Bronx you will see the dilapidated “Welcome to the Bronx” sign, authentic in an unintentionally cliched way.
A measly 15 clams will get you into the Zoo. Remembering, animals are seasonal creatures so different times of the year will mean different things for different animals. In general, the colder months will see less activity, on the plus side, there is less activity from visitors as well, so its very easy to get around and also finding that perfect photoing spot. Walking through the first section its clearly noticeable that they have quite a bit of land to play with and it doesn’t feel like its in the middle of one of NYC’s toughest burroughs.
First stop was one of the biggest aviaries we’ve seen in quite some time. Many smaller enclosures along with a few large “free fly” areas, very easy to lose track of time if you spend too long trying to find each type of bird in each enclosure.
Back on track, everyone’s must see are the tigers. That day, as announced by the rangers, they were a little lethargic and not really in a playful mood so they weren’t treated like circus animals to “perform” for their food.
Heading over to the seals, fans of “Friends” will see Marcel and his mates. The seals themselves seem to love the attention and were only too happy to pose and perform with an uncanny awareness of where the cameras were and which was their good side!
Waterbirds like Puffins and Penguins surrounded the seal areas.
Head to the eatery for some lunch, outside has fastfood staples at less than average fast food quality with meals sitting under heat lamps, good if you like soggy burgers and fries. Inside you can get healthier options with prepackaged salads, sandwiches and rolls and hot beverages. Service was hit and miss at best but on par with just about any place with staff that weren’t working for tips.
Keep an eye out for friendly neighbours like squirrels and peacocks, only too happy to say hello in a scarily over domesticated way (caught a Tienanmen square stand off with a peacock and park ATV transporter). This is a good time to grab a few souvenirs as well and if you missed out on Disneyland or Santa Monica pier, the large indoor carousel is your next best thing.
Last major stop on our way out was the reptile display with all matters of frogs, lizards, snakes, ‘gators and turtles which always make for some good photos.
The park is open from 10am-4.30pm and on the right day you should be able to leisurely see the whole thing in 4-5 hours depending on how many kids you have and the time of year. If you did bus it there, just make sure you leave enough time to get back to the bus stop (outside the main entrance near the bridge, there’s only a little sign, no bench or anything) as they tend to be rather sporadic and infrequent.
The bus ventures back into Manhattan via Central Park so you may want to include an afternoon stroll in there as well.
Next up, we start to wind down our whirlwind holiday with some good ol fashioned mouth opened, eye squinting sight seeing, NYC style.
New York City 2010 part #1 – The flight in…
New York City part #2 – Shopping: Midtown
New York City part #4 – Sight seeing – Manhattan
New York City part #5 – Sight Seeing – Brooklyn Markets and Gardens
New York City part #6 – Shopping: Soho