Monday, September 24, 2012

Bronx Zoo Baby

For a while now, we've been saying we wanted to check out the Bronx Zoo.  On our most recent trip to NYC, we finally got to cross it off our bucket list, plus we thought it would be fun to take Colt!

With more than 600 species from around the world and sitting on 265 acres of prime real estate, the Bronx Zoo is one of the world's largest metropolitan zoos.  The land that became the Bronx Zoo was sold to the city of New York for $1,000 from Fordham University under the condition that it was to be used for a garden and a zoo in order to create a natural buffer between the campus grounds and the expanding urban sprawl.
Bronx River

The 24 mile long Bronx River is the only  fresh water river in New York City and, you guessed it, flows right through the Bronx Zoo.

The best way to see the river is by taking the monorail.  The monorail is also the only way to see some of the animal habitats, including the tiger den.  As in the tiger den that housed the 11-year-old Amur tiger that mauled a 24-year-old nut job who jumped off the monorail in order to "be one" with the animal.  And yes, we were there-on the same monorail-just two days before that happened!

On the monorail...
Bachuta had no idea he was going to get a visitor soon!
The zoo has been open to the public since November 1899.  Back then it only featured 843 animals in 22 exhibits.  Today, you'll find more than 4,000 animals, many of which are endangered or threatened.  We didn't see all 650 species, but we sure saw a lot!

General admission tickets are normally $16.95 for adults and children under two are free...unless you go on a Wednesday like we did.  The zoo doesn't charge an admission for Wednesday visitors, but does offer a $12.95 'Total Experience' package deal.  This allows you unlimited access to rides and attractions that you would have had to pay separately for otherwise.  We saved a ton of money by purchasing this option!

Now which way?
But here's the real problem:  the zoo only operates from 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  We got there at noon thinking we would have plenty of time to check things out.  Wrong.  We felt like we barely scratched the surface even after staying until just before closing, and we weren't exactly dragging our feet.  Heather was super sad that she missed seeing the notorious Bronx Zoo Cobra (and Twitter buddy) that escaped last March.

The zoo is simply huge!  And the real bummer is that the folks that run the joint know it...the Bronx Zoo website's FAQ page readily admits that you really can't do it all in one day.  Which is fine for locals, but sucks for the tourists who come out of their way to visit.  If you have a week to spend in NYC, you're probably not going to be making two trips to the Bronx Zoo no matter how much you love animals.

We think Colt really enjoyed the zoo (as in, he didn't cry-so that's good, right?).  He certainly got to see and do a few things for the first time.

We think his favorite part was riding the Bug Carousel.  He saddled right up on a nice praying mantis and just went to town!  We were laughing too hard to get a good picture of the humongous grin he had on his face, but it was priceless!


He made for the best souvenir!