If you want to get away from the noise and hustle of the city streets for a day, then head to New York City’s Bronx Zoo and explore the sprawling acres of one of the largest metropolitan zoos in the country. The zoo features exhibits with over 4,000 animals, with outdoor exhibits that include the African Plains, Baboon Reserve, Birds of Prey, Congo Gorilla Forest, Himalayan Highlands, Tiger Mountain, and the Sea Lion Pool. As part of the many indoor exhibits, you will find Aquatic Birds, Jungle World, the Monkey House, the World of Darkness, and the World of Reptiles.
The Congo Gorilla Forest exhibit at the Bronx Zoo is a huge 6.5 acre African rain forest environment with more than 300 animals, including one of the largest breeding groups of lowland gorillas. This is truly one of the zoo’s most fascinating exhibits, featuring Colobus Monkeys, Red River Hogs, Western Lowland Gorillas, Mandrills, and Okapis. This exhibit transports you to the rain forest, and you suddenly forget that you surrounding city as you take in the sights and sounds.
The Himalayan Highlands exhibit takes you on a journey to the high passes and mountaintops in Nepal. The natural habitat is one acre and houses some incredible endangered animals. Keep your eyes open for snow leopards, red pandas, and white-naped cranes. As you trek through the highlands, a winding path leads you through rhododendrons, oaks, and conifers, under cave formations and around boulders, and over bridges that span wide ravines. Watch the big cats and leave your stress behind!
Another big delight at the Bronx Zoo is the 37,000 square foot Asian Rain Forest, complete with a mangrove swamp and scrub forest. This exhibit alone features 780 animals that represent 99 species. You don’t even need to don your rain gear as you journey through trees, vines, and various Asian plans to discover silvered leaf monkeys, white-cheeked gibbons, black leopards, Malayan tapirs, green peafowls, and Asian hornbills.
When you arrive at the zoo, be sure to check the schedule for feeding and enrichment sessions, such as the one at Tiger Mountain, which allows visitors to get up close and personal. The trainers encourage the tigers’ natural instincts and behaviors using built-in, play-inspiring features and very big cat toys for very big cats. Meet the experts who work with the tigers, and watch training sessions between cats and keepers. Other sessions that you can attend include Primate Training at the Monkey House, Sea Lion Feeding at the Sea Lion Pool, Penguin Feeding at the Sea Bird Colony, the Bee-eater Buffet in the World of Birds. Each exhibit is unique and gives you a closer view of some of the most amazing animals in the world.
To get an overhead view of the zoo, you can ride a cable car that carries you high above the winding trails and trees. You can also ride a tram through various exhibits, and don’t forget to visit the new Bug Carousel, which will delight all children, young and old. The insect carousel is hand carved and painted, and the beautiful ride includes species like the Chinese Mantid, a praying mantis with a brownish body and wings and a green abdomen; a Southeastern Lubber grasshopper that is reddish brown with spotted wings; a reddish-orange Convergent ladybird beetle decorated with black spots; a red-eyed periodical cicada that features a dark body, red eyes and legs, and yellow/orange wing veins; yellow and black striped honey bees, and even a Goliath beetle. The carousel is an incredible work of art and a very fun ride! If you want to ride the real thing, just get in line for a camel ride.
With many nooks and crannies to discover and explore, you can easily spend an entire day at the zoo. The zoo offers plenty of shaded and peaceful resting spots, where you can sit back and soak in the scenery and sounds. You will also find many places for dining and lots of opportunities to buy various toys and souvenirs. This is truly one of the greatest escapes from the rush of the city streets, as the Bronx Zoo immediately transports you into a world of wonder.