Spend a Couple Hours »Central Park Zoo

central park zoo polar bearIt's so near, yet I haven't been to the Central Park Zoo since I was a kid. I could only recall the Delacourt Clock so I must have been one hard to?impress little kid, because there's much more to it than it's lovely timepiece.

It's a small place, but packed with wows. We were there in time for the exciting feeding of the seals and some docent info at the penguins and puffins room, where despite myself I had to laugh when a puffin turned its butt to me and sprayed poop. On a cuter note, a tiny baby penguin's beak was peeking out of the rocks getting fed by mama.

Monkey Island is also pretty awesome; a mini haven for baboons toting little babies too. The Rainforest is the largest exhibit, mostly indoor with numerous animals, like tropical birds, just fed boas, toads, poisonous frogs, and bats – which I could just not capture on camera – the legend about vampires might be true after all!

The best part, without a doubt, though was the polar bear, who was swimming in a loop and got so close to the glass that you could imagine running your hands through his fur while taking a nap in the tundra. It was amazing to see an animal so big, so graceful in the water.

Nearby is the Children's Zoo, which is certainly geared towards little kids, hence the name, but it's worth a quick walk through to see llamas, sheep, moo cows, and fatty pigs.

There will be a long line to get in anytime during the summer, and it will be over run by kids (and a few tourists wielding odd tourist street portraits like this) it is their domain after all – we were just there to enjoy a summer Friday and grab a hot dog.

One word of wisdom, though, skip the “onions” – I am apparently not a New Yorker enough to know that hot dog cart “onions” means onions in sickly sweet red sauce.

Still,?I highly recommend the cart eating option as opposed to the Leaping Frog Caf?, an absolute mad house teaming with screaming kids and nannies maneuvering plates of cold fries topped with lumpy chicken fingers. The rest of the zoo, once you get through the line is peaceful and fun even when crowded.

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Posted on August 11, 2008

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