Central Park Zoo New York stands out as a gem among New York City attractions . Located in New York Citys Central Park at Fifth Avenue and 64th Street, Central Park Zoo is open 365 days a year and is popular with kids and families of all ages. An entire day can be made out of combining trips to both Central Park and this cutting-edge New York zoo within its boundaries.
The history of this New York zoo is as more of an animal collection---a menagerie---that included exotic animals given as gifts from all over the world. Once incorporated in the late 19th century as The Central Park Menagerie, it became the countrys second publicly-owned zoo, after the 1859 founding of The Philadelphia Zoo. Throughout the following century and beyond, this New York zoo continued to acquire various animal gifts from around the world, and its animal housing became more and more dilapidated over the years. In 1980, the Wildlife Conservation Society signed an agreement with the City of New York to renovate and operate the zoo for the Department of Parks and Recreation. Construction began in 1985.
Today Central Park Zoo New York is operated by the Wildlife Conservation Society, and is an example of cutting-edge habitat design. With renovation completed in 1988, Central Park Zoo beckons visitors from all over the world. It strives to replicate as closely as possible animals natural habitats, and includes tropical, temperate, and polar/arctic exhibits. Zoo educational programs teach children all about animals and their preservation, and offer regularly scheduled presentations for both children and their parents. Central Park Zoo operates endangered breeding programs, and works to increase the numbers of red pandas, tamarin monkeys, Wyoming toads, and thick-billed parrots.
Central Park Zoo New York is located at 830 Fifth Avenue, and is handicapped-accessible. Dining options include the Leaping Frog Café, which offers kid-friendly menu items and an educational atmosphere, and zoo visitors can also stop by Zootique Central Park, the official gift shop at Central Park Zoo.
The Wildlife Conservation Society also operates the Prospect Park Zoo in Brooklyn and The Queens Zoo in Flushing, and these together make for a highlight among New York tourist attractions.