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Central Park Zoo
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Central Park ZooThe Highlights
Central Park's Zoo showcases animals from tropical, temperate & polar zones around the world.
The Central Park Zoo is small, only 6.5 acres that began in the 1860s as a menagerie, making it the first official zoo to open in New York. The menagerie evolved from gifts of exotic pets and other animals informally given to the Park; the original animals on display included a bear and some swans. In 1864, a formal zoo received its charter from New York's assembly, making it the United States's second publicly owned zoo, after the Philadelphia Zoo, which was founded in 1859. Today, the sea lion pool in the center courtyard is a visitor favorite. The sides of the pool are glass enabling viewers to watch the sea lions playing and it’s especially fun to watch them during feeding time when they perform simple tricks for their meals. Of course, the nearby penguins are perennial attractions. At the Children's Zoo, kids can get close to a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig, a cow, sheep and goats. Small bronze sculptures of the animals stand next to each pen and when touched, the sound of that animal emanates from the sculpture. In the center of the Children's Zoo is the Enchanted Forest and in the central aviary you will see live turtles and frogs along with birds.
Location: East Side between 63rd and 66th Streets