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Weekend Adventures with James & Mom .... featuring New York area weekend trips with James and his Mom as they search for fun, excitement and learning adventures! ....

Bronx Zoo Adventure

bronx zoo entranceWhat James says: Have you ever heard of an African wild dog? Me either, but this weekend we went to the Bronx Zoo. They have a brand new exhibit of African wild dogs. They have a pack of 19. I learned some very interesting facts from Dakota, an intern at the zoo, and Margot Mendel, a wildlife conservation volunteer for 12 years.

They explained how there are only about 2,000 to 3,000 of them are left in the wild. Mrs. Mendel traveled to Botswana to learn about the animals and didn't see any roaming free because they are so endangered in the wild. The Wildlife Conservation Society is working really hard to help them in the wild and keep them from extinction.

The African wild dogs are pretty cool. They look like a calico hyena. The African wild dog is not like the hyena though. One of the biggest ways that they are different is that they have a family unit that cares for its young and its old, most other pack animals eat the old and weak. The pack has only one female-mom and one male-dad that have the pups, the rest are brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles, all taking care of each other. Pretty interesting, huh?

The wild dogs exhibit is just one of the new things at the zoo. Then there is the Bug Carousel - instead of a horse, you can ride on a dung beetle that's rolling poop (or a lady bug if you don't like the whole sitting-in-poop idea!)

The Butterfly Garden is different, but still very cool. There are new cutouts outside the butterflies to take pictures with, you can be a bee or a fly. The Congo Gorilla Forest is amazing, too. The gorillas are huge and pretty funny. You never know what they are going to throw.

bronx zoo butterfly garden

A view to the Bronx Zoo's
popular Butterfly Garden

The Children's Zoo is cool. You can climb into a prairie dog burrow and pop your head out to look around, while real prairie dogs run around you. You can climb into a jumbo birds nest, climb up a big spider web, leap like a frog, listen to whispers like a desert fox, then pet and feed animals.

At the Himalayan Highlands you can see the snow leopards. Then there is Tiger Mountain, and the Wild Asia Monorail for birds' eye views of elephants and rhinos.

There are so many things to see at the Bronx Zoo I can't even remember everything. We kept walking and walking,

Yeah it's a lot of walking, but you just keep seeing more and more animals. You will really have an awesome time here, but I think you should plan more than one day or you are never going to be able to see and enjoy the whole thing.

What Mom Says : The Bronx Zoo first opened in November 1899, with 22 exhibits and 843 animals. Now it is considered one of the world's greatest zoos. The Bronx Zoo is the crux of the largest network of metropolitan zoos in the country, and the spirit of the Wildlife Conservation Society . There is no other zoo in the world that offers the variety, fantastic viewing, and world-renowned expertise combined with award-winning, progressive exhibits featuring over 4,000 animals. Having said all that, what a great day!

We walked, and walked, and walked and the kids enjoyed every single minute of it. We brought the umbrella stroller and the wagon. We used both.

Parking Tips - The Bronx Zoo is located at Fordham Road and the Bronx River Parkway, Bronx, New York. Contact phone: 718-367-1010. You'll also find Bronx Zoo directions easy to follow by car, train or bus from their Web site. The Bronx Zoo is open 365 days a year. Monday - Friday 10 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Weekends & Holidays 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

watching giraffes at the bronx zoo
James watches as a
giraffe lunches on leaves.

Parking is $8.00 per car and $16.00 per bus. Entrance fees Thursday - Tuesday adults $12.00, Children & Seniors $9.00, children under 2 are free, and Wednesday's entrance fee is donation (whatever you can afford). Special rides & attractions fees are per person, $2.00 for Bug Carousel, $3.00 for the Children's Zoo, Congo, Skyfari, Zoo shuttle and Butterfly Garden, $5.00 for the Monorail and Camel rides. Last entry to special rides & attractions is 30 minutes prior to Zoo closing.

There are four parking lots, but I prefer the Bronx Blvd. lot because you enter the zoo close to the children‘s zoo, where the skyfari and zoo shuttle start. The Asia lot enters the zoo by the World of Darkness, also the other end of the skyfari and a zoo shuttle stop. The Bronx River Pkwy is right off the highway so that is where most tourists park, but it is a bit of a hike to get into the heart of the zoo, not too bad when you first arrive and are fresh, but at the end of a long day it feels like quite a trek.

The Fordham Road lot fills up first. This lot enters the zoo at the fountain and by the sea lions, a prime entrance spot. This is for early zoo-goers, if it is full it is a pain in the neck to get back to the Bronx Blvd lot, so just go ahead to the Bronx River Pkwy lot.

Seeing the Zoo with Kids - We went in August and packed a picnic lunch and lots of water. There are picnic areas as well as concession stands and cafes and plenty of benches throughout the zoo to sit awhile and rest or have a snack.

feeding llamas at the bronx zoo

James feeds a friendly llama
at the Bronx Children's Zoo.

The Crane Café is air conditioned, good info for hot days. Disposable straws are not allowed in the zoo, so bring sippy cups or cups with the hard plastic straws, if the kids are going to need them. Don't forget to pack the bug spray (don't put it on until after the butterfly garden) and the hand cleaner. The Zoo is rather large and it's a good idea to take a look at the zoo map and plan out your day.

The Congo and the monorail can have quite a line during peak seasons and on Wednesdays. You want to keep that in mind when planning your day, if you leave the special attractions until the end you won't fit them all in.

Overall, it is a fun filled and tiring day. If you live close I suggest you plan to do it in small sections. If you are going to be there all day, plan on a light dinner in the car. We packed a cooler in the car for return trip and the kids were asleep by the time we arrived home!

New Yorkers should go often and visitors should not miss it. If visiting during the holidays, note that the Bronx Zoo is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year's Day, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. 

Save money and avoid the lines with membership - This is the best deal by far for a large family. If you live in the New York area, a Wildlife Conservation Society membership will get you great savings at all of New York's City zoo's (Bronx, Queen's, Central Park or Prospect Park Zoos) as well as the New York Aquarium.

About the authors: James is the oldest of 4 kids. Mom is their Mother, a children's writer, educator & photographer. They live in New York with their Dad and pet dogs, cats, geckos, and turtles.

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