Bronx Zoo opened on November 1899 with 843 animals housed in 22 exhibits. It was built on land which Fordham University sold to the City of New York for just $1,000 for the purpose of building a zoo. Their aim was that by having a zoo built there a buffer would exist between the university and urban sprawl. The Boone and Crocekett Club were responsible for founding and controlling the New York Zoological Society which would later become the Wildlife Conservation Society. The first director of the zoo was William Temple Hornaday.
During 1906 the zoo was embroiled in controversy when Ota Benga, a mbuti pygmy was placed on exhibit at the zoo. He was displayed alongside an orangutan named Dohong.
Early on the Bronx zoo made efforts to get animals out of cages. This began in 1940 with the opening of the African Plains.
The Safari aerial tram was opened in 1973 followed by the premiere of Wild Asia in 1977 opening up 38 previously undeveloped acres. Visitors view it from a monorail.
Premiering in 1999 was the $43 million Congo Gorilla Forest.
In 2003 visitors were introduced to one of the zoo’s conservation projects when tiger mountain opened. It allows visitors up close of views of the tigers which could previously only be seen from the monorail.
During 2008 the Madagascar! Habitat opened introducing visitors to four lemur varities, crocodiles and hissing cockroaches.
On March 26 2011 a venomous Egyptian cobra escaped the zoo leading to the closure of the zoo’s reptile house. It lead to a Twitter parody, @BronxZoosCobra which shared his daily hijinks until his capture on March 31 in a non-public area of the reptile house.
In 2009 and 2011 the zoo suffered large cuts to the funding which it receives from the City. These cuts led to the closure of some exhibits such as the World of Darkness.
During 2014 a member of congress announced plans to bring a pair of giant pandas to New York. Initially it was suggested they could be housed at Central Park Zoo but this was deemed unsuitable and instead they switched the plans to Bronx Zoo. This proposal was not supported by the Bronx Zoo or Wildlife Conservation Society and as yet no pandas have arrived at the zoo.
Kids have the opportunity to ride upon their favourite insects such as praying mantids, grasshoppers and dung beetles.
One of New York’s more unique transport options you can take an exciting spin on a camel.
Wild Asia Monorail
Enter the heart of Asia’s wilderness on their 20 minute guided journey where you can watch red pandas, elephants and rhinos.
The shuttle can transport you from Wild Asia to Zoo Centre via Tiger Mountain making it easier to get around this enormous zoo.
Nature Trek includes a range of climbing structures and towers for children to explore. It also has a nature play area.
Make sure you check the zoo’s website for pricing, terms, conditions and seasonal operating hours.
The African Plains is an expansive barless habitat where you can enjoy views of lions, African wild dogs, giraffes, gazelles, nyala and zebra.
Aquatic Bird House and Sea Bird Aviary
Encounter a number of water loving birds at this habitat. It is the home of Caribbean flamingos, tufted puffins, Inca terns and magellanic penguins.
Meet one of only two troops of Gelada baboons in the U.S roaming through a recreation of the Ethiopian highlands. You can also meet Nubian ibex and rock hyrax.
Birds of Prey
Some of the birds featured here include the snowy owl, bald eagle and king vulture.
See over a dozen species of butterfly as they glide past you. This habitat is home to about 1,000 butterflies at a time.
Carter Giraffe Building
The Carter Giraffe Building allows visitors to see the giraffes even during the winter months when it is too cold outside for them. It is also home to an aardvark.
Meet a number of animals in the newly renovated Children’s Zoo. Kids get the opportunity to meet goats, sheep and alpaca.
Congo Gorilla Forest
This 6.5 acre (2.6ha) exhibit houses 20 or so gorillas. It opened in 1999 and by 2014 had made $12.5 million to support conservation in Africa. It has also had great success in breeding with a number of gorillas, red river hog, okapi and guneons born here.
Meet red pandas along with snow leopards like Leo.
Journey through the jungles of Asia to encounter ebony langurs, Malayan tapirs and white cheeked gibbons. This habitat is housed in 1 acre large habitat. Animals are not separated by full height barriers instead ravines, streams and cliffs act as barriers.
This habitat was a renovation of the former “Lion House” which closed in late 1980s. Now It houses hissing cockroaches, Nile crocodiles, Coquerel’s sifaka, red ruffed lemur, ring tailed lemur, fossa and Madagascan tree boa.
Enter the nocturnal world of rodents where short-eared elephant shrew, fennec fox and chinchilla can be seen along with others.
Sea Lion Pool
This habitat sits in the middle of the park. Sea lions have lived at the Bronx zoo since 1899 when they were one of the first residents at the zoo.
Home of the Amur tigers from Russia.
World of Birds
Observe numerous impressive avian creatures inhabiting open air exhibits. Here you can see Bali mynah, white-throated bee eater and great blue turaco.
Built in 1908 Zoo Center is now the home of the zoo's larger reptiles such as komodo dragons and aldabra giant tortoises. Nearby the southern white rhinoceros can be viewed.