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Central Park Zoo

The Central Park Zoo is located in Central Park in New York City and opened as a formal zoo in 1861 though animal’s were housed in the park from 1859.

It is the second oldest zoo in the United States and is managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society. This group also manage the Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium, Prospect Park Zoo and Queens Zoo.

Over 1 million people visit the zoo each year.

Star Animals


Pattycake was the first gorilla born in New York during 1972. In 1982 she moved to the Bronx Zoo before she passed away during 2013.


Gus was the last polar bear to be housed at the Central Park Zoo. He was there from 1988 to 2013.

central park zoo



South Australia, Australia

Year Opened


Land Size

2.8ha (7acres)

Number of Animals

1,400 (2016)

Number of Species

160 (2016)


A zoo was not included in original plans for Central Park. During 1859 gifts of exotic pets began to see a menagerie spontaneously evolve. Animals such as bears and swans were part of the original collection. During 1864 a formal zoo received charter confirmation from New York’s assembly. This meant it was the second publicly owned zoo following the 1859 founding of Philadelphia Zoo.

During 1875 the zoo was granted a permanent home behind the Arsenal building.

In 1961 the Children’s Zoo opened with large amounts of funding coming from Senator Herbert Lehman and his wife Edith. It featured ducks, rabbits and chickens in a petting zone along with “Whaley” a large fibreglass whale who served as the entrance.

During 1980 the New York Zoological Society assumed control of a dilapidated zoo. It was closed in the Winter of 1983 so demolition could begin. This saw old fashioned menagerie cages replaced with naturalistic habitats. While the opening was planned for 1985 it took another 3 years. This redevelopment saw the zoo focus on smaller animals moving the larger ones to the Bronx Zoo. The original seal pool still remains at the centre of the zoo. It was also decided to charge for entry.

In 1997 the Children’s Zoo was renovated as a result of a $4.5million grant from businessman Laurence A. Tisch. It was renamed the Tisch Children’s Zoo.

During 2009 the Allison Maher Stern Snow leopard habitat opened with three leopards moving to it from the Bronx Zoo.

In 2014 a pair of grizzly bears were moved in to the former polar bear habitat following some small renovations.


4-D Theatre

In the 4-D theatre guests can watch a 3-D movie while built in sensory effects make it come alive.

Main Exhibits

Allison Maher Stern Snow Leopard

Opened in 2009 this exhibit allows you to watch the snow leopards navigate their steep terrain with such grace.

Sea Lion Pool

At the heart of the zoo is the sea lion pool housing Californian sea lions with both above and below water viewing.

Grizzly bear

These bears moved to the zoo from the Bronx Zoo after Gus died. They were rescued from the wild after becoming too comfortable with people

Polar Circle

Journey to icy kingdom and gaze at harbour seals, Gentoo, king and chinstrap penguins gliding through the water. Also on exhibit are water birds such as the kind eider and tufted puffin.

Temperate territory

Journey to Asia to visit snow monkeys, red pandas and cranes.

Tisch Children’s Zoo

Kids are able to crawl, jump and climb while pretending to be animals. They can meet potbellied pigs, sheep and goats. There is also the only cow in Manhattan along with Patagonian cavies.

Tropic Zone-The Rainforest

Meet emerald tree boas, black and white ruffed lemurs and Victoria crowned pigeons as you journey from the forest floor to the canopy.


Central Park Zoo Website –

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