5 Must-Sees at the Central Park Zoo

Tuesday, May 20, 2014
We spent 2 days in New York City over the weekend. Our first day was filled with city exploring and shopping. Our second day was spent at the Central Park Zoo.

I love visiting zoos, and whenever I travel, I make a point to try to squeeze in a trip to the zoo if the city has one to offer. Some of my favorites include Philadelphia Zoo, Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, Denver Zoo, and San Diego Zoo.

Sunday was our first trip to Central Park Zoo. There is something incredible about a zoo placed in the middle of a sprawling metropolis. We loved it so much, we're planning a summer trip to another NYC zoo: Bronx Zoo.

Are you planning a trip to NYC during the summer? If so, pop in to Central Park Zoo. It's a nice 2-3 hour distraction from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Before you go, check out my list of the 5 things you must see when visiting Central Park Zoo.

1. Sea Lions
Located in the center of the zoo, the sea lions are a real treat. Upon arriving, we checked out this exhibit first. The four sea lions were happily swimming and perched on the rocks to sun themselves. We walked around the zoo, and after we were finished seeing all the other animals and exhibits, we circled back to see the sea lions again.

This time they were very active. Putting on a show for the spectators, but there was no trainer to be found. They were jumping, splashing, diving, and even interacting with the audience. As we stood there, we were unaware that it was almost their feeding time. Obviously as their feeding time approaches, they become much more rambunctious than they are otherwise. Their antics are not to be missed!

2. The Red Panda
If you like pandas, you'll love red pandas. They are smaller, cuter, fluffier versions of their big cousins, the panda. They have long, puffy tails similar to those of a raccoon and the sweetest little faces. We, unfortunately, didn't get a head on look at it's face, as it was sitting in the tree like this the entire time.

{Photo credit: Central Park Zoo}
3. Snow Leopard
The elusive snow leopard proved to be just that on the day of our visit. We caught a momentary glimpse of it as it was shifting positions in the sun. But the pictures of it on the zoo literature and Web site are incredible. I would have spent my entire day there waiting to see it, but I had some impatient little friends with me.

4. Penguins
The Antarctic penguins are seriously fun to watch. We happened upon the exhibit just as 4 penguins were huddled together with one of them at the helm. It looked like a conductor leading an orchestra of three. I loved seeing them waddle around. Penguins are among some of the most social birds on Earth, and it was interesting to step back and observe them as they "socialized" with each other. Rarely did we see a penguin standing alone.

5. Your Surroundings
I was in awe of the fact that we were in a zoo and everywhere we looked, we were surrounded by skyscrapers. In the middle of a zoo! Tilt your head back and take a look up when you visit Central Park Zoo. You'll be amazed.

For more information and to plan your trip, visit Central Park Zoo online and on Facebook.

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