neighborhood highlights

Must-See Central Park

by Heather Liang, 05/15/2013

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  • Central Park Zoo 
    The Central Park Zoo is a microcosm of the world's wildlife population, offering a glimpse into the jungles beyond the City. The zoo is maintained by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which also oversees the Bronx Zoo, Queens Zoo, New York Aquarium and Prospect Park Zoo. The Central Park Zoo was not part of the original vision for the park, but after it began receiving informal gifts of wild animals, plans to build a menagerie to house them were approved in 1864. Over the next century, the zoo continued to grow and expand, and in 1980, the WCS took over. In 1988, the organization opened the renovated facility that we know today, located between 63rd and 66th Streets on the Fifth Avenue side of the park. The zoo houses more than 130 species of animals, all kept in environments that mimic their natural habitats—from tropical to temperate to polar zones. The staggering list of animals includes grizzly bears, penguins, red pandas, snow leopards, birds, frogs and much more. A particular favorite of most zoo-goers is the sea lion feeding, which takes place three times daily at the Sea Lion Pool. The Tisch Children's Zoo, added in 1997, offers a petting zoo, the Enchanted Forest and educational programs for children led by the WCS Educational Department.

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