In line with getting out more often now that it’s Spring, Jack and I headed to the Central Park Zoo to meet up with one of my high school friends and her daughter who were in town visiting family.  I’m almost embarrassed to admit that the Central Park Zoo is another one of those NYC places that I’ve always wanted to visit, and have even passed THROUGH, but have never really stopped to enjoy.

Penguins at the zooPenguinstuck in an eggshellpetting the goats

At Heather’s suggestion, we made plans to meet up for lunch and enjoy an afternoon of visiting the City-fied animals.
It’s a cute zoo, and hard to fathom that this venue is nestled on the east side of Central Park in NYC.  Central Park, in general, is a great escape and oasis from the concrete jungle.  So, to listen to a symphony of animals with both a tree and skyline backdrop is almost surreal.   meeting friends

Because it was only in the 40s yesterday, the park wasn’t too packed.  It was still crowded with tourists and cavalcades of moms and nannies with strollers, but it was still manageable.  I’m imagining the zoo to be total lunacy on weekends and in warmer weather.  So, I’m glad we went on a sunny, brisk weekday.  We got to see all the animals without fighting the touristy crowds.  Per usual, Jack wanted to run around and make friends with all the animals; however, his idea of running around involves sprinting in the opposite direction.  He “made friends” with a peacock, some bunnies, goats and an alapaca.  His favorite animal though, was, of course, the pigeon–as in the “flying rats” that linger in every city park.  um yea.  There was a cow, but Jack wanted nothing to do with it because he was so busy chasing the pigeons.  The kid’s petting zoo, which is an extension of the maPolar bear scratching his backin zoo, was a perfect way for my toddler to toddle and explore the animals first hand.  From the egg shell to the spider web to the bunny faces, Jack enjoyed checking out the interactive features that were meant to be handled and climbed for visitors his height.
I loved seeing the seals, penguins, puffins and polar bears.  One of the polar bears was busy trying to scratch his back on a rock, it was too cute!  I don’t think I’ve ever seen polar bears at any of the zoos I’ve visited in my travels, so to see them at the Central Park Zoo was pretty cool.  The Central Park Zoo was a refreshing kiddie outing and a great way to entertain an out of town friend I haven’t seen in years!
Be warned, however, the ticket office only takes cash.  So, for those of you who don’t carry cash like myself, be prepared!  Kids under 3 are free, and at $10 adult tickets are pretty reasonable.  The little cafe within the zoo was crowded and somewhat unorganized, but not bad for a quick bite to eat.  No strollers are allowed inside the cafe, so be prepared to leave you stroller out front.