Search This Blog

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Visiting the Bronx Zoo - New York City

When you hear "The Bronx" of New York, you probably aren't thinking world class zoo". This big New York City borough is densely populated and typically doesn't make the cut compared the the famously popular Brooklyn and Manhattan boroughs. The Bronx is home to some famous attractions including Yankee Stadium, the Botanical Gardens, and the Bronx Zoo. 

After visiting our small but cute zoo here in Connecticut and Central Park Zoo, we wanted to take the kids to a bigger zoo that had some of those nostalgic animals like elephants, gorillas, and giraffes. We planned to go on a Monday before kids were out for the summer and the weekend crowds took over. We were leaving from the Connecticut shoreline and planned to leave around 8:30 with hopes of dodging some of the commuter traffic on the highway. We pre-purchased our tickets (more on that below) and headed to New York with our stroller, lunch, a million snacks and sunscreen in tow.

You can't appreciate just how big this zoo is until you arrive in the park. You also have to remember it's within a densely populated city which makes its size even more impressive.  When considering its size in terms of area, it's one of the largest zoos in the country and is the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States, totaling 265 acres.

The zoo opened in 1899 and has been in the headlines since with their award winning exhibits. From its inception the zoo has played a vital role in animal conservation. In 1905, the American Bison Society was created in an attempt to save the American bison from extinction when the wild numbers went from tens-of-millions of animals to only a few hundred. This program was so successful that a mere two years later they were successfully reintroduced into the wild.

The zoo plays an important part in education, environmental conservation, habitat destruction, and more. It is featured on animal planets hit show "The Zoo" and in my opinion, is such an important part in educating children (and adults) on the amazing biodiversity here on earth. You may have your personal opinions on keeping animals in captivity, but I feel so strongly that zoos and aquariums who focus on conservation and education are crucial into raising the next generation to truly care about our planet and preserve it for generations to come. Children need to see a gorilla beating its chest, a lion lounging in the sun, an elephant spraying water, and a giraffe munching on leaves to truly connect the dots and be inspired to care. I was blown away by how amazing these exhibits were, from the monorail ride through the Asia exhibits to the entirely open no glass exhibits that transport you into the habitat of the species you are looking at. 

We were there for hours and barely scratched the surface of what the zoo has to offer. The zoo has 650 species and interactive attractions like wild encounters, the butterfly garden, budgie landing, a children's zoo, a bug carousel, and so much more. The kids had an absolutely blast at the zoo but truth be told, I would happily go back without the kids to experience the zoo again myself. We are lucky to live within driving distance to a world class zoo and if you needed a reason to visit, I hope this post gave you a few. 


  • World of Birds: The Bronx Zoo was one of the first to display these "open air" bird exhibits without barriers. You can walk through the building and see the various exhibits that are open air, literally an open exhibit without glass where you feel like you are transported within the bird exhibits. 
  • Congo Gorilla Exhibit: The gorilla exhibit is so beautifully done its hard to describe. The Congo Gorilla Forest spans 6.5 acres and the exhibit trail visitors walk is approximately ⅓ of a mile long. It feels very immersive as you journey through the exhibit where you can see various animals with the gorillas and nearly 400 species of plants ranging from 50 ft tall trees to orchids.
  • Wild Asia Monorail (seasonal): After walking through the exhibits and reading placards, the Wild Asia Monorail is the perfect place to sit back and see some of the exhibits with a guided audio tour. This is another one of those "borderless" exhibits where you can see the animals without the glass. They can be hard to see as they tend to be further away but the informational tour is educational and kids love the monorail ride. 
  • Roaming peacocks: Simple but I thought all of the peacocks free roaming around the zoo were really fun to see.  There are a lot of them, pretty much everywhere, and it's cool to see them put their feathers on display. 

Tickets/Pricing (Summer 2023)

Tickets need to be purchased ahead of time online and cannot be purchased at the gate at the park. You can arrive at the zoo within one hour of the entry time you select (10:00am time spot means you must enter between 10:00 and 11:00am and you can stay as long as you like). 

Two Different Tickets 
You can purchase two different types of tickets. One which includes all the star attractions in the park (highly recommend). Year-round Star Attractions include: Bug Carousel, Congo Gorilla Forest, JungleWorld, and Nature Trek. Seasonal Star Attractions include: Butterfly Garden, Children’s Zoo, Wild Asia Monorail, and Zoo Shuttle. Budgie Landing is not included with a Bronx Zoo Admission ticket.
The second option is a reduced ticket that is limited entry to the park. 

Flex Pricing
The zoo uses flex pricing and tickets purchased online before you visit will always cost less than tickets purchased on the day of your visit. You can view the calendar of ticket prices. Flex pricing is not a universal increase in price for the Bronx Zoo Admission ticket. During certain periods in our operating calendar, prices will be reduced.

June 2023 Pricing 
Adult (13 & over) $37.75
Senior (65 & over) $33.25
Child (3 - 12) $28.75
Child (2 & under) Free

Wednesday Free/Reduced Tickets
You can buy tickets for Wednesdays (including all star attractions) at a reduced price OR reserve general admission (limited access) tickets for free. Advance tickets are required for Wednesday reduced admission and are made available at 5:00pm the Monday before. There's a maximum of 4 tickets per order.

Zoo Parking

There are two main entrances with parking lots for general visitors and members: Bronx River Gate and Southern Boulevard Gate. Parking fee is $20 for cars/ Bus parking is only available at Southern Boulevard ($23). For best arrival experience, use Southern Boulevard parking lot.


The park is open year round and opens at 10am every day with different closing hours. 
April – October, the zoo grounds close at 5pm Monday-Friday, and 5:30pm on weekends/holidays November - March, zoo grounds close 4:30pm daily
*all animal exhibits close 30 minutes prior to park grounds closing time.


Dancing Crane Cafe: The Cafe outdoor walk-up windows are available daily for food service. There is no indoor dining at the zoo. Outdoor seating is available at Dancing Crane Plaza in the covered pavilion. Additional outdoor picnic seating available around the park. Several other outdoor food service and snack locations may open throughout the park, based on weather and daily attendance.
*We chose to pack/bring in food and have lunch at the picnic tables in the park 

What I would do differently

  • The park was busy in the morning and very quiet after lunchtime when the field trips were over. Aim to see the busier attractions later in the day or visit for the second half of the day.
  • Asia monorail in the afternoon (we waited in a long line and then it was empty after lunch)
  • We didn't have enough time to see everything and missed some star attractions like the Children's Zoo, Budgie Landing, Bug Carousel, and a few more. 
  • I would honestly love to go without kids and be able to do the zoo at a different pace. While it's amazing for kids, this zoo is also a place I would happily come to without kids. 


Wildlife encounters: small group encounters with animal keepers and animals in the park
Treetop Adventures: rope course/zip line

Keep your eye out for fun events like Brew at the Zoo, an after hours brewfest at the zoo. 

No comments :

Post a Comment

Let's Chat!