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Top 10 Best Zoos in New York City You Should Visit

If you’re a fan of animals and adventure, you’re in for a treat! 

New York has some of the best zoos around, offering exciting experiences for animal lovers of all ages. 

From towering giraffes to playful penguins, these 10 best zoos in New York promise a day filled with fascinating creatures and unforgettable memories. 

So get ready for a wild journey through these incredible destinations, where the wonders of the animal kingdom await.

Bronx Zoo

The Bronx Zoo is the largest zoo in New York, spanning over 250 acres and houses an impressive array of 750 species. 

This is hands down the best zoo in New York City. 

It offers a unique animal-watching experience thoughtfully designed to intrigue visitors in different exhibits. 

Lions rule the African Plains section, and Gorillas find their abode in the Congo Gorilla forest. 

The zoo’s star animals include Leopards, Monkeys, Bears, Tigers, and a menagerie of fascinating creatures. 

Children are in for a treat with hands-on animal interactions, including donkeys, sheep, and goats. 

Adding to the allure is the 4-D theater, a major draw for visitors seeking an unforgettable adventure.

Opening Hours: 10 am to 5 pm

Year Opened: 1899

Best time to visit: Early morning

Ticket price: $34

Location: 2300 Southern Blvd, The Bronx, NY 10460, USA | Get Directions

Prospect Park Zoo

The Prospect Park Zoo is in the heart of Brooklyn with its expansive 12-acre facility.

It has over 125 species and takes pride in its family-friendly exhibits, tailored to engage visitors of all ages. 

Explore the Sea Lion Court, where majestic marine mammals thrive in their natural element.

You can venture into The Hall of Animals, an introduction to some of the zoo’s tiniest yet most enthralling residents, from poison dart frogs to fennec foxes. 

At the Discovery Trail, you can experience a walkthrough featuring various creatures, from red pandas to dingos.

Opening Hours: 10 am to 5 pm

Year Opened: 1935

Best time to visit: Early morning and late afternoon

Ticket Price: $25 

Location: 450 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225, United States | Get Directions

Central Park Zoo

The Central Park Zoo in New York attracts kids and adults with its diverse array of animals. 

From snow leopards and snow monkeys to grizzly bears, the zoo showcases a remarkable range of wildlife.

The Central Park Zoo is home to some of the world’s most venomous creatures. 

Specifically designed to cater to young children, this zoo invites kids to feed and interact with animals. 

Make sure to visit the Delacorte musical clock, where hippos, bears, and goats come to life. 

And don’t miss the charming Dancing Crane Café, offering a delightful food experience. 

While the Central Park Zoo promises an array of attractions, please refer to the website’s guidelines, as not all features are included with general entry tickets.

Opening Hours: 10 am to 5 pm

Year Opened: 1864

Best time to visit: Early morning

Ticket price: $20

Location: East 64th Street, New York, NY 10021, United States | Get Directions

Queens Zoo

The Queens Zoo in New York is renowned for its harmonious environment where animals coexist peacefully. 

This smaller-sized zoo primarily focuses on North American animals and is one of the best zoos in New York.

Visitors can enjoy the engaging performances by the sea lion at various intervals throughout the day. 

There’s a delightful petting zoo for kids with on-site food availability and other additional activities for families.

Queens Zoo in New York is easily accessible by bus or car.

It has a playground adjacent to the petting zoo, allowing children to play around in a natural habitat.

Opening Hours: 10 am to 5 pm

Year Opened: 1968

Best time to visit: Early morning

Ticket Price: $10

Location: 53-51 111th St, Queens, NY 11368, United States | Get Directions

Staten Island Zoo

Known as the biggest ‘little’ zoo in America, the Staten Island Zoo is a must-visit for NYC residents and visitors. 

If you’re passionate about wildlife conservation and eager to explore new animals, this zoo is the perfect starting point. 

It boasts an aquarium and regularly organizes fundraising initiatives.

This allows visitors to actively participate in wildlife preservation. 

Attractions like the Amur Leopard Habitat, the Conservation Carousel, and the Sahara Exhibit promise a delightful experience. 

Opening Hours: 10 am to 4.45 pm daily

Year Opened: 1936

Best time to visit: Early morning and late afternoon

Location: 614 Broadway, Staten Island, NY 10310, United States | Get Directions

Tisch Children’s Zoo

The Tisch Children’s Zoo is located near the Central Park Zoo.

It offers a fantastic opportunity for children to interact and play with animals in a safe and healthy environment. 

This small petting zoo is home to goats, cows, sheep, pigs, and other furry creatures. 

Kids can even hand-feed the animals. 

Daily shows by nearby performers and bronze sculptures of animals placed next to their pens allow children to learn different animal sounds in a fun and interactive way.

Opening Hours: 10 am – 5 pm

Year Opened: 1997

Best time to visit: Early morning and late afternoon

Location: Within Central Park Zoo at 64th Street and 5th Avenue | Get Directions

Wild Animal Park

The Wild Animal Park is a hub of entertainment and exotic animals and one of the best zoos in NYC. 

This place offers many attractions, from baby kangaroos to new exhibits featuring cheetah cubs and a “catwalk” for guests to walk under. 

Visitors can see leopards, Bengal tigers, giraffes, snow leopards, and other fascinating creatures worldwide. 

The park not only provides a fun-filled family experience but also offers valuable learning and educational opportunities.

Opening Hours: 

Weekdays: 10 am to 5 pm

Saturday: 9.30 to 6 pm

Sunday: 9.30 to 5 pm

Year Opened: 2023

Best time to visit: Early morning

Location: 7621 Lakeport Rd, Chittenango, NY 13037 | Get Directions

Seneca Park Zoo

Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester is a 20-acre facility home to around 100 animal species.

It was established in 1894.

The zoo hosts various special events, including Summer Experiences during the warmer months, Breakfast with Santa, Zooilation, ZooBrew, Jungle Jog., etc.

This 5K race winds through the park and zoo. 

Children can connect with nature through unique experiences like Masai giraffe feedings. 

The park also features two concession stands, the Crater Canteen and Eagle’s Landing Café. 

As a bonus, visitors can bring outside food for a picnic.

Opening Hours: 

April 1 through October 31

Monday to Sunday: 10 am – 5 pm

Year Opened: 1894

Best time to visit: Early morning

Location: 2222 St Paul St, Rochester, NY 14621, United States | Get Directions

Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Syracuse hosts the Rosamond Gifford Zoo and is a home for over 900 animals. 

The zoo was established in 1914.

They earned accreditation from the Association of Zoo and Aquariums in 1987 for guaranteeing the best possible living conditions for its inhabitants. 

Must-see attractions include the Helga Beck Asian Elephant Preserve, the USS Antiquities Cave, and the Social Animals Building. 

This zoo is designed to let visitors interact with and observe animals in various ways. 

It’s closed only on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

Opening Hours: 

10 am – 4.30 pm daily

Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day 

Year Opened: 1914

Best time to visit: Early morning and late afternoon

Location: 1 Conservation Pl, Syracuse, NY 13204, United States | Get Directions

Buffalo Zoo

The Buffalo Zoo is the nation’s third-oldest zoo.

It is the largest tourist attraction in Western New York, following the grandeur of Niagara Falls. 

Wander through a fully enclosed South American rainforest, where you’ll encounter squirrel monkeys, toucans, and vampire bats. 

You can explore the Delta Sonic Heritage Farm, a children’s zoo.

It features an authentic 19th-century barn that recreates life along the Erie Canal in the 1800s and has pigs, sheep, turkeys, and a mule. 

The zoo offers a unique opportunity to go behind the scenes at the giraffe or rhino exhibits.

Opening Hours: 

Daily: 10 am to 4 pm

Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas

New Year’s Eve: 10 am – 2.30 pm

Year Opened: 1875

Best time to visit: Early morning

Location: 300 Parkside Ave, Buffalo, NY 14214, United States | Get Directions

FAQs About the Best Zoo in New York

1. What’s the best time to visit the Bronx Zoo?

For a less crowded experience, mornings are ideal. 

If you’re an early bird, the zoo opens at 10 am, offering a great chance to see animals actively during the cooler part of the day.

2. Can I purchase Bronx Zoo tickets online?

Buying tickets online is recommended to skip the ticketing lines and enter the zoo directly.

3. What age qualifies for free entry at the Prospect Park Zoo?

Children aged two and below get free admission.

4. Are strollers allowed at the Central Park Zoo?

Strollers are welcome, making exploring easy for families with young children.

5. Is parking available at the Queens Zoo?

Yes, there’s parking available for a fee.

6. What’s the significance of the 4-D theater at the Bronx Zoo?

The 4-D theater provides a multisensory experience where you can watch entertaining wildlife movies and feel part of the action.

7. Can I bring my own food to the Seneca Park Zoo for a picnic?

Yes, visitors can bring outside food to enjoy a picnic at the zoo’s designated areas.

Featured Image: Vinicius Gomes on Unsplash

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