Trip on a gas tank: Lions, tigers and bears – whoo-hoo!


Oct. 3, 2013
From top left: A Bornean pond turtle; an ebony langur; a white-cheeked gibbon and her baby; a gaboon and a gabino viper; a nyala; a sleeping polar bear; the backside of Yuri the tiger; a peacock; a baby Indian rhinoceros and her mother; two Asian elephants; a flamingo; and giraffes.
Photos courtesy of Carley Dangona
By Carley Dangona

carley@thereminder.com

Many years had passed since I first traveled to the Bronx Zoo for a school field trip. As an animal lover, I had fond memories of visiting the zoo. I returned this fall to find that none of the nostalgia had dissipated. The lush green, tree-lined walkways still towered overhead and the number of animal residents had grown.

The Bronx Zoo boasts a 265-acre campus situated in the middle of the city, that features more than 6,000 animals including its newest addition, a baby rhinoceros.

To see everything in one day is next to impossible, even at a speed-walking pace. Comfortable footwear is a must.

I recommend the Total Experience pass, which costs $33.95 for adults, $28.95 for seniors 65 and older and $23.95 for children ages 3 to 12 (the cost is reduced from March 23 to May 24).

This pass includes all of the special rides and attractions, which can be added on an individual basis for an additional fee.

Admittedly, I skipped the Dinosaur Safari (“Jurassic Park” anyone?), the Congo Gorilla Forest, the Bug Carousel (only because the line was too long), the 4-D Theater (it was too nice of a day to be inside) and the Zoo Shuttle.

I made sure to check out JungleWorld and the Wild Asia Monorail. JungleWorld is just that, you completely forget you’re in a zoo. The décor, temperature and foliage made this exhibit world-class.

The thick, humid air of the jungle envelops you as you enter the exhibit. As you walk through the building, open exhibits line either side of the pathway. The animals were close by and looked around curiously. The baby white-cheeked gibbon hitching a ride with mom made for the cutest photo.

The monorail is my favorite feature of the zoo. Last time, I saw a Siberian tiger for the first time. This time, I saw a baby Indian rhinoceros, Mongolian wild horses and the backside of Yuri the tiger.

I highly recommend the Madagascar! exhibit that features four kinds of lemurs and a variety of lizards and insects. Just outside of that is the sea lion habitat – to my dismay you can’t swim with them.

The World of Birds, the Aquatic Bird House, the Sea Bird Aviary and the Birds of Prey are a must for bird lovers. Although, if you are squeamish, I don’t recommend the vultures if it’s feeding time – just saying.

The World of Reptiles and the Mouse House are also enjoyable. A fan of the Discovery Channel’s “Wild Recon” I was exited to see some of the snake species in person, all be it thankful they were behind glass.

For me, the African Plains were the most enjoyable walking tour. Some highlights: the African wild dogs were adorable (yes, I realize that would not be the case if I came face to face with one in its natural habitat), the hyenas were enormous and the giraffes were beautifully graceful.

The most entertaining part of the day was lunch at Dancing Crane Café, not because of the food (although tasty), but because the peacocks roam the grounds. I actually had one stay with me the entire time – clearly it just wanted my lunch, but he was by far the most polite lunch guest one could ask for, let alone the prettiest.

To plan your trip to the zoo, visit www.bronxzoo.com. To make the most out of the experience, plan which exhibits you want to see ahead of time.


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