#NYisWild: Bronx Zoo

This post is continues my #NYisWILD series. Check out the first post explaining the #NYisWILD competition here

My first stop in the #NYisWild competition was the Bronx Zoo. The exhibits at this Wildlife Conservation Society zoo are so well done, it makes you feel like you've been transported halfway around the globe. Much of the signage around the Bronx Zoo is focused on conservation and key issues specific species are facing. While I wandered, it became clear WCS not only cares about educating visitors, but also about communicating how their programs (and your donations) help make an impact.

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After frequenting the National Zoo on a regular basis while I was a resident of D.C., I am acutely aware that it’s often the species walking freely on the opposite side of the animal enclosures that can be the most wild (if you catch my drift). At the Bronx Zoo, I was pleasantly surprised to find the crowds were engaging with the signage and making their best efforts to pronounce the strange animal names, like “Okapi", to their children. One little boy, who couldn’t have been much older than five, pushed past me as I photographed the bizarre zebra-like antelope species. In an authoritative voice well beyond his age, he announced, “It says these are endangered mommy. They are so rare. They need our help to save their forest.” And just like that, the seeds of conservation are planted within the minds of a new generation.

I think I was a little ambitious thinking I could capture all 36 ways #NYisWILD at the Bronx Zoo in just one day. Because this park is so large, I recommend dedicating a full day to exploring, keeping the map in your back pocket, and making good use of the shuttle. I also recommend taking a telephoto zoom lens (or binoculars for your little ones) to capture the wildlife that likes to sit further away from the crowds.

The wildlife highlights from my trip to the Bronx Zoo included the gorillas (the baby!), the sea lion feeding (the one day old baby!), and the lemurs in the Madagascar House. I didn't interact with very many staff members, and that's partly due to the fact that the campus is so large. When I showed up to ride the Wild Asia Monorail at 4:30pm, I was told rather abruptly it was closed. Bummer! At least it gives me a reason to go back.

The Crane Cafe was the best cafe out of all the WCS zoos I visited. Wander past the registers and into the dining hall where you'll find a wall with an outlet. It's the perfect place to charge your phone while you indulge in an ice cream sandwich.

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The Bronx Zoo is open daily from 10:00am to 5:00pm (5:30pm on weekends and holidays). Entrance is free on Wednesday, but it's worth buying the "Total Experience" pass for $14.95 if you plan on walking into at least 3 exhibit halls or taking the shuttle & monorail. The Bronx Zoo easily reached by car and subway (it took me an hour from Brooklyn on the 2 train) and Metro North (Harlem, then the Bx9 bus East). More photos from my tour of the Bronx Zoo can be found on my Facebook and Twitter.

If there's a line at the entrance, head for the two electronic kiosks directly across from the ticket booths. They accept credit cards and are the fastest way to purchase tickets. Then, skip the line and enter the park.

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