#NYisWILD: Prospect Park Zoo

At the edge of Prospect Park along Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn sits the Prospect Park Zoo, a 12 acre zoological facility that originated in 1935. With an entrance fee less than the cost of a movie ticket, it's certainly an affordable form of afternoon entertainment. However, after visiting the Bronx Zoo, the Prospect Park zoo felt small and not as nice. If you're exploring the zoo with small children, the Prospect Zoo is much easier to navigate than the Bronx Zoo. Unlike the Bronx Zoo, the Prospect Park Zoo is the kind of place you leave feeling confident you saw everything.

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Though the Bronx Zoo exhibits a larger variety of animals, the Prospect Park Zoo offers a few unique attractions of its own. The Discovery Trail with Australian dingoes and emu really stood out to me.

The Barn area, where several different kinds of sheep and goats live, was another highlight. Feed is 50 cents and there is a hand washing station nearby.

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The landscaping around the zoo was also very well done.

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There was a 96 Elephants table where Prospect Park Zoo volunteers helped young children with an interactive activity designed to raise awareness about elephant poaching.

I left the Prospect Park Zoo a bit disappointed, though. The animal houses felt dated. The circular foyers provided great viewing access even when it was crowded, but extended into dimly lit carpeted rooms that were unappealing. The cafeteria and gift shop also underwhelmed me, so I recommend bringing a packed lunch. As an alternative, you could also head down Flatbush Avenue to Park Slope to dine before or after your zoo exploration. 

To reach the Prospect Park Zoo, take the 41 or 47 bus or the B/Q subway line (or the Franklin Ave. Shuttle) to Prospect Park. The zoo is within walking distance of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (which also just opened a new children's discovery walk), the Carousel, Leffert's Homestead, and the trails within Prospect Park. In the summer, combine your visit to the zoo with the Saturday morning farmers market at Grand Army Plaza or Sunday morning Smorgasburg. During the winter, I also recommend combining with a visit to the Brooklyn Museum.