There is no better way to spend a day in New York City than walking around Central Park. I like to walk and people watch, and my children love to spend time in one of the many playgrounds. We’ve been to Central Park at least half a dozen times and had never been to the zoo. Actually, we had never even seen the zoo. Central Park is just so big!
So, on a glorious fall afternoon, we set out for the Central Park Zoo.
As soon as we walked in, we saw the sea lions swimming in a pool. Colorful foliage and skyscrapers painted a dramatic backdrop. We watched the sea lions swim in circles and jump out of the water. The kids were amused, but I was upset. The tank seemed outrageously small for such large mammals.
We walked over to the penguin house. It was dark and crowded, a combination of situations that can send a mother into panic mode. I am fortunate to have children who are as cautious as I am in crowded places, so we stuck together.
The penguins were really playful and curious. They swam right up to the glass and looked into our faces. Once again, the kids were delighted, but it seemed like too small a space for so many penguins.
We took a break from the outdoor portion of the zoo to watch a 4-D movie called Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. It was hilarious to me, but this time it was Leah who was horrified. When one of the characters “sneezed”, we were sprayed with water. Leah was revolted, and I don’t think she believed me when I told her it was just water!
After the movie, we spent about a half an hour looking at the red pandas, rain forest exhibit, and the snow leopards. We made our way to the small children’s zoo. They had a petting area, but readers of this blog know my kids are not ones to enjoy petting animals. Instead, they had fun leaping from lily pads, climbing in spider webs, and posing in animal statues. It was like a giant playground to them. We could have spent an hour in there, but it was closing time.
Overall, it was a great afternoon in the zoo. I prefer larger zoos that keep animals in more natural and larger environments, so I don’t think we’ll return. However, we did have a great day in the city. Next time, we’ll stick to people watching and climbing in Central Park’s playgrounds.