Our school had half days last week so as a treat I took my two children and their two friends for an afternoon trip to the Staten Island Zoo. It was a short 20 minute ride from my Union County home and made for an enjoyable 90 minute day out in the (finally!) nice weather.
The New York zoo is in a park-like setting, with some construction happening on a new carousel and new leopard exhibit. It’s small enough for an older toddler to manage without a stroller. Upon entering we went straight to the Children’s Center. There we found lots of animals for petting, barns with cows, pigs and horses, and a pond with ducks. Food is available for purchase to feed the animals in this area. The zoo also offers pony rides at an additional cost. The main attraction in the children’s area is Staten Island’s famous “Staten Island Chuck” groundhog. He even has his own solar-powered home!
Most of the other attractions are inside buildings at the Staten Island Zoo. We were impressed with the aquarium and the reptile house! So many snakes! My son who is a fan of Peter Pan was excited to see the “Tick Tock Crocs” and my daughter was appropriately grossed out by the bat exhibit. CC the sloth had some notoriety lately on the Today Show, and she is visible in the nursery area from 11-12 and 3-4. We were first amazed by the peacocks that freely roam the zoo, but quickly got used to them. They wouldn’t open up for us though!
The zoo does offer some special programs coming up, so be sure to check their website at www.statenislandzoo.org. It’s also just about 3 miles from the Staten Island Ferry – perfect for a free trip into Manhattan!
The zoo is located at 614 Broadway, West Brighton, Staten Island New York. It is open daily from 10-4:45. Admission is free (donations suggested) on Wednesdays after 2, or daily rates are $8 for adults and $5 for children. Parking is free. Membership gets you reciprocal privileges (free or discounted admission) at over 100 zoos, including Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange and Philadelphia Zoo.