Located in the South-east corner of Central Park, The Zoo was not an original part of the Greensward Plan. However, the informal gifts of exotic animals to the park during the construction, it became a necessity to house these animals. It used to be just a menagerie in the quarters by the Arsenal housing a bear, some exotic animals, and swans. In 1864, the zoo received a formal charter confirmation by New York’s assembly which made it the second publicly owned zoo in the United States.
Since its opening, it had few renovations and some bigger improvements in 1930s, 1960s and 1980s. One of the most important improvements was made by Aymar Embury II in 1934. He created the sea lion pool which is still the center of the zoo today. He studied the daily routines of the sea lions and made the pool according to this study. This pool was considered advance considering the date it was built. In 1961, The Children’s Zoo where sheep, goats, ducks, and other domestic animals can be pet was opened. It was renovated by $4.5 Million donated by Laurance A. Tisch. Now, its name is Tisch’s Children Zoo to honor him. Between the Zoo and Tisch’s Children Zoo, there is George Delacorte Musical Clock which was dedicated by the publisher and philanthropist George Delacorte in 1965. There are some instruments playing animals figures and the clock digitally plays 32 nursery songs every hour.
Today, Central Park Zoo is a very popular family attraction where you can see more than 170 animal species including endangered species such as red pandas and tamarin monkeys. There are tropic, temperate, and polar exhibit areas in order to properly house each animal and maintain their original habitat’s features. You can also watch sea lions and penguins during their feeding hours for free at the pool.
picture source: http://rivieracaterers.