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Visit The Bronx Zoo In NYC
by Johnny Moon

The Bronx Zoo is the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States, comprised of 265 acres of natural habitats and over 4,000 animals. The Zoo was opened on November 8, 1899 and was focused on conservation--something it still practices today. The Bronx Zoo is owned and operated by the Wildlife Conservation Society (formerly known as the New York Zoological Society) and was one of the first zoos in America that moved animals from cages to sprawling, replicated living environments. Species are mixed to create a more realistic environment for the animals and the zoo patrons. The Zoo charges entry fees to assist in the upkeep and preservation of the exhibit's species.

One of the jewels of the Bronx Zoo is the Congo Gorilla Forest, which features over 400 animals and 55 different species (and 22 gorillas), as well as 15,000 plants representing 400 species. The 6.5 acre forest is the largest man-made rainforest in the world. The Congo Gorilla Forest is also home to Patty Cake, the first gorilla ever born in New York City. Additionally, the Bronx Zoo has almost an acre of indoor Asian rainforest. Another interesting habitat is the African Planes habitat, where the zoo workers have integrated a number of predator/prey species separated by an elaborate system of moats. Lions, zebras, giraffes, and other savannah-dwelling animals live in this habitat.

Other attractions include World of Darkness, an indoor exhibit devoted to nocturnal animals; Tiger Mountain, an award-winning three acre home for Siberian tigers; Himalayan Highlands, a one-acre habitat authentically decorated by a Tibetan monk; Baboon Reserve, with a simulated archaeological dig; the Bengali Express, a two-mile monorail ride through various habitats; the Aquatic Birdhouse; the Giraffe Building, and the World of Reptiles. The Children's Zoo features a variety of interactive activities, such as climbing a spider's web, crawling through a prairie dog tunnel, slithering like a lizard down a hollow tree, and, of course, a petting zoo.

The zoo has a special relationship with bison and snow leopards. The bison model for the buffalo nickel was a Bronx Zoo resident. Furthermore, many of today's bison in the Western U.S. are descendents of Bronx Zoo bison. William T. Hornaday cultivated a deep interest in the American bison, which once numbered over 50 million. In the 1890s, less than 1,000 bison were thought to exist in the wild. In October of 1899, Hornaday acquired bison for the Bronx Zoo and began to build a herd. By 1907, the Bronx Zoo was able to ship fifteen bison to Oklahoma's Wichita Mountain Preserve. Shortly thereafter, bison were provided to Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska. Many of the bison in the Western U.S today are descended from the bison at the Bronx Zoo. Likewise, the Bronx Zoo was the first zoo in the Western Hemisphere to exhibit and successfully breed snow leopards; a total of 82 cubs were born between 1966 and 1999.

The Bronx Zoo has educational entertainment for the entire family and is open year round. Some attractions require a separate admission fee, children under 2 years old are free.

About the Author
Johnny Moon recommends making your Bronx Hotel Reservations At New York Hotel Deals.

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