Opened in 1899, the Bronx Zoo is the largest urban zoo in the United States. It is home to hundreds of species of animals from around the world, although many are native to North America.
Many of these creatures are endangered, so a visit to the Bronx Zoo is a great way to get up close to them and learn about the importance of caring for nature.
It is, therefore, a perfect plan to do in New York and especially if you are travelling to New York with your family to enjoy a day outdoors and escape for a few hours from the asphalt jungle of New York. I'll tell you how to get tickets and a lot more!
1. How do I get tickets to the Bronx Zoo? What types of tickets are available?
To go to the Bronx Zoo you will need to buy your tickets online and in advance as the park requires visitors to choose a date and time to visit. This step is important because if you show up at the zoo without pre-booking the date and time when you purchase your tickets online, you will most likely not be allowed to enter.
That said, there are different types of tickets available to tour the Bronx Zoo:
- On the one hand, the Limited Admission ticket is the cheapest but only provides access to the park and to some specific exhibits. However, it excludes such popular exhibits as "JungleWorld", "Congo Gorilla Forest", "Butterfly Garden" and "Wild Asia Monorail".
- On the other hand, the Bronx Zoo Admission ticket costs a little more than the previous one but gives all-inclusive and unlimited access to all the attractions available on the day of the visit. This type of ticket is well worth it because it allows you to see the coolest attractions at the zoo, including some of the zoo's most award-winning attractions.
- Tickets for individual attractions are available from $5 per person but it's more worthwhile to buy the Bronx Zoo Admission ticket if you want to see them all, as it comes with unlimited access.
To know in detail the ticket prices to the Bronx Zoo, if there are reduced rates or if you can get in for free, I recommend you to read the post Bronx Zoo ticket prices... I'm sure it will be useful to plan the budget for your visit!
2. What about the Bronx Zoo's Holiday Lights Festival?
Every year from 19 November to 9 January, the Bronx Zoo hosts the Holiday Lights Festival, a beautiful outdoor event for the whole family, full of light and colour, featuring huge animal-shaped lamps that are placed throughout the park.
If you're in New York at this time of year, you can't miss it, especially if you're travelling with your family because it's something special to see and the kids will love it.
To enjoy this fun show you'll need to get your Holiday Lights Festival tickets online in advance, as you won't be able to access this event with any other zoo ticket.
If you want to know more about this endearing festival of lights that has become a tradition in New York during the Christmas season, don't miss the post Here are the Christmas lights at the Bronx Zoo in New York where we talk in detail about this fun-filled attraction.
3. Are tickets to the Bronx Zoo included in a tourist card?
Maybe you're thinking of buying one of the New York Sightseeing Flex Passes to make the most of your trip. With the New York Sightseeing Flex Pass (from €60 at Hellotickets) you get a visit to the Bronx Zoo with Limited Admission and you can choose up to 12 attractions to visit at your own pace within 30 days of activation.
I especially recommend you to get this tourist pass if you are going to New York with your family and you plan to do activities for the kids, so that they can also enjoy the city in their own way and make plans more adapted to their age and tastes.
The New York Sightseeing Flex Pass will allow you to visit places like the New York Aquarium, the Central Park Zoo, the New York Botanical Garden, Brooklyn Botanic Garden or the Bronx Zoo, among others.
Plus, the pass comes with discounts at an assortment of dining, entertainment and leisure venues to help you get the most out of the city, which never hurts!
In addition to the park, with the tourist card you will have the chance to see some very cool exhibits such as World of Birds, Sea Lion Pool or Reptile House, among many others. However, you may have to pay extra to see some of the special attractions inside the zoo...
4. Is it advisable to go to the Bronx Zoo with children?
No doubt about it! This is one of the coolest activities you can do as a family during your stay in New York. They'll have a blast seeing so many animals up close and it will be one of the childhood memories they'll never forget.
In fact, the Bronx Zoo has an area called The Children's Zoo where the little ones can get up close and personal with many wild animals for the first time, such as the porcupine, the sloth and the giant anteater, and best of all, feed and pet the cute little animals in the pen! It will be an experience you will remember for the rest of your life.
So don't hesitate, going to the Bronx Zoo will be a unique opportunity for kids to enjoy New York in a different way, get close to nature, see lots of beautiful animals and learn about the importance of caring for the environment, as many of the creatures they will come across here are endangered or threatened in the wild.
5. How much time do you need to visit the Bronx Zoo?
Visits to the Bronx Zoo usually last 2-3 hours but if you want to see the whole thing you'll need at least half a day. After all, it is the largest urban zoo in the United States!
There's a lot to see here and the good thing is that there's no time limit on how long you can stay. You can spend a long time looking at the different exhibits, sit and sunbathe on a bench and even have a little picnic inside the zoo or eat in any of the restaurants. Whatever you fancy!
6. When is the zoo open?
The Bronx Zoo opens Monday through Sunday at 10 AM and depending on the season may close at 4:30 PM (during the cold season) or 5:30 PM (during the warm season).
The only calendar days the zoo is closed are Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day and Martin Luther King Day. Keep this in mind when organising this activity, lest you find the gates locked!
I suggest you take a look at the Bronx Zoo Hours post to help you plan your visit before you go - I'm sure it will help!
7. What can't you miss at the Bronx Zoo?
The main thing you can't miss at the Bronx Zoo is the animal exhibits- there are over 700 different species brought from all corners of the globe! Watching them interact and play with each other is a very exciting part of the visit.
Another sensational moment to experience at the zoo is when the keepers feed the animals such as the penguins or the sea lions. I recommend you take a look at the park's website to see what activities are planned for the day of your visit so you don't miss them - they're very interesting!
At "The Children's Zoo" the little ones will be able to feed themselves and pet various farmyard animals such as donkeys, alpacas, sheep, goats and prairie dogs. It will be an experience they will never forget.
And to round off a fun-filled day, children can also ride the insect carousel or play on the Nature Trek bridges and walkways.
8. Some useful tips for visiting the Bronx Zoo
- Remember to book your tickets online in advance to the Bronx Zoo. All visitors must have a ticket with a specific date and time of visit.
- Download the zoo map to your mobile phone or print it out to help you find your way around the zoo.
- When you arrive at the Bronx Zoo, check the park's website on your mobile phone to see all the exhibits and services available on the day of your visit.
- You are not allowed to feed the animals at the zoo - it can be dangerous for them and for you!
- You are also not allowed to touch the zoo's plants, flowers or trees.
- Dress comfortably and appropriately for the temperature at the time of your visit to the zoo. Dress warmly in winter and protect yourself from the sun in summer.
- Wear comfortable shoes to tour the Bronx Zoo. This is the largest urban zoo in the United States and covers 107 hectares - you don't want your feet to hurt at the end of your visit!
- You can pack a snack in your backpack to eat inside the zoo or have a picnic there in the picnic areas.
- There are water fountains inside the zoo but don't forget to carry your own bottle in your backpack just in case.
9. How to get to the Bronx Zoo
The Bronx Zoo is not centrally located, so the best way to get there is by public transport.
I recommend taking the 2 or 5 underground lines to E. 180th St. or taking the BxM11 express bus from Manhattan and getting off at the Bronx River entrance to the zoo. Here's a handy guide to using the New York underground to help you find your way around underground.
Other alternatives to consider, especially if you're travelling with young children, are taxis or Uber. For door-to-door service it's super convenient, especially if you're travelling with a pram.
10. Where to eat at the Bronx Zoo?
A visit to the Bronx Zoo can take several hours, so you may find that at some point along the way you work up an appetite - time to take a break and grab a bite to eat!
You can pack some snacks in your backpack to have a picnic and kill your appetite. There are picnic areas at the Bronx Zoo where you can have a snack and rest for a while.
However, the zoo is also full of restaurants where you can stop for a bite to eat during your visit. If you forget your snacks, they are a good alternative so that you don't have to rush out of the zoo early to find somewhere to eat. Especially if you're accompanied by children who can't skip their meal times.
Some of the restaurants and food stalls at the Bronx Zoo where you can stay for lunch are:
- Dancing Crane Café
- The Patio
- Pecking Order
- Asia Cafe
- Somba Village
- Zoo Bites
- Zoo Brews