Bronx Zoo Vs Central Park Zoo: Which Zoo Is Better For You?

New York City is home to two fantastic zoos: the world-famous Bronx Zoo and the smaller but beloved Central Park Zoo. If you’re trying to decide which zoo to visit during your New York vacation, this guide will compare everything you need to know about both zoos to help you choose.

If you’re short on time, here’s the key difference: the Bronx Zoo is massive with over 4,000 animals and exhibits like the Congo Gorilla Forest, while the Central Park Zoo is quite small but located right in Central Park making it very convenient.

In this comprehensive guide, we will compare the Bronx and Central Park zoos across various factors like size, exhibits, convenience, crowds, and more. We’ll also offer some guidance on which zoo may be better for families, adults, animal lovers, and tourists.

Size and Scale

Bronx Zoo Size

The Bronx Zoo is one of the largest zoos in the United States, spanning an impressive 265 acres of land. With its vast size, the Bronx Zoo offers visitors a chance to explore a wide variety of exhibits and habitats.

From the African Plains to the Himalayan Highlands, the zoo is home to over 6,000 animals representing more than 700 species. Walking through the zoo, visitors can truly immerse themselves in the diverse wildlife and natural beauty that the Bronx Zoo has to offer.

One of the highlights of the Bronx Zoo is the Congo Gorilla Forest, a 6.5-acre exhibit that is home to a thriving community of gorillas, as well as other species native to the African rainforest. Another notable feature is the World of Reptiles, which houses an extensive collection of reptiles and amphibians from around the world.

Overall, the size of the Bronx Zoo allows for a comprehensive and immersive zoo experience.

Central Park Zoo Size

While the Central Park Zoo may not be as expansive as the Bronx Zoo, it still offers visitors a unique and intimate zoo experience. Nestled within the iconic Central Park in New York City, this zoo covers an area of 6.5 acres.

Although smaller in size, the Central Park Zoo is home to a diverse range of animals, including snow leopards, penguins, red pandas, and sea lions.

One of the main attractions of the Central Park Zoo is the Tisch Children’s Zoo, which allows children to interact with and learn about various domestic animals. Additionally, the zoo offers educational programs and exhibits that focus on conservation and wildlife preservation.

The smaller scale of the Central Park Zoo provides a more manageable and accessible experience, especially for families or those looking for a shorter visit.

When it comes to size and scale, both the Bronx Zoo and the Central Park Zoo have their own unique advantages. The Bronx Zoo’s vast expanse offers a more extensive collection of animals and exhibits, while the Central Park Zoo’s smaller size allows for a more intimate and convenient visit.

Ultimately, the choice between the two will depend on your personal preferences and the amount of time you have to explore.

Exhibits and Animals

Signature Exhibits at Each Zoo

The Bronx Zoo and Central Park Zoo both offer unique and exciting exhibits that showcase a wide variety of animals. At the Bronx Zoo, visitors can explore the famous Congo Gorilla Forest, where they can observe gorillas, chimpanzees, and many other primates in a naturalistic habitat.

The zoo is also home to the World of Reptiles, where visitors can see a vast collection of snakes, lizards, and turtles from around the world. Additionally, the Bronx Zoo is known for its Tiger Mountain, where visitors can catch a glimpse of these majestic big cats in action.

On the other hand, the Central Park Zoo boasts its own signature exhibits that are equally impressive. One of the highlights is the Tisch Children’s Zoo, which allows children to get up close and personal with farm animals such as goats, sheep, and pigs.

The Central Park Zoo is also home to the Polar Circle exhibit, where visitors can see polar bears and penguins in a habitat designed to mimic their natural environments. Another popular exhibit is the Tropic Zone, which houses a variety of tropical birds, reptiles, and amphibians.

Total Number and Variety of Species

When it comes to the total number and variety of species, the Bronx Zoo takes the lead. With over 6,000 animals representing more than 600 species, it is one of the largest zoos in the United States. Visitors can encounter animals from all over the world, including endangered species like the snow leopard and the red panda.

The Bronx Zoo’s vast collection ensures that there is something for everyone to enjoy, from the African savannah to the Himalayan mountains.

While the Central Park Zoo may be smaller in size, it still offers a diverse range of animal species. Home to more than 150 species, including snow monkeys, grizzly bears, and exotic birds, the zoo provides a unique and intimate experience for visitors.

The smaller scale of the Central Park Zoo allows for a more focused and immersive encounter with the animals.

Both zoos are committed to conservation efforts and education, providing visitors with opportunities to learn about the importance of wildlife preservation and habitat conservation. Whether you prefer a larger zoo with a wider variety of species or a smaller, more intimate experience, both the Bronx Zoo and Central Park Zoo offer exceptional exhibits and animals that are sure to delight visitors of all ages.

Convenience and Location

Getting to Each Zoo

When it comes to convenience and accessibility, both the Bronx Zoo and Central Park Zoo have their advantages. The Bronx Zoo, located in the Bronx borough of New York City, is easily accessible by public transportation.

Visitors can take the subway or bus to the zoo, making it a convenient option for those without a car. Additionally, the zoo offers ample parking for those who prefer to drive.

On the other hand, Central Park Zoo is located right in the heart of Manhattan, making it a popular choice for tourists and locals alike. It is easily accessible by subway and bus, and visitors can enjoy a scenic walk through Central Park to reach the zoo.

The proximity to other attractions and amenities in Manhattan makes it a convenient option for those looking to make the most of their time in the city.

Onsite Amenities

Both the Bronx Zoo and Central Park Zoo offer a range of amenities to enhance visitors’ experiences. The Bronx Zoo boasts a wide variety of food options, including cafes, food trucks, and picnic areas. Visitors can enjoy a meal while taking in the beautiful surroundings of the zoo.

The zoo also offers wheelchair rentals and stroller rentals, making it accessible for all visitors.

Central Park Zoo, while smaller in size, offers its own unique amenities. The zoo is located within Central Park, which provides visitors with the opportunity to explore the park’s beautiful landscapes before or after their visit.

The Tisch Children’s Zoo, located within Central Park Zoo, is a popular attraction for families with young children. It features interactive exhibits and hands-on activities for kids to enjoy.

It’s important to note that both zoos have implemented safety measures and protocols to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for visitors. Be sure to check their respective websites for the most up-to-date information.

Crowds and Best Times to Visit

When it comes to crowds, both the Bronx Zoo and Central Park Zoo can get quite busy, especially during weekends and holidays. However, there are certain times when you can expect fewer visitors and a more enjoyable experience.

Best Times to Visit the Bronx Zoo

The Bronx Zoo tends to be less crowded on weekdays, especially during the morning hours. If you can visit during the weekdays, you’ll have a better chance of avoiding large crowds. Additionally, visiting during the off-peak seasons, such as fall or winter, can also ensure a more peaceful visit.

According to, the busiest times at the Bronx Zoo are usually during weekends, holidays, and school vacations. To avoid long queues and large crowds, it’s recommended to arrive early in the day or later in the afternoon.

Best Times to Visit the Central Park Zoo

The Central Park Zoo is generally less crowded compared to the Bronx Zoo due to its smaller size. However, it can still get busy, especially during weekends and school holidays.

According to, the Central Park Zoo is less crowded on weekday mornings and late afternoons. If you can visit during these times, you’ll have a more relaxed visit with shorter queues for popular exhibits.

Both zoos have their peak and off-peak seasons, so checking their websites or contacting them directly for the most up-to-date information on crowd levels can be beneficial.

Remember, the best time to visit any zoo is when you can enjoy the exhibits and animals without feeling overwhelmed by large crowds. Plan your visit accordingly and make the most of your zoo experience!

Prices and Tickets

Ticket Prices

When comparing the prices of the Bronx Zoo and Central Park Zoo, it’s important to consider the different ticket prices for each. The Bronx Zoo offers a variety of ticket options, including general admission, total experience tickets, and group rates.

General admission prices for adults start at $24.95, while children’s tickets start at $16.95. On the other hand, the Central Park Zoo has a slightly lower ticket price, with general admission tickets for adults starting at $18.95 and children’s tickets starting at $13.95.

It’s worth noting that ticket prices may vary depending on the season and any ongoing promotions, so it’s always a good idea to check the official websites for the most up-to-date pricing information.

Discounts and Deals

Both the Bronx Zoo and Central Park Zoo offer discounts and deals that can help visitors save money on their admission. The Bronx Zoo, for example, offers discounted tickets for seniors and military personnel, as well as special rates for groups and schools.

They also have a membership program that provides unlimited access to the zoo for a year, along with other perks and discounts. The Central Park Zoo also offers discounted tickets for seniors, military personnel, and students.

In addition, they have a membership program that includes free admission, discounts at the zoo’s cafes and gift shops, and exclusive access to members-only events.

When it comes to finding the best discounts and deals, it’s a good idea to visit the official websites of both zoos and check for any current promotions or special offers. It’s also worth considering any additional benefits that come with a membership, as this can provide long-term savings if you plan on visiting the zoo multiple times throughout the year.


Both the Bronx Zoo and Central Park Zoo have incredible exhibits, animals, and amenities across their large and small spaces respectively. The Bronx Zoo offers a day-long adventure to see creatures from around the world, while the Central Park Zoo is a quaint city zoo perfect for a quick visit.

Use this guide to decide whether the massive wildlife conservancy of the Bronx Zoo or the charming compact Central Park Zoo sounds more appealing for your own New York trip!

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