The Bronx Zoo is the largest zoo located entirely within a major city anywhere in the world, and has generally been regarded as one of the two top zoos in the United States since its inception. It is also one of the oldest major zoos in America, and one of the most important ecological attractions in the Northeast. Originally built with standard animal housing and cages, the Bronx Zoo was later a pioneer in the creation of expansive, natural habitats for its animals.
In the late 19th century, Fordham University sold a large parcel of land in the Bronx to New York City for conservancy uses, spefically for use as a zoo and a botanical garden. The Bronx Zoo was initially completed and opened its doors in 1899. Prominent New Yorkers, such as the Rockefeller family, contributed to making the zoo a showcase for the city. In one of its less stellar chapters in 1906, the Bronx Zoo displayed a pygmy along with chimpanzees in an ill-conceived exhibit. Over the course of the 20th century, the zoo expanded greatly, with large themed areas such as Asia ande Africa that later became the standard for zoos the world over.
The Bronx Zoo boasts one of the largest and most diverse animal populations of any urban zoo. There are over six hundred species and over six thousand animals. A monorail and cable car offer birds-eye views of recreations of the African savannah and jungles of Southeast Asia. Other top exhibits include the World of Monkeys, the World of Reptiles and the World of Birds. The latter is one of the finest aviary exhibits anywhere.
The Bronx Zoo is located adjacent to the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx, approximately eight miles northeast of Midtown Manhattan. It is open year-round from 10:00am-4:30pm (later hours in Summer months). The cost of admission is $23.95. Web: www.bronxzoo.com (official website).