3 Tips for Visiting the Bronx Zoo

This past weekend, we went to the Bronx Zoo where we are members. This is my all-time favorite place to bring the kids when we have a day off from school, or we're looking for something to do ... it's close and it's easy. The day we went, it was cold but sunny, and that brings me to my first tip for visiting the Bronx Zoo.

#1 Go When It's Wet or Cold Outside
When I was little, the only times we would go to the Bronx Zoo was when it was blazing hot in the middle of summer. These days, I usually go on only two types of days ... either a rainy day during spring or fall, or a cold day in the winter. Rainy days between the months of April and October are the best days to go because it's not crowded, but most of the special attractions are open. If you get lucky and go when rain is in the forecast, but it winds up just drizzling a bit, all the better!

The second best days are in the winter because you pretty much have the run of the place. The shuttle bus, monorail, butterfly garden, and children's zoo won't be open in this season, but there will still be plenty to see and do. For little kids, the Bug Carousel still runs.

#2 Visit the 2nd Floor at World of Birds
It is my belief, although I cannot say for sure, that the World of Birds exhibit is not on the must-see list for most zoo visitors. I have gone once before and found it to be meh. This weekend, however, we exited the building and saw a sign that suggested we proceed up a ramp if we wanted to see more birds.

So up we went, and it turns out there is a 2nd floor to the exhibit. We only saw 2 other people the whole time we were up there. It's incredible because you get an opportunity to be up close and personal with the birds. For instance, did you know that birds have eyelashes? No? Well, check out the photo below.

Bird Eyelashes!

On the 1st floor, you're mostly viewing the birds from a distance. They're either high up in the trees, or far back in their living space. Most exhibits on the 2nd floor are the higher up view of the exhibits on the 1st floor. So you can really compare the 2 experiences, and they are worlds apart. There were 3 birds hanging out right next to the glass, and a couple of them were tapping on the window. 

More Bird Eyelashes
#3 Spring for a Membership
If you're a family of 4 and you plan to visit more than once, I would definitely get the membership. It gives you access to all the special attractions, like the monorail, butterfly garden, children's zoo, Jungle World, Congo Gorilla forest, Nature Trek, and shuttle buses. And the monorail sounds so blah, but it's like a mini safari and probably my favorite experience at the Bronx Zoo. The other perks of membership I enjoy are free parking and access to Asia parking (so convenient!). A nice benefit that we don't use, but is very cool, is you get access to all the New York City zoos.

A side note on Asia parking ... if it's open and you're a member, use it! You can access it from the B parking lot by driving past the zoo entrance to the ticket booths. I haven't figured out when it is or is not open, but since they installed the tickets booths, I've found that it's open more often than not. It puts you right smack dab in the middle of the Wild Asia section of the zoo.

In Conclusion
I know most people won't want to go to the zoo when it's cold or wet outside, since it does involve some walking around outdoors. But that's exactly why it's the perfect time to go. There are lots of indoor exhibits so if you wanted, you could limit outdoors time to just traveling between exhibits. Get a membership so you can do as little or as much as you want on each visit, and not feel like you're trying to squeeze every last drop of zoo fun into one day. When you don't feel rushed and can take your time to check things out, you might find a really special experience like we did at World of Birds.


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