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Ranking the non-Bronx NYC zoos

Discussion in 'United States' started by SusScrofa, 20 Apr 2022.

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Favorite non-Bronx NYC Zoo

  1. Central Park

    41.7%
  2. Prospect Park

    25.0%
  3. Queens

    33.3%
  4. Staten Island

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. SusScrofa

    SusScrofa Well-Known Member

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    Have any New York residents or visitors been to the other borough zoos besides Bronx? Which one is your favorite/least favorite.

    I've been to all five within the last 2 years, most recently returning to New York to visit family and going to Queens two weeks ago and Staten Island today. While the 4 small zoos don't come close to matching Bronx in size and species selection, they are fine institutions in their own right.

    Having been to the SI Zoo for the first time in well over a decade, I have to say I was very impressed by it. Much more species than I expected, including an amazing rattlesnake collection, and nearly every enclosure was of high quality. There's also a mini aquarium which is pretty well done. I think this is the best of the non-Bronx NYC zoos. Its a shame that the Varrazano Bridge costs so much just to drive to Staten Island from Brooklyn.

    Personally, my least favorite of the borough zoos is Central Park. Its twice as expensive as the other small NYC zoos and I feel most of what's there can be seen in Bronx. For me, if I'm willing to head out on the subway to Manhattan to visit a zoo, might as well just add a little bit of time and go to Bronx. On its own, Central Park is a small but solid facility with some uncommon/rare species (like the Japanese Macaque and Banded Mongooses last I went) and a nice walkthrough aviary, but I don't think its enough to rank higher for me. Maybe historically it was better.

    I'd rank Queens Zoo right behind Staten Island. This zoo focuses on medium-large American mammals and birds and has an almost completely unique species selection when compared to the other borough zoos. The exhibits are also very spacious. While some won't like the lack of non-American mammals, I think the main weakness is a lack of small animals (besides birds in the aviary). So many fun New World critters that could really spice up the collection. Adding something like a New World Monkey or native reptile house would really be awesome.

    Prospect Park of Brooklyn I'd rank behind Queens. This basically only has small animals but its a nice collection and I always love seeing the Pallas's Cats. That helps it edge out Central Park for the number three spot.
     
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  2. TinoPup

    TinoPup Well-Known Member

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    I've been to two of the four. I don't think Queens and PP can possibly top my love for Central Park, but it's mostly an emotional love, rather than based on what they have. It is a beautiful, historic zoo that has seen so much.
     
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  3. nczoofan

    nczoofan Well-Known Member

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    I voted for Queens, due to its quality. The exhibits quality is high, especially for the aviary. The aviary is one of the few places you can see large parrots fly in American zoos. Other parts of the zoo I love are the barnyard and the waterfowl marsh. The collection is smaller than the others so that's likely its only downside.

    Prospect Park and Central Park are tied for second in my view. Central Park's real beautiful like @TinoPup said and the bird collection is great for its small space. Prospect Park's exhibits are more average but it has a nice diversity of small animals, and is beautiful as well.

    Staten Island ranks last in my opinion. Its not a bad zoo, and its been years since I visited. But its a mix of rather meh exhibits, often too small or artificial. The collection is pretty great but the housing isn't as great as the other 3 zoos.
     
  4. TinoPup

    TinoPup Well-Known Member

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    Definitely revisit Staten Island, I've only been once (last year) but I know they have redone a lot of things recently. The amur leopard and aquarium exhibits are excellent, and the indoor african area has species that are more appropriate for their size (like serval instead of leopard). It's not perfect, by any stretch, but they're trying, which is more than we can say for a lot of places.
     
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  5. nczoofan

    nczoofan Well-Known Member

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    I will try although the isolation of the zoo tends to lead to it being forgotten. Especially when Central Park and Prospect Park are surrounded by absolutely beautiful greenspaces. I saw in the gallery it had gotten better, but still seems to many times be amateur in exhibit design, and keeps too many species indoors in not the largest exhibits.
     
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  6. TinoPup

    TinoPup Well-Known Member

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    It's hampered a lot by the size of the property; if you cut out too many species to make more room for a few others, people won't come. I assume they keep so many inside so they can stay open year round and still get enough visitors to keep the doors open.
     
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  7. SusScrofa

    SusScrofa Well-Known Member

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    I was surprised by how improved Staten Islands enclosures were. I can't say I remember how they looked on my last visit years ago, but from old images online including this site, I didn't expect them to be very good. Some outdoor enclosures could still be improved. Does Queens have any plans for expanding? Of all the borough zoos they seem like the only ones that realistically could, there's quite a bit of space, although that might mean cutting some of the space on some enclosures.
     
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  8. nczoofan

    nczoofan Well-Known Member

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    Queens does not I believe. They haven’t had a new exhibit in forever and I doubt they have one in the near future. Any expansion into parkland would be controversial and I think the WCS probably feels the Queens Zoo serves its purpose as a local zoo (and likely their cheapest institution to run), and therefore doesn’t need new investment.
     
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  9. PossumRoach

    PossumRoach Well-Known Member

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    I didn’t go to Staten Island so I can’t say much about it with the exception that based on images, I like the animal collection.

    My favorite is Prospect park. While I do wish they still had kangaroos, the collection is still nice despite some if the animals there could be considered “mundane” for an AZA collection.

    Central Park is fine, but I feel like it could be better. Yet I don’t know how. However seeng my first antarctic penguins there month’s after watching Madagascar 2 on theaters was a bit magical for 9-year-old Possum (me).

    My take on Queens is that at least it isn’t Ataturk Forest Farm zoo. I like the animals and exhibits, but the location of the zoo and my experience going there by using only train and bus, was an experience that made me come to the conclusion that I won’t go there frequently as much as the other WCS zoos if I am to live near NYC.
     
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