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Touring historical Eastern Zoos

Discussion in 'United States' started by Jonas Livet, 10 Mar 2015.

  1. Jonas Livet

    Jonas Livet Active Member

    10 Nov 2008
    Dear All,

    After a very successful first zootrip to California in March/April 2013, I am currently planning a second American trip. This time I want to discover the historical zoos of the East coast.

    I will be travelling with a colleague from Hannover in Germany and the main focus of the trip will be discovering the major zoos of this corner of the USA. We have both a very strong interest in zoo history and zoo development and I believe we will find a lot to see in these zoos.

    Please see below our draft planning. Any comment/advice/idea/suggestion/tip is very welcomed! Don't hesitate. We may have overlooked interesting locations too, just tell us.

    We will have a rented car for the first four days and will used public transportation in NY for the second part of the trip.

    We wanted initially to visit also The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in Philadelphia and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History but it sounds very difficult with our tight schedule.

    Does anybody know what is left from the historic Philadelphia Aquarium † (1911-1962) situated in Fairmount Park? It seems that there is a restaurant in place of the old aquarium (The Water Works Restaurant and Lounge). Any interest to pass by?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Jonas Livet
    Les Zoos dans le Monde

    Day 1
    Arrival in JFK and drive to Philadelphia

    Day 2
    Philadelphia Zoo

    Day 3
    Smithsonian National Zoological Park

    Day 4
    The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore
    + National Aquarium in Baltimore

    Day 5
    Bronx Zoo

    Day 6
    Central Park Zoo
    + American Museum of Natural History

    Day 7
    Prospect Park Zoo
    + Queens Zoo

    Day 8
    New York Aquarium † (1896-1941) in Battery Park
    + Staten Island Zoo
    + New York Aquarium

    Day 9
    Bronx Zoo or other sighting in NY?
    + Late departure back to Europe from JFK
  2. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member

    23 Jan 2008
    New York, USA
    The Battery Park site of the New York Aquarium unfortunately bears no resemblance to what it looked like when the aquarium was there. It had been a fortification, was redesigned and expanded to the aquarium, and then turned back into the historical fort.

    Actually the oldest significant zoo structure on the East Coast is the Arsenal in Central Park, NYC. The original zoo (1863?) used the basement as winter quarters and the outside of the building is as it was then. You can go inside but there is little to see.
    And there are no remains of any of the previous incarnations of the Central Park Zoo itself.
  3. reduakari

    reduakari Well-Known Member

    17 Mar 2008
    berkeley california USA
    Actually, the brick builldings flanking the Arsenal (just outside the zoo proper) are "originals" from the Robert Moses-era zoo. Don't know if they were originally animal buildings, but they now house an auditorium and a gift shop. And of course the whimsical Delacorte Clock above the gate leading from the zoo into the park greatly pre-dates the 1988 version of the zoo.
  4. savethelephant

    savethelephant Well-Known Member

    12 Jan 2015
    New York
    This sound like a good plan to me and I have visited all of these except for two so it seems time wise you will be fine. Will you be writing a review? Oh, and don't set your expectations too high for the Bronx as it is still winter (That is if you are going in the winter!:D)
    Last edited: 11 Mar 2015
  5. Jonas Livet

    Jonas Livet Active Member

    10 Nov 2008
    Thanks a lot for these historical tips, I will definetely check all that when in Central Park.

    My trip will take place mid-April so I hope the weather will be better by then! ;-)

    Jonas Livet