Central Park Zoo, also known as Central Park Wildlife Center, is a small but popular zoo set within Central Park, Manhattan’s largest green space. The zoo houses a varied collection of creatures, from snow leopards to sea lions, as well as the Tisch Children’s Zoo, a petting zoo with farm animals.
While many tours of New York City’s Central Park are available, from walking and running tours to sunset, bike, and pedicab tours, most do not include entry to the zoo. You may, however, be able to glimpse the sea lions during these tours, whose enclosure can be seen from outside the zoo’s perimeter.
To enter the zoo, buy a general admission ticket at the door and explore the main zoo and the Tisch Children’s Zoo at your leisure. Alternatively, purchase a package ticket online before arrival. This ticket offers discounted entry to the main zoo, the Tisch Children’s Zoo, and one entry to the zoo’s 4D Theater, which uses air blasts, lighting, water mists, vibrations, and other sensory tricks to enhance the experience.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Central Park Zoo is a must for families.
- Leave scooters, bikes, rollerblades, selfie sticks, and balloons at home, as they are not allowed within the zoo.
- Wi-Fi is available at the zoo.
- Many of the zoo’s exhibits, including the penguin and sea lion habitats and the 4D Theater, are wheelchair-accessible.
How to Get There
Parking is expensive in NYC so it’s best to use public transit instead. The N, R, and Q trains all stop at Fifth Avenue–59th Street station, a few blocks from the zoo entrance on 64th Street. The No. 6 train also stops at 68th Street–Hunter College station, which is about a 10-minute walk away.
When to Get There
Spring and summer weekends are the busiest time at the zoo. Come in fall or winter to experience the zoo at its calmest. Time your visit to coincide with one of the twice-daily penguin feedings (10:30am and 2:30pm) and thrice-daily sea lion feedings (11:30am, 1:30pm, and 3:30pm) to see these animals at their most active.
Other Things to Do in Central Park
While you’re in Central Park, consider taking some time to explore the rest of the 843-acre (341-hectare) space. Pay homage to the late, great John Lennon at a memorial honoring the murdered musician, sunbathe on Sheep Meadow, and go boating on the Central Park Lake. During summer, the park hosts outdoor entertainment events, from open-air concerts to Shakespeare in the Park.