<– Yes. This IS the Bronx Zoo.
More than anything, my family enjoys outtings related to history and nature. Our vacation this year in South Carolina will give us plenty of each. Until then, we grab every free minute we have and we run to the nearest path to hike or bike. When we have a few additional free minutes, we enjoy lesisurly walks through the woods or, like yesterday, through the Bronx Zoo.
I meant to ask how many acres the zoo occupies but I never did. One thing is for sure – the zoo is tremendous. We have never covered all the grounds in one visit. We do not object to that, however, since it’s a reason to go back again and again.
While there yesterday, we took the ‘Asia Monorail’. A wonderful narrated tour through the Asia exhibit. While I rode in the monorail and looked out at the vast open space, I realized how different the zoo was now than when I was a kid.
My firsr clear memory of the zoo comes from a 7th grade trip I went on with my science class. What stands out clearly for me is the lion’s cage. And that’s just what it was – a cage. Between the bars of the cage and visitors, was what might have been a two-yard gap and then a fence. I don’t have specific memories of the cage except that of cement. Cement flooring, cement slabs for climbing and napping… certainly nothing true to a lion’s natural habitat.
As an animal lover, I’m so happy now when I look out at the ‘enclosures’ our Bronx Zoo animals have. The natural terrain is glorious. It seems to go on forever. The animals roam freely – or somewhat freely – and have streams, ponds, real trees and grasses. Not cement floors and iron bars. They’re rehabilitated if they’re injured and mated in safety if they’re in danger of extinction. So many species have been preserved because of the work done in zoos today.
As often as I go to the Bronx Zoo, I always manage to forget I’m smack in the middle of the city. The Bronx River Parkway – a heavily traveled highway – borders the zoo on one side, and the Bronx River – the ony fresh water river in New York – winds through the center of the zoo. Trees tower over head, birds sing cheerful tunes and man and beast show a certain respect for one another. Kinda nice, if you ask me.
The Bronx River – view from the Asia Monorail
Just to give you an idea of the magnificence of the place, here are a couple of photos from our trip yesterday – including one with Daughter feeding a rather brazen and brave female peacock.