Wednesday, November 2

The Central Park Zoo: Then & Now

Central Park Zoo in the 1930's 
Though the Central Park Zoo has been around since the 1860's, it was Robert Moses who truly took it from a small menagerie to a large public attraction, comparable to that of the Bronx Zoo. In 1934, Moses was a city planning tycoon and transformed the zoo located right off of 5th avenue. Before he took over, the zoo primarily only had had two species, polar bears and sea lions, but Moses brought a slew of new species including lions, tigers, and bears. Oh my! Moses enlisted the help of architect Aymar Embury II, who also designed the Triborough bridge. Rich in neo-Georgian brick and limestone, Embury's most acclaimed work was the quadrangle round sea lion pool, which featured advanced architecture for the time.
Top:Sea Lion Park in 1934
Bottom: Sea Lion Park today

Since Moses' massive expansion, the Central Park Zoo there was some major work done throughout the 80's when the New York Zoological Society assumed management. After major demolition and reconstruction, the zoo featured more natural exhibits verses the former vintage menagerie cages. While some of the original buildings were reused, most spaces were enlarged in hopes of being truer to their natural habitat. However, the Central Park Zoo insists "Visitors can see vestiges of the old Zoo preserved in the new."

Perhaps, the most major change since the The Central Park Zoo's modernization, is that the zoo is no longer a free public attraction. While back in Moses' day it was available to parkgoers free of charge, the zoo now charges admission. The park currently charges adults $12.00 and Children (Ages 3-12) $7.00.

Modern Day Central Park

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