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Ready for a Wild Trip to NYC? Check Out These Great Places in New York for Animal Lovers to Visit!

Written by Javier Peinado

Not many people think of wildlife and exotic animals when it comes to New York City. However, this densely populated city is actually filled with an abundance of opportunities to get up close and personal with a variety of animal species, breaking the stereotype of the concrete jungle. You’ll find everything from rare birds to whales when visiting the Big Apple. Here are five of the best places in New York for animal lovers to visit!

Want Some More? Check Out These Other Options

You’re not limited to visiting an attraction that’s intentionally built for animals if you want to catch sight of some interesting critters. Want to snuggle with some cuddly kittens? Make a visit to one of the three cat cafes located in the city. Or, simply head to Central Park where you’ll find a wide array of animals in their natural habitats.

If you’re into bird-watching, a great place to practice this hobby is at Staten Island’s Great Kills Park, home to species such as the American woodcock and warblers. As you can see, you’ll find no shortage of options if you decide to book flights to Laguardia airport, JFK, or Newark in search of the Big Apple’s wild side!

Bronx Zoo

As the largest zoo in the U.S., you’ll encounter lots of cool animals at the world-famous Bronx Zoo! It’s a good idea to opt for a sort of loose plan when trying to tackle this sprawling attraction. Popular exhibits include Jungleworld, Tiger Mountain, the Himalayan Highlands, and the Congo Gorilla Forest. Be sure to leave time to watch the animal feedings, take a ride on the soaring Wild Asia Monorail, and zoom across the zoo via zipline.

This venue is also known for its famous children’s zoo, giving kids — and their parents — the chance to enjoy an immersive experience of petting and feeding the zoo’s most gentle inhabitants. Finish up your visit with a spin around the carousel for the perfect ending to the day!

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Whale-Watching Ferries

After being forced to close for many years due to the growing amount of trash and debris, an intentional clean-up effort in the New York Harbor has encouraged dolphins and humpback whales to return to these waters. Now that the sea creatures are back playing in the waters surrounding Manhattan, you can sign up to take a whale-watching cruise to spot them in action! Prime whale-watching season runs between the months of May and November. Professional tour companies like Seastreak are specialized in locating whales, giving you a higher chance of seeing these majestic beauties!

Walking Bird Tours

The New York City Audubon organization is dedicated to preserving and protecting the birds that call this city home. In addition to a bevy of educational programs, the non-profit organization also provides free bird walking tours throughout the city. You’ll find these tours in areas such as Central Park, the Queens Botanical Garden, Van Cortlandt Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and Wave Hill in the Bronx. Informative guides will help you spot and learn more about these majestic creatures that soar high over the landscape of the city. Wave Hill also features a large number of birding events that are open to the public.

New York Aquarium

Located on the iconic Coney Island boardwalk, a visit to the New York Aquarium is a must-do for animal lovers. The aquarium boasts an imagination station known as the Playquarium where kids can enjoy plenty of hands-on exhibits that are both educational and fun. You’ll also find a wide variety of marine life, including fan-favorites like sharks, sea turtles, colorful fish, penguins, seals, and sea otters. Daily shows and animal feedings will surely entertain you while helping you learn more about these sea creatures!

Which of these wildly fun destinations have you visited? Tell us all about it below!

About the author

Javier Peinado

Born in Barcelona. Raised in Madrid. New Yorker at heart. When he is not geeking out at a comic book convention or binge-watching superhero shows, this bilingual journalist loves to discover secret venues and hidden places around the world to fill his insatiable wanderlust. He also digs into ghost-busting, Bigfoot-hunting, and UFO-sighting. The truth is out there.

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