At Central Park Zoo -- 04/19/09
As I said in yesterday's entry, Nancy and I went into New York City on Friday and spent the afternoon in the Central Park Zoo with Adam and Leah and Sam and Milo.

We went to NY via a bus chartered by our town's parks & recreation department. (One of these days I'll have to show you The Neighborhood Guild, a community education and recreation center built as a gift to the town a century ago by Mrs. John Newbold Hazard, wife of one of the local mill owners, but that is something deserving of its own little essay)

This was spring break for Nancy -- no school all week -- and New York was following a similar schedule, so Sam had the week off from school. Adam & Leah's baby-sitter also had the week off and so Adam took the week off to be with the kids while Leah was working. Thus, a perfect time for us to come into the city.

Adam and Sam met us at the zoo first (while Leah was home with Milo, who was still enjoying his morning nap). After watching feeding time for the sea lions (always a popular event that draws crowds), we went into the tropical rain forest building (whew! hot and humid in there!) where we saw all kinds of tropical birds and lizards and snakes, etc.
Scarlet Ibis
The picture below shows one of the polar bears playing underwater with a ball. He has a large (I'd guess just a bit bigger than a basketball or a soccer ball) inflated blue rubber beachball grasped with his front paws. He would drag it down underwater, let it go, and then swim up after it and catch it before it hit the surface, and then drag it back down again and repeat the whole game. He really seemed to be having a great time. (And was really very graceful and agile in the water. If ever you are being chased by a polar bear, don't expect to escape by jumping in the water and out-swimming it.).
With schools closed in New York and in the surrounding suburbs -- and with this being a beautiful sunny day with temperatures in the mid to upper sixties (about 19 Celsius), there was a huge crowd of people at the zoo. (In the photo: Leah giving Sam a piggy-back ride and Adam pushing Milo in his stroller.)
Central Park Zoo, of course, is in Central Park, the beautiful park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in the 19th century. You can almost forget that you are in the middle of Manhattan until you look up and see all of the buildings surrounding the park. (Central Park is about half a mile wide and a bit over two and a half miles long that stretches from 110th Street down to 59th Street -- the zoo only covers a small corner of the park.) That's 5th Avenue going left to right past the park in this picture, block after block after block of park on one side of 5th Avenue and very expensive apartment buildings on the opposite side of the street.
Nancy took my camera and snapped a shot of Leah and me sitting on a bench with the boys.
And here's Nancy exploring the park with Milo.
And then we went into the Children's Zoo -- where the kids can see turtles and birds and sheep and lamas and pigs, etc. up close (and even feed some of them). By the way, the apple design ("Big Apple") on Milo's shirt reads "Native New Yorker".

And that's the end of our Central Park Zoo adventure....

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