The Bronx Zoo—Bronx Little Italy

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Gorilla mom and baby (Photo by Tab Hauser)
Gorilla mom and baby (Photo by Tab Hauser)

Located only one hour away from most Nassau residents are two fun places to visit. The Bronx Zoo, one the largest city zoos in the world, and nearby “Little Italy” of Arthur Avenue.
The Bronx Zoo has more than 4,000 animals covering 265 acres. The setting is quite parklike with easy paths to walk between the different exhibits. My favorite exhibit is the Congo Gorilla Forest. Here you enter into a building where you see a brief film about these magnificent creatures. Afterwards you view one of the largest breeding groups of western lowland gorillas through large windows. As the building is in the middle of their habitat you see them going about their business of sleeping, grooming, raising their babies or having fun. Sometimes the gorillas will come to the window to view the humans. A good place to rest your feet would be the Wild Asia monorail ride that travels through 40 acres of free roaming animals. Other favorite stops include Tiger World, Madagascar!, Jungle World and the Baboon Reserve. All said, there are about two dozen unique places to view birds, bats and reptiles.

Getting around the zoo is an easy walk or a tram ride for those that have physical constraints. Admission to the zoo for adults is $21.55 and $15.25 for children ages 3 to 12 when purchased online. Families planning to visit the Bronx Zoo more than once or who will want to go to the NY Aquarium, Central Park Zoo, Queens Zoo or Prospect Park Zoo, should consider an annual pass for $189, which includes free parking. The family plan includes admission to the Bug Carousel, Butterfly Garden, Children’s Zoo, Congo Gorilla Forest, 4-D Theater, Jungle World, Wild Asia Monorail and the Zoo Shuttle. Wednesday’s admission is “pay what you wish”. More information is available at www.bronxzoo.com.

Enjoying a fresh stuffed cannoli at Madonia’s Bakery (Photo by Tab Hauser)
Enjoying a fresh stuffed cannoli at Madonia’s Bakery
(Photo by Tab Hauser)

To complete your day consider a stroll and an early dinner on Arthur Avenue just a few minutes’ drive away. Set your GPS to park on Arthur Avenue near 187th Street. Arthur Avenue to many New Yorker’s is considered the “real Little Italy”. My favorite picks to wander into are Tietel Brothers. It is like walking into a corner store in Italy. Ask for a taste Parmigiano-Reggiano off the wheel and then buy some at prices much lower than many Long Island stores. Here you will find various cheeses and meats hung from the ceiling awakening your taste buds. Continue walking south and stop at one of the fish stores where they will shuck you a clam or oyster on the sidewalk. No visit to Arthur Avenue is complete without going into Madonia Brothers Bakery.
For detailed information on the area, visit www.arthuravenuebronx.com and www.bronxlittleitaly.com.

Tab Hauser was raised in the Bronx and offers tours through www.tabhauser.com/dev.

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