A Special Place
Our Reception Celebration
The Bronx Zoo was selected because it holds special meaning. Joe Del Valle would often take his daughters to the Zoo and there were many moments of wonder and fun experienced over the years. Since we couldn't bring everyone to South Africa for a destination wedding we thought we would bring the animals to all of our guests. More importantly, the Wildlife Conservation Society applies proceeds from events held at the Bronx Zoo to take care of the animals and to educate people about their needs including protecting them from poachers.
We will have our reception at the beautifully restored Beaux Arts Lion House. Now the Schiff Family Great Hall and New York City’s first “green” renovated landmark building, this is adjacent to the exciting Madagascar! Exhibit where we may have cocktails (or at Sea Lion Area if it isn't too cold).
The Bronx Zoo is located in the Bronx borough of New York City, within Bronx Park. It is one of the world's largest metropolitan zoos, with over 600 species from around the world. The zoo comprises 265 acres (107 ha) of park lands and naturalistic habitats, through which the Bronx River flows.
The Bronx Zoo is part of an integrated system of four zoos and one aquarium managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums(AZA).
Fordham University owned the land which became the Bronx Zoo and New York Botanical Garden. Fordham sold it to the City of New York for only $1,000 under the condition that the lands be used for a zoo and garden; this was in order to create a natural buffer between the university grounds and the urban expansion that was nearing. In the 1880s, New York State set aside the land for future development as parks. In 1895, New York State chartered the New York Zoological Society (later renamed to Wildlife Conservation Society) for the purpose of founding a zoo.
The zoo (originally called the Bronx Zoological Park and the Bronx Zoological Gardens) opened its doors to the public on November 8, 1899, featuring 843 animals in 22 exhibits. The first zoo director was William Temple Hornaday. Heins & LaFarge designed the original permanent buildings as a series of Beaux-Arts pavilions grouped around the large circular sea lion pool. In 1934, the Rainey Memorial Gates, designed by noted sculptor Paul Manship, were dedicated as a memorial to noted big game hunter Paul James Rainey. The gates were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.
Exhibits and attractions
As of 2010, the Bronx Zoo is home to more than 4,000 animals of 650 species, many of which are endangered or threatened. Some of the exhibits at the Bronx Zoo, such as World of Birds and World of Reptiles, are arranged by taxonomy, while others, such as African Plains and Wild Asia, are arranged geographically.
The "African Plains" exhibit allows visitors to walk past lions, storks and zebras, and see herds of gazelles sharing their home with nyalas and African wild dogs. Giraffes roam nearby. The wild dogs can be viewed close-up from a glass-fronted viewing pavilion. Three lion cubs were born in January 2010 and reside in the "African Plains" exhibit. The Bronx Zoo in partnership with the NY Daily News held a contest to name the newborns which made their public debut in April 2010. The names that won for the 2 females and 1 male were Nala, Adamma, and Shani.
"Baboon Reserve" recreates the Ethiopian highlands, and is home to a troop of geladas. Visitors can watch the geladas from multiple viewpoints along with the Nubian ibexes, rock hyraxes, and African waterfowl that also live in this area.
"Congo Gorilla Forest" is a 6.5-acre (2.6 ha) rainforest that is home to the 20 or so western lowland gorillas in the zoo. Colobus monkeys, guenon, marmosets,okapis, and mandrills also call this area home. Visitors walk through the area and can also view it from treetop lookouts. Illustrations for this exhibit are by Jack Unruh.
"Wild Asia Monorail" takes visitors through a 40-acre (16 ha) area that recreates the mud wallows and pastures, forests and riverbanks of Asia. On this 20 minute long ride, visitors will see tigers, elephants, and rhinos, and wild horses in their natural habitats. As the monorail travels along the Bronx River, visitors can see native animals including egrets, turtles, large carp and ducks. The monorail is accessible for wheelchairs up to 26" wide. Smaller chairs are available at the monorail platform for visitors with wider wheelchairs or motorized scooters. The monorail does not operate during the late fall, early spring and winter months.
"Jungle World" is an indoor tropical jungle and home to nearly 800 animals including otters, gibbons, leopards, and a tapir, live in mangroves and on the beaches. Visitors can watch the gibbons swinging or singing, and watch the otters play. The exhibit includes species that are usually on the jungle floor including stag beetles, scorpions, and fire-bellied toads, but behind glass. A pond with a waterfall lets visitors sit and observe gourami, tin foil barbs, Iridescent Sharks (a large, Asian Catfish readily available when small in most pet shops and also known as "Swai" when sold filleted in your local supermarket) and Fly River turtles.
"Butterfly Garden" is an indoor butterfly conservatory which lets visitors walk through gardens and meadows and watch the butterflies up close.
"Monkey House" was home to cotton-topped tamarins, white-faced sakis, marmosets, and other New World monkeys, but closed in March 2012. The monkeys were relocated to other exhibits in the zoo, or to the Central Park Zoo and Prospect Park Zoo. The building has landmark status, so whatever is done with it will need to retain to the original exterior feel and footprint.
The "Madagascar" exhibit, which opened on 20 June 2008, recreates a small section of what many people call the eighth continent. It contains a variety of wildlife from Madagascar, including lemurs, hissing cockroaches, sifaka lemurs, Nile crocodiles, and fossa, a relative of the mongoose that hunts primates in the wild.
"World of Birds" is an indoor walk-through aviary. The exhibit is open year round. Here, visitors can see blue-bellied rollers, helmeted curassows, and Cuban Amazon parrots. "World of Birds" first opened in 1972. It temporarily closed in the summer of 2010 for repairs and upgrades, but reopened in early 2011.