"New York City Zoos" by Joan Scheier
" Queens was the last of the five boroughs to have a zoo. Robert Moses, parks commissioner, wanted a zoo without cages, where animals would be separated from onlookers only by moats and lakes. The Queens zoo first opened in 1968 at the location of the World's Fair at Flushing Meadows Park in New York City. The zoo would include a unique group of tenants- exclusively North American animals including bears, wolves racoons, sea lions and bison.
In 1980 the Queens Zoo was taken over by the New York Zoological Society joining the Central Park Zoo, Bronx Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo and the New York Aquarium. The zoo would close in 1988 after 20 years to take advantage of advance in zoo technology and animal management and update exhibits. The zoo reopened on June 25, 1993. Conservation breeding and education are all part of the Queens Zoo."
Above, zookeeper Marcos Garcia feeds Marilyn at the Queens Zoo in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Photo by Bates for the News
Below, the zoo's other pudu, Napoleon, and Marilyn stroll their habitat.
The theme of the Queens Zoo became animals of all the Americas. That included South America and the spectacled bear that gets its name from the markings around the eyes. The bears are separated from the public by a large dry moat. The bear below is enjoying the view from a hammock the keepers have made for the viewing pleasure of both visitors and bears. ( Photo: Emil Rossdeutscher)
Spangles, Spectacled Bear at the Queens Zoo.
Suzanne Bolduc, WCS
Spangles joined Cisco at the Queens Zoo in July 2006.. She arrived from the Houston Zoo. The bears were let into the exhibit one at a time so they could watch and sniff each other's scent markings. Now they are both in the enclosure enjoying the hidden treats of fish, fruit and vegetables. Spangles has began target training and she has proven to be very intelligent.
Cisco's brother Pancho is now at the St. Louis Zoo. Both zoos are hoping for offspring.
Plan For The Queens Zoo
Plans called for a cage-less zoo where animals would be separated from onlookers by moats and lakes. The Queens zoo opened October 26, 1968 in Flushing Meadows Park at the site of the 1964 World's Fair. ( Photo: Queens Public Library)
The American Bison
The Queens Zoo has the feeling of a National Park. It featured animals of North America. The American bison was the emblem and theme of the Americas. ( Photo: Queens Public Library)
Mother Bison And Calf 1974
The American bison once facing extinction are now part of an active breeding program in the Bronx and Queens Zoos. Pictured here is a mother bison (cow) tending to her calf in 1974. The breeding of endangered species is an integral part of the zoos in New York City. ( Photo: Queens Public Library)
In addition to rocks for climbing and napping, the black bears were able to roam within their open enclosure. In the background is the "Unisphere" from the World's Fair of 1964.( Photo: Queens Library, LID, Queens Zoo)
In keeping with the theme of animals of North America, the zoo included gray wolves in its open air exhibit. They could be viewed from a platform with clear glass. At one point the wolf was in danger of becoming extinct, but the threat lessened because of breeding programs at zoos allowing the wolves to be introduced into the wild. ( Photo: Queens Library, LID, Queens Zoo)
"Gates Of Life"
The "Gates of Life" was the motif for the grillwork on the gate of the Queens Zoo. Aquatic plants can be seen on the lowest level. Marine life is on the second level and the top is for plants, animals and birds. The gate is 11 feet across and at the highest is 10 feet. It is an appropriate introduction to the species to be found inside the zoo. ( Photo: WCS)
The aviary is a geodesic dome, designed by Buckminister Fuller as a scientific exhibit at the World's Fair. The geodesic dome became the center of the Queens Zoo and became the aviary home to over 40 species of birds. (Photo: WCS)
The Interior Of The Aviary
The outside of the dome could not be altered. The interior of what is now the aviary, was renovated with a large walkway taking bisitors up one path and down through the other side. The aviary is open to light through the dome. The birds move freely through the aviary allowing visitors to see them flying and nesting. (Photo: Queens Library, LID, Queens Zoo)
The sea lions bask in the sun with the Aviary, a geodesic dome in the background. The rocks and the sea gulls give this exhibit a natural feeling. ( Photo: Queens Library, LID, Queens Zoo)
Male Sea Lion
The natural setting of rocks and a beach make this an ideal exhibit for the large male sea lions. The sea lions are hand fed three times a day and trained to lie down at a command that allows the keepers to get a close view and do hands-on examination. ( Photo: Joan Scheier)
Survival Species Plan
The American bison, once nearly extinct has been succesfully bred at the Central Park Zoo, The Bronx Zoo, and the Queens Zoo. Here is a calf that was born in 2002. The breeding programs are overseen by the Survival Species Plan (SSP) which selects the breeding of animals at the zoo. ( Photo: Emil Rossdeutscher)