Introduction to The Central Park Zoo by Joan Scheier

Countless New Yorkers, as well as visitors from all parts of the world, have experienced an oasis just a few feet off Fifth Avenue in the heart of Manhattan. Since the 1860s, Central Park has been the home of three different zoos: the menagerie, the zoo of 1934, and what is today known as the Central Park Zoo. The Central Park Zoo begins with the menagerie of the 1860s, an impromptu public zoo begun when citizens and circuses started donating animals to the city. It continues in 1934, when Robert Moses, perhaps the most influential man in the city's planning history, built a newer zoo, remembered to this day for its lions, tigers, elephants, and gorillas. It ends with the brand new zoo and exhibits built in 1988 under the supervision of the Wildlife Conservation Society. With stunning, rarely seen images, The Central Park Zoo not only is a treat for the eyes but also comes alive with the barking of sea lions, the soft fur of snow monkeys, the sweet smell of peanut butter, and the taste of rice cake treats for the zoo residents, of course.

ISBN: 0738511005
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing
Publication Date: 08/21/2002

About the Author
Joan Scheier grew up going to the zoo. She served as a city public school librarian for more than a quarter century and is now a wildlife guide at the Central Park Zoo. Her familiarity with the city's history and architecture, her love of zoos, and her extraordinary talent as a researcher and writer combine to create this loving tribute to one of the city's most memorable places. Scheier lives in Queens, and her favorite animals are the sea lions.

Joan is available for book talks with slides, for both the Central Park Zoo and The New York City Zoos and Aquarium books.
Please contact her through e-mail cpzbook@aol.com or nyczoos@aol.com
The Central Park Zoo has always had two species from the 1860's to the present.
The two species are Polar Bears and Sea Lions.
Here are Sea Lions from the three stages of the zoo.

Sea Lions-- Menagerie 1860-1934
Sea Lion Menagerie
These are the Sea Lions from the Menagerie. Sea lions have always occupied the center stage of the zoo.
Sea lions came to the Menagerie in 1874. This postcard shows the keeper feeding his many charges.
It was referred to as the "barking theatre in the round."


Sea Lions-- Robert Moses Zoo 1934-1984
Sea Lion Moses
This sourvenir postcard shows a sea lion atop a concrete platform, with her pups enjoying the sun.
In addition to platforms there was a ledge that went around the sea lion pool.
The keepers fed the sea lions by throwing fish to them. Today they are all hand fed.


Sea Lions--1988 To Present
Sea Lion close-up
Today the Central Park Zoo has five female sea lions. Ranging in age from 7 to 36.
Here is April looking over the enclosure hoping to find her keeper.
They are hand fed three times a day and do many behaviors that look like play but allow the keeper to examine them.
April is 12 years old.
Photo Ferne Spieler ( Tuesday Guide)


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You may order The Central Park Zoo Book at:

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Joan is available for book talks with slides, for both the Central Park Zoo and The New York City Zoos and Aquarium books.

Please contact her through e-mail cpzbook@aol.com or nyczoos@aol.com

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