Babe In Menagerie
Babe in Menagerie

The menagerie in Central Park (1860's-1934) was home to many primates. It was not unusal to see a dressed animal in the menagerie. Babe the monkey was trained to swing on a swing. Clothing was used to hide the reproductive organs of the primates that might offend the women and children of the time. The menagerie took in animals that had been retired from the circus but were still healthy and could entertain the visitors.

Photo postcard collection Joan Scheier


Patty Cake and Lulu 1972
Patty Cake and Lulu

The most famous birth at the Central Park Zoo was Patty Cake, born in 1972.She came as a surprise since no one knew Lulu, her mother was pregnant. One morning Lulu presented her keeper with a small black furry ball of fur.This was a first for the Central Park Zoo and an important event since gorillas were an endangered species and very few were born and raised in captivity. The Daily News ran a contest to name her. Patty cake is now 33 and lives in the Congo area of the Bronx Zoo. She has had nine offspring.

Photo: Dr. Ronald D. Nadler, Emory University, Atlanta Georgia


Keeper With Chimp 1934
Keeper With Chimp 1934

The outdoor enclosure allowed the keepers to be in the cage with the chimps.The chimps, dressed in shirts and pants,played with toys and rode bicycles when the keeper was present. Dressing the chimps was a carry over from the days of the menagerie when monkeys came from the circus and were used to being shown to the public.

Photo: Municipal Archives


Snow Monkeys Manny and Mom
Manny and Mom

This is from the current zoo.

This is Manny, a snow monkey born at the Central Park Zoo on May 22, 2001. In former zoos, animals were allowed to breed with little thought to space or inbreeding. Today zoos have guidelines ( Species Survival Program) Today animals are given to other zoos for breeding and to strenghten the gene pool and in many cases reintroducing animals back into the wild.

Photo by Ferne Spieler


Snow Monkey Troupe
Snow Monkey Troupe

Snow monkeys live in a cold climate that have natural hot springs. The Central Park Zoo has three hot tubs for the snow monkeys. We now have 5 juvenile snow monkeys ranging in age from one to three years. Manny is the oldest and is now big brother to four sisters. It is great fun to watch them jumping into the hot tub and chasing each other around the enclosure.

Photo by Ferne Spieler
Baby Snow Monkeys
Wet Baby Snow Monkeys



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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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