Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:
Every year from 1999 to 2015 my wife Anne and I took a road trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. With my son’s senior year in college imminent and next summer likely to be one of major upheaval for him (Lord willing), the summer of 2016 seemed like a good time to get the old trio back together again for one last family vacation before he heads off into adulthood and forgets we’re still here. In honor of one of our all-time favorite vacations to date, we scheduled our long-awaited return to New York City…
Zoos were a staple of our early road trips once my son began tagging along. Now that he’s college age, animal sightseeing isn’t the obligatory concession it once was, but if the option presents itself, we’re open to it.
During our vacation planning, Day Six was one of the first that I’d mapped out before all the rest for a few different reasons. As with our Day Five excursion to the Museum of the Moving Image, Day Six would take us out to Queens, but farther south than the Museum and consequently using a different subway. The Queens Zoo wasn’t a primary objective, but it was close enough to the other sightseeing temptations that I figured why not add it to the mix. No matter how young or old your kids are, animals are cool.
Granted, the larger, more renowned Bronx Zoo is larger and was a semi-finalist for both our 2011 and 2016 trips to New York City, but it’s a much longer subway ride north of Manhattan, wasn’t near too many other activities, and ultimately missed the cut both times. Maybe on our third NYC trip someday? Who knows.
The Queens Zoo is modest, isn’t necessarily unique, and certainly doesn’t have the same interstate social standing as the zoos in, say, San Diego or Cincinnati. But not every zoo needs to be for us outsiders, or filled with exotic species from obscure thousand-square-foot forests. It gives local parents and kids a chance to see uncommon animals up close without having to spend hundreds on road trips.
The walking paths of the Queens Zoo wind and curve around and through a series of small, wooded areas, but considerable square footage is devoted to a large aviary at least as big as others we’ve seen in Indianapolis and Omaha.
The Queens Zoo is more than just a series of enclosures telling you, “Here is some animal.” Education is also the order of the day — not just on the animal placards, but on a series of special displays devoted to zoology and its tangential fields of study.
And as you’d expect from a business trying to compete on the 21st-century commercial battleground: they have photo op setups.
To be continued!
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