2016 NYC Trip Photos #24: Mandatory Zoo Visit

peeking parrot!

Peeking parrot doing its best Laugh-In impression.

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.


American bison in repose.

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.


Alligators love the feeling of sand getting in everywhere.

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.

Hence: animals!

Jacobs four-horned sheep!

Jacobs four-horned sheep leaving room for any friends who wanna come hang out on the stumps.


Or if you won’t come to the stump hangout, he’ll come to you.

ducks preening!

Ducks preening like schoolboys who think they’re cool.

ducks below!

More ducks doing what ducks do better, bookended by a pair of Argentine ruddy ducks.

turtles in a row!

Not everything has to be about ducks. Before visiting NYC, you’ll want to make sure you have all your turtles in a row.



goat feeding!

Every kid loves the part of the zoo visit where they can spend all your quarters on pellets to overfeed the animals till they explode.


Their star attraction: a puma with death laser eyes.

sea lion!

A lone sea lion asks on this blistering sunny day: wouldn’t you rather be swimming than staring at me?

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.


For you vocabulary builders out there, “aviary” is a word meaning “birdhouse too big to line with newspapers”.


Their parrots were so photogenic that we have more photos of them than any other Queens Zoo resident. If the WordPress Daily Post every selects “parrot” as a Weekly Photo Challenge theme, expect us to respond with a thorough gallery.

yellow green fat bird!

The zoo’s official website updates its contents as its animal population is rotated throughout the seasons. Now that it’s November, I’m at a loss to identify what’s labeled in my notes as “yellow green fat bird”.

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.


Everybody Poops: The Animal Education Expansion Pack.

Extinct Species Graveyard!

The Extinct Species Graveyard commemorates Pyrrhic victories in man’s eternal War on Nonhumans.

And as you’d expect from a business trying to compete on the 21st-century commercial battleground: they have photo op setups.

cracking up!

After the mile-long, not-shady walk from the nearest subway station to the Queens Zoo, on the penultimate day of our week-long vacation, this photo is an accurate glimpse into our deteriorating physical and mental states.

fledgling conservationist!

The two-pronged use of “fledgling” here is, quite frankly, the most brilliant pun I’ve ever witnessed in a zoo exhibit. Bravissimo, Queens Zoo.

To be continued!

* * * * *

[Link enclosed here to handy checklist for previous and future chapters, and for our complete road trip history to date. Follow us on Facebook or via email signup for new-entry alerts, or over on Twitter if you want to track my TV live-tweeting and other signs of life between entries. Thanks for reading!]

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