What’s the one thing in that you’ll find in wintertime in New York City that you won’t experience any other time of the year? Absolute silence. The citizens of the city are busy scrambling inside for warmth and refuge from graying, slushy snow. The skies are overcast and trees are bare, empty of the birds who have flown south. In the city that never sleeps, in the winter, sometimes it feels like time has stopped.
But not all New Yorkers hibernate for the season. In Manhattan, the winter is when the animals go wild at the Central Park Zoo, one of the sites of the Wildlife Conservation Society around the city, and it’s the best time to go visit them. Why leave the comfort of your home to see the 265-acre animal habitat that hosts both outdoor and indoor attractions? Because when the sun is away, animals like the grizzly bears are at play!
Visiting the Central Park Zoo in the winter is like broaching uncharted territory: it’s quiet, a little desolate, but the humans are no longer a distraction to the wildlife and they are free to let their guards down. Much like man’s motto is to dance like nobody’s watching, when the crowds subside, the animals are much more free to be themselves.
While bears are far more menacing than their furry and sluggish demeanor relays, a wintertime visit can feature a bear’s playful, carefree side. Uninhibited by the smaller crowds drawn from the cooler weather, the zoo’s grizzly bears are at home in their habitats, wrestling with each other, making snow angels, and just all around bear hijinks. It’s one of the few places in NYC where snow seems to accumulate, making the animals pop against its crisp whiteness in a winter wonderland.
The scene is less of a spectacle and more of a capture of a real day in the life of a wild creature. From stoic strolls to playful antics, a winter landscape is more authentic to the animals’ everyday. In a city that thrives on authenticity, you can rely on the wildlife to keep it real.
Subscribe to the NYXT newsletter
Learn about upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, and new organizations looking for your help.