"That one is so scary!" I half-yelled at, half-laughed with my boyfriend as a particularly rambunctious goat rose up on his hind legs and hung his front hooves over the fence. Grunting loudly, Rambunctious Goat threw his horned-head up and down and swiveled his neck in an attempt to eat from all of the outstretched kid hands filled with pellets of grain.
Upon entering the Barn and Garden at the Prospect Park Zoo
, I thought my son, Equis, would probably take one look at the noisy animals and run straight back to me. But he simply smiled his open-mouthed smile--the one where he shows all his teeth surrounding a wide pink tongue--and let Rambunctious Goat lick the grain from his palm. "Well, he sure is having fun," I said to my boyfriend's mother. "The pellets were totally worth the quarters." I was so proud of my almost-two-year-old for having less fear than his Mama.
If you've been hungry for the sight of flippers, paws, horns and wings, but you think the Bronx Zoo is too large and the Central Park Zoo is too small, then the Prospect Park Zoo is the perfect place to go. There are monkeys, lizards, frogs, bats, owls, snakes, sheep, geese, butterflies, peacocks, baboons, red pandas and plenty of more animals to touch or observe. Best of all, adult tickets are only $8, children pay just $5 and children under 3 go free!
There were lots of great photo opportunities! After the Barn, we ran to watch the California Sea Lions loudly chomp on fish and perform tricks. Although we didn't go to Story Time, we saw art the animals had painted, Equis managed to draw a rather terrible version of an animal, we ate raspberries and sandwiches under a big table umbrella, we burrowed through our-size prairie dog tunnels and we pretended we lived inside a turtle shell.
As a native New Yorker, I felt slightly appalled that I had never been to the Prospect Park Zoo before, and I'm so glad I made it my mission to experience the Brooklyn fun this summer. Whether you live in New York City or you're just visiting, make it a point to add a stop at this zoo to your itinerary.