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Central Park Zoo

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This small, 6.5-acre zoo is part of an integrated system of four zoos and the New York Aquarium managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society. Begun in the 1860s as a menagerie, the zoo was modified in 1934 with new buildings arranged in a quadrangle around the sea lion pool. Renovated in the 1980s, the old-fashioned cages were replaced with naturalistic environments - tropical, temperate, and polar. The zoo now has an indoor rain forest, a chilly penguin house, and a polar bear pool occupied by a pair a grizzly bear siblings. The zoo also coordinates breeding programs for endangered species such as tamarin monkeys, Wyoming toads, thick-billed parrots, and red pandas. There's also a flight area for birds and fruit bats in the rainforest. A snow leopard exhibit was opened in June 2009.