Holiday Fun in Central Park

Arsenal Wreath

Arsenal Wreath

The festivities continue this week in Central Park with the Conservancy’s extensive list of holiday events.  Celebrate the season in Manhattan’s Victorian winter wonderland with the Central Park Conservancy.   All events are free and open to all ages unless otherwise noted. No advance registration. Click on the program names for details.

Besides all the usual Holiday activities in the Park the Central Park Zoo is adding a new wrinkle to the festivities

Gus opening his presents

Gus opening his presents

This year you can enjoy the beauty of the Zoo through the winter holidays! On Fridays and Saturdays in December, we’re extending our hours until 6:30 p.m. so you can stop by in the afternoon or after work for a stroll under thousands of twinkling lights. Visit cold-weather creatures, enjoy family activities and Wildlife Theater in the Zoo gallery, and watch the animals unwrap seasonal treats during holiday enrichment sessions.

Also enjoy holiday shopping at the Zootique, take a family holiday photo, and treat yourself to roasted marshmallows, candy apples, and hot apple cider. Activities take place 2:00–6:30 p.m.

Event Schedule

Wildlife Theater
Time: 2:00–6:00 p.m.; performances begin on the hour
Location: Zoo Gallery

Live Animal Encounters
2:30–5:30 p.m.; encounters begin on the hour
Location: Zoo Gallery

Time: 2:00–6:00 p.m.
Location: Zoo Gallery

Presents to the Penguins
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Location: Penguin house

Presents to the Snow Leopards
Time: 4:30 p.m.
Location: Allison Maher Stern Snow Leopard Exhibit

Presents to the Polar Bears
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Location: Polar bear exhibit

Baby Mongoose Pups at the Central Park Zoo

Mongoose Pup

"I'm ready for my closeup Mr. DeMille"

Rikki Tikki Tavi would be so proud – four banded mongoose pups and their parents have moved into the Tropic Zone. These petite African carnivores get their name from the black stripes across their backs. And what’s tinier than a dwarf mongoose? Well, their pups, for starters. The dwarf mongoose family lives in the Tropic Zone as well. In the wild, both dwarf and banded mongooses form extensive social groups. Check out this ridiculously cute video of the pups doing their “we’re more adorable than a shoe box full of kittens” routine.

For the record – Mongooses (Herpestidae) are a family of 33 species of small carnivorans from southern Eurasia and mainland Africa. Four additional species from Madagascar in the subfamily Galidiinae, which were previously classified in this family, are also frequently referred to as “mongooses”. Genetic evidence indicates that the Galidiinae are more closely related to other Madagascar carnivorans in the family Eupleridae, which is the closest living group to mongooses.

Snowfall and Snow Leopards

This evening has brought a delightful frosting to the park, although it is scheduled to be replaced by slushy grey muck by morning. One of the most romantic views in the park is Belvedere Castle in the snow.

Belvedere Castle In The Snow.

And while we’re on the subject – Snow leopards will soon have new digs in Manhattan, at the Central Park Zoo. The Allison Maher Stern Snow Leopard Exhibit is expected to open in spring of 2009 and was made possible by a $7 million leadership gift to the WCS Gateways to Conservation campaign by Allison and Leonard Stern.  The new exhibit will replicate the scrubby evergreen forests in the mountainous region of Central Asia, where the highly endangered snow leopard lives. Zoo visitors will be able to go nose-to-nose with the big cats and see them perched on rocks and boulders. Hot and cool rocks for winter and summer will create a comfortable environment for these high-altitude animals, and ledges and other behavioral enrichment features will encourage them to pounce and play.  Some lovely watercolors that are being prepared for the Zoo can be found at the Natural History Artist site.