Secrets of Central Park – Camels on Sheep Meadow

Perusing our archive of Central Park Stereopticon pictures recently I came across this singular photo of a camel, seeming quite relaxed on a stroll through Central Park.  As part of the park’s menagerie (which later became the Central Park Zoo), camels visited Sheep Meadow periodically. This particular camel appears to be roaming the park quite freely. Camels were popular at the menagerie, and they got lots of attention in the press; newspapers updated New Yorkers on when new camels came to the park, when a baby camel was born, and when a beloved camel died as evidenced by this brief, but poignant, notice in the NY Times:

Grief of Mate and Offsprlng Acute – Museum Declines Carcass
Volstead, the 14-year-old Bactrian camel who had long figured as one of the chief attractions at the Cen­tral Park Zoo, died yesterday after four days’ illness. Volstead, who was born in the zoo here, was the last of the male camels of the Central Park herd. He is survived by his mate, Jeanette, and an 11-months-old offspring, Jeanette 2nd. The grief of the survivors was described by Head Keeper Robert Hurton as acute.
The Museum of Natural History having declined to accept Volstead’s carcass, the camel will be buried at Barren Island.”
Published: May 23, 1930 Copyright © The New York Times

I think my favorite part of the whole camel saga was the name “Volstead”. This was thanks to the efforts of the aforementioned Robert Hurton, known around the Menagerie as “Bob the Moniker King”. Besides his sensitivity to the bereavement of the Volstead clan his finest moment might have come in the services of “Tiny” the Hippo. While he may not have displayed exceptional talent in nicknaming this particular charge he did perform nobly in the matchmaking department. As reported by the NY Times Mr. Hurton noticed that Tiny seemed apparently lonely and actually had a suitable mate sent all the way from Hamburg, Germany.


They were also apparently employed as part of the ongoing landscaping efforts:

Working Camel













And as a special ride attraction on Sheep Meadow.

Camel ride on Sheep Meadow


Snow Monkey Hot Tub – Central Park Zoo

Central Park Zoo Snow Monkeys enjoy their “Hot Tub”, much as they do the volcanic baths that keep them warm in their native Japan.

Ready For My Closeup – Central Park, Winter 2015

Central Park Grizzlies Debut at the Zoo

Betty and Veronica, the Central Park Zoo’s newest inhabitants make their official debut today.  They’ve been busy  exploring all the nooks and crannies of their new home, a radically redesigned enclosure that once housed Gus, the Zoo’s beloved polar bear who died in 2013.  Visitors who were accustomed to Gus’s endless lap swimming — the aquatic equivalent of pacing — are in for a treat. These bears are social, engaged and, considering that it’s winter, pretty active, in a lumbering sort of way.

Central Park Zoo’s snow leopard cub enjoys its first snow day

Despite frigid temperatures Central Park Zoo’s adorable snow leopard cub, 6-month-old Malala, ­enjoyed the light dusting of snow that blanketed Manhattan.   She and her mother were among many Gotham dwellers who were in awe of the picturesque powder that hit the East Coast Tuesday, marking the first snowfall of 2015.  But the beauty of the fluffy flakes will  fade for New Yorkers thanks to the icy winter winds. New Yorkers should prepare to bundle up as temps are expected to stay below 25 degrees with the possibility of snow through Saturday.  Today is expected to be the coldest one this week, with weathermen predicting a high of only24 degrees.