Nestled in beautiful Prospect Park is the sweet little Prospect Park Zoo. It’s a tiny zoo – perfect for people like us with a toddler. We saw everything in an hour and 20 minutes with our 19-month-old walking everywhere herself. I don’t like zoos much – I usually find them a bit depressing. The Prospect Park Zoo, however, is filled with well cared for animals and exhibits.

Sea lion, Prospect Park Zoo.

Miss Cheese’s favourite animals of the day were the sea lions, whose exhibit is smack in the middle of the zoo. Make sure you catch the daily sea lion feedings at 11:30am, 2pm and 4pm, to get a really good look at the sea lions performing their natural behaviours with some help from the keepers.

Kids of all ages (including us!) will love feeding the animals in the barn area of the zoo. Cows, goats, sheep, alpacas and chickens are housed in barn-like pens, with slats and holes in some of the fences so you can feed them the designated food. Watch out for the goats and sheep – they are so used to being fed that they climb up onto the fences and reach their long necks over for better access to food – funny for us, but a bit scary for little toddlers. They’re super gentle and tame though, and Cheese had no problem feeding them with animal kibble straight from her little hand. The best bit: baby lambs, just two weeks old. Squeee!!

Lambs! Prospect Park Zoo.
Baboons! Prospect Park Zoo.

The other highlights for us were the baboons, housed in a large enclosure adjoining one of the visitors centers, with floor to ceiling glass, and the Discovery Trail, a winding path through gardens and scrub lands, with animal exhibits like prairie dogs and red pandas. Cheese particularly loved the ducks, including eating the duck kibble instead of feeding it to the actual ducks.

Cheese watching the ducks, Prospect Park Zoo.

What to eat: This is the sad part of our post. While the animals are well fed, the humans aren’t. There are a lot of outdoor picnic tables to sit at, but inside the cafeteria lies only vending machines. We highly recommend you bring your own lunch, or leave the park and eat at a nearby cafe or restaurant. Check out our personal fave in Prospect Heights, Gueros, or download this guide to eating in Prospect Heights for a larger directory of places to eat.

Prospect Park Zoo
450 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY
Phone: (718) 399-7339
Hours: Spring/summer (Mar 23–Nov 3, 2013) Mon-Fri 10am-5:30pm, Sat-Sun 10am-5:30pm.
Fall/winter (Nov 4, 2013–Mar 28, 2014) Daily 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!