One of my family’s favorite Halloween traditions is to take our little animal-costumed boy (in the past he's been a penguin, cow, bat, bumblebee and flying squirrel) to the Bronx Zoo for its annual Boo at the Zoo celebration. The zoo really goes all out for the occasion and transforms into a festive and not-too-scary Halloween destination for families.
The special Boo at the Zoo activities take place every weekend through October 28, so you've got plenty of time to check them out. Attractions include extraordinary 3D pumpkin carving demos, live music and magic, a spooky hayride, a haunted mansion, cool Halloween-themed animal programs, costume parades and even trick-or-treating. Boo at the Zoo is a great deal, too: For every full-price general admission adult ticket purchased, one child in costume gets in free. Read on for details about Boo at the Zoo and check out our Halloween Fun Guide for even more seasonal fun.
While my family and I really like just about everything about Boo at the Zoo, the following experiences really stand out.
The Haunting at Habitat Mansion – Somba Village
Last year's Haunted Safari has transformed into a not-too-scary haunted house. Families can tour the late Dr. Benton Broome’s creepy mansion and conservatory where things aren't quite right. While you make your way through the kooky home, servants of the manor (a.k.a. friendly zoo staff members) remind kids about the importance of protecting wildlife and our environment. Note: This attraction costs $3 or is included in the price of a Total Experience Ticket, which costs $29.95 for adults, $19.95 for children ages 3-12 when purchased in advance online.
Creepy Hollow Hayride – Fordham Parking
Take in the beautiful fall colors of the zoo's grounds on this eerie spin through the Creepy Hollow display. It's a fun adventure with a spooky narrated storyline, creepy Halloween music, crashing crates, shaky houses and strange creatures. Note: This attraction costs $3 or is included in the price of a Total Experience Ticket, which costs $29.95 for adults, $19.95 for children ages 3-12 when purchased in advance online.
Who Put the Trick in Trick or Treat? – Asia Plaza Theater
Another new attraction this year: Sesame Street puppeteer and performer Noel MacNeal spotlights three cultures where animal "tricksters" save the day in this zany musical theater show. There are three show daily at 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30pm.
Costume Parade – Zoo Center
This is, without a doubt, my son's favorite part of his Boo at the Zoo experience. The kids show off their outfits and attitude in this festive procession, which kicks off at the Rhino Garden and winds its way around the grounds. This year, the colorful parade will feature a giant snake, witch and other creatures on stilts alongside the proud little marchers. There are two parades daily at noon and 2pm and a special photo op at 3:30pm at Dancing Crane Plaza.
Hay Maze presented by Osh Kosh B’Gosh © – Butterfly Patio
What's not to love about a hay maze? The kids have fun getting lost and parents get a few minutes of downtime.
Animal-Themed Magic Shows – Tent by the Bears
David Levitan’s slight-of-hand tricks and optical illusions take center stage at this intimate performance. There are three shows daily at noon, 2 and 4pm.
Pumpkin Carving Demonstrations and Display presented by Bright Horizons ® – Dancing Crane Plaza
Kids will be wowed as giant pumpkins are transformed into amazing 3D animal/movie monster hybrids. See Franken-zebra, elephant mummy, lion Dracula and more.
Gigi’s "Boo Revue" – Tent by the Bears
Jump on the "Howl-o-Ween Express" for an interactive animal-themed musical performance by Gigi and the Lend Me a Hand Band. This year's show features special appearances by Justin Beaver, Katie Purrie and Hanna Piranha. There are three performances daily at 11:30am, 1 and 3pm
Animal Enrichment – Zoo-wide
Throughout October, the animals get some cool pumpkin surprises. Watch what happens when Sasha the tiger or the gorillas in the Congo get their Halloween treats! Visit the website for a full schedule.
Families can also learn about the zoo's scariest creatures at daily Creature Chats, including the Truth About Creepy Crawly Spiders at 11am by the Sea Lion Pool, Slithering Snakes at 1pm at the World of Reptiles and Batty about Bats in Jungle World at 3pm.
There will also be treat stations located all over the zoo, so be sure to bring your trick-or-treat bucket! Plus make your own wild animal mask at the Dancing Crane Pavilion.
All Boo at the Zoo events and activities are included with general admission except The Haunting at Habitat Mansion and the Creepy Hollow Hayride, which each cost $3 or require a Total Experience Ticket. For every full-price general admission adult ticket purchased, one child in costume gets in free. General admission is $16.95 for adults, $11.95 for children ages 3-12, free for kids under 3. Don’t have a costume? (Is that even possible?) If so, you can download one of these simple animal costumes courtesy of the Bronx Zoo.
Boo at the Zoo takes place every weekend through October 28 11am-5pm.
For more seasonal fun, check out our Fall Fun Guide and our Halloween Guide.
This post is sponsored by the Wildlife Conservation Society's Bronx Zoo. Boo at the Zoo will be running every weekend through October 28, 2012.