Why Not Ride a Bike to the Bronx Zoo?

Map: Bicycle Parking at the Bronx Zoo

I Googled around for information on bicycle parking at the Bronx Zoo, but I didn’t find very much. The zoo’s official directions page, which does a great job explaining the subway and bus routes to the zoo, doesn’t mention bike parking. I did, however, find a comment from a cyclist on this forum who said, somewhat tantalizingly, that he rode to the zoo and found “a serpent-shaped bike rack.” And the NYC Dept. of Transportation¬†bike parking page lists six “large” racks at the zoo’s official address, 2300 Southern Boulevard.¬†So I emailed the zoo and asked about bike parking. They emailed back to confirm that there were, indeed, bike racks at the zoo’s entrances.

But I was still curious for more info. Were the racks deep inside the zoo? Would I have to pay first then walk the bike to the rack? Should I ride through the pedestrian walkways or the car lanes? How many racks were there? What kind were they? Etc.

So as part of my South Bronx bike rack map (northern half), I surveyed the bike parking at the zoo. Armed with the information I’ve obtained, I’m writing this blog post so that if anyone else wonders about bike parking at the Bronx Zoo, hopefully this page will come up in Google.

Bicycle Parking at the Bronx Zoo

The zoo has placed bike parking at three of its four entrances as shown in this map: Bike Parking at the Bronx Zoo. Here are details.

Southern Boulevard Gate

Wave-type bike rack at the Bronx Zoo's Southern Boulevard Gate.

The Southern Boulevard Gate has two entrances. One for buses and cars at Garden Street and Crotona Parkway, and one for pedestrians at 2300 Southern Boulevard (between 183rd Street and 185th). Cyclists should enter through the pedestrian entrance, while being careful not to freak out or antagonize any of the actual pedestrians.

About 340 feet in from the street’s curb, you’ll find the galvanized wave-type bike rack pictured here. This is probably the “serpent-shaped” rack the cyclist above had mentioned. (And I’d been envisioning a fancy rack, intricately shaped into a sea serpent in honor of the zoo’s mission of promoting animal life. Oh well.)

The rack has a comfortable capacity of six bikes. After locking up, the zoo’s entrance is directly ahead of you about 30 feet.

Fordham Road Gate

Grid-type bike rack at the Bronx Zoo's Fordham Road Gate.

At the Fordham Road Gate, there is a grid-type rack to your right just after start down the entrance. You will see it before you get to the guard booth. I would guess there is a comfortable capacity of about eight to ten bikes at this rack. With these kind of racks, the most attractive spots are at either end. If they are taken, you can still securely lock your bike in the center part of the rack if you hoist your front wheel up over the top, then lock front wheel and frame to the grid posts.

Once you’ve locked up, you’ll walk on the sidewalk past the guard booth, then continue on the sidewalk into the zoo’s most majestic entrance, with a grand drive and stairway.

Bronx River Gate

M-type bike rack at the Bronx Zoo's Bronx River Gate.

Getting to the Bronx River Gate on a bike is tricky. To approach the entrance, turn onto Boston Road from Bronx Park East between Pelham Parkway and Lydig Avenue. This short section of Boston Road is fairly busy with traffic heading to and from Exit 6 of the Bronx River Parkway. Still, it’s just a two-lane road, so it isn’t terrible. Once you go under the parkway overpass, you’ll see the zoo entrance ahead of you. Go through the pedestrian sidewalk on the right. As soon as you pass through, you’ll see a sturdy galvanized M-type rack on your right. This rack can comfortably hold four bicycles.

Asia Gate

The Asia Gate is the gate you use when you arrive at the zoo by subway. (Take the 2 or the 5 to West Farms Square / E. Tremont Av.) Unfortunately, there is no bike parking at this gate.

All in all, cycling to the Bronx Zoo is probably easier than you think. And while parking a car at the zoo will cost you $13, parking a bike is completely free. So next time you’re heading to the zoo, consider the option of cycling. And once you’re in the zoo, make sure you see the best animal, the tapir.

The Tapir

Sleeping tapir at the Bronx Zoo. Photo by Aaron Donovan, June 17, 2006.

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