Expat Experiences, New York

Boo at the Zoo!

Halloween Trip to the Bronx Zoo

One of the seasonal events we most enjoy in NYC is Boo at the Zoo!  This is where the Bronx Zoo transform the grounds with a Halloween theme, put on pumpkin carving displays and have costume parades.


Happy Halloween!

Ssss – Boo at the Zoo 2018

The celebration is only on for the month of October and always incredibly popular, especially as we near October 31st.

A good tip – we learned the hard way – is if you are driving, get to the park before noon or else you won’t get into the zoo car park.  Try to get there as early as you can if only to avoid the crowds.


The kids love the many decorations spread throughout the park.  I don’t know how long it takes the staff but I admire the effort they put in.

Harry hams it up

Harry hams it up for the camera

A good tip is to look up and around as you walk through the zoo as some decorations – like scary, giant spiders – are positioned on top of buildings and in the trees.

Harry particularly likes to point out spiders to me despite sharing my phobia 😀

Step into my parlour

Step into my parlour, said the spider to the fly

There’s several photo spots built into the paths where you can jump on to hay bales and pose with skeletons and other gruesome (but don’t worry, not terrifying) ghouls.

Harry and Roger

Harry and Roger look for danger

Nature Trek

We took part in the new interactive exhibit, Nature Trek.  You need to queue up as they only let several people go at a time (wise safety move) but the queue moves fast.

Kids cross the high bridges

Crossing the high bridges

The kids are fearless

The kids ran ahead, we took things a little more carefully

In this exhibit you climb up rope ladders, cross rope bridges and weave your way above a section of the zoo.  There are interesting things to spot while up high and exploring / creative crafts when you’re back on the ground.

Harry playing in the creative craft area

None shall pass!

We built a shelter!

We built a shelter!  Well, Yi did most of the work 😉

The kids really loved this exhibit and I have to say Alister and I enjoyed it too.  Even when I kept shaking the bridges to try and make Alister motion sick

Extra Attractions

The zoo also provides a really sweet kids hay maze (a very manageable size for parents) as well as a hay ride through the back ground of the zoo and a taller corn maze.

Top tip: if you let your kids go ahead of you, you can shove your hands through the corn stalks, screaming and grabbing at them.  They LOVE this / will be terrified ;-).

Spooky Scarecrow!

Spooky Scarecrow!

Hay ride takes a dark turn

The hay ride’s former victims

Hay ride takes a dark turn

Watch out!

Whilst most of the aforementioned hay ride is fun, there’s a real chilling moment with a human monster (no spoilers) that had us giggling nervously for a few minutes.  Who doesn’t love a good scare at Halloween?

A chilling moment

Being pursued by a killer

There’s also the Haunted Forest for 12 year olds and up but we didn’t do this as we’re too young and / or big chickens, a candy trail for the kids and kids crafts so plenty to do.

Don’t forget to swing by the amazing pumpkin carving team.

They do speed carving (sure, I can carve a wolf’s head in 1o minutes too, whatever) and create unbelievable sculptures over 2-3 days:

Amazing pumpkin carving art

Amazing pumpkin carving art

Amazing pumpkin carving art

Amazing pumpkin carving art

Finally, make sure to catch and ideally participate in the timed costume parade.

The zoo welcomes visitors in costume and encourages you to take part along with their cast members who are dressed in wonderfully creative outfits.  March along to the drumbeat or simply stand and admire the monsters and superheroes stomping by.


For the grown-ups, there’s also Bootoberfest – food and beer!  What?  Sign us up.

Located at Astor Court you can buy a ticket into Bootoberfest and relax on the grass with live music and games for the kids.

The food trucks there are not – surprisingly – wholly objectionable in terms of quality and price either though I always recommend you take a packed lunch to any event like this as food is always overpriced and limited.

Playing on the tree slide

Harry loved the slide

Playing on the tree slide

Roger flying down the slide


Oh and yeah, it’s Halloween but don’t forget you can actually see a whole host of animals as this is a zoo 😉

Harry the meerkat

Harry the meerkat

A few extra photos of our day out:

Great day out at the zoo

Harry, Roger, Emma, Julia and Yixin getting ready to take the hay ride

Water painting on chalkboard

Emma enjoyed water art

Harry and Roger

I photobomb Harry and Roger

Kids conquer the zoo mountain

Kids ready to tackle the zoo

Me and Emma

Mummy and Emma

Harry loved the decorations at the zoo

Harry loved the decorations at the zoo

Exhausted children

Must have been a good day out if the kids are exhausted

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