9. Several Architectural Features Are NYC Landmarks

Since 1966, the Landmarks Preservation Commission tried to designate multiple buildings as official landmarks, but zoo director, William Conway protested, claiming the designations were obsolete and would deter zoo operations. But after a few tries, Landmarks was able to officially designate a few architectural features.

The landmarked areas are as follows: Rainey Memorial Gates at the north entrance of the zoo (January 1967), Astor Court (June 2000), and the Rockefeller Fountain (February 1968), donated to the Zoological Society in 1903. Astor Court is a portion of the zoo consisting of a raised, landscape terrace, which has the North and West Stairs leading up to it, along with six detached, brick and limestone neo-classical style buildings around the central Sea Lion pool. Fun fact! Rainey Gate also features 22 full-sized sculpted animals.