Polar Circle


At the heart of Manhattan, this exhibit boasts harbor seals and birds from the ends of the earth. Penguins and puffins are a nice respite from the hustle and bustle.

Interactive Map

Get directions, attraction status and more when you are at the park.

Launch Map


Open year-round


  • Low Light
  • Wheelchair Accessible

Indoors & Out

The Polar Circle includes indoor areas, where you’ll encounter animals including chinstrap penguins, easily recognized by the feather markings on their heads that resemble a helmet held in place with a black strap. Outdoors, you’ll find harbor seals - sometimes called ‘crawling seals’, because on land they contract their stomach muscles to wiggle along like a caterpillar.

King of New York?

In 2015, Central Park Zoo became home to the first king penguin ever hatched in New York City. The landmark hatching was the result of the expertise and careful husbandry techniques practiced by the zoo’s keepers and curatorial staff.

In the Exhibit

Macaroni Penguin

Macaroni penguins are easily identified by their comparatively large bill and characteristic bright yellow crest composed of long yellow feathers on either side of the head.

Tufted Penguin

The distinctive yellow tufts of the tufted puffin only appear in summer, and molt away during the winter. These birds are known for their acrobatic swimming patterns.

Gentoo Penguin

Gentoo penguins are known for their loud, trumpeting calls. After hatching, chicks spend about one month in the nest before joining the other chicks in the colony.

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