All about the Staten Island Zoo:
The Staten Island Zoo is an 8 acre suburban zoo in the West New Brighton section of Staten Island. The zoo is open all year, with the exception of Christmas, New Year's Day and Thanksgiving. The Staten Island Zoo (also known as Barrett Park) can be traced back to three Staten Island War Heroes; Major Clarence Barrett, Colonel Richard Penn Smith, and Colonel Edward Harden. In the 1800, this area was home to many high ranking military officers who owned stately estates on Clove Road such as Colonel Smith and Colonel Harden.
The Staten Island Zoo was built on the grounds of Colonel Edward Harden. Colonel Harden and his wife Julia moved into 614 Broadway on Staten Island in 1908, where they resided in what would later be called Harden Mansion. In 1930 Mrs. Harden died, she had willed her property to the City, but under three conditions; that the property would not become a playground, that her husband Colonel Harden be allowed to stay in the house until he died, and that the property be named for her brother in law, "Civil War Major Clarence Barrett.” The property was turned over to the City of New York and that area was and still is referred to as Barrett Park.
Unlike other zoos in New York City the Staten Island Zoo, is operated by the Staten Island Zoological Society, which was created in 1933. Initially the focus of the zoo was reptiles, mostly a collection of snakes. These snakes were housed in the zoo's Serpentarium. The Staten Island Zoo's collection of rattlesnakes is regarded as among the largest in North America and the most complete. Many of the animals were obtained by either purchases or procurements from other zoos. The Staten Island Zoo has a collection of 1500 animals and over 350 different species. The zoo is also home to the famous Staten Island Chuck, which I am sure everyone waits to see if his prediction will be for 6 more weeks of winter. This comes every February 2, which as we all know is Groundhog Day, and Chuck is the official Groundhog for the City of New York.
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