At the Zoo

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"At the Zoo"
Single by Simon and Garfunkel
from the album Bookends
B-side "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)"
Released February 27, 1967
Format 7" single
Recorded January 8, 1967
Genre Folk rock
Length 2:21
Label Columbia
Songwriter(s) Paul Simon
Producer(s) Simon and Garfunkel
Bob Johnston
Simon and Garfunkel singles chronology
"A Hazy Shade of Winter"
"At the Zoo"
"Fakin' It"

"A Hazy Shade of Winter"
"At the Zoo"
"Fakin' It"

"At the Zoo" was one of Simon and Garfunkel's single releases in 1967.

The song is one of Paul Simon's many tributes to his hometown of New York City, and was written for the soundtrack of The Graduate, specifically the scene which takes place at the San Francisco Zoo. However, the song was not used in the film. The song begins with Simon's short lyrical introduction in the key of A Major, but it soon transitions to the key of G Major, being a whole note down from the beginning. The narrative tells the story of a trip to the Central Park Zoo; when the singer reaches the zoo, he anthropomorphizes the animals in various amusing ways. The song was licensed in advertisements for the Bronx Zoo and the San Francisco Zoo in the late 1970s.


"At the Zoo" was first released as a single in 1967, reaching #16 on the Billboard Hot 100. After that, it was released on the following albums:

The song was also performed live by Simon and Garfunkel in the Old Friends: Live on Stage album in 2004, as part of a medley with "Baby Driver".

An alternate version with almost completely different lyrics is available on the bootleg The Alternate Bookends.[1] These lyrics have nothing to do with a zoo, but rather speak of a musician's girlfriend having changed while he was on the road. The song begins, "Something tells me things have changed since I've been gone"; "Something tells me" is one of the few phrases that is still present in the released version.

The book[edit]

In 1991, Paul Simon released a children's book titled At the Zoo (ISBN 0-385-41771-3) which combines the lyrics of the song with the very detailed illustrations of Valerie Michaut. To make this book considerable as "age-appropriate" for children, Simon made changes and additions, including identifying Rum as a beaver (because the original lyric states that "the zookeeper is very fond of rum") and giving the hamsters headlights (because they "turn on frequently").

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1967) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100 16


  1. ^ "Simon & Garfunkel : The Alternate Bookends", The Big O, accessed April 7, 2009