Street and Girard Avenue Phone: (215) 243-1100 Hours: March through
November-Weekdays 9:30am-4: 45pm; Weekends 9:30am-5: 45pm December
Current Exhibits: Koala
Debut - Wallaby
Walkabout - Tiger
The first zoo in the United States was the Philadelphia Zoo, and even
today it remains one of the top in the country. First opened to the
public in 1874, the Philly Zoo represents a marvelous way to spend a
weekend with your family while visiting or vacationing. It's rare that
something so interesting is also educational, yet the Philadelphia Zoo
manages to teach about preservation and zoology within an incredibly
inside a sprawling Victorian garden, the structure houses over fifteen
hundred animals in their natural habitats. Near every exhibit is a "Talking
Storybook," a recording which when activated tells a little about the
species and habitat you're currently viewing. A monorail is also available
to cut down on walking time.
The zoo is subdivided into sections bearing titles like "Carnivore
Kingdom" and "Rare Animal House," each containing just what the name
suggests…in this case, dangerous predators and endangered species. Two
white lions call the zoo home, making this one of the only places left
to see one of these rare beasts.
An attached Children's Zoo offers horseback rides and a petting zoo
for your little ones, which is good if they're a bit afraid of the lions
but wish to take in some of the more tame species up-close and personal.
Besides the zoo itself, there is also the George D. Widener Memorial
Treehouse. For a bit of an extra fee, your children can roam the four-story
fortress and take in an excellent aerial view of the landscape, or do
some of the other activities such as "hatch" out of a giant egg or play
around on a dinosaur.
Plenty of picture-taking opportunities abound. The Philadelphia Zoo
is one of the most worthwhile attractions in the entire city, and a
marvelous place to take your children. This is one of those places that
is truly fun for the whole family, because every age level can appreciate
it on their own level. Philly's Zoo may be the oldest in the country,
but it's certainly still one of the best.