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Philadelphia Zoo

34th 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 Cubs.
Other Current Events.

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 entertaining atmosphere.

Set 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.

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