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Visit America's First Zoo in Philly

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is full of historical sites. The Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, the Betsy Ross House — the list keeps going. But on your historical tour of Philly, don't forget to plan a stop at the Philadelphia Zoo.

The first zoo in America, the Philadelphia Zoo is rich with cultural significance and has great animal exhibits and encounters. According to the Philadelphia Zoo's website, "the charter establishing the Zoological Society of Philadelphia was approved and signed on March 21, 1859. Due to the Civil War, however, it was another 15 years before America's first zoo was ready to open." The Philadelphia Zoo opened its doors officially on July 1, 1874.

In its inaugural year, the Philadelphia Zoo had 813 different animals. Today, the zoo is home to almost 1,300 animal species, including rare and endangered animals from around the world. The zoo has 15 family-favorite animal exhibit areas, such as Bird Valley, Bear Country, Carnivore Kingdom, and more!

Additional attractions at the Philadelphia Zoo include:

  • Rainforest Carousel

  • Lorikeet Encounters

  • Channel 6 ZooBalloon

  • Draft Horses

  • Pony Rides

  • Camel Safaris

  • SEPTA PZ Express

  • Swan Boats

  • Chomper Chums Scavenger Hunt

Zoo guests also enjoy doing some shopping in the gift shop or taking advantage of the zoo food. From BBQ and hot dogs to ice cream, you can find food to appease your appetite. You can also take advantage of the many picnic areas throughout the zoo. You are allowed to bring in your own food or drinks (non-alcoholic), in case you want to save a little money on lunch.

The Philadelphia Zoo is open daily, except for the major holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day. Zoo hours depend on the time of year. For 2014 and 2015, zoo hours are as follows:

  • March 1, 2014 — October 31, 2014: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • November 1, 2014 — February 28, 2015: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.


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