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See all Kinds of Wildlife at the Philadelphia Zoo

March 16, 2020 By CityPASS

It's quite fitting that the first true zoo in the United States originated in the historic city of Philadelphia. In 1874, the Philadelphia Zoo opened with 1,000 animals and an admission price of just 25 cents. Today, over one million visitors enjoy its endearing residents each year. It's regarded as one of the top zoos in America. Big cats, giants of the African plains, nocturnal reptiles, birds extinct in the wild, and more all reside on its 42 acres. Its incredible assortment of endangered and vulnerable animals provides a magnificent view of the diversity of life on earth and offers guests the opportunity to see some truly remarkable creatures up close.

Philadelphia Zoo Animals

With 1300 animals that call the Philly Zoo home, there's never a dull moment during a visit. Watch toddling penguins transform into graceful swimmers the moment they enter their pool, and feed some friendly giraffes that will accept your treats with a slurp of their massive purple-hued tongues. Then, take a few minutes to hand-feed colorful Asian birds or watch lemurs bound through their obstacle course. Make sure you save plenty of time to explore the Philadelphia Zoo exhibits because there's a lot to see!

Here are some of the Philadelphia Zoo animals and attractions so you can plan ahead to make sure you see all your favorites during your trip!

  • African Plains: Boldly striped zebras, a cantankerous rhinoceros, and a host of charming giraffes all call this section home.
  • Bear Country: In Bear Country, lazing about is par for the course. See if you can spot the Andean and Sloth bears lolling by the waterfall or splashing around in the babbling brook.
  • Big Cat Falls: A perennial visitor favorite, Big Cat Falls is home to a stunning assemblage of felines including tigers, pumas, snow leopards, jaguars, and more.
  • Bird Valley: Birds with vibrant plumage light up this exhibit; admire flashy flamingos, snowy swans, and even some attention-grabbing crested screamers.
  • KidZooU: Hamilton Family Children's Zoo & Faris Family Education Center: This children's zoo-cum-wildlife academy is the perfect way to introduce kids of all ages to the majesty of wild animals. They'll be delighted with the hands-on petting and feeding opportunities and will leave with a newfound appreciation for animals.
  • McNeil Avian Center: This lush aviary features a variety of lively feathered creatures from around the world.
  • Outback Outpost: The land down under has never seemed so close! Giant emus and curious kangaroos rule the roost in this Australian themed exhibit.
  • PECO Primate Reserve: Endangered primates from the world over find safe harbor at the Philadelphia Zoo. Admire gibbons, gorillas, golden lion tamarins, and more at this lushly appointed exhibit.
  • Penguin Point: Watch these charming tuxedo-suited birds on land and below water, thanks to a unique exhibit that pairs an above-ground habitat with an underwater viewing facility.
  • Rare Animal Conservation Center: This exhibit of exotic critters offers guests the opportunity to spot unusual animals like the Rodrigues fruit bat and the Red-capped mangabey.
  • Reptile and Amphibian House: Languid tortoises contrast starkly with quick-moving poison dart frogs in this house of cold-blooded creatures.
  • Small Mammal House: This exhibit made for animals of petite proportions houses adorable pygmy marmosets and meerkats side by side.
  • Water is Life: A dynamic design filled with slides, overhead bridges, and tunnels provides the perfect environment for otters and red pandas to frolic and play like never before.
  • Zoo 360: Don't be surprised if you see a meandering gorilla or prowling tiger overhead. The Philadelphia Zoo's groundbreaking, campus-wide network of enclosed mesh trails encourages animals to stretch their legs and affords visitors the opportunity to get a closer look at their favorites.

Along with the permanent exhibits, visitors will also get the chance to engage with zookeepers delivering short scheduled lectures about the animals residing inside the exhibits. Check the Philadelphia Zoo website for times and locations.

The Best Time to Visit the Philadelphia Zoo

It's always a good time to visit the Philadelphia Zoo, but if you're looking to avoid the crowds, do your best to arrive early or stay late. The middle of the day is prime school-visit time, and the Zoo may be filled with children. Avoid visiting when it's overly hot, as the animals will not be as active, or when it's frigid, unless you like wandering around outside all bundled up! Cloudy days are ideal if you're not afraid of a few sprinkles. Just grab a Zoo poncho and enjoy the sparser crowd.

Philadelphia Zoo Tickets

Visitors can buy Philadelphia Zoo tickets ahead of time online through the official website or purchase on-site at the Zoo itself. Philadelphia Zoo prices are determined by the time of year (winter is less expensive) and guest age.

Discount Philadelphia Zoo Tickets

While you may be able to score discounted tickets and coupons for the Philadelphia Zoo at certain times of the year or on the website, your best bet for savings is Philadelphia CityPASS® tickets. With CityPASS® tickets, you can save up to on zoo tickets and on other popular Philadelphia attractions like the Adventure Aquarium, and more.

Philadelphia Zoo Hours and Parking

The Philadelphia Zoo is open every day except for major holidays. Hours are determined by seasonality; check the official website for the most up-to-date schedule.

Various lots and the Zoo Parking Garage offer plenty of paid parking for guests. Public transportation (buses and trolleys) is also a viable option for those looking to avoid the hassle of driving.

The Philadelphia Zoo is an opportunity for visitors of all ages to connect and learn about a wide array of remarkable wild animals. It's a delight to admire these magnificent creatures up close and drink in the sensational diversity of the natural world.

Nearby Lodging

To get the most out of your stay in Philadelphia, we recommend finding lodging near Philadelphia's top attractions like the Philadelphia Zoo. Use this map to find the right lodging for you:

Go Wild at the Philadelphia Zoo for Less With CityPASS® Tickets

You don't have to pay full price to see your favorite animals. With Philadelphia CityPASS® tickets, save up to and choose from a three-, four-, or five-attraction pass to create your own Philadelphia sightseeing adventure. Choose from some of Philadelphia's most popular locations including the Museum of the American Revolution, Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the Barnes Foundation, the National Constitution Center, and more. Grab your CityPASS® tickets and plan your Philadelphia adventure today!

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