The Philadelphia Zoo, located in the Centennial District of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on the west bank of the Schuylkill River, is the first actual zoo in the United States. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania chartered it on March 21, 1859, but the Civil War delayed its opening until July 1, 1874. The zoo opened with 1,000 animals and an admission price of 25 cents. For a brief time, the zoo also housed animals brought over from safari on behalf of the Smithsonian Institution, which had not yet built the National Zoo.
The Philadelphia Zoo is one of the premier zoos in the world for breeding animals that are difficult to breed in captivity. The zoo also works with many groups worldwide to protect the animals’ natural habitats in their care. The zoo is 42 acres (17 ha) and the home to nearly 1,300 animals, many of which are rare and endangered. Special features include a children’s petting zoo, a paddleboat lake, a rainforest-themed carousel, a ropes course, and many interactive and educational exhibits.
- Zoo360: a first-of-its-kind animal trail system is consisting of five trails—Big Cat Crossing, Gorilla Treeway, Treetop Trail, Great Ape Trail, and Meerkat Maze—which allow the animals to travel along suspended and ground-level mesh structures throughout parts of the zoo.
- The Rare Animal Conservation Center: interactive graphics and up-close views of some of the world’s most endangered animals, including Rodrigues fruit bats, naked mole-rats, blue-eyed black lemurs, golden lion tamarins, François’ langurs, and Bolivian gray titi monkeys.
- Hamilton Family KidZooU & Faris Family Education Center: a children’s zoo with indoor and outdoor exhibits of smaller animals that include petting and feeding opportunities and educational games.
- African Plains features a southern white rhinoceros, Mhorr gazelles, red river hogs, southern ground hornbills, reticulated giraffes, plains zebras, and hippos. Pest Control Kings
- McNeil Avian Center: an aviary features many species of birds, mainly from Africa and the Pacific Islands, including the hamerkop, the Mariana fruit dove, the metallic starling, and the Victoria crowned pigeon, as well as the extinct-in-the-wild Guam kingfisher and Guam rail, and the critically endangered Bali mynah.
- Bird Valley: features American flamingos, various species of geese, and trumpeter swans.
- Bear Country: features four sloth bears and an Andean bear.
- Big Cat Falls: features numerous species of wild cats, including African lions, Amur tigers, Amur leopards, snow leopards, and jaguars.
- Small Mammal House: features mammalian species such as pygmy loris, meerkat, pygmy marmoset, harvest mouse, dwarf mongoose, Malagasy giant rat, Hoffmann’s two-toed sloth, and vampire bat. An outdoor trail system called Meerkat Maze allows the meerkats to travel through mesh tunnels near visitors. Monkey Junction: includes a pair of black-headed spider monkeys, a pair of brown spider monkeys, and squirrel monkeys.
Address: 3400 W Girard Ave, Philadelphia, PA
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