on July 13, 2006
Let me begin by admitting I am not a fan of zoos. I’m sure then the question of why I would visit here is bound to come up. Grandchildren, it is really the only explanation. Being me, I was rather surprised what it cost to park at the zoo. One would think that since we have to pay entrance that would be enough, but I would be wrong, it is $10. Parking is also at quite a distance so be prepared to walk a good deal before you even get into the zoo. There are handicap lots closer and I imagine if you get there when the zoo opens you might be able to park a bit closer than where we ended up.Luckily I had my Philadelphia Pass which gave us all free entrance to the zoo. This is a $16.95 value. You can even purchase and print your tickets at home before you visit at their website http://www.philadelphiazoo.org/Philadelphia Zoo bills itself as Americas First Zoo. The Zoological Society of Philadelphia came into existence in 1859 but with the onset of the Civil War the opening was delayed until July 1, 1874. The land chosen for the zoo once belonged to William Penn’s grandson John. Admission in 1874 was 25 cents for adults. That first year the zoo welcomed 228,000 visitors. Last year more than 1.1 million people visited. The collection has grown from 813 to over 1600 but in many ways I am sure the excitement of the children who visit is much the same.The PECO Primate Reserve was one of our favorite places in the Zoo for several reasons, number one for me was that it is air-conditioned and it was a sweltering hot August day and the second was just watching the interaction of the Gorillas and chimpanzees with the audience. What really fascinated Julia and Alex though was a tiny little animal a pygmy marmoset. It was absolutely adorable and we spent a great deal of time trying a get a picture of it that did it justice. It was not very cooperative I have to say. We did enjoy seeing a poisonous frog, lots of huge snakes and an okapis which a donkey with striped zebra legs, unusual to say the least. There are some nice boxes for children where they can push a button and get some information on the animal they are seeing. It was perhaps a bit on the young side for the 12-year-olds. There are of course several stores geared toward children of all ages with temptations galore. There were also ice cream and snack stands. We did have one up close and personal experience, we got to watch them moving the camels and we were standing right in front of them.
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