on July 7, 2009
We live in Philadelphia and have a membership to the zoo. That is my first tip - if you have multiple people or plan to go more than once in a year, a membership is often a better deal. The membership includes your parking and entrance fees for every member of the family. We have the deluxe membership which also includes all the extra rides that the park has to offer. But more about those later.I am not a huge fan of zoos in general, and yet I have been to many different ones. I have to say that this one is pretty good. The Big Cat Pavilion was recently renovated and features large glass windows that allow you to get up close and personal with the cats - if they are in the mood. The brand new bird house also just opened. I actually havent seen it yet, but I am sure it is amazing! Then there is the primate area which is pretty much guaranteed to have something to see. Even when the larger animals are sleeping, there are always the smaller jumping monkeys that are very playful. There are polar bears, but to be honest, in all the times Ive been there, I have only seen them pacing back and forth acting like they are going to swim, never actually swimming. For swimming, be sure to check out the river otters in the carnivore section. They are probably my favorite, since they are always playing and swimming.Here is a tip about birds (not in the bird house)- there is a little greenhouse like enclosure, sort of between the Swan boats and the children's zoo - off the main trail and behind the bathrooms. In there you can get a cup of nectar and feed the birds! They will come and land on you to drink the nectar out of your cup, and sometimes lick your hands too. It can be tough to find and even some frequent visitors don't know about it. It also is only open at certain times, and only during the summer months. Still, it is worth looking for because it is free and very fun!I think my favorite thing about the zoo is all the 'extras' that they have. It is sort of like a mini amusement park! There are the pony rides in the children's zoo, the draft horse rides, the brand new carousel with rainforest animals, the little train ride, the swan boats, the camel rides and of course the zoo balloon that gives you a great view of the city! Each of the rides costs between $3 and $8 unless you have a family deluxe pass - then every family member gets one ride per visit free.
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