Friday, October 17, 2008

Philly Phridays #11: The Philadelphia Zoo

Zoos are funny things with me. No matter what city I go to, I always have to visit the zoo. But then I get all morose and moody after because zoos remind me of adoption. There’s just no pleasing me.

The Garden Zoological Society is our nation’s very first zoo. And up until the time I moved away from Philly, I don’t think the exhibits had ever been upgraded since opening day. OK I’m being mean here but I swear my childhood memories of the zoo were really unhappy animals in really tiny spaces, ending with me throwing a histrionic fit outside the gorilla cage sobbing “He sh-sh-should be in the ju-ju-ju-jujujujujujungle” while some aunt would pat my hand saying “Oh Theresa, you’re too sensitive sweetheart, he’s perfectly happy in that cage!”

Thankfully no more. Upon returning to Philly as an adult I was very happy to see upgraded exhibits in most of the park. I haven’t been there in a few years but I’m hopeful there have been more improvements since. The zoo sits on 42 acres and is home to 1,800 animals. Because I’m feeling lazy, doing a wikipedia copy here:

* The Dodge Rare Animal Conservation Center: Interactive graphics and up-close views of some of the world's most endangered animals: giant Rodrigues fruit bats, naked mole rats, blue-eyed lemurs, tree-kangaroos, and more.

* The Reptile and Amphibian House: Features over 125 species of amphibians and reptiles, including giant tortoises and the venomous King Cobra.

* "Bank of America: Big Cat Falls" Features numerous species of wild cats including African Lions, Black Jaguars, Amur Tigers, and Pumas.


* Carnivore Kingdom: Features a family of six rare, playful Giant Otters, Snow Leopards, Red Pandas, and Clouded Leopards in unique naturalistic environments.

* African Plains: warthogs, Sable Antelope, Mhorr Gazelle, reticulated giraffes, hippos, and zebras.

* Exotic South American animals: such as Giant Anteaters and capybaras.

* The Channel 6 Zooballooon, a tethered helium balloon, rises 400 feet (120 m) in the air to offer a view of the Zoo, the Schuylkill River, and the Philadelphia Center City skyline.

* PECO Primate Reserve: Features 2.5 acres of indoor and outdoor exhibits with ten species of primates, including Sumatran Orangutans, lowland gorillas, lemurs, langurs, and gibbons.

The zoo is a little on the pricey side at $17.95 in-season. Also a lot of the fun stuff like the safari ride and the hot air balloon rides are extra. However if you’re a member of your own city’s zoo they have reciprocal membership. Another way to offset the price, if you’re staying in the city for a while and plan on doing a lot of sightseeing is to purchase a CityPass which gets you a discount at six different attractions.

If we decide to go, and if anyone else is like me and feels oddly morose after zoo visits, the best way to ward off that unsightly adopted feeling is by a visit just 5 minutes across the river to Rembrandts, home of the longest happy hour in Philly.

That winds up this week's suggestion of places to visit during next summer's Adoptee Rights Demonstration.

Next week: sharks!

2 complaints from ingrates:

The Improper Adoptee October 19, 2008 at 2:37 PM  

Ohhhh, the baby tigers are SOOO cute :). That was adorable, I was able to see some of it-is that zoo for injured animals? I hope next time they give them each a pumpkin :). Happy Birtday btw way Teresa, a bit late. I know it hurts. Mine always does too.

Ungrateful Little Bastard October 19, 2008 at 3:55 PM  

Thanks, I'm glad it's over. It's not for injured animals, it's just a regular zoo. You might be thinking of Big Cat Rescue in Tampa maybe? I know they've got a number of pumpkin and tiger (and lion and panther) videos around the web that are cute. They take in injured cats as well as circus and trade rescues, etc

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