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The Philadelphia Zoo

The Zoo 150th Birthday

The Philadelphia Zoo celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2009. So stop by and celebrate this major achievement at America´s first zoo!

McNeil Avian Center

On May 30, 2009 the 17.5-million McNeil Avian Center opened to the public.

This new aviary incorporates lush, walk-through habitats where visitors can discover more than 100 spectacular birds from around the world, many of them rare and endangered. And in the multi-sensory 4-D Migration Theater, viewers can follow Otis the Oriole on his first migration south from where he hatched in Fairmount Park.

The Experience at the Zoo

One of the best laid-out and most animal-packed zoos in the country is set among a charming 42-acre Victorian garden with tree-lined walks, formal shrubbery, ornate iron cages and animal sculptures. The zoo has garnered many �firsts� in addition to being the first zoo charted in the United States (1859).

The first orangutan and chimp births in a U.S. zoo (1928), world´s first Children´s Zoo (1957), and the first U.S. exhibit of white lions (1993), among others.

In addition to its animals, the zoo is known for its historic architecture, which includes the country home of William Penn´s grandson, its botanical collections of over 500 plant species, its groundbreaking research and its fine veterinary facilities.
Big Cat Falls

The highly anticipated pride of the Philadelphia Zoo, Bank of America Big Cat Falls, home to felines from around the world, opened in 2006. The lush new exhibition features waterfalls, pools, authentic plantings and a simulated research station for aspiring zoologists.

Lions, leopards, jaguars, pumas, tigers and seven new cubs are the star attractions.

Visitor Details

Open daily, year-round. Parking can be tight so public transit is a great option.

Check out the Zoo´s trolley shuttle, available through October, making hourly stops at the Independence Visitor Center and 30th Street Station. Service is available starting at 10 a.m. seven days a week through August 31, 2008, with weekends-only service in September and October.

SEPTA Routes 15 and 32 Buses stop within blocks of the zoo. Find specific stops and schedules here.

History

The nation´s oldest zoo was chartered in 1859, but the impending Civil War delayed its opening until 1874. In addition to its animals, the zoo is known for its historic architecture, which includes the country home of William Penn´s grandson; its botanical collections of over 500 plant species; its groundbreaking research and its fine veterinary facilities.

The Primate Reserve, Carnivore Kingdom, and Rare Animal Conservation Center, with its tree kangaroos and blue-eyed lemurs, are brand new, but there´s still fun to be had in the historic, old-style bird, pachyderm and carnivore houses. In the Treehouse, kids can investigate the world from an animal´s perspective; outdoors, the Zoo Balloon lifts passengers 400 feet into the air for a bird´s-eye view of the zoo.

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