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“This Zoo can't compare to DC!”
Review of Philadelphia Zoo

Philadelphia Zoo
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Philadelphia CityPASS
Ranked #22 of 443 things to do in Philadelphia
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Situated on 42 acres of beautiful gardens, the Philadelphia Zoo, America's first zoo, is home to nearly 1,300 animals, many rare and endangered. Polar bears, African lions, Amur tigers, a white rhino, giraffes and more call this oasis home. As Philadelphia's leading cultural destination the Zoo boasts award-winning exhibits such as First Niagara Big Cats Falls, McNeil Avian Center, and PECO Primate Reserve.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children
Potomac, Maryland
Level Contributor
95 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 166 helpful votes
“This Zoo can't compare to DC!”
Reviewed August 22, 2011

First: I'm from the DC area and got use to things being FREE........NOT the case here! For whhat you pay for it's not really interesting. There are 2 things that stick in my mind.....The floating Flamingo Paddle Boats & the Huge Hot Air Balloon. That's about it! I'm not to eager to go back. Go at your own risk........

Visited September 2010
1 Thank rcbjr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
13 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Very Nice Zoo”
Reviewed August 18, 2011

This is a great zoo for what it is. It's not a destination zoo, like the Bronx or San Diego Zoos, simply because of its limited size. But they use the space they have very efficiently. It has a very nice feel to it - it is clean and has been updated over the years. They are in the middle of creating a brand new childrens zoo, which i think will be finished in 2012.

The things you have to pay extra for are reasonably priced, in my opinion. $6 for horse, pony, or camel rides. $6 per person for swan/paddle boats, $3 for carousel, about $20 to go up in the "zoo balloon".

The big cats exhibit (which i think is relatively new) is great - they provided for a more natural environment for the animals, while still making them reasonably easy to view. the monkey and reptile houses are very nice as well. Some of the facilities for the large animals are still somewhat small and outdated (ie. giraffes, rino). They got rid of the elephants, which was probably a good idea since they really don't have space to keep them in a humane way. But for the most part, what they do have is done very nicely.

A couple of tips - If you are go more than once a the year, get a membership (approx $100 for a family), which comes with free parking. Also, bring your own food. The food they sell your typical low-quality, over-priced Aramark fare (hot dogs, hamburgers, pizz), and long lines develop for the priviledge of being ripped off. There are many places where you can sit to eat a picnic lunch - it will be better and cheaper than what you could buy at the zoo.

Visited August 2011
Thank AngusNJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, PA
Level Contributor
40 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“If you go only for the animals, it's all good!”
Reviewed August 14, 2011

This past weekend was my second visit to the zoo this year (the first being my son's kindergarten field trip). I like seeing the animals more than my kids I think! The zoo terrain is nice and flat and there are "houses" interspersed (such as Reptile and Amphibian House) where you can go in a cool off. If you happen to time it right, you may see the Jim Henson company muppets for X•tink•shun spread throughout the park or during the 8 min. movie in big cat falls. There's a nice children's zoo with petting area for the kids at the back of the zoo --past everything else that the kids want to do and you'll have to pay extra for (pony and camel rides, train, facepaint, etc.). I miss not seeing the elephants at the zoo! (they recently moved them all to other zoos)

The part that I didn't enjoy was the food. First, we had coupons that said "good at any food and beverage concession", but it held up the line since the workers at the concession stand weren't sure about them (and there were people behind me with the same tickets). Then, they ran out of hot dogs. We went to another stand (eagle's nest) and waited in a long line only to have several items sold out there and once I got my cheesesteak, I wanted to take it back up -most of the meat was overcooked and the bun was stale! I'd like to say "typical zoo food" but if you've ever been to the National Zoo, they had a lot better food there! Pack your own food since they don't check bags. Also, we got there at 10:30 and many of the parking lots were already filled, so don't wait too late on the weekend!

Visited August 2011
1 Thank AParentGetaway
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Middletown, Connecticut
Level Contributor
212 reviews
94 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 146 helpful votes
“Overpriced but decent zoo overall”
Reviewed August 11, 2011

It sounds absurd that it should cost 63 bucks for two parents and a three year old to see some animals in a city zoo; it's not Disney Animal Kingdom or Busch Gardens. On top of admission you pay a lot for anything, $12 to park, $3 for a carousel ride, $15 per person for the balloon, $6 per person for the swan paddle boats with a two person minimum?! As long as your kids don't beg to do these things though then you should still have some of your paycheck to buy food, which you should pack a picnic lunch anyway, and the zoo allows outside food. What's more absurd however, is I may pay that price to return cause this was a pretty good zoo! Keep in mind this zoo was around since 1874, you can't tell based on the condition it's still in; you are walking on grounds that thousands of people in the past did to view then "exotic" creatures. A good mix of old and new, Big Cat Falls is the most impressive. The oddest exhibit I have to make note of is the polar bear in a grass habitat? It was eating the grass! The zookeepers are very engaging and friendly, giving tidbits of info and animal behaviors to watch for that make viewing the creature more impressive. The best time to go is when the zoo first opens to beat the crowds and when the animals are most active. We somehow spent 3 hours and still weren't done with all the exhibits when it downpoured, which is why we may have to return, not the case for other zoos we have been to with sad animals in deplorable living conditions. I had no issues with parking, do your research of the roads on Google maps, get there earlier to avoid traffic, avoid the frustration of getting lost and ending up in the wrong neighborhood!

Visited August 2011
Thank imsupafly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wilmington, Delaware
Level Contributor
47 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Great zoo, lots of exotic animals, great for kids!”
Reviewed August 7, 2011

This is the best zoo I've ever seen and probably the most expensive also, $18 per adult+$12 parking (military members get $2 off a ticket), but is was worth it. Lots of animals, some of them are very rare. The zoo looks nice, the conditions for animals are great, lots of activities for kids (Kid's zoo, horse rides for all, train around the zoo, boat rent, etc) Te big cats were asleep but the rest of the animals were seen and a lot of them were having fun playing and interacting with each other. The administration allows drinks and food to take in and I've seen people dragging beach coolers, so take a bottle of water with you because then you'll have to pay $3.50 for it in the zoo.

Visited August 2011
Thank anushina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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