The first U.S. Zoo is in Philadelphia. It is well known for its forward-thinking approach to animal care and uncompromising dedication to wildlife. Since it initially welcomed customers on July 1, 1874, the Philadelphia Zoo was a pioneer in the zoological world. (The organization’s charter was signed on March 21, 1859. (Due to the ongoing conflict in the United States, the opening was not until 15 years later.) The first Children’s Zoo was opened there, and they also developed the first specially-formulated diets for zoo animals and built the first on-site animal care facility. The Philadelphia Zoo has always been an industry leader in the United States, setting standards for animal care and guest experiences. It was responsible for the first successful orangutan and chimpanzee births in the United States.

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The Philadelphia Zoo remains a leader in animal welfare and environmental protection. It is a well-known zoo around the globe, and it is home to more than 1,700 rare and endangered animals. The Zoo continues to reach new heights by providing award-winning animal exhibits, state-of-the-art healthcare facilities, education and conservation programs, and exceptional guest services. Zoo360, a first-of-its-kind system of see-through trails passing through treetops, crossing over pathways, and connecting habitats, was installed at the Philadelphia Zoo as part of the Zoo’s ongoing commitment to innovation. This new system gives animals such as incredible big cats, majestic primates, and marvelous monkeys more opportunities to travel and explore.

The Philadelphia Zoo’s 42-acre grounds are home to various animal exhibits, each designed to provide you and your family a chance to interact closely with the animals. Come within a few inches of a lion, meet with a gorilla, and get up close and personal with some enormous river otters!


African Plains

Introduce yourself to some of the tallest and heaviest animals at the Zoo. Your trip will be filled with smiles when you visit African Plains, home to a white rhino that enjoys being scratched, a tower of giraffes that towers above the competition, and a couple of bathing beauties.


They are most famous for their long necks, stunning coat patterns, and uneven brown patches. Gus, Stella, and Abigail, Philly’s Tower of Giraffes, are among the most popular attractions for visitors.

White rhinoceros of the southern region

This gentle giant who grazes on grass is notorious for his fondness for being brushed as a reward for good behavior during training, so don’t be fooled by his rough skin.

Plains Zebra

A striped pattern in black and white, or white background with black vertical stripes? The zebra’s coat protects it from potential threats and deters biting insects.

Bear Country

In this country of crashing waterfalls, babbling brooks, and cold, deep pools, you may meet their burly bears, who are representatives of some of the most distinctive species in the world.

Big Cat Falls

A breathtaking panorama of verdant ecosystems greets guests as they get up close and personal with big cats from all over the globe, such as snow leopards, pumas, Amur tigers, African lions, jaguars, and Amur leopards.

Bird Valley

Flock to the valley—Bird Valley—and experience species like their gorgeous flamingos, chorusing trumpeter swans, screeching crested screamers, and more.


The KidZooU 

Hamilton Family Children’s Zoo & Faris Family Teaching Facility is a wildlife academy that combines an up-close and personal children’s Zoo with a world-view education center. The center is called the Faris Family Education Center. KidZooU is an indoor and outdoor experience that offers exciting exhibits, hands-on learning opportunities, and uncommon and unique goats, sheep, chickens, and ducks that excite young children, preteens, and teenagers alike.

PECO Primate Reserve

Establish a more meaningful relationship.

The Reserve is a meeting place for primates since it is home to some of the planet’s most threatened primate species, including gorillas, orangutans, gibbons, lemurs, and golden lion tamarins.

Penguin Point

Just jump in there!

Observe these captivating birds from several vantage points above, below, and even within the exhibit as they swim, play, and dive all over this dynamic and entertaining habitat.

To Be a Better Animal

First, establish a connection with their rescued animals, and then move on to the more significant cause. Please find out more about their efforts to educate people about the importance of conservation and rescue animals worldwide.

Saving Endangered Species

The Philadelphia Zoo has been a key player in several conservation initiatives for various species. It has served as an “ark” for threatened and endangered animals, led and supported effective field conservation programs, and inspired others to take similar action.

Golden Lion Tamarin

The Golden Lion Tamarin is one of the primates considered among the world’s most endangered species. For a long time, the Zoo has been an essential part of the conservation efforts for this species (GLT).

Only the jungles of the Atlantic coast of Brazil are home to this lovable little monkey. One of the many dangers it faces in the wild is that considerable deforestation for industrialization and agriculture has decreased its habitat to 2% of its natural range. Its thick, reddish-golden mane is what gave it its name. Its danger began in the 1970s. According to estimates, fewer than 200 individuals survived in the wild in the early 1970s, pushing the species to extinction.

As a result of the severely low population numbers, Brazilian primatologists brought attention to the situation, and several AZA zoos, led by the National Zoo, joined forces to assist in the rescue of the GLT and the preservation of its natural environment. This crew worked together to design a strategy that included a productive zoo breeding program. This effort reintroduced 146 captive-born GLTs into their native habitat.

These reintroduced individuals are the progenitors of roughly three-quarters of the GLT population in the wild today. Dr. Andy Baker, who had previously served as the COO of the Zoo, started his Ph.D. studies with GLTs in Brazil in 1985 while maintaining his home base at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Following his promotion to Assistant Curator of Mammals in 1992, he became Curator of Primates and Small Mammals and then Chief Operating Officer before returning to this position.

Rodrigues Fruit Bat

The extremely gregarious creatures known as Rodrigues bats get their name from the teeny-tiny island in the middle of the Indian Ocean and are the only site where you can find them living in nature. They are known to roost in groups, hanging upside down in trees, and their activity levels are highest in the early morning, late afternoon, and late at night. Since the middle of the 1600s, when Europeans discovered their previously deserted island, Rodrigues fruit bats have been facing severe problems, including loss of habitat and invasion by humans, which has led to their current status as endangered.

Protecting the bats

With the start of migration, Rodrigues Island’s once-rich flora and fauna were severely reduced. Therefore, a significant proportion of the fruit bats’ native habitat was destroyed, drastically decreasing their number. It was speculated that the island was home to 1,000 bats during the 1950s, but by the 1970s, only 100 were left.

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To protect the species from potential extinction, the Jersey Preservation Trust, now known as the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, put 25 wild Rodrigues fruit bats into a population assurance program at that time. The Trust started a second breeding program in Mauritius after the first one was successful, and until the 1990s, it was the only other established breeding program in the world. Several zoos, including Philadelphia Zoo, were able to import breeding pairs into the country to increase breeding efforts and safeguard the species’ future.

To get more information, check out their website or call (215) 243-1110.

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