Today our family took to the road for an adventure at the Philadelphia Zoo, America’s first Zoo. Being the history geek that I am, I need to share some of that history with you before I discuss our adventure!
The Philadelphia Zoo was created in 1859 when Pennsylvania signed the charter establishing the Zoological Society of Philadelphia. However, it took 15 years for the zoo to open because of the Civil War. The original admission cost was 25 cents for adults, 10 cents for children. (I’m going to discuss the costs now in a bit). The zoos website also lists that it housed 813 animals when it opened and received 228,000 visitors. Today they have 1300 animals and 1.1 million visitors a year.
Now that I have worked through my geek-out moment, let’s talk about today’s adventure. The weather was great, sunny and high 40s with little wind making it pleasant to walk outside. Because it’s the winter and not all the zoo animals are available to see, the crowds were much smaller than normal. Thanks to a fantastic friend, we have a yearly membership to the Philly Zoo, and it is TOTALLY worth it.
The cost to visit the zoo now is $18 for adults, $15 for kids…plus $12 for parking. For just the 3 of us that would have been $63, not including food costs. The zoo does allow you to bring your own food in (unlike many places) so we brought PB&Js for lunch. A basic zoo membership costs $99. Going once almost pays for the membership. Plus, your Philly Zoo membership allows you to get into the Brandywine Zoo in Wilmington for free, which has awesome programs over the summer (like storytimes including crafts). I was also able to use my Philly membership for free entrance into the Turtle Back Zoo in New Jersey, and reduced entrance fees for the Erie Zoo. If you’re still unsure about purchasing a membership…Buy It! It is totally worth it.
We had a fantastic time. LittleM (my daughter) had a great time in the Treehouse (an indoor play area with huge insects, bee hives, eggs, dams, flowers to play in). We saw a lot of the animals, including the new jaguar cub and snow leopard cubs. It was a fantastic day together as a family when we don’t get to spend that much time together during the week. My favorite thing to listen to was LittleM constantly saying “My legs are Killing Me! Will somebody please carry me?!”. At least she said please.