Tips and Tricks for Visiting the Philadelphia Zoo

The Philadelphia Zoo was a fabulous road trip destination for our family!  We have often talked about wanting to go up to Pennsylvania to check it out, but had not made it up there prior to this summer.  This year, my husband's work brought him up to that area and we decided to bring the boys along and make a family weekend out of it by including a trip to the zoo.  If you're like me, I do a lot of research when visiting somewhere for the first time.  After our wonderful day, here are some of my tips and tricks to offer to families venturing to the Philadelphia Zoo for the first time.

Visiting in the Summer?  Visit Early! - We arrived as the zoo opened which proved to work well in the July heat and humidity.  With our early arrival, we were able to grab parking in the garage located right next to the zoo, cutting down on our walking time when we were hot and tired in the afternoon.  The zoo is large and does have several exhibits to visit that are located indoors which does offer a bit of reprieve.  We spent about 5 hours at the zoo and were leaving before 3:00 which left plenty of time to head back to our hotel and cool off in the pool.

Slow Down - There are so many great spots to check out within the zoo that are easy to pass by.  In the KidZooU area, there is a playground, petting zoo, and an education center.  My boys loved learning that day - which was incredible to watch.  The zoo staff was also some of the most friendly and knowledgeable that I've met.  I was surprised by the number of exhibits that had staff talking to guests about the animals.  That day we were excited to hear about tortoises, snakes, hippos, and even the baby giraffe that was just over a month old!

Look Up! - The Philadelphia Zoo is home to Zoo360 which is designed to surround you with animals.  How cool is it that you can look up and watch a few lions lounging above you or a tiger pacing back and forth?? Throughout the zoo you can find a variety of Zoo360 trails that each house unique animals so be sure to look all around during your visit to make sure you don't miss a thing!  With so much to see and do, your family will certainly be entertained the whole day.

Bring Water - Staying hydrated is key to keeping everyone in your family in a good mood so be sure to bring some water with you into the zoo.  Not only will this keep you happy and hydrated, but will also save some money so you don't have to buy as many bottles once inside.  There are plenty of great spaces to eat and drink while visiting so no one should go hungry!  We enjoyed lunch at Tiger Terrace which featured a few different food line options.  Each "station" had a kids menu that even included Uncrustables - a go to favorite for our youngest!  The food was typical of what you would expect in a zoo or theme park and prices matched the tourist location too.  Bringing snacks and water is certainly a time saving, and money saving, idea!

Shop the Best Price - Admission into the zoo is steep for a family of four.  It may be worth talking about a membership if you are close by the zoo and plan to visit at least twice a year.  Another potential money saving option for families is the Philadelphia CityPass.  The zoo is one of a number of attractions in the city that participates.  Visitors to Philadelphia can select the number of days and/or the number of attractions they wish to see and CityPass bundles and discounts them.  If you're staying for a weekend or longer, this is definitely worth checking out!

We had a great time visiting the Philadelphia Zoo and I'm sure we'll return in the future!


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