Doing something fun for the whole family isn’t hard during the holiday season. Philadelphia and its surrounding ‘burbs have plenty of kid-friendly picks, from child-sized live performances to jolly visits with Santa.
The Philadelphia Zoo hosted its 5th Annual Global Conservation Gala, on Thursday at the Hyatt at the Bellevue. The gala honors individuals, families and organizations for extraordinary contributions to wildlife and the natural world.
This year’s gala spotlighted the issues facing gorillas in the wild, addressing the impact of climate change and palm oil on endangered species. The gala also officially launched 2015 as the “Year of the Gorilla”, a zoo-wide commitment of resources designed to mobilize action on behalf of gorillas.
Joanna McNeil Lewis was recognized for her contributions and 27 years of volunteer work with the zoo, and was honored with the Conservation Impact Award. Gerry Ellis was recognized with the Global Conservation Prize.
The Philadelphia Zoo announced on Wednesday the Zooballoon will be back in 2015. The Zoo said that after “complex insurance negotiations” they and Channel 6 have confirmed a new Zooballoon will be coming to the site next year.
This is actually the second time the Zooballoon has been saved this year. After 5 to 10 tons of snow accumulated on it this winter, the Zooballoon was never expected to fly again.
And now it’s coming back again! You couldn’t have designed a better marketing plan to make Philadelphians care about the Zooballoon. I imagine the Zooballoon becoming one of those furniture stores that advertise on UHF stations — it’s always going out of business. I want to celebrate the Zooballoon’s return every year.
We’ve already told you about all the spooky, ghoulish events around the city this month, but what about the little trick-or-treaters? There’s plenty of kid-friendly Halloween fun in Philly, too, and we’ve rounded it up for you.
Boo at the Zoo
The Philadelphia Zoo hosts two weekends of not-so-scary activities so kids can celebrate Halloween in costume with their favorite zoo animals. There will be live music, food, games, and more, all included with general admission. October 18th and 19th, and October 25th and 26th, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Philadelphia Zoo, 34th Street and Girard Avenue.
Halloween in Manayunk
Enjoy a family movie night on Friday, October 24th at 6:30 p.m. at the newly opened Venice Island Performing Arts & Recreation Center. Trick-or-treat along Main Street and head to Fall Fest on Saturday. Most activities are free and open to the public. Friday and Saturday, October 24th and 25th, times and locations vary.
The Philadelphia Zoo sent us new photos of its four new African lion cubs, named, as I’m sure you’re aware by now, Kasaba, Mali, Msinga, and Sabi.
The little guys were born on Thursday, June 26th, and made their public debut on September 5th. The Zoo was kind enough to send us some snapshots to share. The images show them playing on tree trunks, wrestling with mom, and getting lick-bathed—you know, those things baby lions do.
The news cycle in Philadelphia this week, like the news cycle in Philadelphia most weeks, has sucked. AC casinos are shutting down, but not before providing public fodder for horrendous national controversies. Phillies are falling like flies. Parents are suing the school district over deplorable conditions. College students, college presidents, school teachers, and police officers are dying. Temple kids are beating each other up over the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Now that the national spotlight has snatched our girl Mo’ne Davis from us, we’re in serious need of a good, meaty story (not involving weed) right now. Where do we turn in this time of depressing desperation?
In early-July we ooh’d and aah’d at the four new lion cubs born at the Philadelphia Zoo. The little guys are the offspring of Tajiri and Makini, and the first African lion cubs to be born at the Zoo since 1996. By all accounts, the cubs are doing fine and growing like weeds, but there’s one major thing they’re missing: names.
To fill that void, the Zoo is holding a name contest for each new cub. There’s a poll set up on its website, where folks can go on and choose the names they like best. The first one, for instance, is up to be called Bantu, Mali, or Indaka. (Bantu! Bantu! Bantu!)
The winning names will be revealed when the cubs make their public debut sometime in the next few months. To vote, go here.
On June 26th, four new African lion cubs were born to two first-time parents at the Philadelphia Zoo—making it the first time lion cubs have been born there in 18 years. More from a press release I received this morning:
Philadelphia Zoo is pleased to announce four new members of its animal family: African lion cubs born to Tajiri, the Zoo’s 4-year-old female, during the early morning of Thursday, June 26th. This is the first litter for Tajiri and 6-year-old male Makini, and marks the expansion of the pride in First Niagara Big Cat Falls. These are the first lion cubs born at Philadelphia Zoo since 1996, continuing the Zoo’s successful breeding of big cats over the past few years.
Mother and cubs are doing well. Like newborn humans, lion cubs are essentially helpless, relying on their mother for care. Tajiri has been in almost constant physical contact with her cubs since their birth, and appears confident and relaxed as a first-time mother. Zoo staff continues to monitor them by video camera during this crucial time, giving Tajiri almost complete privacy in her off-exhibit den.
The Philadelphia Zoo is rolling out some upgraded food options for this season. And in addition to adding humanely-raised meats, the remodeling of the Impala Cafe and adding new kid’s meals and signature sundaes to some of the other food-service areas, there’s one other piece of big news:
Jose Garces will now be serving at the Zoo.