The ZooBalloon Rises Again

Oh, what’s that? It had been on the ground before, but now it soars. Like the phoenix, the Channel 6 ZooBalloon has risen from the ashes and is flying high above the Schuylkill Expressway this morning. I’m surprised there aren’t more traffic accidents as people get over to the side of the road to cry tears of joy and take photos.

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Adorable New Tigers Make Public Debut at Philadelphia Zoo

Wiz and Dmitri, a pair of Amur tiger cubs the Philadelphia Zoo acquired in January, have made their public debut at the zoo today. Um, look how cute.

The tigers — also called Siberian tigers — were born in June 2012 at the Columbus Zoo. The South Jersey Times reports on the occasion:

The twins are most active first thing in the morning and, when the big cat tunnel system is finished by the summer, they will be able to be viewed running and playing all over the area.

“Come and see them for entertainment. They are young and energetic, almost to the point of being obnoxious,” [animal keeper Anna] Ryan laughed.

The Zoo says it has no current plans to breed the tigers — um, because they’re 1 1/2 years old.

[South Jersey Times]

Zoo Acquires New Stud Gorilla, All 432 Pounds of Him


The Philadelphia Zoo recently acquired a silverback gorilla, Motuba, in a breeding deal with the Henry Doorly Zoo of Omaha, Nebraska. It was set up by the Gorilla Species Survival Plan. Why, it’s the biggest acquisition this town has made since Chip Kelly signed on as Eagles coach!

The zoo is attempting to breed Motuba, 29, with 14-year-old Kira. Frankly, this is well out of the “half your age plus seven” general rule for dating — but since gorillas are endangered, I shall let it slide.

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What Was It Like to Fly the ZooBalloon?


Bill Sands got a text when he was at work with the news. The place where he used to work closed.

Sands is a bartender — at Tinto in Rittenhouse and at Bar Ferdinand in Northern Liberties — so this is part of the job. Bars open and bars close. But Sands’ old job this time wasn’t a bar or restaurant: It was the ZooBalloon.

The 6 ABC ZooBalloon, in operation since 2002, was deflated yesterday after workers determined it had been damaged too extensively by the recent snowfalls. This was the second iteration of the balloon; it was already decided this would be the last year of the ZooBalloon.

Sands, who worked on the balloon for two seasons in the mid-2000s, reminisced about his time working there earlier today.

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WEEKEND ROUNDUP: Gay Day at the Zoo, Philly Trans* March, OutFest and More!

Chris Harvey /

Photo courtesy of Chris Harvey /

Who hasn’t dreamed of becoming queen of the jungle like Katy Perry in the video for “Roar”? Well, grab your vine, Jungle Jane, because you  just may get your best chance yet this Saturday when the Philadelphia Zoo holds its fourth annual Pride Day. Joining forces with the William Way Community Center, this is the animal park’s effort to build more of a connection with the city’s LGBT community. Though gays are always welcome, on this day the park will swing — not open, thank you — its gates for a family-friendly afternoon of gay-centric festivities that run the gamut from regular animal-peeping to a host of activities catering to us queer folk, like an arts and crafts fair, a special Zoo on Wheels and a Pride Day scavenger hunt.

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Zoo Putting Large Vicious Animals Right Near Your Head

Thanks to a $6 million grant from the William Penn Foundation, the Philadelphia Zoo is (among other things) going to let large, deadly felines roam free. Sort of. What you see above is a rendering of the zoo’s forthcoming “Big Cat Crossing” which beginning in 2014 will let them “travel and explore far from their usual habitats.” I’m all for un-caging, but let’s not let them roam too far. Though the letting lemurs roam above our heads experiment does seem to be going well so far…


Rendering: Philadelphia Zoo

Summer Ale Festival 2012

On Saturday, July 21st from 6:30-10 p.m. the Philadelphia Zoo is holding the fourth annual Summer Ale Festival. This fundraising event includes sustainable foods from over 24 local restaurants and craft beers from 21 breweries alongside entertainment and the animals that inhabit the zoo. Guests are able to tour the zoo while eating, drinking, and mingling as well as enjoy the Trail of the Lorax attraction which tells the story of the endangered orangutan. The breweries will also compete for Philly’s Favorite Summer Beer, which the guests vote on along with the top three bites from participating restaurants.

For $65 guests get a general admission ticket which includes parking, a souvenir mug, and a shuttle to 30th St. Station. VIP passes go for $95 and include access to a special air-conditioned section of the PECO Primate Reserve, early access to the event, and samples from new nano breweries and fine restaurants. Tickets will not be available at the door but they are on sale now.

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Summer Ale Festival at the Zoo

This Saturday the Philadelphia Zoo is hosting its Summer Ale Festival. The beer festival runs from 6:30 to 10pm and it serves as a fundraiser for the zoo. Tickets start at $55 per person and a free shuttle from 30th Street Station is provided.

While you wander the zoo be sure to check out the LEGO brick animal sculptures and say congrats to the Stella and Gus, they’re the proud new parents of a 6-foot tall baby girl giraffe.

Summer Ale Festival [Philadelphia Zoo]