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Two Genius, Jam-Packed Itineraries for the Perfect Day at Philadelphia Zoo

Photo via Philadelphia Zoo

Photo via Philadelphia Zoo

With a pregnant gorilla, the recently opened Meerkat Maze and a brand new beer garden, there’s a lot to take in at Philadelphia Zoo. And for the ambitious among us, the appeal to see everything is strong. To help with that, the tech-minded folks over at Philadelphia Zoo came up with the genius Zoo360Insider app. The mobile app makes it easier to plan your Zoo trip with custom itineraries tailored to your preferences.

Zoo360Insider is the ultimate user-friendly experience: spy your favorite animal in  a Zoo360 trail, pin it to share its location with other visitors (and reap the good karma!), and save or share any photos you take inside the Zoo. Guests can also purchase tickets, navigate the park and learn new ways to support the Zoo and wildlife.

To help you map your own adventure, we came up with two itineraries — one kid-friendly and the other suited for adults. Happy exploring!

For families…

Here’s a family-friendly game plan that’s sure to please little ones and grownups alike.

Winding throughout the middle and east sides of Philadelphia Zoo is Zoo360, a collection of paths and mazes that provide more space for animals to travel and explore The newest addition is Meerkat Maze, located just north of the entrance. It grants kids up-close access to these rambunctious mammals with winding parallel tunnels so kids feel like they’re digging, exploring and bobbing up and down just like their furry friends.

Afterward, don’t miss the nearby You360ShotSpot mural, the perfect snapshot for your Zoo adventure. Take a picture standing inside of the massive optical illusion, and post to social media with the hashtag #sendakid. For every 50 posts, Xfinity will send an underserved child to the Zoo for free.

Directly next to the mural is KidZooU: Hamilton Family Children’s Zoo and Faris Family Education Center, the children’s zoo and wildlife academy exclusively at Philadelphia Zoo. This indoor and outdoor exhibit is engaging for toddlers through tweens, granting them the opportunity to learn about various farm animals and the importance of conservation action.

No family outing to the Zoo is complete without a ride on the Amazon Rainforest Carousel, the first of its kind in the United States. Sit your child atop one of the 30 reptile, mammal and amphibian seats or one of the two spinning snake chariots and enjoy a memory in the making. (Many of the wooden, hand-carved animals represent living, breathing creatures awaiting your family inside the zoo!

Want to squeeze in one last attraction? Saddle up for a Pony Ride. (It’s located next to the Kiddie Train Ride at the north end of the Zoo.) At less than five feet tall, these ponies are perfect pals for your child to explore dusty trails in the old Children’s Zoo.

For grown-ups…

Whether it’s a date night or group gathering, here’s a day’s worth of adult-friendly activities.

Start your day with a visit to the revered Reptile and Amphibian House, home to an impressive lineup of animals ranging from a Black Forest Cobra to an Aldabra Tortoise to the Oriental Fire-Bellied Toad. You might get to catch a “thunderstorm in the Everglades,” where it actually rains inside the alligator and crocodile exhibit.

Afterward, pay a visit to the PECO Primate Reserve where you can meet Honi, a pregnant 21-year-old western lowland gorilla, who is expecting her baby this fall. (Psst: she took the same over-the-counter pregnancy test used by humans!) Once the little one is born, he or she will join the rest of the gorilla troop as a vital member.

Once you’re done wishing Honi well, head north to Bird Lake try paddling around in Swan Boats. This scenic spot is a great conversation starter ideal for platonic friends and couples alike.

Next, head left and enjoy the McNeil Avian Center, where guests can discover over 100 magnificent birds — including rare and endangered — from around the world. The immersive exhibit is home to birds like the Victoria Crowned Pigeon, the Guam Kingfisher and Rhinoceros Hornbill amongst others.

After you’re done sleuthing out your favorite fowl, make a trip to the African Plains to check out an array of beloved hoofed animals. Say hello to southern white rhinoceros, (one of the the heaviest animals at Zoo!), the giraffe family and hippos. There are also African birds and gazelles across the way.

Wind down at The Watering Hole, Philadelphia Zoo’s new beer garden, presented by the Victory Brewing Company. Complete with cool seating under colorful umbrellas, the garden serves up a brewery-approved list of beer, wine and soft drinks with some tasty treats like grilled bratwurst, flatbreads and pretzel rivets. (Be sure to indulge in the “On Tap” menu, featuring summer sips like Troegs Sunshine Pils and Victory Summer Love Ale!)


Download the app, nab your tickets and kick-start your Philadelphia Zoo adventure. We’ll see you there!