Invited by the United Way, we visited during a warm evening — the perfect way to see the zoo.
From my experience, the best time to go to crowded summer attractions is when they first open.
However, visiting close to closing may be coming up the ranks. I’m holding off on my full recommendation until I do more field testing. I’m sure you’re waiting on the edge of your seat for my final thoughts on the subject!
Here’s something even more exciting, the Philadelphia Zoo has opened a new exhibit this year too…
It’s call KidZooU. KidZooU is a…
“new wildlife academy that unites a world-view education center with an up-close and personal children’s zoo. KidZooU is an indoor and outdoor experience offering dynamic displays, opportunities for hands-on learning”
Stay to the right when you enter. It’s after the monkey house and across from the reptile house. It’s a beautiful complex. I say complex because it’s huge. It has lots of outside attractions and lots of interactive stuff inside too.
They have a petting zoo.
Side note: You’re on your own if you go on a hot summer day. The smell may overpower you.
And, a playground area. It’s all quite nice.
My favorite part was the Ant Area inside. You can see the ants up close and personal. The zoo guide there loved ants! She told us so much cool stuff about them. Here’s a few interesting tidbits:
- the boy ants have wings
- the ants without wings are all females
- there are mainly female ants
- the queen ant only has males when it’s “necessary” or when she’s stressed
- the bones of an ant are on the outside, that’s why they’re crunchy
- ants are VERY organized
- the queen ant is three times larger than the other ants
- worker ants only live for a few months but the queen lives for years (it’s always good to be the queen – of anything)
Leah’s favorite part of the new exhibit was the rats (also inside). Since it was getting later, they were just starting to wake up (another benefit of going later). The zoo guide not only loved ants, she loved rats too. Here are just a few things about rats:
- they’re nocturnal
- they hold their tails up when they’re happy
- they like to snuggle
- they make a noise with their teeth when they’re happy (we didn’t hear, just take the zoo guide’s word for it)
That’s all I have on the rats. I couldn’t stay there too long, they gross me out!
We walked around to see a bunch of other animals (rhino, hippo, giraffes, zebras, polar bears, black bear, etc). Leah’s favorites were the snakes at the reptile house and the okapi.
We might have had something to do with the last choice. When Matt was little (life pre-Leah), we went to the Colorado Zoo and saw an okapi (for the first time).
Then he had to do a report on an animal and choose the okapi. He did all his research and then there was the “creative” part of the project. We decided to bake a cookie in the shape of an okapi and decorate it.
Side note: I hate these “creative” projects in elementary school. It’s mostly me doing the work. How is he going to make the cookie by himself in third grade?
Anyway, it looked great! I drove him to school that day so the cookie would remain in tact.
As he’s getting out of the car…he DROPS the cookie and breaks it!!
I couldn’t believe it either!!! Luckily, we pieced it back together and it looked fine.
That story is one of those that gets told and retold around our house. So, whenever we see an okapi, it’s a big deal!
Finally the very best part of the trip were these two things:
Face Painting. This is Pink Spider Girl with glitter, of course!
Merry-Go-Round. The merry-go-round at the Philadelphia Zoo is beautiful.
Have you visited yet? I’d love to know what you thought of the new KidZooU.
Want more zoos? Check these out: