Big Time Encounter at Philadelphia Zoo

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Cecily Tynan and Rick Williams take you inside the Philadelphia Zoo to see what's new. And as the weather warms up and the spring blooms, there are exciting new features at 34th and Girard.

America's first zoo has always been a leader in providing enrichment for the animals and creating an interactive experience for guests.

This year new exhibits, new habitats, new babies and new food are part of what you will find when you visit Philadelphia Zoo.

Big Time: Life in an Endangerous Age
Dinosaurs have invaded Philadelphia Zoo.

Big Time: Life in an Endangerous Age takes you back 66-million years to tell a story about extinction and how we can impact change in our world. Animatronic dinosaurs create life-like creatures that roar and growl as you walk the path.

The dinosaurs were created by Media resident Dino Don Lessem, who also worked on the movie Jurassic Park. As you walk through the exhibit, you will learn about how dinosaurs became extinct and how you can save endangered animals on Earth today.

New babies, new habitats and growing families at Philadelphia Zoo
Every visit to the Zoo is something new.

The Zoo 360 trails offer unique vantage points for the animals and visitors. Animals behave differently based on habitat and time of day. New babies also create a different energy for animal families. Two Francois Langurs were born recently.

These are significant births because the langurs are endangered in the wild.

The gorilla family is growing. Ajabu and Amani are still toddlers. Sloth bear cub Keematee is now a year and half and enjoying time with her mother.

A new giraffe has joined Abby and Stella in African Plains. And as you walk the paths at Philadelphia Zoo, you may see Alpacas among the guests as they have been leash trained to travel around the park.

The pandemic put the zoo in peril but also cemented its status in Philadelphia
The Philadelphia Zoo had to shut its doors to the public during the pandemic. While guests were not allowed inside, the animals and keepers kept the status quo.

The animals still required normal feeding, enrichment and veterinary care. The zoo relied on philanthropy and the 6abc Zoo-a-thon to raise money and awareness in order to remain open. The Philadelphia community provided amazing support, proving the zoo is one of the city's most treasured institutions.

Guests have now returned, and safety measures are in place. Timed tickets, masks and social distancing are part of the new experience.

Education still an important part of the mission at Philadelphia Zoo
Education has always been a driving force behind the experience at Philadelphia Zoo. The pandemic has voided all field trips and closed Kid Zoo U while restrictions are still in place. But the zoo staff has found ways to bring zoo education to kids.

Wild Connections is a virtual learning experience for Philadelphia students. Every day keepers meet via zoom with a classroom of students and provide an interactive animal lesson. Philly Zoo Live is a biweekly social media interaction that takes guests behind the scenes for special birthdays or events at Philadelphia Zoo. And the UNLESS project challenges students in the region to find everyday conservation solutions.

A Hospital like no other, the veterinary hospital at Philadelphia Zoo
Inside the 42-acre campus of Philadelphia Zoo is the veterinary hospital that is tasked with taking care of more than 1,700 animals that live at 34th and Girard. A day in the life for a vet at Philadelphia Zoo could include anything from penguin physicals to dental hygiene of a tiger or surgery on a giant anaconda. There is never a dull moment to life in one of the most interesting hospitals in the world.

Enjoy a Meal while you visit
If you need a bite to eat on your visit there are plenty of options. The new Dino Bites dining area includes a Pterodactyl leg, made with turkey of course. You can try a brontosaurus burger or enjoy a drink at Bedrock Brews, the beer garden overlooking Big Time. Throughout the zoo you will find a mix of healthy options, savory sandwiches and sweet treats the whole family can enjoy.

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3400 West Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Zoo Special Extras

Francois Langur Quy Bau gets a bath
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Quy Bau was born on Dec. 13, 2019, and we got to see how the zoo cares for the 1-year-old.

Sloth bear cub first day out for media
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It's always fun to look at baby pictures. We check in on Sloth Bear cub Keematee as she hangs out with her mom.

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