Of course, I am excited to also share with you from my visit to the Philadelphia Zoo today. Unlike Pittsburgh's Zoo where multiple visits leave me more disappointed, this Zoo leaves me wanting to return to see what new thing they will have next. Both zoo's are well beloved, I just sense that they are headed on different trajectories. And everything is heading somewhere! But I digress.
The website promised that Winter was a great time to visit the zoo. I even emailed them to make certain that they were open and what was open and received a gracious reply. However, neither they nor I could have anticipated that March 11th would be the COLDEST DAY OF THE ENTIRE WINTER! And golly, it was cold. Ergo, I went with no expectation of seeing any of the large equatorial/desert/savannah/tropical animals. But zoos are much more than Giraffes and Lions and Elephants. And I honestly enjoy ALL of the animals. Let me begin with a brief introduction to the zoo for those who do not know it.
Philadelphia Zoo: Introduction
The zoo was chartered in 1859, making it the first zoological park in North America. It didn't open to the public until 1874 owing the Civil War. It was built on land that was the estate of William Penn's grandson, John Penn, Jr. and still has the home he built called "The Solitude" sitting roughly in the middle of park. This first set of images is of this historic Federalist period villa and the entrance of the zoo. The Zoo claims to be home to 1,300 animals, but seriously--every zoo does this, you never come close to seeing even as many species as it would take to justify that number. Safe to say that today I saw 100 species; 40 were reptiles/amphibians and 30 were birds, most of the mammals were primates or rodents, and I felt the time was well spent.
These are the only "elephants" you will see at the Philadelphia Zoo no matter the air temperature. Given their limited size, they've made some wise choices about which animals to care for and which simply won't fit. They said good-bye to their last African Elephants in 2009.