Friday, May 30, 2014

Local Destination: Elmwood Park Zoo

In 1924, a farmer in Norristown, PA donated 16 acres of land to the town.  That donation would become the Elmwood Park Zoo, run and operated by the non-profit group, the Norristown Zoological Society.  The zoo, located a quick drive from Philadelphia near King of Prussia, now houses about 300 animals and uses them to "foster an appreciation for wildlife and the environment that will inspire active participation in conservation".  The location is incredibly unique with most of their animals being natives of North America (with one very big and fun exception!).  They also offer extra activities throughout the zoo that enhance the visitor experience.
The first thing that you notice when you arrive at the zoo are the giraffes.  You can't help it - you can see them from the parking lot.  Decidedly not from North America, but a fantastic addition to the zoo, the pair of giraffes are one of the main attractions of the Elmwood Park Zoo.  For only $3, you can actually stand up on a wooden observation deck and feed these gentle giants during certain times of the year (you can now also feed the huge bison all year round!)  Another great seasonal animal to visit is the reindeer who arrives for the holidays each year.
Walking around the zoo takes you from the Florida alligator and exotic birds at Flamingo Island, through the indoor Bayou, all the way to the bison and prairie dogs of the Grasslands, with lots of stops in between.  See pacing red foxes, an intimidating black jaguar, the serene elk, mighty eagles, and much, much more.  Some of our personal favorites include the gray wolves, the capybara, the white-nosed coati, the pair of bobcats, and, wow, those wonderful bison!  The zoos website has a complete list of all the animals on exhibit, as well as those that are housed for educational purposes.
The Elmwood Park Zoo has a vast array of hands-on activities, with one of the main stand outs being the Zoo Barn.  Here you can buy feed to interact with wooly sheep and adorable goats.  On exhibit right now, the zoo also has the Birds of Paradise exhibit where you can hand feed exotic birds.  A major new addition is the one-of-a-kind, Treetop Adventure Park - an impressive ropes course that gives participants fantastic views of the zoo.  Make time to visit a live show at the Zoo Bowl Theater to interact with one of the various animals used for education.  Draft horse and pony rides are also available to zoo visitors.  And of course, there is the afore mentioned experience of feeding the giraffes!
More specifically for kids, the zoo as a handful of play areas, with a giant bird's nest and slide adjacent to the eagle exhibit.  Farther in is the Conservation Kingdom Playground, a large play area that is both fun and educational (and don't worry - those predators are not real).  Willaim's Prairie Dog Town has its own human-sized tunnel for little explorers to venture through.  Kids will also love a ride on the Danella Gardens Train.
The Elmwood Park Zoo is a fantastic location and a definite must for anyone in the Greater Philadelphia area.  Their variety of animals are wonderful to observe and interact with, and their numerous activities enhance the visitor experience.  On top of a regular trip, the zoo also hosts a large amount of events from overnights to special performances.  With so much to do and see, we highly recommend a zoo membership.  Right now they are also offering a Temple University Football Season and Zoo Membership Combo Package (the zoo is the home of Temple's live mascot, Stella the great-horned owl).  The zoo also hosts free admission on Sunday afternoons for Norristown residents, as well as various discounted days throughout the year, so follow them on social media to stay in the know.  The Elmwood Park Zoo is a part of the AZA Reciprocal Program.

More Photos from Daily Vacationer's VISITS

1661 Harding Blvd
Norristown, PA 19401
Follow Daily Vacationer:



1 comment:

  1. the rock formations. The water was so clear that we could see the ocean crib. The clear sunny day, revealing the shades of colors in the ocean and added to the beauty of the Pacific. It’s a great information about the Elmwood Park Zoo that it’s operated by the Norristown Zoological Society. I went there before miami tours with my children. It's very walkable and should take no more an hour to see everything. Now I’m thinking to me a member of this zoo to visit there free of cost next time.