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About the Zoo

An American First

Like many other Philadelphia landmarks and institutions, Philadelphia Zoo is an American first. The charter establishing the Zoological Society of Philadelphia was approved and signed on March 21, 1859. Due to the Civil War, however, it was another 15 years before America's first zoo was ready to open on July 1, 1874.

Vintage image of North Gate

Today's Tales

The region’s leading family destination and one of the area’s foremost conservation organizations, Philadelphia Zoo is home to nearly 1,300 animals, many rare and endangered. Each year, Philadelphia Zoo educates more than 1.2 million visitors about animal and environmental conservation via a first-in-the-world animal travel trail system, Zoo360, and KidZooU -- a children’s zoo and education center that serves as a model for children’s zoos nationwide.

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Zoo Changes You

Every Zoo visit is an opportunity for guests to connect with wildlife and habitats and be inspired to conservation action in their own backyard and around the world.

Plan My Visit