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Philadelphia Zoo Celebrates 150th Anniversary

Philadelphia Zoo Celebrates 150th Anniversary
Philadelphia Zoo Celebrates 150th Anniversary

Mommy the Galapagos tortoise gobbled down her second stalk of celery in a matter of minutes in the early morning Tortoise Trail habitat at the Philadelphia Zoo. She is the longest-tenured resident at the zoo, which celebrated its 150th anniversary on Monday following its grand opening.

“We have a fun day planned for all the people who are queuing here to come into the park,” said Zoo President Dr. Jo-Elle Morgerman. “We will greet them with a brass band and our animal care team has a wonderful array of festive enrichments for our animals and our conservation education team has a great opportunity to learn all over the park today.”


The Philadelphia Zoo, also known as America’s first zoo, opened on July 1, 1874, welcoming over 3,000 guests with a brass band. However, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania approved and signed the charter 15 years earlier. The official opening was delayed due to the Civil War. On opening day, 600 animals called the zoo home. Animals included bison, bears, prairie dogs, and a pair of curassows, a tropical bird native to South America, that were donated by President Ulysses S. Grant and the First Lady.

The Zoo also has a special $150 ticket bundle available from June 6 through Labor Day weekend (Monday, September 2). In this bundle, guests receive: 2 adult tickets, 2 child tickets, and a Zoo Attractions Pass which includes: 2 Nature Blazer Scavenger Hunt wristbands and 4 tickets to Rainforest Carousel, SEPTA PZ Express Train, and Wings of the World. Available online only.