Embrace Your Wild Side at One of Pennsylvania’s Many Epic Zoos
Pennsylvania’s zoos and wildlife parks invite you to get in touch with the state’s wild side. Get an up-close view of majestic mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and even some really cool bugs from around the world year-round. You’ll also get to learn in a fun and interesting way about the conservation efforts underway to help ensure the planet’s many endangered species will survive and thrive for the next several millennia.
Catch primates swinging from tree to tree, big majestic cats on the prowl, and meerkats digging and looking out from their ground-based Meerkat Maze. These are just some of the nearly 1,300 animals you’ll find at the Philadelphia Zoo. You might even spy various animals roaming throughout the park on designated “mesh trails” with the newest innovation, Zoo360.
Bonus: The Easter Bunny Brunch, March 31-April 1, features a buffet brunch, the bunny (of course!), an egg hunt, crafts, and the opportunity to mingle with some live animals.
Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium
Get ready to take a trip around the world with a visit to the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. Venture to The Islands for an eye-to-eye view of siamangs, Visayan warty pigs, Philippine crocodiles, and clouded leopards, then travel to a Jungle Odyssey to gaze at fossas, capybaras, ocelots, giant anteaters, and a pygmy hippo. See polar bears, sea otters, and sand tiger sharks at Water’s Edge, and a veritable host of underwater creatures at the aquarium.
Bonus: ZooHop to Spring, March 30, to spy the zoo’s animals search for treat-filled enrichment eggs hidden in their habitats, while kids have their own egg hunt in Kids Kingdom.
Elmwood Park Zoo
Ever wanted to feed a giraffe or a bison? How about get a bird’s eye, aerial view of some really cool animals or interact with tropical sun conures and canary-winged parakeets? Then Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown is the place to be. With its focus on species indigenous to the Americas, you’ll get to see bald and golden eagles, jaguars, red pandas, Chacoan peccaries, howler monkeys, and gray wolves, to name but a few of the zoo’s more than 100 species. Soar up to 50 feet above the animal exhibits with a “Treetop Zoofari” at the zoo’s Treetop Adventures series of zipline courses and rope lines.
Bonus: The zoo's Easter Bunny Brunch and Egg Hunt, which runs March 17, 18, 24, 25, 31, and April 1, features the Easter Bunny and an Egg-ucational Egg Hunt.
Erie Zoo and Botanical Gardens
Welcome Eva and Desta, the two new lionesses who have joined Nala in the completely renovated lion area at the Erie Zoo and Botanical Gardens. They join the familiar favorites, including baby Otis and his Orangutan family, Amur leopards Nia and Rowdy, Amur tigers Victor and Anna, the Canadian lynxes Russell and Martina, and Mimi and Max, the two American river otters.. Plant lovers, the botanical gardens throughout the zoo are sure to impress, with many specially designed to feature plants that complement an exhibit’s theme.
Bonus: Check out the Spring Animal Art Show, March 30-31, for your chance to purchase artwork created by some of your favorite animals.
ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park
Do you know the difference between an alligator and a crocodile? (Hint: One has a more rounded snout.) How about, where do wild turkeys like to sleep? Unlock these mysteries at ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park in Hershey to learn some fascinating info about the more than 200 North American animals, including bears, bobcats, lynx, coati, desert kingsnake, and bald eagles.
Bonus: Celebrate Earth Day at the annual "Party for the Planet," April 22.
Lehigh Valley Zoo
The Lehigh Valley Zoo in Schnecksville has embraced the “wild” in wildlife from the days of its founding as a game preserve in 1906, providing a place where both bison and elk could roam freely undisturbed. Today, you can still see herds of bison and elk, along with more than 300 other animals representing 125 species from around the world whose names literally encompass the alphabet from A (African penguins) to Z (zebras).
Bonus: At the Corks and Canvas painting party, March 28, where you can enjoy a night out at the Zoo, sipping wine (BYOWine) while creating your very own masterpiece. Featuring North American River Otters, the proceeds go towards the creation of an underwater Otter Playground to provide a more natural environment for the zoo’s resident otters.
Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland
What do animatronic dinosaurs, Aldabra tortoises, Komodo dragons, and parakeets all have in common? They are all part of Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland in Allenwood. Specializing in reptiles and amphibians from around the world in stunning naturalistic habitats, Reptiland is an educational adventure for the whole family with loads of interactive exhibits, live shows, and hands-on animal encounters. (Special note: the animatronic dinosaurs come back to life on April 21; until then you can enjoy life-size dinosaur models found along Prehistoric Path.)
Bonus: Birds of Prey Day, April 22, a true raptor rendezvous where you can learn all about these extraordinary animals with special encounters, talks, and flights.
The National Aviary
Birds, birds and more birds are waiting for you at The National Aviary in Pittsburgh. Come face-to-face with an African Penguin, watch Flamingos dance, and get up close to amazing birds of prey. Home to more than 500 exotic and colorful birds representing more than 150 species, the aviary also has a number of animals from the various ecosystems, including the two male sloths Wookiee and Valentino, and the newest addition, baby girl sloth Vivien.
Bonus: Eggstravaganza!, March 24, 25, 30, 31, April 1, invites you to hop on in for a parade with the Easter Bunny, a bird-themed outdoor egg hunt with an educational twist, and story time with a live bird appearance.
Claws 'N' Paws Wild Animal Park
Have you ever wanted to pet an alligator or a python? Even if your answer is no, Claws 'N' Paws Wild Animal Park in Lake Ariel (re-opening in the spring after its winter hiatus) offers many other opportunities for up-close encounters with many of its animals. You can pet deer, lamb and goats; see two different animal shows, mingle with African tortoises, and feed chunks of apple to its resident lory parrots.
Bonus: Don't miss the Dinosaur Outpost with fossil hunts, Dino Dig, a triceratops to sit on and interactive fun.
Penn's Cave & Wildlife Park
You’ll want to spend an entire day at Penn's Cave & Wildlife Park in Centre Hall to see not only breathtaking limestone formations in the underground caverns, but a wide variety of animals in the wildlife park. The 90-minute Farm-Nature-Wildlife guided tour will take you in an open-air bus or tractor tram through the grazing pastures, mountain trails, and forestland of the 1,600-acre Penn’s Cave property where you have a good chance of spying bears, wolves, elk, deer, bobcats, bison, longhorn cattle, mustangs, and bighorn sheep.
Bonus: Prospector Pete’s Miners Maze features a 4,800 square foot labyrinth with loads of twists and turns.
Wildlife Academy at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort
“All Animal, All The Time!” is the apt slogan for the Wildlife Academy at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, featuring red sheep, bears, bison, zebra, a Bengal tiger, lions, and wolves. You’ll also discover smaller exotic and domestic animals including a kinkajou, fennec foxes, a two-toed sloth, rabbits, and reptiles, to name a few of the more than 40 species at the academy. You’ll get to feed and pet various breeds of sheep, cows and goats and marvel at the wolves, tigers, lions, zebra and buffalo as you feed them their favorite treats on the safari.
Living Treasures Animal Park
Pennsylvania is home to not just one Living Treasures Animal Park, but two – both offering friendly animals from all across the world. Touch a baby kangaroo, hug a camel, or spend the afternoon playing among the goats are just some the many opportunities to interact with the animals at the Living Treasures Animal Park in New Castle. Feed carrots to Levi and Blue Jeans, the two resident giraffes at Living Treasures Animal Park in Jones Mills; they are the proud new parents of baby giraffe Calvin!
Bonus: Take a camel, pony, or horse ride in Jones Mills, or pet and interact with Padawan, the baby sloth in New Castle.
Lake Tobias Wildlife Park
Opening May 1, experience the wild with hundreds of animals from around the world at Lake Tobias Wildlife Park in Halifax. Generations have been fascinated by the herds of wild, exotic animals and flightless birds seen on the safari, and the petting zoo where the animals love to get up close to their visitors. Brave guests can even touch a live alligator or a snake in the Reptiles and Exotics Facility.
Bonus: On Wildlife Conservation Day, May 20, 50 percent off admissions will be donated to the Conservation of Endangered Species and Star Wars characters will be on hand!
Want more wildlife? Check out our animal parks webpage to even more animal experiences in Pennsylvania. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to stay up-to-date on even more great ideas and places to visit around our state. Don’t forget to never miss an update and sign up for our monthly Happy Thoughts e-newsletter.