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Zoo Debuts 3-D Mural, ‘Send a Kid’ Campaign

Gwyneth K. Shaw

Gwyneth K. Shaw

Editor

Posted March 16, 2016

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The Philadelphia Zoo has a new attraction: a 3-D “street art” mural that’s made for taking cool photos. And to make sure more city kids get to see it, the zoo is partnering with Comcast to turn your social media posts into free visits for children who can’t afford admission.

The Phillie Phanatic and children from Camden’s Yorkship Elementary helped unveil the new You360ShotSpot, a round sidewalk mural that depicts the zoo and some of its animals. The point is that, when you stand in the right place, it’s a kind of optical illusion — you feel like you’re standing on a ledge above the zoo, with its creatures and a giant slide spread beneath you. Especially in photos, the 3-D effect is striking.

That’s where the community comes in. Visit the zoo, take a photo, and share it, tagging it with #sendakid. For every 50 posts, tweets, or retweets, Comcast’s Xfinity division will sponsor admission to the zoo for a child from an under-served neighborhood. The goal is to bring 10,000 kids to the zoo this way during the 2016-2017 school year.

To make sharing easier, Xfinity is now offering free wi-fi at the zoo. The company installed nearly 100 hot spots around the zoo, according to Amalia O’Sullivan, vice president of Xfinity Internet for Comcast.

The mural, which sits near the pigeon loft in the KidZooU area, is acrylic paint on canvas and was designed by British artist Joe Hill. He specializes in this type of illusion art and is nicknamed the “pavement Picasso.” He said Philadelphia is one of his favorite cities, in part because of its thriving street art scene, including the city’s numerous wall murals.

Hill said he visited the zoo a few months ago and came away amazed by its innovative Zoo360 exhibits that allow a variety of animals — including tigers, gorillas, and monkeys — to roam over the heads of visitors.

Vikram Dewan, the zoo’s president and CEO, said he’s delighted Comcast is making this challenge to the community. More than 120,000 children come to the zoo every year, he said, and he can’t wait for the 10,000 more.

“There’s nothing better than seeing that wonder on a child’s face as they enter the zoo, perhaps for the first time,” Dewan said.

 

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