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Philadelphia Zoo to Reopen (with Social Distancing) in July!

Timed tickets go on sale this week! Here’s what you need to know before you go.

With guidelines loosening in Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Zoo is preparing to reopen its doors this summer! The zoo will do a phased reopening—members can start coming on July 6, and the general public can come July 9. Admission is limited to timed tickets purchased in advance to assure a limited number of guests; no tickets will be available at the gate. Members can reserve tickets online beginning June 25, and the public can purchase tickets online beginning June 26.


“We are thrilled to welcome our members and guests back to the Zoo,” says Vikram H. Dewan, the Zoo’s President and CEO.  “On the first visit back, guests will find that some of the procedures look a bit different, but with more than 1300 rare and endangered animals in our care, and many visitors onsite, the enhanced procedures will help with maintaining a delightful, clean and safe experience,” says Dewan.


We personally cannot wait to go back, especially to see Keematee, the new baby sloth bear that we have only met virtually on Philly Zoo @ 2:

Courtesy of Philadelphia Zoo.


At this time, the zoo will only be opening its outdoor exhibits. In addition, rides, the Swan Boats, and the Wildworks Ropes Course remain closed. Masks are required for all guests age 8 and up, and encouraged for children ages 2-7. Children under age 2 don’t have to wear masks.


In addition to requiring advanced tickets, there will be additional modifications and rules to keep everyone safe while visiting animal friends. To allow for proper social distancing, the zoo is limiting ticket sales to one-third of typical capacity. They will be closely monitoring and adjusting attendance, and additional ticket inventory will be released daily.


Since food service will be somewhat limited, guests can bring their own food to the zoo. However, for those food locations that are open, there will be more grab-and-go selections and touchless transactions. Find food at Urban Green and Impala Plaza; plus Eagles’ Roost will offer mobile order scheduled pick-up as well as window service.


New “Clean Team” staffers are onsite to sanitize and clean all high-touch areas throughout the day. You will also find new hand sanitizer stations throughout the zoo, especially in high-contact areas. Even the bathrooms have gotten a safety upgrade—there are now touchless toilets, faucets, paper towel and soap dispensers to reduce contact.


If you aren’t ready to come back (or can’t get a timeslot), but still want to support the zoo from home,  you can shop a limited-edition collection of apparel that will fund the Zoo’s Spring Back Fund. These colorful shirts feature Philly-centric designs with an animal twist, and fund the zoo’s continued work and care for its animals.


Photograph by Laura Swartz


Ticket Info

The Philadelphia Zoo is located at 3400 W. Girard Avenue, in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park. Following a shutdown due to COVID-19, it will reopen to the public beginning July 9. Tickets must be reserved in advance online. Members can reserve tickets online beginning June 25, and the public can purchase tickets online beginning June 26.


Tickets for guests ages 2 and up are $20, and parking is $17 per vehicle. Children under age 2 are free but must have a reserved ticket. As always, tickets are free for members.


On the day of your visit, you will receive an email that will allow you to confirm your visit and let the zoo know if anyone in your party is experiencing symptoms. If needed, you will be able to reschedule your visit—and free up the timeslot for someone else.


Members may reserve one visit per membership at a time for up to the number of adults, children, and guests covered by their membership. Members can make another reservation after the original reservation has passed.


Lead photograph courtesy of Visit Philadelphia 

Contributing Writer