You guys! If you haven’t been to the Philly Zoo since you were 6 or 8 or even 15, it’s time to get back there. On top of the amazing new upgrades the zoo has made over the past few years, there is one particularly important new addition to the Philadelphia region . . . a very small, very furry, very adorable baby gorilla.
You only need to make a quick trip outside Center City to get to the Philadelphia Zoo (3400 West Girard Avenue). It’s open til 5pm through October 31st (4pm in the winter months), but in order to avoid crowds and lots of kids we’d have to compete with for prime animal viewing spots (more on that later – I have no shame) on the weekend, my mom and I took a half day last Friday. We arrived around 1:30pm and filled the next 3.5 hours perfectly with all the animals we could want.
But, as you can tell, we were mostly excited for the baby gorilla. Like, I-told-everyone-I-came-in-contact-with-for-approximately-10-days-before-that-I-was-going-to-see-the-new-baby-gorilla level excited.
After browsing the Rare Animal Conservation Center, the Reptile and Amphibian House (my favourite was the crested gecko morphs)
, and Big Cat Falls, we got to the Primate Reserve around 3pm and headed straight for the gorillas. We were greeted by a zoo staff member with an iPad of baby photos as Honi, the baby’s momma, was perched up holding the baby so tight we couldn’t see the little thing. However, I was not leaving until I saw that baby, so we picked a spot and got comfortable.
While we were waiting, I inquired to the young male zoo staff about the ETA on the baby’s gender. Lucky for me, he immediately told me that a full-grown male gorilla’s penis is only 2 inches long, so we can only imagine the size of a baby’s. Well okay, sir. As soon as the keepers determine the baby’s gender, they’re putting out some pre-selected names for the public to vote on, so don’t get any ideas.
15 or so minutes later, Honi started bopping around, and there it was . . . the little bebe. Obviously, my iPhone 5s takes beautiful photos through glass and just in general, but at least you can see the freakin size and situations I was witnessing right before my eyes. I could not lift my gaze, and to all the parents of the children who I did not let run into my legs and move me along the glass, I’m only a tiny bit sorry. It was very worth it.
We stayed until most of the gorillas were ushered “into their rooms,” which we were told is done earlier than the rest of the animals at the zoo, just because of the beb situation. Keep that in mind if you visit, and get over to the primates early.
While we didn’t indulge at the brand new Victory Beer Garden, the ol Watering Hole, I did take a peek in, and it’s super cute.
My actual, lifelong favorite section of the zoo is “Carnivore Kingdom,” aka the otters and red pandas. I spent a lot of time with the otters the last time I was at the zoo, so despite my past bouts of bad luck, we headed over to the red pandas. When we arrived to the exhibit, there was no RP to be seen, and I sadly said to my mom, “the red panda never comes out when I’m here.” At that moment, this little one walked right out of its hut, came over and chilled right in front of us for several minutes. The zoo keeper came out and put apple slices all over the exhibit for the panda to find, which my mom and I watched while we squealed with joy. It was really perfect.
At this point, the zoo had truly cleared out – perfect for last minute animal sighting. We spent some time watching Tony the rhino problem solve to get this tree stump up to the second level of his habitat, and admiring how cool of animals Gus, Stella, and Abigail, the giraffes, are in general.
In conclusion, get over to the Philly Zoo n-o-w. Victory Beer, beautiful weather, and baby gorillas = the perfect Friday afternoon.
It was such a fun day, and the perfect setting for my mom and I to hang. We finished our Friday in Philly by hitting up the 20% off Anthro sale and having dinner and prosecco at Pizzeria Vetri. Love you, Momma!