the philadelphia zoo

We really enjoyed the Philadelphia Zoo. It’s America’s First Zoo–the perfect combination of classy/historical and beautiful/modern. Lots of great animals.

Sarah and Cameron (Dan had to work) joined us for the day after graciously offering us a place to stay, feeding us a delicious supper, a scrummy breakfast, and packing us a big ol’ delicious lunch for the zoo. We had so much fun together. And Sarah has more pics on her blog if you just can’t get enough.

Once again, no great big cool sign that said Philadelphia Zoo. I think every zoo should have one.

This fine fellow (I tend to assume all animals are boys unless they’re wearing a baby.) is a prehensile-tailed porcupine. A very handsome nose, wouldn’t you say?

This is a bird. And I would like to ask my friend Amy’s husband Billy to consult his Bird Book so I can find out what kind it is. Until I know for sure, I’m calling it (him) a Golden-Breasted Wide-Eyed Squawker.

Sarah, Livi, Cami, Ava, Nina, Marla–Girls’ Day Out! (plus our handsome photographer)

And here we are in action. The girls loved pushing Cameron and Bubba (the invisible toddler in Ava’s stroller).

Now, that’s some talent. Do you see how smart (and beautiful, gentle, fabulous) these creatures are??

A macaw right before it landed on a tree branch. Good work, Mr. Anonymous Man Behind the Camera. For as much as I pretend not to like birds (okay, so I’m mostly not pretending), the macaw show we watched outside the new McNeil Avian Center was fascinating. It’s amazing what these birds can be trained to do. Very, very cool.

The cheetahs were super-active, and Gabe got some great shots. The one I didn’t include involved a cheetah climbing on the roof of his shelter and relieving his bowels on it. And we didn’t get a picture of the woman who kept making “cheetah” calls to the cheetahs and explaining what they meant. I’m pretty sure she had no idea what she was talking about.

This might be fun to try, though, the next time you’re at a zoo. Just go up to various animals and start speaking in their native tongue. Then interpret their reply for the people standing around you. You know, the people with their hands over their mouths trying not to snicker.

Speaking of trying not to snicker, I do hope you’re looking at this picture with a straight face, because this is serious business. Here’s Mr. and Mrs. T. just makin’ sure we don’t run out of baby tortoises any time soon. I tweeted from the zoo that I had seen two tortoises creating a life together, and several people recounted having a similar experience. A few of them admitted that the sound still haunts them to this day. I don’t know that it can even be translated onomatopoeically. Very loud. Very grunty.

Again, the fact that we’ve already discussed the Birds, the Bees, and the Galapagos Tortoises with our children came in very handy. Sarah and I enjoyed watching the red-faced parents frantically wracking their brains for a believable explanation for what was happening.

And don’t forget, if you’d like to receive real-time updates like, “The tortoises are mating,” you can follow me on Twitter or add me as a friend on Facebook. And if you’re thinking your life might be just as complete without that info, you would be correct. Carry on. I won’t be offended.

Have a great day, friends!

13 thoughts on “the philadelphia zoo

  1. Amy

    Marla – I am ‘catching up’ on your blogs and laughing about the bird book comment! I will certainly see if Billy can accurately identify the bird, however, the book that he has only deals with birds from Ohio. 🙂 Love you!!!!

  2. Allen N.

    Always love your updates. Did you (and your girls) like the Big Cat Falls exhibit? The cats can be hard to find, but they have a nice interactive area for children. Also, did you guys ride on the hot air balloon?

    Allen Nyhuis
    Coauthor, Americas Best Zoos

  3. Elizabeth

    Looks like a very cool zoo. I love anything classy/historical and beautiful/modern. I guess you’re right that the Tulsa Zoo would probably never be described in that way, but it was still fun to visit with you and the fam. The girls already look more grown up!

  4. Jon, Zoo Guy

    I happened to catch two tortoises furthering their species on video. If you ever need a reminder I’ll send it by mail. And that beautiful bird is a superb starling, although I like your name better.

  5. Kelli

    I laughed outloud when I read Amanda’s comment. When we were visiting my grandparents at the Norristown Zoo (which is close to Phiily) we saw cheetahs doing the same thing. My grandma told my sister they were wrestling because she didn’t want to be the one explaining the birds and the bees. But yeah scarred by the sounds.

  6. Gail

    I’m a little surprised the tortoises weren’t gettin’ it on when we were at the Louisville zoo. They have apparently, uh hem, read your book, and abide by your frequency suggestions. We catch them in the throes of passion nearly every time we’re there.

  7. Mary

    Great pictures! This is one of the few zoos I’ve actually been to…only the Philly one, Ft. Worth, and Dallas (live in DFW area) This whole zoo project of yours has me itching to take my son to his first zoo experience!

  8. Missy

    Very handsome nose? I was thinking, “Nice teeth.” 🙂
    I have very vague remembrances of the Philly zoo…did you try any great Philly food while you were there? Soft pretzel? Philly cheesesteak?

  9. Sarah Montanye

    Loved your pictures and recap! We had a great time with you guys too! That mccaw picture is beautiful!!! I hope you guys have a safe trip to Michigan today and a wonderful time! Hugs

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