There is not a single person I know who is surprised when I want to visit the Philadelphia Zoo. Not only is it my favorite place in the city, but it’s also my former place of employment. Maybe that makes me a little biased, but based on the sheer number of my friends that have a membership, I know I’m not alone in my love for this historic attraction. And with the Philadelphia Zoo’s new Winter exhibit, I bet YOU will be planning a visit soon too.
This past week, the boys and I headed over to check out the Zoo’s new seasonal exhibit, Winter. My big man has been asking me repeatedly about when he could make a snowman again. I knew right away we would need to head over opening week. We brought our copy of Ezra Jack Keats’ classic The Snowy Day along for our visit.
Upon entering Winter, the first thing we encountered was an ENORMOUS snow tube slide. The snow covered slide is 120 feet long and 20 feet high!! My kids were WAY too scared to even give it a try, so we turned left to head over to the snowball making zone. **Pro-tip – you CANNOT ride down the slide with 2 people in a tube and you must be 40 inches tall to ride on this slide!**
We spent way too much time making snowballs, trying to hit the targets and filming boomerang videos of tossing them in the air. **Pro-Tip – bring a pair of gloves. We did not and my littles both complained their hands were cold.**
Next, we headed inside the Polar Bear Pavillion to go on a slide that was a little more their speed. My older one was happy to go down a few times, but the littlest guy was still a bit scared. He happily frolicked in the indoor snow piles though, making snow castles, digging and stomping around. There are mini sleds for pulling kids around as well!
Around this time, the kids got thirsty so we went over to the Cozy Cafe to grab some drinks. It was too early for lunch, though food was available for purchase as well. We decided to sip our beverages and read our copy of The Snowy Day. The kids loved that they were able to do many of the things that Peter does in the book in the middle of Summer! To my delight, in the Cozy Cafe, I also bumped into my old pal…. The Lego Polar Bear!!
I thoroughly enjoyed telling my children about my involvement in bringing that polar bear to the Zoo many years before and I was nostalgically looking through old photos of him when I got home! Both boys are crazy for Lego and they were thrilled to see such a massive lego animal!
After our drink and book, the littlest guy spotted a wall of coats and we went over to check it out. It turned out to be a fun educational display about the different equipment humans would need to survive like each of our favorite winter animals. Then, we went back inside to escape the heat and build some more snow castles. At that point, I bumped into old colleagues and got the scoop on the snow and how it’s made. (It is really only water, made on the premises in a machine overnight. The snow is refilled throughout the day in various areas!)
The exhibit took us about an hour to do, though your tickets pay for 2 hours of use. This is a timed ticket event, so I would recommend reserving your spot in advance! The exhibit runs now through August 20. Priced range from $8-12 per person depending on the time of week you are going. This price is in addition to the cost of Zoo admission and parking.
I am already planning to go back to the Philadelphia Zoo’s Winter exhibit with two other families: One in July and one in August. I highly recommend you check it out!