Philadelphia Zoo has always been a wonderful place to visit for folks of all ages. Lately, however, the experience of visiting this iconic Philadelphia venue is incredibly different from the experience of visiting in the past.
Thanks to a fantastic and innovative new program introduced in 2011, this zoo is now able to offer a program that's the first of its kind in the entire world.
Zoo360 is a multi-tiered program that allows animals at the zoo to move about in mesh trails throughout the zoo campus. These trails connect animals with similar habitats so that they can all use the system and share their common spaces.
Who will you see hanging around the treetops at the Philadelphia Zoo when you visit? — Photo courtesy of Sharon Rigney
This way, each species gets the opportunity to spread out a little more and to utilize the space they have better. After all, everyone likes a little change of scenery now and then.
This system also benefits patrons visiting, as they get the opportunity to interact and view the animals like never before and like in no other zoo on the planet.
The opening of BigCat Crossing in 2014 debuted this incredible concept with the cat population at Philadelphia Zoo. Tigers, lions, pumas, jaguars and leopards take turns using the newly constructed trails (which meander throughout certain sections of the zoo and blend in with the landscape and set-up here pretty well).
None of them are intrusive, ugly or inconvenient; in fact, they're quite the opposite. They wind around overhead and through greenery, sometimes so cleverly tucked into the scenery that they seem like they were meant to be there. Animals are able to wander about, viewing other areas of the zoo and checking out curious visitors as well.
The Big Cats move about the zoo and enjoy peeking at visitors as much as at each other — Photo courtesy of Rodrigo Soldon 2
Big Cat Crossing was such a great success that many couldn't wait for the opportunity to see how the addition of other trails would do and how they would add to the overall experience of the zoo.
With the addition of Gorilla Treeway, it looks as though things are going swingingly.
Zoo360 was designed to include four key sections: Big Cat Crossing, Great Ape Trail, Treetop Trail and Gorilla Treeway. With the opening of Gorilla Treeway, the total space available to animals here as part of the Zoo360 system now totals 3,000 feet, which is an incredible amount.
Many animals benefit from the addition of these trails. Should the tigers be walking about in the lower trails, and the gorillas taking a stroll up by the treetops, the animals are able to interact with each other, as well as the zoo guests who are passing by.
It's an incredible activity and a terrific way to obtain an entirely different and exciting experience for all involved.
What do the animals here think of the new additions? Gorillas sit in the mesh walkways, eating greenery and enjoying the passing crowds, while leopards often sun themselves in sections of the passageway they love best when it's their turn to use them.
Baby animals run and play and scamper throughout their sections of the trail, making it seem that all involved are enjoying these incredible improvements.