The Philadelphia Zoo recently opened up an incredible new aspect that promises to elevate visitor experiences at this Philadelphia attraction to a whole new level, quite literally speaking. Big Cat Crossing creates an elevated, caged pathway throughout parts of the zoo (above the heads of visitors), so that pumas, tigers, lions and other larger cats can move about.
A tiger peeks down from above at the Philadelphia Zoo. — Photo courtesy of Al Dia News
Safely enclosed yet entirely viewable, the cats get closer to you with this new exhibit, enabling you to view them as they go through their day. But it keeps them confined to areas that are safe for them. Allowing the cats to roam reduces boredom, encourages exercise and certainly peaks the interest of curious zoo patrons, as they watch them cross overhead.
Big Cat Crossing is part of the only such extensive animal travel and exploration system of any zoo in the world. Constructed of mesh and extending overhead from First Niagara Big Cat Falls across the zoo's main visitor path, the passageway totals roughly 330 feet.
There is no extra charge for viewing these cats; it is part of each visitor's experience, which - thanks to this new system - is more like a safari than a zoo visit. Patrons see the cats in more places than just a cage or habitat, bringing a new level of appreciation and understanding to those who see them.
The cats are free to walk the trails, lie down and watch visitors pass below or wander to other areas of the zoo. This system complements the trails already in place here for orangutans and other small primates.
With recent outcry from the public to try to increase zoo experiences for animals, Philadelphia Zoo staff aims to improve things for both the animals here as well as the people viewing them. Snow leopards not in their designated area? How about we set out across the zoo to find them? Where could they be? What other cats are they with? Upping the experience for guests can make a trip here more fun, while engaging the animals who walk about as well.
During the year, animals are rotated through the trails, so that cats may use the small primate trails or vice versa, just not at the same times. Animals are also moved about the zoo periodically as well, for their benefit.
Adding the Big Cat Crossing is sure to add an element of intrigue and fascination for patrons who visit, making a trip to this iconic zoo an even better, more realistic and totally entertaining experience.