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Diets while traveling

The Philadelphia Zoo

  • By
  • June 28, 2021
Philadelphia Zoo exhibits

An Afternoon at America’s Oldest Zoo

Celebrate Animals, Watch, Listen and Learn 

America’s oldest zoo has always been one of my favorite “go-to” places as a child, adult, and parent. I’m referring to The Philadelphia Zoo, an urban animal paradise that opened on July 1, 1874, in the city’s Centennial District on the west bank of the Schuylkill River.

Philadelphia Zoo Primates
I’m convinced large primates love to put on a show for their guests. The primate habitat is always one of my first stops. Photos by Joan Mead-Matsui

A visit to The Philadelphia Zoo is sheer pleasure. Even if you are not a fan of zoos, it’s a destination you and your child should experience together. After all, many children might never have an opportunity to catch a glimpse of and observe animals from around the world in a safe setting. The zoo houses at last count almost 1,300 animals and many are rare and endangered species. More than 1.2 million visitors come through the gates every year to watch, learn, and be entertained. One of the zoo’s primary goals is to educate children and adults about animal and environmental conservation. The world’s premier animal travel and exploration trail system, Zoo360, provides animals with ample space to roam and is one of the most thoughtfully-designed zoo attractions I’ve seen. If you go, small primates swinging from treetop to treetop, large primates eager to entertain and keep an eye on the crowds below, and the lions, tigers, jaguars, pumas, and other big cats are among the species you’ll discover. Need a break from the sun, you can seek refuge indoors in “The Reptile and Amphibian House,” opened in 1875 and regarded as the United States oldest zoo building.

Throughout the zoo’s 42-acre campus, you’ll find a variety of animal exhibits and each one is designed with a personalized experience in mind.  Many of the exhibits allow you and your children to stand within several inches – close enough to watch the residents interact with their peers. Children giggling at the primates’ shenanigans, lions basking in the sun, and the busy giraffe foraging for food are recurring scenes. 

What’s the best time to visit the zoo?

If you have young children, schedule your visit for late spring, early summer, and fall mornings. You probably won’t find the large crowds you might encounter during peak summer hours and you’ll avoid long ticket lines at the gate. You are guaranteed a top-notch learning environment any time of the year. From mid-day until mid-afternoon, you could find some or maybe most of the animals napping so you’ll need to plan your day with your own goals in mind.

Philadelphia Zoo Current Exhibits
Obey rules and policies established to protect you and the animals you’ll discover at The Philadelphia Zoo. Be prepared to meet the resident geese who aren’t shy about begging for food.

Two New Exhibits You Won’t Want to Miss

The Philadelphia Zoo has added, “Penguin Point” and “Water is Life” to its list of incredible new exhibits since my last visit. Giant otters, Humboldt penguins, and red pandas are among the characters you’ll meet in a natural setting.

“Monkey Junction,” “PECO Primate Reserve,” and the “Reptile and Amphibian House” are three existing exhibits I never miss during my visits to the zoo. A snake sighting sends chills up my spine but yet, I can’t keep my eyes off them. Watching them make their way from water to land is an opportunity to study their lifestyle.


There is typically an on-site dining area within close proximity in case you want to break for a meal or snack while the animals are feeding or napping. Watching them graze or gobble down their meals might trigger your hunger pangs and zoo cuisine has evolved to include a wide variety of choices for young and old alike.

The name, “Mane Fare,” reflects the selection of eateries located throughout the grounds. Tiger Terrace, Eagles Roost, World Tacos are three of your food and beverage choices that offer palette-pleasing meals from pizza, burgers, chicken,  and tacos, and other staples most picky eaters will try.  Visitors who have not experienced the famous Philadelphia pretzel sold by street vendors throughout the city will find a slightly modified version in the pretzel bites sold at the “Philly Pretzel Factory.” You and your family should not leave the City of Brotherly Love before you experience a pretzel and cheesesteak.

Eating your meals with a clear view of an exhibit is part of the fun associated with a day at The Philadelphia Zoo.  Hours and availability vary seasonally so be sure to check the zoo’s website for more information.  Among other perks, zoo members receive a 10 percent discount on food and beverage throughout the park.

Let’s Talk Conservation

Zoos have gotten a bad rap over the years from organizations that believe animals should be allowed to roam free in their indigenous habitats but when conservation and preservation of species are the main focus, species that might otherwise be extinct due to illegal hunting and poaching are protected. A zoo offers a solution.  The Philadelphia Zoo has a conservation program that offers many of our world’s most endangered species a program that allows them to thrive, procreate, and educate visitors. You can learn more about conservation and protection plans in place at or visit the “Rare Animal Conservation Center.” 

What’s “in it” for older kids?

Even teenagers can learn a thing or two about animals and enjoy a day trip to The Philadelphia Zoo. You’ll hear a laugh or two or three from “big kids” as the You’ll have a lot of ground to cover so a morning visit is the best bet for families with infants and toddlers. Above all, a zoo is one of the best choices if you want to spend family time together while teaching your children to respect and appreciate animals.


My admission to The Philadelphia Zoo was comped but my opinions are my own.

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Lifestyle Top 50 Zoos and Their Weirdest Animals Zoos

The “50 Best Zoos”

  • By
  • September 24, 2018
Philadelphia Zoo RAVE Reviews

Where To Go To See The Weirdest Animals By RAVE Reviews: 

Philadelphia Zoo made the List

The “50 Best Zoos” are educational (and fun for all ages) and they foster a greater appreciation for all animals and the staff who care for them. Whether you’re a toddler or a senior citizen, you’ll learn key facts about a species and why we need to do our part to preserve natural habitats for all species that roam our earth. 

What criteria contributed to the ranking?

Text Courtesy of RAVE Reviews

Edited by Joan Mead-Matsui, Publisher

EUGENE, Ore., Sept. 24, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — RAVE Reviews, the innovative site that publishes entertaining rankings based on advanced data-driven analysis, has published its ranking of the “Best Zoos” available at

Planning family adventures can be difficult at times. Trying to find the right amount of fun while maintaining your parental sanity is also a challenge. Going to the Zoo has been a staple family activity for a long time, and for good reason. Bears, Giraffes, Dragons (not fire-breathing, unfortunately), and all other kinds of weirdly fascinating creatures keep children entertained while they learn. If you are looking for a family road trip adventure or an afternoon out of the house, check out our detailed ranking of the Best Zoos and their weirdest animals!  

The methodology for this ranking is a combination of multiple factors including animal scarcity, special abilities, and an overall rating.

Hillary Miller, managing editor of RAVE Reviews, states, “This ranking is a lot of fun because it focuses on the exhibits that make each zoo unique. Who knew there were so many animals that most of us have never heard of? (Or that something called a Matschie’s Tree-kangaroo would be so cute?) We hope the article will encourage readers to visit their local zoos and to be a bit more curious about the animals that they see.”

The Best Zoos ranking has no winners, just a list of 50 awesome zoos and their weird inhabitants.

The full list of winners includes:

San Diego Zoo, San Diego, CA

Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, NE

Columbus Zoo, Columbus, OH

Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, Cincinnati, OH

Saint Louis Zoological Park, Saint Louis, MO

Fort Worth Zoological Park, Fort Worth, TX

Toledo Zoo, Toledo, OH

Bronx Zoo, New York, NY

Brookfield Zoo, Chicago, IL

Milwaukee County Zoo, Milwaukee, WI

North Carolina Zoo, Asheboro, NC

Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita, KS

Memphis Zoo, Memphis, TN

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Cleveland, OH

Detroit Zoo, Detroit, MI

Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Orlando, FL

Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Washington DC

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Cheyenne, WY

Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, Oklahoma City, OK

Minnesota Zoo, Apple Valley, MN

Dallas Zoo, Dallas, TX

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, Pittsburgh, PA

Riverbanks Zoo, Columbia, SC

Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, Fort Wayne, IN

Audubon Zoo, New Orleans, LA

Los Angeles Zoo, Los Angeles, CA

Indianapolis Zoo, Indianapolis, IN

San Francisco Zoo, San Francisco, CA

Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, IL

Santa Barbara Zoo, Santa Barbara, CA

Denver Zoo, Denver, CO

Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, Palm Desert, CA

Kansas City Zoological Park, Kansas City

Zoo Miami, Miami, FL

Philadelphia Zoo, Philadelphia, PA

Oakland Zoo, Oakland,CA

Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle, WA

Zoo Atlanta, Atlanta, GA

Oregon Zoo, Portland, OR

San Antonio Zoo, San Antonio, TX

Santa Ana Zoo, Santa Ana, CA

Sacramento Zoo, Sacramento, CA

Louisville Zoo, Louisville, CA

Houston Zoo, Houston, TX

Nashville Zoo, Nashville, TN

Phoenix Zoo, Phoenix, AZ

Riverside Park Zoo, Independence, KS

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, Jacksonville, FL

Buffalo Zoo, Buffalo, NY

Orange County Zoo, Orange County, CA

Feel free to share your experiences at any of these zoos. Use the contact form below.
RAVE Reviews offer is an authoritative guide for consumer goods, entertainment, and travel.  

Visit to read my review the United States’ oldest zoo.

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African Animals African Tours Lifestyle

My Kids Met the Tallest Land Mammal

Giraffes of East Africa Seen While on a Safari

The Adventure of a Lifetime

And Why it’s Dangerous for Giraffes to Pee During the Dry Seasons

A Travel Feature by Lori Appling-Allen, Focused Escapes

Gather your kids around to read this guest post, “My Kids Met the Tallest Land Mammal,” by Lori Appling-Allen, Focused Escapes founder.

For Thanksgiving 2021, we traded turkey and mashed potatoes for elephant sightings and homemade baobab juice in Tanzania. With five families in tow, we set out on the adventure of a lifetime for both us adults and our kids. 

We spent three days exploring Serengeti National Park then transferred to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. After a couple of days at the crater, we ended our day at the Tarangire National Park, sleeping inside the park and waking up just steps away from friendly monkey families starting their day just like us.  A pride of lions with tiny baby cubs passed by our tent while we watched safely from the window.

We spent our days bouncing in 4x4s, meeting elephants, giraffes, zebra, and wildebeests.  We saw large herds of hippo and Cape buffalo…a half dozen cheetahs, leopard – you name it, we saw it!

One of our favorite days was when we learned that giraffe pee drips and sticks like honey. 

In dry seasons, it’s dangerous for a giraffe to drink. Watering holes are where the predators hang out because they know their prey need to drink eventually. So, a giraffe will typically drink once and then hold her pee all day.   

By the time she relieves herself, her body has absorbed all the water it can. What comes out is thick and sticky like honey. Not watery like other animals who don’t need to bend down so far and put themselves in such a compromised position to drink.

Tanzania, you might know, is home to the one and only Masai giraffe – one of the tallest land mammals on the planet, second only to the Rothchild in Kenya (though Kenya requires a yellow-fever shot to enter and Tanzania doesn’t – one of the many reasons we chose to bring the kids to Tanzania over Kenya).

Standing on my seat and taking her picture through the roof, this girl towers above me… 

My Kids Met the Tallest Land Mammal

Her legs are almost as big as our vehicle… 

A Trip to Africa is not a glorified zoo experience.

People who have never been to Africa think this trip is a glorified zoo experience but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. 

While writing this, I asked my family to recall what made our trip to Tanzania so special. Aside from the overall giddy feeling you get while experiencing something truly fantastic — we concluded that it has to be the fact that a single country has such a supreme combination of so many things – wildlife, culture, food, accommodations, scenery, hospitality, language and wonder. 

The kids are still talking about it.  It marked them in a way a trip to a zoo never does.

They marvel at how close the animals got to our cars… the creatures big and small that they’d never even heard of (like the kori bustard)…  the amazing guides who taught them how to make baobab juice and medicine from herbs.  They smiled nonstop as the 4x4s ran through mud puddles and over wild bushes.  They called out new words to each other in Swahili and made little insider jokes about how to remember a phrase so they could repeat it to our guides later.  

I designed this trip for my family and our friends, but it was such an amazing success I now take other families who are willing to adventure to the other side of the globe with their kids or grandkids.

It’s fun when multiple families get together and the kids make new friends with other kids on the trip. It allows the adults to have an adult conversation by the fire while the kids behave like kids on the deck.

If you see your family exploring Tanzania with our group, claim the spot on my website right here. 

Publisher’s Note:

Lori Appling-Allen, Focused Escapes founder, crafts unforgettable trips for 10-12 travelers to destinations that open your eyes to this beautiful planet, teach you new skills, and leave you craving to see more of our magnificent world.

Want to read more family trip stories? Read a fly-fishing story here.

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Tom Rosenbauer Fly Fishing Bahamas

Tom Rosenbauer Fly Fishing Bahamas
Joan Mead-Matsui
Joan Mead-Matsui
Tom Rosenbauer Fly Fishing Bahamas

Fly-Fishing Legend, Author, and Inventor Shares a Pivotal Travel Story

Tom Rosenbauer Pivotal Travel Story

Enjoy these digital excerpts from my 2020 Tom Rosenbauer Fly Fishing Bahamas Zoom interview. Tom is a fly-fishing icon and expert, author, and inventor and he has been an integral part of the Orvis fly-fishing family for more than 40 years.

I met Tom at an Orvis media trip at the company’s flagship store in Manchester, VT several years ago and had an opportunity to learn more about him. His stories are always enlightening and packed with vital fly-fishing tips and encouragement for anglers of all skill levels. Tom is a storyteller and he employs those skills as he describes a pivotal travel story from his trip to the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian.

We recorded this podcast pre-COVID-19 and I’m honored to share segments of our conversation with you. Listen to the podcast in its entirety below.

Interview with Tom Rosenbauer

Joan: I read some of the articles about you and one of them that caught my attention appeared in Forbes Magazine. I’ve known you for a few years and I know quite a bit about you. But I would like you to bring me up to date with your work for Orvis. At one point, you indicated your role had changed.

Tom: I’m concentrating more on a certain area and not spending as much time in other areas. As you know, I’m kind of the spokesperson for the fishing part of the business for a long time originally with the Orvis news when everything was in print. Then with the podcasts and with the TV show and I was also doing all the marketing for fly-fishing and all the PR. Well, at some point, we’ve got to get some younger people in here who can concentrate on some of those things. So I’m now spending most of my time on the podcast and right now I’m finishing the scripting of Season 2 of the TV show, which is a how-to show. You’ve seen pieces of it in Season One. I’m going to stores, dealers, and different fly fishing events representing their company.

Joan: That’s a lot of work, Tom. I felt exhausted just listening to everything you’re doing now.

Tom: We have a lot of great people here. So it’s not as bad as it sounds.

Joan: My next question for you is what is your work current title with Orvis?

Tom: That’s a good question. I have to look it up. Hang on. I think it says something like Chief Enthusiast Fly Fishing Outreach and Education.

Joan: One of the articles, I believe it was in Forbes, noted that you’ve been with Orvis for 30 years.

Tom: 43 years

Joan: In the world that we live in today, that’s a long, time to be with a company. What do you attribute to this long relationship with Orvis?

Tom: Well, it’s a great company and if you’re a fly fishing nut as I have been all my life, there’s no more logical place to be.

Joan: You know in that particular article (I mentioned earlier), the author refers to you as a living legend. How does that title sit with you?

Tom: You know what? The guy who wrote the article is a good friend of mine. So he was being a little generous. I think you know, fly fishing is a tiny world, Joan. It’s really, really not very big. So if you’ve been in it this long, it’s not hard to be famous just by showing up for so many years.

Joan: All right but maybe you’re not being as generous as you should be about yourself because everyone I’ve mentioned your name to always knows you. They always know Tom Rosenbauer. When did you get started with fly fishing? What led you to get into fly fishing?

Tom: Well, I grew up fishing with my dad as a kid. He was a bait fisherman. He didn’t fly fish and you know, I always loved the outdoors and bugs and frogs and fish and stuff and I just decided when I was I 10, 11, or 12-years-old that fly fishing looked kind of interesting. I saw it on TV on the American Sportsman. I read about it in the stream magazine. I thought it looked interesting. So I gradually taught myself how to do it. There were no lessons back in the Dark Ages when I started. There were no fishing schools. There were no lessons but if you were lucky enough to know somebody (who fly fished) they might show you how to do it. It was kind of an art, but I read books and I had a friend in Boy Scouts who was also interested. We kind of learned together and then we met this guy who owned a tiny fly shop in Rochester where I grew up and he also helped us out a lot. It was gradual. It took me about five years to learn what somebody could learn in a day fishing-school today.

Joan: Well, I’ve actually done both and it (fly fishing) is coming to me little by little. It’s a lifelong sport you know and it’s not certainly not something that you can typically learn overnight.

Tom: No, no, it’s not overnight but it’s not as hard as a lot of people think but it does take some commitment.

Joan: There was something else that I did not know about you. I didn’t know you invented the magnetic net retractor.

Tom: Yeah, it’s not a big deal. Some people use it on a lanyard and some people use the magnetic device.

Joan: That’s what I use – your magnetic device. Over the years, how many people would you say you’ve taught to fly-fish? Thousands?

Tom: Well, if you include the podcast and the videos, many thousands. I don’t have any idea how many. I used to work in our fly-fishing school. So probably thousands there, too. I taught at our fishing schools here in Manchester.

Joan: Okay, so in the email I sent to you, I mentioned that one of the things I wanted to talk to you about is a pivotal travel experience and you mentioned a trip to the Bahamas. What about that trip? What was pivotal?

Tom: Well, I was down on another Island, Andros, we were working on the second season of the TV show, and one of the shows was on Bonefish. We had filmed in Belize last spring and we didn’t get quite enough footage. So we went to the Bahamas to finish up the show to get the teaching segments we needed. I was there for a week and have some friends on Grand Bahama who run a fly fishing operation and guide service. They said, “Hey, Tom, the hurricane didn’t really hurt the Freeport area as much as the rest of the island and we’re back in business. We’re guiding and the fishing is fantastic, but nobody’s coming because everybody was worried about the Bahamas so I said, well I’m going in be in Andros. I’ll buzz over for a couple of days and do an article and hopefully, you know, help your business. Help the guides get some work there so they can get back on their feet. And of course, I love Grand Bahama and I’ve been going there for years and I wanted to see how the hurricane had affected it.

Joan: What was your impression of it after that?

Don’t miss Tom’s answers to this and other questions below in the Everything, Everywhere, Travel Writer Podcast Episode 5.

If you are intrigued with fly-fishing and you’d like to learn how to cast, what flies to use, and other important tips, contact your local Orvis shop for more information about the Orvis Fly-Fishing 101 classes happening near you.

My deepest sympathy to the Perkins and Orvis families as they mourn the loss of Leigh Perkins. Mr. Perkins bought Orvis in 1965, after taking over the company that C.F. Orvis founded in Manchester, Vt., in 1856. He died on May 7, 2021, at his home in Florida. He was 93.

Need to buy a new fly rod? Check out the Orvis Helios 3F.

One or more of the links on this page is an affiliate link. I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you if you purchase an item.

Want to learn more about fly fishing? Orvis offers Fly-Fishing 101 classes and guided trips. Click here to learn more.

Read another fly-fishing story

Watch Tom’s latest Orvis TV Season Two Episodes

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Diets while traveling Lifestyle top

Desert-Inspired Yoga Practice

Healthy Ways to Release Stress and Find Peace

Noa Raman, a certified Yoga instructor, and StandWithUs.TV producer teaches participants breathing and postures

Dead Sea Desert-Inspired Yoga Practice
As a central location for health research, the Dead Sea offers several health benefits due to the water’s mineral and low allergen content. Researchers have found the mud is high in calcium and potassium, two minerals your skin needs to stay young and healthy. Photo by Itamar Grinberg for the Israeli Ministry of Tourism.

As the world recovers from pandemic fatigue, it is more important than ever to find a healthy way to release stress and find peace. Noa Raman, a certified yoga practitioner, and StandWithUs.TV producer led a desert-inspired yoga practice and meditation on Feb. 16, 2021, from her Tel Aviv studio. The session opened with a brief meditation that set the tone for the relaxing yoga postures that followed.

“During the pandemic, I have learned that sharing my yoga and meditation practice gives me and the students I work with a moment of stillness that is always there if we give ourselves the time and space to return to their breaths.”

Noa Raman

Yogis of all levels celebrated tranquility in the comfort of their homes as the wellness and beauty series came to a close. Israel Ministry of Tourism, AHAVA, Tamar Regional Council, and Israel Land of Creation presented the Zoom event as part of their third and final “Exploring Wellness in the Israeli Desert and Dead Sea” webinar. Representatives of Six Senses Shaharut, a new wellness resort scheduled to open in September 2021, and AHAVA, Dead Sea Mineral Skin Care Products, kicked off the webinar with an emphasis on the beauty of the desert and the Dead Sea.

Masada (“fortress” in Hebrew) is a mountain complex in Israel in the Judean desert that overlooks the Dead Sea.
Masada, a fortress on the mountain in the Judean desert, is a UNESCO world heritage site that overlooks the Dead Sea. Photo was taken by Itamar Grinberg for the Israeli Ministry of Tourism.

Before moving to Israel in June 2018, Noa was a member of the StandWithUs’ campus team for three years as a mentor to college students in the Northwestern United States as an advocate for Israel and to combat Anti-Semitism. After making Aliyah, (immigrating to Israel by herself), she joined the StandWithUs Israel team as the Director of International Delegations and Birthright Israel Collaboration Enhancement Program (BICEP). She is the Producer of StandWithUs.TV, an educational platform that offers in-depth Israeli programming that viewers can access from the comfort of home or office.

The little things and moments matter so much. They take up more space than the big things. They create endless choices and possibilities.

Noa Raman
A girl enjoys the Dead Sea mud.
Spa and health treatments are available throughout the Dead Sea area. Photo taken by Itamar Grinberg for the Israeli Ministry of Tourism.

Are you looking for a Yoga event to enhance your current practice, look into Yoga ARAVA, an annual event held in the Arava BeershebaIsrael settlements. The event offers in-depth yoga workshops amidst a breathtaking desert landscape with an emphasis on quality meditation and yoga practice. This year’s festival is scheduled for Thurs., Nov. 4, 2021, to Sat., Nov. 6, 2021.

Learn more about Yoga Arava events at

Read a yoga companion story here on

Disclaimer: The Amazon link on this page is an affiliate link. I will make a small commission if you purchase an item using this link at NO ADDITIONAL COST TO YOU.

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Product & Movie Reviews

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Neil Patel – Travel Story

Neil Patel Travel Podcast Show Notes

Neil Patel Accolades

Chances are if you listen to marketing podcasts, “Marketing School” with Neil Patel and Eric Siu is at the top of your list. It’s my number one favorite show. Beyond his role as a podcasting icon, Neil is co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar, and KISSmetrics and he also helps companies like Amazon, NBC, GM, HP, and Viacom grow their business.

The Wall Street Journal refers to Neil as a top influencer on the web and Forbes says he’s one of the top 10 online marketers. The accolades don’t stop there. Entrepreneur Magazine says he created one of the 100 MOST BRILLIANT companies in the world.

Recognition and Awards

Neil was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama and one of the top 100 entrepreneurs under the age of 35 by the United Nations. He was also awarded Congressional Recognition from the United States House of Representatives.

And, yes, Neil Patel is a busy man with a family and full schedule that requires him to travel for business. I interviewed him bright and early one morning a few weeks ago via Zoom. He resides in California with his wife and daughter.

Welcome to Neil Patel, my first guest in the Everything, Everywhere, Travel Guest series.

The Perfect Getaway

As you know, our podcast is about travel. But first, how’s life in California today?

California is great. It’s sunny and it doesn’t get too hot or too cold. It’s a nice place to be.

Let’s talk about travel, Neil. In one of your marketing school episodes you and your co-host, Eric Siu, talked about your work schedules. I’m wondering if you allow time from your hectic schedule to get away and relax. Or is work always a part of your life?

Neil Patel: Work is always a part of my life and even when I’m relaxing, I still work because if I don’t work I’m not able to relax. I need to get a bare minimum of work done each day. I do set aside time to spend with my family and travel but not really much with vacations. A lot of times I’ll have to go to countries like Indonesia and random places like that or places in Europe like Germany, London, or Paris. A lot of times, depending on where I’m going, I’ll consider taking my family as well and we’ll try to do some family activities as well as doing my work-related stuff.

Your answer brings me to my next question. What is your idea of the perfect getaway or vacation?

Neil Patel: My idea of the perfect getaway is to stay at home, watch TV, and relax with the family. You’re probably wondering, WAIT! That’s not a getaway but I’ve been on the road so much, and I’ve been to so many different countries that sometimes being at home is really relaxing. There were times when I was on the road for literally 40-plus weeks out of the year.

I imagine you get tired of it (travel).

Neil Patel: Definitely, it’s exhausting. It takes a lot out of you. That’s why staying at home is quite nice.

I read you were born in London and your parents moved to Orange County, California when you were about two-years-old. Was traveling a part of your life as a child and young adult?

Neil Patel: When I was younger, we didn’t really travel much. My parents didn’t have a ton of money so travel really wasn’t a part of my life as a child or even when I was a teenager.

Overall, how would you say travel has affected your life?

Neil Patel: Travel has affected my life in a good way, which has opened me up to new cultures and experiences. I’ve learned a lot just from traveling about in the world and how different things work.

Where are some of your favorite places you’ve visited?

Neil Patel: I like New York City although that’s just in the United States. I like going back to India. I’m of Indian descent so that helps. I love going back to the U.K. France is amazing. If I had to pick one, I’d probably say Oslo or Italy. Those would be my top two choices.

This brings me to my main question. Is there a particular trip or adventure you’ve recently taken that has changed or altered your life?

recently but there was one in the past years going back four or five years ago.
I went to Brazil and it really opened my eyes. I really was in awe. There are
so many people all over the world and there’s so much opportunity. Going to
Brazil didn’t make me think I could only do this in Brazil but it opened up my
eyes to business. I don’t know why it was so much more on that trip. It could
be because there are different people from parts of the world but it made me
realize I need to start doing more overseas. I’ve been to all these countries,
so why not start working with a lot of the companies there. There are so many
talented people and so much to learn from being in different countries.

Was that trip for business or pleasure?

Neil Patel: It was business but I tried to make some fun out of it. Business and some sightseeing and some tours but it was literally almost all work.

What were some of the sites you visited while you were there and what would you say about that country overall?

Neil Patel: In Brazil, there are a few things I ended up seeing. First off, there’s this place called Ouro Preto. There’s also this city with a lot of artwork. It was an art scene but also a big farming town and they have a lot of museums. The farming town was pretty close to Belo. Those are the two main things I saw on my first trip.

Neil Patel family spending time together
Neil referred to his idea of the perfect getaway as spending time with his family. Photo courtesy of Neil Patel.

Outside of work, what are some of your other interests? Outside of digital marketing?

Neil Patel: Hanging out with friends and family. I love watching basketball games. I love walking and talking with my wife. Catching up with her…And going to the library quite often with my daughter. It’s fun as well for me.

Neil Patel and his daughter spend time together during the holidays
Spending time with his family is at the top of his to-do list. Photo courtesy of Neil Patel

Is there anything else you’d like to say about your Brazil trip or any other one you’ve taken that have affected your life.

Neil Patel: If you’re going to travel, I’d say be open-minded and try to experience the country as the locals would. I think a lot of people are very close-minded and they’re stuck in their ways when traveling. You can understand the culture and the community if you’re open-minded.

What is your favorite culture you’ve visited? You mentioned Italy.

Neil Patel: For Italy, the culture is amazing but my favorite part about it was walking around.

What is one travel tip or advice you give my readers?

Neil Patel: If you’re going to travel, experience things as a local. If you do, you’ll have a better understanding of the culture versus doing the touristy type of stuff.

End of Interview

Heartfelt thanks to Neil for his time and interest in the Everything, Everywhere, Travel Guest series. Excerpts from his podcast will be available next week.

Visit Neil’s website to learn more about the digital marketing services he offers.

Did you enjoy the interview? Leave a comment here.

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American Zoos Lifestyle Museums and Zoos Pennsylvania attractions Things to do in Pennsylvania Zookeepers

Reptiland: 7 Reasons To Visit Today

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  • September 12, 2019
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Reptiland Komodo Dragon

A Must-See Pennsylvania Zoo

Animals bring smiles, warm our hearts, and teach us why we need to learn as much as possible about their natural habitats. Reptiland offers interactive exhibits.


Reptiland: 7 Reasons to Visit introduces you to slithering snakes, alligators, two Komodo Dragons, frogs, giant tortoises, parakeets, and an emu. They’re the seven reasons you should plan to spend a morning or afternoon at the Reptiland.

Turtles, lizards, snakes, frogs, and crocodilians from around the world flourish in naturalistic habitats with an educational element that spans 6,500 square feet. Reptiland exhibits and gallery houses are open year-round.

Should you need more coaxing, Reptiland: 7 Reasons to Visit, is the best of both worlds: entertainment and education. Adults and children can count on learning a thing or two about each of the animals who call Reptiland home. Displays and exhibits offer visitors a chance to observe and learn.


Very often, we look to zoos for entertainment but, they can provide so much more and ignite curiosity and nurture a sense of respect and wonderment for children and adults of all ages.

Take a moment to browse the photo gallery and then scroll down and continue reading about Clyde Peeling, Reptiland founder and owner and the astonishing animals in his life. At the bottom of the page, click on the links to watch my candid video interviews with Peeling, an astute and captivating speaker with years of expertise.

Reptiland Photo Gallery

Celebrating Success: One Step at a Time

Peeling’s dream began as a roadside zoo and has evolved for more than 50 years as a result of his perseverance and genuine concern for the welfare of the animals. Opening a zoo was a lifelong goal and that dream came to fruition on July 11, 1964, when he opened the Reptiland doors to visitors. Creating “a zoo along the road,” rather a roadside zoo, according to Peeling, has been his focus since he bought the tract of land, formerly a vacant strip of Pennsylvania farmland in Allenwood, PA.


Reptiland wasn’t an instant success and the zoo has grown as a result of Peeling’s diligence, periodic expansions, and renovations, and most of all, his dedication to the animal preservation, responsible propagation of a variety of endangered species, and conservation. Peeling is recognized and respected for his efforts throughout the zoo community and it’s not a mystery why. Once you’ve been inside Reptiland you’ll understand.


Here’s your chance to watch my series of interviews with Clyde Peeling. You’ll learn more about his aspirations and current happenings at Reptiland.

My series of video interviews with Clyde Peeling reveal how the man behind Reptiland overcame obstacles along the way. In this interview, he explains how traveling exhibitions have become an important part of Reptiland’s business.


My sons and I spent a memorable afternoon at Reptiland. Teaching children to respect all creatures is as much a matter of providing mobile classrooms at zoos near you. .


Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube travel channel and share this article and videos with your friends and family.

Reptiland: 7 Reasons to Visit

Do you have comments or a photograph about Reptiland you’d like to share? Post them at Learn more about my travel and content writing services here.

Visit for visitor information, current show schedules, and other important details.


Many thanks to Clyde Peeling and his staff for the opportunity for my sons and me to visit Reptiland. I hope you’ve enjoyed Reptiland: 7 Reasons to Visit. My visit was comped but my opinions are my own and based on my experience.

Be sure to check out my related zoo coverage. As a newly married couple and for years while we raised our children, we made a point to regularly visit zoos as a reminder of how we, as humans, can peacefully and respectfully co-exist with the animal kingdom.

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