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America's oldest zoo American Zoo Exhibits American Zoos Animals at the Philadelphia Zoo Art Exhibits Art in America Arts and Entertainment Exhibits The Philadelphia Zoo Visit the Philadelphia Zoo What's happening at the Philadelphia Zoo? Zoo Exhibits

America’s Oldest Zoo Up Close

  • By
  • July 8, 2018
Philadelphia Zoo exhibits

An Afternoon at The Philadelphia 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, from birth to pre-school, 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.  If you don’t so you can watch the animals feed but if the kids have the zoo at the top of their priority list, you’re guaranteed a top-notch learning environment throughout most 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.

FEED WHEN THE ANIMALS FEED

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,” encompasses 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, you can 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 in place that offers many of our world’s most endangered species a program that allows them to thrive, procreate, and also educate visitors. You can learn more about conservation and protection plans in place at  https://www.philadelphiazoo.org/Animals/Most-Endangered-Animals.htm or visit the “Rare Animal Conservation Center.” 

Not surprisingly, my sons who are now teenagers, enjoy a trip to the zoo and partly because we made a zoo visit part of many family vacations we’ve taken since they were infants. My oldest son accompanied me to The Philadelphia Zoo during my a recent assignment. I hope you’ll plant a seed of love and respect for animals and all mankind.

Disclosure:

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

 

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Arts and Entertainment Lifestyle

San Diego Yoga Festival: March 9-12

  • By
  • February 28, 2018
San Diego Yoga Festival
San Diego Yoga Festival
Images and information courtesy of The San Diego Yoga Festival

The San Diego Yoga Festival

 

Join Thousands of People on the Imperial Beach by the USA-Mexico Border for a four-day yoga festival.

Dates: March 9-12, 2018

*Special Offer*

 

Instead of paying the full $188, the San Diego Yoga Festival and joanmatsuitravelwriter.com have teamed up and are giving you a gift: A donation-based-pay-what-you-want-ticket for 2-days: March 10 and 11th, getting you into all the classes.

The ticket is valued at $188. Simply give a donation using the promo code below, give any dollar donation (no strings attached) and get access to all of the classes on Saturday and Sunday, March 10 and 11. Beach camping sold separately. This gift is open to the first 50 who claim it so please register online. 

Claim your 2-day ticket here.

Use promo code: GIVEHEALTH

For more information about how to use a promo code, visit www.SanDiegoYogaFestival.com/promocode.

Read all about this fun event and see the full schedule here. Scroll down to learn more about the Yoga festival.

Yoga health well-being San Diego Yoga Festival
The sites and sounds on Imperial Beach are the perfect backdrops for the San Diego Yoga Festival and the huge meditation circle planned for this event.

Dozens of Life-Changing Classes

There’s something for everyone at The San Diego Yoga Festival. Organizers aim to bring health, peace, and wellness to its attendees and supporting community. The festival will be held in the most southwesterly part of the USA right next to the USA-Mexico Border.

The festival will open with a pre-conference on Friday and culminate with a post-conference on Monday. “Yoga for Kids” to “Yoga for First Responders,” “Yoga for Cancer,” healing, meditation, essential oils, face yoga, “Reiki for Animals,” live music, conscious vendors, a healing center and a HUGE meditation circle by the USA-Mexico border are among the classes and events on the schedule.

“This festival features non-stop yoga and holistic healing classes held right on the beach until sunset for four days straight. Festivalgoers can look forward to unforgettable classes and healing experiences led by the top healers and teachers in Southern California!” 

SHAWNA SCHENK

FOUNDER, SAN DIEGO YOGA FESTIVAL

Non-stop yoga and holistic healing classes are held right on the beach until sunset for four days straight as festivalgoers experience unforgettable classes and healing experiences led by the top healers and teachers in Southern California and throughout the world. Among them will be one of the world’s oldest yoga teachers at 93-years-old. You won’t be at a loss for a style of yoga you yearn to try. Schenk says you’ll find virtually every style of yoga known to modern yogis for all levels from beginner to instructor.

Schenk noted she decided to put this festival on as a fight against pain, fear, anxiety, depression, addiction, cancer, and disease. How is the location significant? According to Schenk, staging her event in the last town before the Mexican border is an act to celebrate unity.

“Yoga and health know no borders. Stress and cancer know no borders. When it comes down to it, we all feel, we all get sick, we all hurt at some point in our lives,” she explained via email.

San Diego Yoga Festival

Activities Planned

 

  • Calming and relaxing yoga and meditation classes
  • Fun and energetic yoga classes with live DJs or live music
  • Beginner-friendly and advanced yoga classes in many different styles of yoga including Hatha, Vinyasa, Kundalini, Bowspring, Shakti Naam, Acro-Yoga, Yoga Nidra and Partner Yoga
  • Workshops on various holistic topics including plant medicine and fermentation/gut health
  • Surf lessons
  • Meditation beach walks to the USA-Mexico border
  • A Spanish-English yoga class
  • Yoga for cancer survivors and fighters
  • Yoga on skateboards
  • Reiki clinic and chakra balancing
  • Yoga for the military and first responders
  • Yoga for recovery and addictions
  • An interactive vending center with live music and epic products from local vendors
  • Yoga with the mayor
  • Yummy, healthy food vendors
  • Yoga-inspired sandcastles
  • A yoga class on balance for those 50 and older
  • A kid and family yoga center
  • Vinyasa en Espanol
  • The festival even welcomes pets! There will be a yoga class and Reiki healing sessions for your dogs and cats!

 

Find your way to health and peace at the San Diego Yoga Festival.

Schenk explained, “What is more beautiful than people coming together, working on themselves, finding peace and doing something healthy, in an area of the USA that is often talked about in a stressful way or with the focus of segregating people even more? When we segregate ourselves, stress and pain happen.”

 

 

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