Pennsylvania’s Extraordinary Zoos: A Wonderland of Wildlife and Adventure

An Amur tiger walks across a passageway after a news conference at the Philadelphia Zoo, Wednesday, May 7, 2014, in Philadelphia. The see-through mesh pathway called Big Cat Crossing is part of a national trend called animal rotation that zoos use to enrich the experience of both creatures and guests. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

By Ashley Adams

July 18, 2023

The wonders of the animal kingdom await at the numerous zoos and wildlife parks scattered throughout Pennsylvania.

If you love animals then you’re in luck because Pennsylvania is home to numerous fantastic zoos that are worth checking out.

These animal havens are scattered throughout the state and offer the chance to see local wildlife, popular zoo animals, and rare species of all different kinds. So, no matter what type of animals you love, you are sure to find it at one of these great zoos in Pennsylvania.

Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium – Pittsburgh

The largest aquarium and the largest zoo in the commonwealth, the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium is home to more than 8,000 animals representing over 600 species. The Kid’s Kingdom contains interactive exhibits, while the Asian Forest contains species from Eastern and Southeast Asia. The Aquarium is a two-floor, 45,000-square-foot tank, and the Tropical Forest is an indoor rainforest mostly hosting primates. 

The zoo’s hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. Admission is $22 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $19 for kids age 2 to 13.

Philadelphia Zoo – Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Zoo is America’s first zoo. It opened its gates in 1874 with 813 animals. Today, the zoo has more than twice as many animals as it did the day it opened and thousands of visitors walk through its gates every year. The zoo is consistently ranked as one of the best in the country, so you are sure to have a great time here.

The zoo is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $25 for adults and $20 for kids ages 2 to 11.

A group of visitors watches one of the new 20-year-old Galápagos tortoises wander through its new home at The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium on Thursday, May 22, 2014, in Pittsburgh. The zoo invited media inside the habitat to photograph the new additions to their exhibits. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Elmwood Park Zoo – Norristown

Located in the Philly suburbs, the Elmwood Park Zoo is home to around 300 animals in a pleasant wooded setting. You can enjoy a daily giraffe feeding, a goat-centered petting zoo, and other exhibits featuring bald eagles, an ocelot, and more.

The zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $22.95 for adults, and $19.95 for students, $17.95 for kids ages 3 to 12 and senior citizens.

ZooAmerica – Hershey

ZooAmerica in Hershey features animals that can be found throughout the US. So, while you won’t find animals like tigers, elephants, and monkeys, you will still spot a large variety of wildlife, including some animals that are rare and endangered.

The zoo is open for the season until Dec. 31, check website for fall and winter hours. Admission is $15 for adults, and $13 for kids ages 3 to 8 and senior citizens.

Lehigh Valley Zoo – Schnecksville

The Lehigh Valley Zoo is located in the heart of the Trexler Nature Preserve, and is home to more than 325 animals representing over 125 species. The zoo hosts year-round family-friendly events and activities, educational programs, and camps.

The zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Halloween, and 10:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Nov. 1 thru April 1. Admission is $16 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $14 for kids ages 2 to 11.

Erie Zoo – Erie

The Erie Zoo features extensive animal and plant collections from the far corners of the globe. Walk through the historic Main Zoo Building and see western lowland gorillas, black and white ruffed lemurs from Madagascar, and African waterbirds, or take a stroll through the botanical gardens and greenhouse which features over 600 species of plants.

The zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $8 for kids ages 2 to 12.

Lake Tobias Wildlife Park – Halifax

Lake Tobias Wildlife Park in Halifax may not be among the largest zoos in the state but it does have a unique safari ride over 150-acres of terrain where you’ll see animals grazing  who may even come up and eat directly from your hands.  

The wildlife park is currently open only on weekends through Nov. 19, check website as hours vary. Admission is $17 per person for both the safari and the wildlife park, $9 per person for just the park, and $8 per person for just the safari.

Two juvenile African Penguins splash and swim in the penguin habitat at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, Thursday, April 12, 2018. The birds that hatched at the aviary in December of 2017, were just introduced to the water and exhibit under observation to assure they acclimate well to the surroundings. African Penguins are an endangered species, with less than 25,000 pairs remaining the wild. The National Aviary’s penguins are part of a breeding program to ensure the population of African Penguins. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Claws ‘N Paws Wild Animal Park – Lake Ariel

Claws ‘N Paws Wild Animal Park in Lake Ariel features a petting zoo with deer and lamb, animal shows, giraffe feedings, and a turtle zone.

The park is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m thnrough mid-October. Admission is $23.50 for adults, $22.50 for seniors, and $18.50 for kids ages 2 to 11.

Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland – Allenwood

Located in Allenwood, Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland is home to more than 2,000 animals from over 75 different species. You can see mambas, cobras, vipers, pythons, and other snakes as well as alligators, tortoises, lizards, and frogs.

Reptiland is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $20 for adults and $16 for kids ages 3 to 11.

National Aviary – Pittsburgh

The National Aviary in Pittsburgh is home to nearly 200 different species of birds ranging from rare species from across the world to American icons like the bald eagle. There also are several sloths, which are always fun to see.

The aviary is open daily except Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $17.95 for adults, $16.95 for seniors, and $14.95 for kids ages 2 to 12.


  • Ashley Adams

    In her 16 years in the communications industry, Ashley Adams has worn many hats, including news reporter, public relations writer, marketing specialist, copy editor and technical writer. Ashley grew up in Berks County and has since returned to her roots to raise her three children.

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