Exploring the Charming Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown

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My family and I love animals, so we are always on the lookout for Pennsylvania zoos to explore during our travels. One such spot that we were excited to check out was the Elmwood Park Zoo.

Elmwood Park Zoo is located in Norristown, a suburb of Philadelphia in Montgomery County, PA. It first opened with a collection of whitetail deer in 1924 and has grown in both size and scope over the years.

The entrance to the Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown, PA
The entrance to Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown.

Today, Elmwood Park Zoo is 16 acres in size and is home to more than 300 animals from 100 different species. Its small size and the great variety of species make this a really neat spot to visit, even if it’s only 20 miles from the much larger and quite popular Philadephia Zoo.

One thing I really liked a lot about Elmwood Park Zoo is that as soon as you walk through the gates, you are instantly next to animal enclosures. Unlike some zoos, there’s no walk to get to where the animals can be found.

Bald Eagle on a stump at the Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown PA
The zoo’s bald eagles sit right inside the entrance.

In the case of this zoo, it’s the large bald eagle enclosure that is front and center. And, unlike some other bald eagle exhibits I’ve seen, the one here is completely without netting, meaning that the eagles here were injured enough that they can no longer fly. While their condition is said, this does make it really easy to see these majestic birds.

To the left of the bald eagles, you’ll see one of the Elmwood Park Zoo’s most popular species, the giraffes.

The large enclosure here provides excellent views of these majestic animals, and it’s a lot of fun to watch them roam the space.

People feeding the giraffes at the Elmwood Park Zoo in Pennsylvania
There are several opportunities each day to feed the zoo’s giraffes for a small additional fee.

For those looking for an even closer experience, the zoo features several giraffe feedings every day where visitors can, for $4 per person, feed these animals from atop a platform.

If you are looking for a unique experience at the zoo, this is definitely a great option.

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Another interactive feature of the Elmwood Park Zoo is its petting barn.

Child petting at goat at the petting barn at the Elmwood Park Zoo in Montgomery County PA
The petting barn is a lot of fun for kids.

This spot is entered through a beautiful barn and offers the chance to see a variety of farm animals including goats, pigs, sheep, and more. There is even the chance to feed the animals while you are in the enclosure with them.

Walking through the rest of the Elmwood Park Zoo, I was impressed with not only the large enclosures for the animals but also with the beautiful wooded setting. This is definitely a pretty spot to walk around.

Kids looking at turtles at the Elmwood Park Zoo near Philly
There are plenty of fun animals to see in the zoo.

Scattered throughout the space, there is a nice mix of animal species including a red panda, bison, zebras, and several varieties of monkeys. There are also crowd favorites like river otters and prairie dogs. However, it’s worth noting that the zoo does not feature some other popular species, such as elephants, tigers, and lions.

That being said, the zoo does have a selection of large cats including cougars, jaguars, and ocelots, which are a lot of fun to see in the space.

Prairie dog at the Elwood Park Zoo in Norristown, Pennsylvania
A prairie dog at the zoo.

Throughout the zoo, you’ll also find great signage and, at various times of the day, caretakers are positioned outside of the enclosures to teach visitors about some of the different species in the zoo. That makes this both a fun and an educational spot to check out.

While the animals are the highlight of any zoo, the Elmwood Park Zoo also features several other fun activities for visitors including a large playground, a carousel (additional cost), a percussion playground, and a ropes course (additional cost). There are also several snack bars if you get hungry or thirsty during your visit.

Ropes course at the Elmwood Park Zoo in Montgomery County PA
The zoo features other fun activities, like a ropes course.

If you are looking for a unique way to experience the zoo, they also have an excellent light show during the holiday season known as Wild Lights. This light display is really festive and, even better, many of the animals are on display during the event.

Overall, I definitely recommend a visit to the Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown for anyone that loves animals. Not only do they feature some great animals in a beautiful setting, but the size of the zoo is large enough to have plenty of things to do while still being small enough to feel intimate.

This is a spot that animal lovers won’t want to miss when exploring the Philly suburbs.

Looking for more places to visit nearby? Check out LEGOLAND Discovery Center, Valley Forge National Historical Park, and the American Treasure Tour.


Elmwood Park Zoo

Hours: Daily: 10a-5p

Cost: $12.95

Website: ElmwoodParkZoo.org

Address: 1661 Harding Blvd
Norristown, PA 19401

 

See map below for other area attractions.


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