Yes - This Is A Trip Report About The Philadelphia Zoo - An "Ancient" Ride That Beckons To Be Copied and The Most Amazing Thing I Ever Saw At A Public Bathroom

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Ok, I went away with the entire family to celebrate the wife's retirement and our anniversary.

Friday - Late Afternoon

We went from Long Island at 3 PM to face the battering of Staten Island and Jersey Shore traffic to see Jerry Seinfeld at the Bogota Hotel in Atlantic City. The trip took longer than expected and we needed to eat and bathroom break on the Garden State Parkway and needless to say dinner in the car was not so good. We got to the Borgota 45 minutes earlier than expected.

I had forgotten that cigarette smoking is allowed in casinos and boy did it hit us as non-smokers on the way in from the parking garage to the venue. Lots of bars along the way too. Casinos are not really family friendly - nor should they be. By the way, the bathrooms were sparking clean. Our seats were pretty far away, but the video screens helped. The guy who opened for Jerry was ok...but he eluded to Atlantic City as being for "people who want to gamble, people who want to drink and people who want to see a good show. We don't have water slides here." We all thought that Jerry was very funny...some parts of his 90 minute repertoire were better than others, but we all enjoyed him a lot. (Two drunk people near us were laughing in an obnoxious way) but I guess that can be expected. The parking was five bucks on the way out.

We didn't want to pay $400 + dollars for a room at the Borgota (They have an age limit for using the pool) so we had reservations about 15 minutes away at the HomeWood Suites in Egg Harbor for about 200 dollars less. The room was very large - two bedrooms, a full kitchen, pretty clean and quiet. (There were some spots on the couch, two ants, and proof that the camber-ladies can't reach all the way under the beds with their vacuums), but other than that and that the indoor pool was very cold) it was a very good choice.

We missed breakfast because they close it down by 10 AM on the weekends,,,darn because the waffles that they serve in the Hillton chain are fantastic. We ate at the Shore Diner - three miles away and we all liked what we had and the service was very good. (Mom didn't like the coffee).

The Plan for Saturday...

We opted to drive to Philadelphia to the Zoo. We got there near two and knew it would close at 5 we would see what we can at pace that they wanted to go and then we would see what we could see. A posted sign said that the lot was full, but the garage was open. There was definitely confusion in the garage as cars were trying to get up (more spots) cars were trying to get out (exit) and cars in the middle (namely us) were caught in the crossfire.

I waited on line and saw that this zoo, was pricier than expected. Admission for the 3 of us and parking would be $76.00. I thought that was a lot of money on the way in - but as the afternoon unfolded I realized that it was fair.

Overall, The exhibits are very well kept, with air-conditioned interiors and a nice variety of healthy animals. There were staff everywhere to point out directions and to talk about conservation and choices we can make. The attractions that were getting hyped was that several exhibits offered animals the opportunity to walk around "tube cages" that were raised over the exhibits for their play, stimulation and exercise. Watching a couple of monkees in there was cool, but seeing gorillas and tigers in their separate bridge areas was very impressive.

While the Philadelphia Zoo is not as large as the Bronx Zoo, or the San Diego Zoo, it is very impressive and we only got to see about half of it. The apes, tigers and naked mole rats were particularly interesting.

Near the gate is an up-charge "ride" that begs to be copied. As you approach the zoo area, you can't help but notice a giant balloon that lifts riders about 400 feet into the air. The balloon is tethered to the ground, but the sinage on the balloon can be seen from interstate 76 and it is a gentle ascent. Sadly, we didn't get on this thing - but I begged the head op to sell me a ticket and he couldn't as it was after five and he had already told a lot of people that they were too late and that the park was closing. The cost for this was 12 per adult. I can easily see them stopping this in high winds or storms, but the chance to ride in a hot-air-balloon-like apparatus can and should easily be duplicated at other parks.

As we were leaving, we were ushered back into one of the exhibits to exit because they were setting up for a private event. It turns out it had something to do with the Philadelphia Eagles and an Leukemia organization. A few cheerleaders were setting up at a sign-in table and while I am not a die-hard football fan - I love when organizations show their support to worthy charities. So this year...Go Eagles!

By the way...I the bathrooms were relatively clean, but on the way out I saw something by the sink that caught my eye. It was a business card from a couple looking to adopt a baby. Thinking how many families would be there, my thoughts were like 'What if..." I should also note that I was adopted as a very young child, so this really hit home. I wish the couple the best of luck. Ironically, my wife overheard a mother in another bathroom berating her child earlier in the day "Shut Up...Shut Up...You don't know what you are talking about."

Overall, we had a nice day at the Philadelphia Zoo and if you are in the area with your family it is a must - do as is the Franklin Institute.

Thank you for reading this.

Here's To Shorter Lines & Longer Trip Reports!

Raven-Phile's avatar

That ride doesn't need to beg to be copied. It is a copy.

Looks like there are a lot more of these around than I thought, too. Not sure how I feel about them. I'd have to see it in action to form an opinion.

Age limit at the pool? I assume no kids allowed? I don't go to AC anymore, but I've read that the pools have essentially become nightclubs.

The amusement park rises bold and are huddled on the beach in a mist

Borgata at one point was probably the strictest casino with anyone under 18 not being allowed to even enter the building (not even to go to a restaurant) unless they were a hotel guest. Taj Mahal had the same policy when I was there around 10 years ago. It used to be a lot more family friendly when Tropicana had Tivoli Pier, a small indoor amusement park, Showboat had a bowling alley and almost all casinos had arcades (late 80's to mid 90's). Now it's starting to go back to more family friendly activities with Atlantic Club and possibly Revel becoming waterparks and Harrah's adding mini golf.

Nice report, I haven't been to the Philadelphia Zoo in a while and even with an annual membership, it took a few visits to see all the exhibits.

Last edited by YoshiFan,

Raven-Phile - - - > A clone is a clone. I had no idea. Who Knew? The structure of the two attractions is almost identical.

Mike Gallagher - - -> I guess I can see where the hotels are coming from. If you are spending over 400 bucks per night to stay at a resort, you do not really want to get hit by a beachball when you are at the pool. I am not a gambler at all, yet I find the concept fascinating. I also know that all of the attractions at a casino/resort are there to lure you to spend more money in the casino. It's just not for me.

YoshiFan- - -> I am more in the know about what parks have and are getting which rides...not which casino has this or that. That being said, I'm sure there are sites that compare and contrast the cosino offerings both in New Jersey and the rest of the US and around the world. I know some venues give deals from time to time, but I guess these places can't cater to everyone at the same time. I am glad that you liked the zoo too.

Here's To Shorter Lines & Longer Trip Reports!

The current Zooballoon at the Philadelphia Zoo is the third one to operate at the Zoo. It appears to be a non standard installation as its manufacturer (Lindstrand Balloons USA) tend to make standard hot air ballooons instead of the tethered variant.

WDW Characters in Flight is from Aerophile, a french company that specialise in the tethered balloon attractions. WDW themselves took the inspiration from Disneyland Paris, who have operated one for years now as Panoramagique. Those are not a Disney specific attraction since Aerophile has installed those balloons everywhere, from Angkor Vat in Cambogia to temporary installations in festivals.

Futuroscope in France was the first one to install their lifting "Aerobar".

Last edited by Absimilliard,

Raven-Phile's avatar

Richie Reflux said:

Raven-Phile - - - > A clone is a clone. I had no idea. Who Knew? The structure of the two attractions is almost identical.

I had no idea, either. I honestly thought the one at Downtown Disney was one of a kind.

rollergator's avatar

As it is with Six Flags...locals typically think of theirs as the only one...*wink*.

Visit your local place to go if you can't visit Sea World... (thread-tying attempt).

Last edited by rollergator,

You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

Back in the 70's the old Golden Nugget had a huge video arcade, my Father and Grandfather would give me a roll of quarters while they gambled and I would be set for hours LOL.

Public school kids here have been to the zoo so many times, it loses it's luster LOL. Glad you enjoyed it.

There's actually a pretty nice zoo in Cape May court house, near Wildwood area, if you like that sort of thing. No admission, just throw a donation in the basket

Last edited by billb7581,

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