It’s not a secret why the Philadelphia Zoo is a destination for most age groups in the city. It’s the oldest zoo in the country, houses nearly 1,300 rare and endangered animals, is home to the world’s first animal travel and exploration trail system Zoo360 and is globally known as one of the most renowned zoological societies—just to name a few reasons. But now, after a year of hardships in almost every sense of the word, the cultural institution has a reason for Philadelphians to let loose all throughout the summer season.
Friday Nights Dinos and Bites launches next Friday, May 28, with extended hours for the Zoo through 8 p.m. – for that date and every Friday through Labor Day. This event not only provides visitors with more time to peruse through the massive indoor-outdoor facility, it also will include life-size animatronic dinosaurs and new menus that complement the new exhibit, Big Time: Life in an Endangerous Zone experience.
Most of the flavors of this new experience can be found through the newly renamed Bedrock Brews beer garden and Dino Bites fooderie. For Friday Nights Dinos and Bites, Bedrock Brews and Dino Bites will spotlight one local craft brewer per week, plus offer up burger and beer pairing specials. Highlights include their T-Rexican paired with Troegs Dream Weaver, the Pterodactyl Turkey Burger paired with Victory Brother Love IPA, the BBQ Double Brontesaurus Burger paired with Troegs Haze Charmer and more.
“We are excited to extend our hours and kick-off Friday nights at the Zoo,” said Philadelphia Zoo Chief Marketing and Experience Officer Amy Shearer in a statement. “This dino-mite program offers the perfect occasion to enjoy an evening sip and stroll while you try our newly-themed food and craft beer and wine menus. Guests can unwind after a long work week and make memories with family and friends, or make it a date night to remember.”
According to the release, while sipping and strolling through the Zoo, guests can also check out the newly-enhanced food destinations, including Bedrock Brews, an open-air beer garden formerly called The Watering Hole, and choose from a selection of draft and canned beer, plus canned wine and other beverages. At the new Dino Bites fooderie, look for dino-buckets of fries and onions rings (in a keepsake souvenir cup), dino- nuggets, and a selection of new dino-themed burgers. From fun-themed treats to sweets to some serious eats, the Zoo’s offerings something for everyone.
On the educational side of it all, there is also one new exhibit that adds to the mix of the new weekend event. Big Time is a new immersive multi-sensory experience that features 24-animatronic prehistoric beasts, transporting guests back to when these giants roamed the earth. Big Time is described as highlighting the history of these impressive beasts, taking visitors through “evocative landscapes and providing ways to help enact change.” This dynamic experience stimulates the senses and enables guests to walk among dinosaurs like the larger than life T-rex, puts them face-to-face with an enormous Woolly Mammoth, and side-by-side with a life-sized polar bear, elephant and Sumatran rhino and more.
There is one special Friday night coming up at the Zoo as well that should be marked down on calendars. On June 18, there will be Pride Night at the Philadelphia Zoo to commemorate June as Philly Gay Pride Month. The event, which should have more details provided soon, invites Philadelphians to show off Pride during the hours of 5 to 8 p.m. as part of the Friday Nights Dinos and Bites programming.
General Zoo Admission is $24 for ages 12+ and $19 for ages 2-11, children under 2 are free, plus entrance for Big Time $6 (adults and children ages 2+). Members enjoy free admission to the Zoo with advance reservation and save on Big Time tickets. More information can be found and ticket reservations should be made online at PhiladelphiaZoo.org.