The Elmwood Park Zoo
A community zoo dedicated to habitat conservation
A surprisingly bucolic place in the hubbub of urban Norristown, the zoo sits on 16 park-like acres about 20 miles northwest of Philadelphia. Some 200 wild animals of North America, representing more than 80 species, are seemingly at home in natural settings ranging from bayou to grassland to hillside. At close range, visitors can observe wild cats and dogs (jaguars and timber wolves), coatimundis and owls, bison and a bald eagle.
A walk-through wetlands aviary exhibit has a river otter, beavers and waterfowl; in the indoor bayou, there are American alligators, snakes and snapping turtles. The zoo’s small mammals, birds, and reptiles star in twice daily live animal shows. Special events throughout the year, from Halloween spooky nights to Earth Day commemorations, enliven Elmwood’s homey feel.
The zoo started as a municipal operation in 1924, but in 1985, Norristown turned over the management of what was then an eight-acre park to the Norristown Zoological Society. It has since doubled in size, adding an aviary in 1995, an indoor reptile house in 1996 and a grasslands exhibit in two phases in 1997 and 2002.
Open daily, closed major holidays and Severe Winter Weather Days.
The Tom Kimmel Conservation Kingdom playground is a place where kids can learn about conservation while having fun.
The littlest kids will love the barn exhibit, with domesticated burros, goats and sheep. In the summer, a “Wild West” pony ride is added.