Philadelphia Zoo Launches New Ropes, Zipline Course


The Philadelphia Zoo unveiled its newest addition Tuesday, an aerial ropes and zipline course built for kids and adults to frolic like, well, monkeys in the jungle.

The WildWorks ropes course — one for adults and older children and one for children under 48 inches tall — allows visitors to balance on ropes, climb through obstacles and zipline to the bottom, all while hitched to a safety harness. The main course rises 34 feet into the air, offering views of both the zoo and the city.

The children’s course is close enough to the ground so parents can walk alongside their child as they swing and zipline around the Little Kids Ropes Course at WildWorks, Philadelphia Zooropes.

While zoo officials estimate it takes about 25 minutes to complete the course, climbers are free to move at their own pace and choose how challenging they want their route to be.

Zoo President/CEO Vikram Dewan describes the new attraction as “a perfect way to begin or end any zoo visit.”

There is separate admission to WildWorks, ranging from $6 to $10 depending on the day and course chosen. Since it’s located left of the main entrance, past the gift shop, visitors can pay admission to WildWorks and then head home if they like. But there are four other features the zoo has added in recent months that might make a longer visit worthwhile.

“It’s an awfully wonderful time to be at the zoo,” says Dewan, “And there’s literally something new around every corner.”

Ziplinging at Philadelphia Zoo's WildWorks ropes courseLast month, it debuted its new Creatures of Habitat exhibit, which takes visitors on a journey through 12 life-size vignettes made entirely of LEGO bricks that feature rare and endangered animal species, from the Humboldt Penguin to the Golden Lion Tamarin, and highlight the zoo’s efforts to save the creatures from extinction. Artist Sean Kenney has rendered each of the animals in exquisite detail.

Creatures of Habitat also incorporates a blast from the past: the famous Zoo Key. The plastic, animal-shaped keys activate interactive audiobooks, as they did for 50 years, before being discontinued in 2007. The audiobooks accept both new and old keys and are stationed at each of the LEGO sculptures and other areas around the park.

There is also a new place for guests to relax and get a bite to eat. The Urban Green is an open-air food market and “chill zone” that offers a variety of dishes made from fresh produce and features outdoor seating, eclectic artwork and a vertical farm. The open play areas give Urban Green a relaxed and airy feeling.

“It’s as if a neighborhood park with great food and a cool atmosphere just sprang up in the middle of the zoo,” says Groundswell Design’s CEO, Davis Fierabend, who worked on the project with the zoo.

Sawyer Thomson is an intern for MetroKids from Drexel University.


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