Winter at the Philadelphia Zoo

Want to experience the joy of a snowball fight without having to claim the parking spot you just spent two hours shoveling with a folding chair? The Philadelphia Zoo is exhibiting 100 tons of snow in addition to its regular roster of animal friends this summer.

A snow machine will be making real snow (no chemicals involved, just frozen water) throughout the season, and visitors will be able to build igloos, ride the slopes in a tube, and throw a snowball or two.

The goal of the exhibit is also to explain the differences between how animals and humans adapt to cold. An “adaptation wall” explains how polar bears, penguins, and snow leopards thrive in colder climates.

The zoo is home to Coldilocks, a 36 year-old female polar bear. Director of Education and Training Laura Houston explains that Coldilocks is able to adapt to Philadelphia’s temperate climate because she was born here, and has not developed the five layers of fat most wild polar bears develop.

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When it gets warm, she has a pool, shade and even fish-sicle treats. This year zookeepers used the snow machine to create a bed for Coldilocks to roll around on. Other snow-loving animals to check out in the zoo are the snow leopards and the Siberian tiger.

Winter runs through August 20th.

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