The nation's first zoo
, which opened in 1874, is also the first to introduce Zoo360 animal exploration trails, which allow animals to roam around the zoo and enjoy more variety and choices. The Treetop Trail, which first debuted in 2011, is made of high steel mesh pathways and serves as a lookout for lemurs and monkeys. The Great Ape Trail, where orangutans can roam treetops, came next in 2012. More than 100 bird species fly over four distinct open-air habitats in the McNeil Avian Center, and include rare breeds, such as large blue Victoria crowned pigeons, pure white Bali mynahs and rainbow-colored Violaceous Turacos.
Philly's children's zoo and family education center, KidZooU, teaches conservation and allows kids to meet, feed and groom sheep, goats, ducks, butterflies and a baby miniature horse, while learning what it means to be eco-friendly. Saving water helps protect migrating animals, saving energy helps fish, and recycling helps budgies. Its very design is a lesson in conservation; it is LEED-certified with a "green" roof and geothermal heating and cooling. Kids can groom and feed rare sheep, goats and a miniature horse, and coo at animal babies in the nursery. KidZooU's summer camp's week-long programs have different spy-like "missions," where kids gather information, conduct science experiments, and meet challenges to reach eco-friendly goals.
The Treehouse, located in a whimsically designed indoor space, beckons children to climb through it, as does a giant honeycomb.
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