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Discover Philadelphia wheelchair accessible attractions, things to do, city guides, tours and activities for disabled travelers including the Philadelphia Zoo. Read our informative accessibility reviews and ratings of popular Philadelphia attractions and destinations to learn which attractions are wheelchair accessible and wheelchair friendly, as well as which locations Jim recommends should be avoided by travelers in wheelchairs.

The Philadelphia Zoo, located in the Centennial District of Philadelphia, on the west bank of the Schuylkill River, was the first true zoo in the United States. Chartered by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on March 21, 1859, its opening was delayed by the American Civil War until July 1, 1874. It opened with 1,000 animals and an admission price of 25 cents. For a brief time, the zoo also housed animals brought over from safari on behalf of the Smithsonian Institution, which had not yet built the National Zoo.

The Philadelphia Zoo is one of the premier zoos in the world for breeding animals that have been found difficult to breed in captivity. The zoo also works with many groups around the world to protect the natural habitats of the animals in their care.

The zoo is 42 acres and is home to more than 1,300 animals, many of which are rare and endangered. The zoo features a children’s zoo, a paddleboat lake, a rainforest themed carousel, and many interactive and educational exhibits.

Accessibility Information

Download Accessibility Map

  1. City Attraction Wheelchair Accessible:          Yes
  2. Fully Accessible Entry:                                       Yes
  3. Accessible Restrooms Onsite:                           Yes
  4. Restrictive Steps:                                                  Yes: To Small Mammal House

Jim’s Accessibility Comments:

First item is to download the zoo’s Accessibility Map. I’ve included a link above.

The entire zoo is very wheelchair accessible. There are concrete and blacktop walkways throughout the zoo. There are a few hills but none are too steep.

All indoor animal exhibits are wheelchair accessible except for the small mammal house where there are 10-12 steps.

There are several wheelchair accessible restrooms.

Wheelchairs and electric scooters are available to rent (while supplies are available) at the Zoo’s main entrance.

Disabled parking spaces and spaces for vans are available in Tiger Lot and the Parking Garage. There are no steps from the Tiger Lot to the main entrance.