Happy 143rd birthday to America’s first zoo!
The Philadelphia Zoological Society was chartered by the PA Legislature in 1859, but the Civil War put zoo plans on hold. The actual zoo opened on July 1, 1874, at the same location it exists today (formerly the estate of William Penn’s grandson John). Admission cost 25 cents for adults and 10 cents for kids, and a lifetime membership went for $50. There were 1,000 animals on display, including some brought over for the Smithsonian, which didn’t yet exist.