20 Aug 2014
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It's a Jungle Up There: Philadelphia Zoo Set to Open Big Cat Crossing

The governor and his family were on hand to see the new exhibit, which the zoo said is unlike anything else in the world. It opens to the public on Saturday.

It's a Jungle Up There: Philadelphia Zoo Set to Open Big Cat Crossing It's a Jungle Up There: Philadelphia Zoo Set to Open Big Cat Crossing

The Philadelphia Zoo will open the third installment of its Zoo360 program on Saturday.

This part is all about the cats. Big cats.

“More and more, as visitors move around the zoo, the zoo moves around them,” Philadelphia Zoo President and CEO Vikram H. Dewan said.  “Our new Zoo360 is pioneering an environment that is elevating visitors’ interactions with the animals to a new level. The ... opening of Big Cat Crossing marks another major milestone as we transform the zoo experience for young and lifelong learners alike.”

Big Cat Crossing is a 330-foot mesh passageway that allows animals to walk overhead. There's nothing else like it in the world, the zoo says.

“It’s exciting that the first zoo in the nation now houses a first-in-the world project,” said Gov. Tom Corbett, who toured the new exhibit with his family on Wednesday. “The Philadelphia Zoo remains part of a strong effort to preserve species that might otherwise never be seen by us, while respecting these animals as living creatures deserving of humane treatment and a chance to roam more freely.”

Lions, tigers, snow leopards, pumas and jaguars have access to the trail, which is about 4 feet tall and allows the cats significantly more room to move than does a typical enclosure.

The first phase of Zoo360, the Treetop Trail, opened in 2011. The Great Ape Trail opened in 2012.

“Pennsylvania’s tourism industry is critical to our economy,” said Susan Corbett, who toured the exhibit with her husband. “Those who come to the Philadelphia Zoo are visitors who not only appreciate the animals, but who also eat at local restaurants, visit other local attractions -- the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall -- and may even venture to other parts of the state. The governor and I invite all Pennsylvanians to come and visit attractions like the Philadelphia Zoo and marvel in all that our wonderful commonwealth has to offer.”

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