Where in Erie can you find African warthogs, lemurs from Madagascar and an Asian Orangutan? The answer would be the Erie Zoological Park and Botanical Garden of Northwestern Pennsylvania, or Erie Zoo.
Located only about a mile away from Mercyhurst College’s main campus, between Cherry Street and Glenwood Park Avenue, is the beautiful Erie Zoo.
It offers a day of fun outside the gates of the school and is easily accessible to Mercyhurst students who can get there by riding the free EMTA weekend shuttle.
Upon entering the zoo and after paying the $7 adult fee, visitors get a free map to make their trip easier and make sure all animals have been visited.
There are various themed buildings that are also helpful in guiding visitors, giving them an idea of what types of animals are expected to be found in each area.
A stroll through the zoo might go like this:
Entering the main building, you will find animals including gorillas, lemurs and water birds, as well as some reptiles and fish.
Then visitors usually walk towards the Kiboka Outpost, another location at the zoo. Themed as an African safari, here visitors can find rhinoceri, cheetahs, several monkey species, zebras and giraffes. The Kiboka Outpost has other native African animals as well as a research center that serves as a consultation spot for intrigued visitors.
After Africa, the theme shifts to a Wild Asian temple. The red panda, one of the main attractions, is located here, as well as a green tree python, an orangutan and its baby and others.
A final location holds more domesticated animals such as sheep that can be fed and brushed, donkeys and llamas that can be petted.
Visitors who grow thirsty or hungry can take a rest at the outdoor snack shop where they sell hot dogs, pop corn, soft drinks, and other snacks.
The zoo operates from March to November and is open from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Sundays. Free admission is offered from 4 – 6 p.m. every Sunday. It is worth a visit.
The zoo is a great alternative for a date or a day out with friends. So next time you feel like going wild you know just the place to go.
Javi Cubillos photo: Norton the polar bear was brought to the Erie Zoo from the Detroit Zoo in 2008. He is one of the main attractions.
Javi Cubillos photo: Giraffes are located at the center of the zoo, making them easy to spot.