text: seven walking tours through historic Philadelphia


Philadelphia Zoo Baloon
Photo by Ryan Keene

Originally chartered in 1859, Philadelphia's zoo is the oldest in America. The entrance pavilions, the work of noted architects Frank Furness and George W. Hewitt were erected between 1873 and 1875 and form a Victorian entrance to a modern zoo. The Philadelphia Zoological Garden covers 42 acres and now houses more than 1,600 kinds of mammals, birds and reptiles. There is a special hummingbird house where the birds live in a lush tropical setting, a children's zoo and a monorail for aerial tours.

The Solitude
Photo by Axel.Foley

Situated in the Zoo grounds is The Solitude, home of John Penn (1760-1834), grandson of William Penn. Called "the poet," Penn left America in 1788, and after his death his brother Granville and nephew, who were the owners until Fairmount Park acquired it in 1867. It was the last holding in this country of the family that once "owned" the state, and even parts of Delaware. It is now used as offices for the Zoo.

To get to the the next stop on the tour, Sweetbriar, take Landsdowne Avenue north from the bridge. It will turn west. Take the first right, and then another immediate right onto Sweetbriar Ln. Use the Google Map above for additional guidance.

Philadelphia Zoo Official Website

Fairmount Park