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The Fairy Trail

Find hidden Fairy doors around the Zoo!

Another secretive population has put down roots at Philadelphia Zoo—Fairies! There are as many different Fairies as there are species here at the Zoo, and just like the animals we care for every day, each of them has their own unique needs. Each of these Fairies was attracted to our peaceful Zoological garden, filled with amazing wildlife and happy humans. We’re proud that we’ve created a space that many creatures can call home!

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Want to find them all?

We welcome you to search for doors to the Fairies’ abodes, as you enjoy time outdoors! We have found 12 different doors throughout the Zoo—so far! Some are hidden low to the ground, some are higher among tall plants, others are near water or attached to buildings. Click below for a map with all of the Fairy door locations!

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Find each of our Fairy doors!

Door #1 Clue: North Gate

Our Zoo’s mission is to connect people with animals, create joyful discovery, and inspire action for wildlife and habitats. Our first Fairy visitor was inspired by our deep love for wildlife and thought this would be the perfect place to create their own unique habitat.

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Door #2 Clue: My Wild Backyard

The birds that we see here in the spring and summer spend their fall and winter in warmer climates in Central and South America. The Fairy who chose this location has seen many of our local birds during their winter migration and was inspired to come visit them in their summer homes.

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Door #3 Clue: Reptiles & Amphibians House

Frogs and other amphibians are a crucial part of aquatic ecosystems. When the water is unhealthy, amphibians will get sick or leave, which lets other animals know that the water may be unsafe. This Fairy chose to live with the frogs and monitor the water so they could warn others if there is a problem.

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Door #4 Clue: KidZooU

We humans can form amazing bonds with animals. Some animals live with us as pets or companions, or work with us to provide things we need, like food or wool. This Fairy chose to live in KidZooU to observe our different relationships with animals and learn about what animals make good companions for different people.

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Door #5 Clue: Big Cat Fall

Large carnivores and apex predators, like big cats, are an important part of their ecosystem because they help balance the relationships among all the members of their food webs. This Fairy lives amongst the carnivorous plants found in the Pine Barrens and wanted to learn more about some of the largest predators on earth.

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Door #6 Clue: PECO Primate Reserve

Deforestation is one of the biggest threats faced by wildlife around the world, especially animals who live in rainforests. The forests of Sumatra and Borneo, where orangutans live, have been heavily deforested, and orangutans are now critically endangered. This Fairy wants to learn how to protect forests for everyone–including orangutans.

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Door #7 Clue: Bird Lake

Water comes in different forms around the planet, but it’s all connected—and it’s essential to nearly all life on Earth. This Fairy needs water, just like us and the animals that we care for. They came here to see how water impacts our lives and how we can keep it clean and healthy.

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Door #8 Clue: The Urban Green

Like many people here in Philadelphia and around the world, some Fairies live close together with others and build strong communities. They understand the importance of being a good neighbor and believe that we can do bigger and better things when we work together.

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Door #9 Clue: Turkey Vultures

Vultures are detritivores—animals that eat dead and decaying plants or animals. They keep our planet clean and safe from harmful bacteria and bring nutrients back into the ecosystem after an animal dies. This Fairy, who relies on dead leaves to survive the winter, wants to learn more about how vultures preserve the circle of life.

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Door #10 Clue: Bald Eagles

Our eagles sustained injuries that left them unable to fly or hunt. That’s why they live here! This Fairy was born without wings, but the Fairy world is built for all Fairies – not just those who can fly. They came here to see how we care for animals who have different abilities.

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Door #11 Clue: Vampire Bats

Vampire bats are nocturnal and really do drink blood—that much is true. But the animals they drink from don’t get sick or die, they almost never bite humans, and they definitely don’t turn other animals into vampires. This Fairy is one of their biggest fans and wants everyone to understand them better.

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Door #12 Clue: Spiders Alive

Some people have trouble understanding and respecting insects and arachnids. They are very small, and very different from us humans, and some of them have bad reputations. This (relatively) huge Fairy thinks they are fascinating and wanted to learn more about these tiny creatures so they can advocate for them.

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Artist photo cropped

About the Artist

Frank Chappell III is a Philadelphia-born artist and maker. Using a lighthearted and playful approach in painting local and endangered wildlife, he hopes to inspire all to not only be aware but also take care of the complex ecosystems that we coexist with in our day to day lives.

For this project, Frank used only found and reclaimed objects and materials, including wood from 120-year-old doors that were recently replaced on the Independence School House at the Zoo.

To see more of Frank's work, follow him on Instagram @trash_panda215.