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Airports & Armadillos: Philly Zoo Teams Up with PHL International to Bring Wildlife to the Airport

Have you ever seen an armadillo at the airport? You might the next time you fly through Philadelphia International!

Philadelphia Zoo’s education team and animal ambassadors are connecting travelers to species from around the globe. The partnership, which started in 2019 and then was paused by the COVID-19 pandemic, is now back on a regular schedule to delight travelers and create joyful discovery of animals and habitats.

Each month, our team will bring in ambassador animals to teach (and surprise!) travelers as they wait for their flight, grab something to eat, or simply travel from security to their gate.

Guests might get to meet a nine-banded armadillo who loves to eat mealworms; a rainbow boa whose skin refracts light and creates a rainbow-colored effect; blue and gold macaws who love to snack on sunflower seeds; and red-footed tortoises whose conservation status is vulnerable due to overhunting.

“The biggest takeaway from this experience is that animals are a universal good,” says Dani Hogan, Director of Mission Integration. “It doesn’t matter where you’re from or what you do–seeing a live animal just enjoying themselves in a surprising way is such a genuinely good thing for people to experience.”

The education team says they’ve had dozens of amazing encounters with travelers who thank them for being there, like a family traveling from the United Kingdom who says learning about the animals made their long layover worth it, to Philly natives who say they haven’t been to the Zoo in years and feel it is time for them to go back.

Keep your eyes peeled for our team when you take your next flight! Philadelphia Zoo appearances take place on the stage across from the food court between terminals B and C. You can also check out the Zoo’s (@philadelphiazoo) and PHL’s (@phl_airport) Instagram pages to check out their visits!

Here’s the upcoming schedule:

Thursday, 12/22 @ 1-3 p.m.
Thursday, 1/19 @1-3 p.m.
Thursday, 2/16 @1-3 p.m.
Thursday, 3/16 @1-3 p.m.
Thursday, 4/6 @1-3 p.m.
Thursday, 5/11 @1-3 p.m.


Support Our Conservation Efforts

Your gift to Philadelphia Zoo makes a difference for animals here and around the world and supports programming like our partnership with PHL International.