Zoo Noel: The Full Experience

Hey folks I know it’s cold outside but that’s no excuse for staying in when you can join me and other teens at the Philadelphia Zoo. You can hang out with friends and learn something you didn’t know at the same time. The best part of all is it’s free with your STAMP Pass!

I sat down with Ms. Danielle Quagle to talk about some Zoo happenings in December. Ms. Quagle has been working at the Zoo since she was in high school because she loves animals (no surprise). Ms. Danielle was coordinating volunteers and staff at the Tree House while we talked. Kids and parents were lined up to meet and take pictures with Rainforest Santa during the Zoo Noel event, which just had its last day on Dec. 16th. The line was long so they were passing the time by sipping hot chocolate, eating pretzels or painting piñatas to be used for enrichment for the animals.

I learned that  Zoo Noel is an annual event at the Philadelphia Zoo. Each year the Zoo’s events council comes together to discuss what message they want Zoo visitors to take away with them.  Once they decide on a the theme for the year, they set to work building installations, deciding on messaging and organizing events for it. This year, they decided their theme would be “Saving Wildlife”.

What made this year’s event so special is that there were five Santas, and each habitat had its very own! The five Santas were: Safari Santa, Outback Santa, Farmer Santa, Rainforest Santa, and Frozen Tundra Santa.

Outback Santa promotes water conservation, a necessity for amphibians and reptiles. He represents swamp ponds and other small water areas around the world.

Farmer Santa is all about supporting local farmers and farmland animals.

Rainforest Santa educates visitors about the kind of animals who inhabit the rainforest. I learned quite a bit  about the rainforest, for example did you know that jaguars live in the rainforest?

Frozen Tundra Santa was pretty popular the day I went to visit. His natural habitat most resembles the North Pole. There were no reindeer but there were some polar bears. Frozen Tundra Santa has some things to worry about because global warming could really affect his home.

I thought the five Santas were a very clever way to draw our attention to the unique habitat needs of animals. If the climate changes drastically they will all be affected.

I hope that this holiday vacation instead of sitting home lots of Philadelphia teens use your Stamp Pass to visit the Zoo. I promise it will be lots of fun and you can take some great holiday pictures!

The Zoo Noel events have ended for the year but there’s still lots to see. If you happened to go to the Zoo recently on a Zoo Noel day, you should email us at stamp@philaculture.org or tweet @phillySTAMPpass to tell us which Santa was your favorite. Mine was Outback Santa because I am partial to reptiles and amphibians.


READY TO VISIT the Philadelphia Zoo? Check out the Zoo profile page for the hours you can use your STAMP pass!

This post was written by DuBois Stewart, a STAMP Teen Council member. DuBois attends Chestnut Hill Academy.