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Governor Corbett, First Lady Susan Corbett Visit Philadelphia Zoo to Open First-in-the–World Animal Travel and Exploration Path

News for Immediate Release

May 7, 2014

Governor Corbett, First Lady Susan Corbett Visit Philadelphia Zoo to Open First-in-the–World Animal Travel and Exploration Path

Harrisburg – Governor Tom Corbett and First Lady Susan Corbett today joined Philadelphia Zoo officials to officially open Big Cat Crossing, the newest extension of Zoo360.  Zoo360 is a first-in-the-world travel and exploration system that gives animals the ability to move throughout the entire zoo in ways that more closely resembles their behavior in the wild.

“It’s exciting that the first zoo in the nation now houses a first-in-the world project,” said Gov. Corbett. “The Philadelphia Zoo remains part of a strong effort to preserve species that might otherwise never be seen by us, while respecting these animals as living creatures deserving of humane treatment and a chance to roam more freely. That’s what the Big Cat Crossing does and it’s why my administration supported this project.”

“Visiting the zoo is a wonderful opportunity for families to spend time together,” First Lady Corbett said. “It also is a chance to introduce children to nature and to the importance of being good stewards of the world around them.  And who knows, a fun outing at the zoo may be the spark that inspires a child to go on to study science.”

Big Cat Crossing is a 330-foot mesh-engineered passageway that will extend from First Niagara Big Cat Falls, over and above the zoo’s main visitor path, encouraging large felines, including lions, tigers, pumas, snow leopards, to move freely in designated pathways. The commonwealth provided $1.5 million in RACP funding for this project.

“More and more, as visitors move around the Zoo, the Zoo moves around them,” says Philadelphia Zoo President and CEO Vikram H. Dewan.  “Our new, Zoo360 is pioneering an environment that is elevating visitors’ interactions with the animals to a new level.  The spring 2014 opening of Big Cat Crossing marks another major milestone as we transform the Zoo experience for young and lifelong learners alike and we thank Governor Corbett and the commonwealth for partnering with us on this effort.”

On Monday, First Lady Susan Corbett kicked off National Tourism Week in Pennsylvania by announcing that the first-of-its-kind, Pocono 400 Hauler Parade will come to Harrisburg on Thursday, June 5. The Philadelphia Zoo is one of the greater Philadelphia region’s most visited attractions and welcomes 1.2 million visitors each year.

“Pennsylvania’s tourism industry is critical to our economy,” said Corbett. “Those who come to the Philadelphia Zoo are visitors who not only appreciate the animals, but who also eat at local restaurants, visit other local attractions - the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall - and may even venture to other parts of the state. The governor and I invite all Pennsylvanians to come and visit attractions like the Philadelphia Zoo and marvel in all that our wonderful commonwealth has to offer.”

Pennsylvania’s state’s travel and tourism economy continued to expand in 2012 with industry sales rising 3.8 percent to $38.4 billion. The number of travelers visiting Pennsylvania posted the highest growth rate since the recession, with the state hosting an estimated 192.3 million domestic and international travelers in 2012, with growth concentrated in the day-trip segment. Additionally, travel and tourism related economic activity supported 470,953 total jobs, both directly and indirectly, representing 6.5 percent of the state’s total employment.

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Media Contact:

Valerie Caras, Governor's Office; 717-783-1116
Steve Kratz, DCED; 717-783-1132



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