The countdown begins! Only three weeks until Big Time grand opens with the new Dino-Key and 24 animatronic dinosaurs and other prehistoric giants.


Philadelphia Zoo (3400 W. Girard Avenue) announced today the return of the famous Zoo Key and talking story books, plus the addition of a new, limited-edition Dino-Key. Back by popular demand, the animal–shaped Zoo Keys will be able to be used at solar-powered audio boxes situated around the Zoo campus.  Beginning March 25th, guests can use their Zoo Keys to unlock all new stories and secret tales about the magnificent creatures living at the Zoo. The new Dino-Key will unleash amazing stories of when dinosaurs and other massive creatures roamed the Earth in prehistoric times. Zoo-goers can listen to all audiobooks in both English and Spanish. Zoo Keys will retail for $3.00 and be available at any Zoo retail location and the Zoo shop. Reservations and information about Big Time can be found at

“Philadelphia Zoo is thrilled to bring back the cherished Zoo Key,” said Philadelphia Zoo Chief Marketing & Engagement Officer Amy Shearer. “They have been an important part of the fabric of this region, and are connected to so many wonderful memories for so many people. This season we are happy to introduce the new Dino-Key, to be used at our new Big Time experience. We are looking forward to an exciting spring and summer season at the Zoo!”

A favorite for generations, the Zoo Key debuted at Philadelphia Zoo in 1960 and was popular for many decades. In 2007 the Zoo embarked on other initiatives, putting Zoo Keys on hiatus until they were revitalized in 2019.

Over the years, generations of families experienced the Zoo with their Key. In fact, many Philadelphians still have and hold their original keys as a keepsake to cherish. The Zoo is proud to bring back this tradition and create new memories for generations to come.

“It couldn’t be a better tie to bring back the Zoo Key,” added Shearer. “The Zoo Key is by far one of the most nostalgic and memorable items for millions of children and adults that have visited the Zoo. We want to bring back those warm memories plus make new memories with all of our guests. We hope everyone shares our excitement – BIG things are happening at Philadelphia Zoo this year!”

For their return, the Zoo Key is back and better than ever as they unlock new, untold stories and secrets revealed by Zoo staff. Guests can bring their own Zoo Key from the past to unlock stories, or they can purchase a new Zoo Key – including the Dino-Key – onsite at any retail location or the Zoo shop.

In addition to the animal-themed Zoo Keys, the Zoo is excited to launch a new limited-edition dinosaur key to complement this season’s new feature experience BIG TIME, an immersive multi-sensory experience featuring 24 animatronic dinosaurs and other giants, from T-rex to a woolly mammoth. Using special Dino-Key guests will unleash amazing stories of when these massive and unique creatures roamed the Earth.

Zoo-goers can listen to all audiobooks in both English and Spanish. For the Spanish audio stories, Philadelphia Zoo thanks local and national radio host Mina Say What for lending her talent and voice to the project.

Big Time and Zoo Key opens to the public on Monday, March 29th through September 30th. All reservations should be made online at Attendance will be capped to ensure a wonderful, safe experience, don’t wait to reserve your visit now.  Tickets are the cost of General Zoo Admission $24 for ages 12+ and $19 for ages 2-11, children under 2 are free, plus entrance for Big Time $6 (adults and children ages 2+).  Members enjoy free admission to the Zoo with advance reservation and save on BIG TIME tickets. Zoo Keys retail for $3.00.


At BIG TIME guests will be transported to three dramatic points in time: when a huge asteroid slammed into the Earth 66 million years ago, ending the reign of dinosaurs including T-rex and Triceratops; to a more recent period starting 70,000 years ago, as our ancestors spread from Africa across the globe, meeting saber-toothed cats, gorilla-sized lemurs and birds bigger than ostriches, all of which would disappear from the planet after human arrival; and today, as additional amazing animals including polar bears and elephants are at risk due to human activities. For more about Big Time, visit


All health and safety precautions are in place at the Zoo including the wearing safe face masks and practicing social distancing. For a full reminder of Philadelphia Zoo’s safety protocols, visit


Animals are on the move like never before at Philadelphia Zoo with Zoo360, a first-in-the-world system of see-through trails passing through treetops, crossing over pathways and connecting habitats, giving animals like amazing big cats, majestic primates and marvelous meerkats the opportunities to travel and explore. Visit young western lowland gorillas, giraffes, hippos, white rhino, zebras, red pandas, Amur tigers and more at America’s first Zoo. Explore our 42-acre Victorian garden and enjoy award-winning exhibits at one of the region’s foremost conservation organizations. Home to nearly 1,300 animals, many rare and endangered, Philadelphia Zoo connects people with wildlife, while creating discovery and inspiring action for animals and habitats. Philadelphia Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. To reserve tickets visit Check out social platforms at Facebook: PhiladelphiaZoo; Instagram: @philadelphiazoo; Twitter: @phillyzoo.


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