Pennsylvania Zoo Goes Dog Friendly, Will Host ‘Yappy Hours’

Heck yeah: Residents of the greater Philadelphia can bring their best friends to the Elmwood Park Zoo. No, not your close human friends (boring). We’re talking about those sweet, sweet doggies.

The zoo, located in the suburb of Norristown, announced on Friday that it would allow dog lovers to accompany their pooches to the zoo on special Dog Days and Yappy Hours that will begin in March. According to the zoo, Elmwood Park Zoo will be the first zoo in the country to allow regular pet attendance.

A trial run—zoo staff bringing in their own dogs and previous success with service dogs—went well, paving the way for the domesticated and wild animals to co-exist for a few hours.

“Canines of all shapes and sizes got an up-close view of the zoo’s giraffes, zebras, jaguars and more. The zoo’s animals showed a bit of interest, and overall it was a harmonious meeting,” the zoo said in a news release provided to PhillyVoice.

Dog owners in the area will have two choices on attendance: the Dog Days (afternoons on Wednesdays and Fridays) and Yappy Hours (Thursday evenings that include drink and food specials).

Now, you can’t just show up with your dog and think you’ll be allowed in. At the beginning (at least), a limited number of dogs will be permitted. Dog moms and dads will also have to apply to bring in their pups, and that includes providing information that confirms the dog sees a veterinarian each year; is on monthly heartworm medication and yearly screenings; and has been vaccinated for rabies, canine distemper virus, and canine parvovirus.

The dogs will also need current ID tags and be leashed at all times. Other questions? The zoo has you covered here. (It’s even working on designated doggy “relief areas” for bathroom breaks.)

We hope this project takes off and soon more zoos across the country are letting dogs visit the animals, too!