Walking down memory lane the other day, childhood days spent at the Philadelphia Zoo came to mind, making us feel all warm and fuzzy. Sure, it’s been many years since we rode a pony or teased the monkeys at the Zoo, but the place still has a special place in our hearts. That being said, it’s not exactly located in the glitziest part of town, and the Zoo is now making an effort to improve the experience for the visitors that drive in.

Love the balloon

The Centennial District Intermodal Transportation Center Project will improve accessibility for the Zoo, increase and streamline guest parking, and possibly stimulate economic development in the immediate area. Increased signage, improved lighting, decorative landscaping and streetscaping, and additional greenery will make this area more attractive for drivers and walkers alike. Additional parking spaces that are in closer proximity to the Zoo will make life easier for guests, especially considering that most will have a kid or two in tow.

Project will be centered on Area A

A new parking garage, which was recently approved by the ZBA, will include 683 parking spaces. According to the Philadelphia Business Journal,  the garage will cost $24M, of which funds will come from federal, state, city, and Zoo sources. It’s expected to be completed by the spring of 2013. Additional phases that include office space or retail at this site are possible, though we have not confirmed whether they will happen concurrently with the garage, at some point farther in the future, or not at all.

Early rendering, from 2010

A more recent image, in sort of low-res. Image credit: Nj.com

It’s great to see this infrastructure improvement at the Zoo- hopefully it will lead to more fun for kids and grownups alike.