Fetal Family Reunion at the Zoo: Know Before You Go

Know before you go

Please review this important information about this year's Fetal Family Reunion at the Philadelphia Zoo.

This event will be held RAIN OR SHINE!

Start & end time, event check-in

What time should I arrive?

Event check-in begins at 8:30 a.m. directly outside of the front gates of the Zoo. After you check in, you can head to the Impala Lawn, which will serve as our “home base” for the day. This is where you'll be able to pick up patient T-shirts.

We encourage you to arrive early because for the first hour of the day - from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. - the Zoo will be open just to us! You’ll get first choice of parking spots and be able to say good morning to the animals and explore the Zoo before the general public arrives and our formal program starts.

At 10 a.m., make your way back to the Impala Lawn for a short program and group photo.

After 12 p.m. (noon) our check-in tables will move to the Impala Lawn. If you arrive after 12 p.m. let the Zoo staff know you’re with the Fetal Family Reunion. You can proceed to the Impala Lawn once through the gates. Check-in and T-shirt distribution will end by 2 p.m. 

What time does the event end?

Our official CHOP event will end at 2 p.m. Please note this means that after 2 p.m., you will not be able to obtain a parking pass or pre-loaded food cards, and T-shirt distribution will be closed. However, you’re welcome to stay until 5 p.m., when the Zoo closes.

When can I see my favorite CFDT/CHOP staff members?

Many of our team members will be on site in the morning, so your best chance of catching them will be before, during, and immediately following the program, which will take place mid-morning.

Do I need to print my ticket?

No. When you arrive at the Zoo entrance, please be prepared to give us the last name you registered with. That is how we’ll check you in! 

When you check in, you’ll get your Zoo entrance tickets, parking pass and pre-loaded food cards. 

Do I need a separate ticket for Zoo admission?

You’ll receive your Zoo entrance ticket when you check in on the day of the event.

Formal program and group photo

Will there be a formal event program and group photo?

Yes! The program will begin promptly at 10 a.m. on the Impala Lawn, which will also serve as our “home base” for the day. We’d love for you to be included in the group photo, which will be around 10:15 a.m., following the program. Check out our event map to familiarize yourself with the layout of the day’s events.

Will there be T-shirts?

Yes, T-shirts for CHOP patients will be available once you’re checked in! Once you’re checked in, proceed to the Impala Lawn.

Due to the overwhelming response and attendance expected for this event, we’ll do our best to make sure every patient gets a T-shirt. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

Parking & directions

When do I get my parking pass?

One parking pass will be provided to each group at check-in. You do not need a pass to enter a garage/lot. You will give the pass to the parking attendant when you leave.

Where should I park?

You will be directed to park in the Tiger Lot, accessible from 34th Street. Once the lot is full, parking will also be available at the Zoo Garage at 35th & Girard Ave. (entrance at 3500 W. Girard Ave.). 

Please note that parking is limited! We recommend arriving early and carpooling if you can.  

Handicapped accessible parking spots and spaces for vans are available in both the Tiger Lot and the Parking Garage.

Please visit the Zoo’s website for directions and additional information.

Food & drinks

Where do I get my pre-loaded food cards and how do I use it?

Each attendee will receive a $10 pre-loaded food card at check-in. This card can be used at all Zoo concessions throughout the day. The cards are only valid for use on the day of the event.

Can I bring outside food/drink?

Yes. If you wish to bring your own lunch, snacks or any special foods your child or family may require based on dietary restrictions, you can bring those in small bags or soft coolers. Breastmilk is also permitted. Please don’t bring large hard-sided coolers, and no alcoholic beverages.


Where can I go if I need some privacy or quiet?

We’ll have a small space dedicated to our CHOP families if you need some quiet time. We’ll also have a private area set up for breastfeeding and an area to eat lunch in the shade. Check out our event map to familiarize yourself with quiet areas throughout the zoo, if needed.

What do I do if I have a problem?

If you have an emergency, the best thing to do would be to find a Zoo staff member and ask for help. If you have any questions regarding the CHOP event (food, parking, T-shirts, etc.), the Impala Lawn will be our home base until 2 p.m.

Visit the Zoo website to plan your visit, and check out amenities like stroller or wheelchair rentals.

Screenshot of CFDT tour video

Tour our Fetal Center

Watch this video tour to learn what to expect at your first visit to the Wood Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment.

Pregnant Mom and Child

What to Expect

From the moment of referral through delivery and postnatal care, your family can expect a supportive experience when you come to us with a diagnosis of a birth defect.