NEWS, SPORTS, COMMENTARY, POLITICS for Gloucester City and the Surrounding Areas of South Jersey and Philadelphia

Multi-Alarm Fire in the 300 Unit Block of Mercer Street
Three New Jersey Hospitals and a Birth Center Launch TeamBirth  

The Pumpkin Loving Hippos Instagram at Philadelphia Zoo Goes Viral, 171 Million People View It

Screen Shot 2022-09-12 at 16.36.46

Philadelphia, PA - It was the crunch heard around the world! A video taken at Philadelphia Zoo has grown to become the biggest Reel in history of Philadelphia - and top ten for most viewed Reel on the Instagram platform in the world since Reels started - and top five for most viewed new Reels in 2022. The video also holds the record for the most viewed and largest video in Philadelphia on the TikTok platform. Influencer Philly Publicist and Aversa PR President/CEO Kory Aversa took the video last year during Boo at the Zoo and it went viral on TikTok immediately. One year later, as pumpkin and spooky season approaches, he posted it again on August 16th and it has raked up a jaw-dropping 171M views in just 3 weeks - and it is still averaging one to three million views a day. It has garnered 5.4M likes and been shared 580,000 times. Due to the excitement, Philadelphia Zoo will put tickets for Boo at the Zoo on sale earlier than ever before - as the public is ready for pumpkin spice and spooky season in the City of Brotherly Love. Philadelphia Zoo is the first Zoo in America and despite being around for so long, is also one of the leaders in the country on emerging social platforms, including TikTok and Instagram. Boo at the Zoo returns on Saturdays and Sundays, from October 15-30, 2022, with more info at The video is seen on Instagram under the account @KoryAversa and on TikTok under @PhillyPublicist.

"Boo at the Zoo is one of the Zoo's favorite events of the year and being able to offer our animals pumpkins, as either a snack or an item to investigate and play with, makes those three weekends in October even more special," said Philadelphia Zoo Chief Marketing and Experience Officer Amy Shearer. “We are so excited and thankful for the global interest in our hippos and Boo at the Zoo - our Zoo team and family have been thrilled to follow the video's journey over the last year from the moment Kory put it on TikTok. We are delighted to see it come back a year later and break records again over on Instagram - just in time for Spooky Season in Philly! How crazy that our hippos are now the stars of one of the most viewed Instagram Reels in the world."

The story of this viral video dates back to a television shoot that Aversa PR set up with local TV station PHL 17. Reporter Sophia Cifuentes was previewing Boo at the Zoo at the time and was being given instructions on how to feed the hippos the pumpkins- which is an enrichment for the hippos during this time of year in October. Aversa organized the shoot - and took the content. In fact, little known to the public and media at the time, he had just town his calf and could not walk on his one foot - so after being helped into the area for the shoot he was safely positioned (and socially distanced, at the time) where he could take pressure off the one foot while video taping the experience for social media. Due to being in the unique angle to protect his leg, he was able to get the video from the unusual angle.

During the shoot, Philadelphia Zoo Director of Conservation and Education Dani Hogan is seen giving the reporter tips on how to feed the pumpkin to the hippos. Hogan herself is seen feeding Cindy, while Cifuentes fed a pumpkin to Una - Cifuentes is heard calling out Una's name in a video that has been played both for the video and also the sound millions of times. Una then crunches the pumpkin in a pumpkin crunch heard around the globe!

Aversa left the shoot and was waiting to be helped back to the front of the Zoo as he couldn't walk - and while he rested he created the video, picked his favorite trending Halloween sound - and posted the video before leaving the Zoo. He got home and the video immediately started to generate hundreds of thousands of views. He and the Zoo team woke up the next day to hundreds of thousands of views which then translated into millions of views daily. From that video, Aversa garnered tens of thousands of followers to add to his existing followers.

Flash forward to a year later, Aversa saw it was pumpkin spice season and videos about pumpkins were trending early for the year. He also wanted to celebrate the one year anniversary coming - and he posted the video on Reels. The video got thousands of views the first night, ten thousand the next day and within 36-48 hours starting collecting millions of views - the video has garnered one to fifteen million views a day for 3 weeks now and counting.

"I am over the moon at the response this video has had in its global journey - and I even more excited for the attention it brings to one of my favorite places in the world, Philadelphia," said Aversa. "I started Philly Publicist on TikTok and Kory Aversa on Instagram as a love letter to Philadelphia - to take my followers from Twitter and Facebook from the last ten years, and bring them all my favorite things in video format in emerging platforms. I am proud to showcase places and organizations like Philadelphia Zoo. Boo at the Zoo is also one of my favorite Halloween things to do - and I am obsessed with spooky season, or #SpookySzn as its known on TikTok. The video has brought joy to a combined 225M viewers in countries around the globe. I love that it brings smiles to people's faces, joy to people's day, and attention for the work of Philadelphia Zoo. I have seen entire families, classes and sports team duet the video, share the video, tag each other in the video - it brings me joy every day and I am so excited that the video not only celebrates and raises up the Zoo but it brings attention to my city - and keeps Philly shining brightly as a world-class destination. I have had friends from the other side of the state, country and globe reach out and say we saw your video on social media - and even saying they saw it on the news in their own city and state. I am thrilled for the Zoo, for my city and for my two favorite hippos! I can't wait to see Cindy and Una again in the coming weeks - we have a delightful pumpkin waiting for them to crunch again as Boo at the Zoo gets closer."

Aversa added, "It was crazy when the video first went viral - what do you do next? How do you handle the followers and new audience? How do you reply to all the comments? I didn't know what to do - so I reached out to larger accounts, did my research and most importantly stepped back and tried to be authentic in connecting with my new audience. A year later, I have tried to engage and answer as many of the thousands of comments - and the hundreds of direct messages, calls and texts. Its exciting that people in all corners of the world are wanting to connect - and despite language and cultural differences - we all share the same joy in watching this video. The pandemic is what brought me to TikTok - and I sat home alone for months and months watching my city close down. I connected with people in all other places across America and the world - and found it amazing that we all faced the same challenges. With this video, its amazing to take that to a positive level and we all now share the same joy. Congrats to Philadelphia Zoo, Cindy and Una. I will be there for Boo at the Zoo and can't wait to hear the crunch heard around the world up close and in real life once again."

For the video going viral, the timing couldn't be better as Boo at the Zoo tickets are going on sale soon - and the public is gearing up to watch the hippos crunch those pumpkins again during Philadelphia's spooky season. Aversa is already working with local media on how to celebrate the milestone and feed the pumpkin again to the hippos.

Last year, Boo at the Zoo was one of the most successful in Zoo history. The Zoo is already planning on a banner year, fingers crossed. Aversa is working on a pumpkin-loving hippo party with a special cake from Madison K in Northern Liberties, and he is working on a special t-shirt about his video with proceeds being donated to Philadelphia Zoo to support their work.


Cindy (33) – female, born July 7th, 1989 at the Granby Zoo, Quebec. She was acquired in 1990.
Unna (33) – female, born August 12th, 1989 at the St. Louis Zoological Park. She was acquired in 1990.

Range: Sub-saharan Africa.
Habitat: river valleys of central Africa.

Conservation status: Vulnerable- A more recent assessment suggests that there are likely between 115,000 to 130,000 Common Hippos remaining. Major threats to hippos are illegal/unregulated hunting for meat and ivory, pollution of the water, and the consumption of water by nearby cities.

Diet: Grass, herbs and leaves in the wild, at the zoo, hay, produce and herbivore pellets- a wild hippo eats around 200lbs of grass a night. Each day our girls eat around 10 pounds of leafy greens, a pound of herbivore pellets, and 20 pounds of hay.

Fun Facts:
Hippos range in weight from 2200 lbs to 9900 lbs with the males being significantly larger than the females. We estimate our hippos at around 4,000lbs, although they have not been weighed.
The length of the head and body can get up to about 13 ft and they can stand up to 5 ft tall.

Hippos are considered the most dangerous animal in Africa and are very territorial.  

Despite its stocky shape and short legs, hippos can easily outrun a human. They have been clocked at 19 mph over short distances.

Hippos secrete an oily pink substance that protects their skin from water loss and sunburn.

Hippos can stay underwater for about 6 minutes, they can also close their ears and nostrils to make sure no water enters their airways.

You can tell Unna apart from Cindy by the white spots over her eyebrow and on the bottom of her chin.


Combined views on all platforms:
225M views and counting

Instagram Reels @ KoryAversa
(As of September 12th at 11:00am Eastern)

171M views and counting - averaging currently 1-3M a day after 3 weeks
139K saves

TikTok @ PhillyPublicist
(As of September 12th at 11:00am Eastern)

54.7M views - and now starting to trend again at 20-50K views a day
54.3K saves
Watch time: 158,126 hours, 46 minutes, 32 seconds

Follow regular Philadelphia Zoo content posted weekly on the Zoo's social channel to follow America's first Zoo at @ philadelphiazoo.


For research purposes, these stats as a top most viewed reel was verified and compared with numbers reported and charts listed on Pathofex, Tech Media Today, Trendy Kendy, The Talks Today, Tech Stag and others. 


Philadelphia Zoo
3400 W Girard Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Saturdays and Sundays, between October 15 to October 30, 2022
9:30am to 5:00pm daily

It’s not Halloween without Boo at the Zoo! Philadelphia Zoo presents its annual Halloween extravaganza spread out over three fun-filled weekends with amazing costumes, festive fall treats and ghoulish fun. Come dressed in your favorite costume, trick-or-treat around the Zoo, and enjoy seasonal décor, photo opportunities, festive fall offerings, fun children's activities and have a spooktacular time. It’s no tricks, just treats. FREE to members with advance online reservation. Admission for Boo at the Zoo is free with the regular price of admission. Tickets will go on sale in the fall. Hours for Boo are 9:30am to 5:00pm each day.

A full press release will go out in mid-September with the full details about the line-up and more. 

Philadelphia Zoo and Aversa also have spoken to local media to recreate the scene again for this year - watch for it on local TV stations.


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 our new Ankole cattle, western lowland gorillas, hippos, white rhino, zebras, red pandas, Amur tigers and more at America’s first Zoo. Explore our 42-acre garden and enjoy award-winning exhibits like Big Cat Falls, PECO Primate Reserve, McNeil Avian Center, KidZooU, and African Plains, where you can come face to face with the world's tallest animal at our new Giraffe Encounter experience. Philadelphia Zoo is one of the region's foremost conservation organizations and home to nearly 1,700 animals, many rare and endangered. By connecting people with wildlife, Philadelphia Zoo creates joyful discovery and inspires action for animals and habitats. Philadelphia Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Philadelphia Zoo is a non-smoking facility.  For more information, visit Facebook: PhiladelphiaZoo; Instagram: @philadelphiazoo; Twitter: @phillyzoo.  


During the pandemic, Kory Aversa saw all the things he loved about Philadelphia shut down - hundreds of events, hundreds of restaurants, hundreds of media parties. While he was home with his shelter dog Otis. At first he downloaded the app to make fun dog videos to lift his spirits. Otis grew to have over 7K followers on his TikTok. As the pandemic raged on, and Kory used his dog's account to teach himself the platform, he got more and more intrigued about seeing others across the world experience the same feelings as he was having all alone.

He said, "I was watching 80 year old grandmas and their grandchilden on TikTok, I was watching families in middle rural America, I was watching college students moving back in with their families, and I was watching single people trapped in tiny apartments in New York City. While all different, we all were the same. We were all home alone trapped and needed to vent, connect and find light during dark times. TikTok brought me closer to the world than ever before. Sort of like being at a concert and feeling one with the crowd of people you don't know. I then also got hooked when Olivia Rodrigo hit the platform with Driver's License. I couldn't get enough of those videos. All people using the same song but interpreting it so different. Sad, funny, it had all the feels. Same with Taylor Swift and Love Story. I couldn't get enough of those videos. There were weeks when I watched those videos by fans of those artists all day - and was amazed at the energy, creativity and vibrancy - and I said I want to be part of this."

Aversa then made an account for himself, started to adapt to the unique things he brings to the table and 98.8K followers and 4.5M views later he shares trends, parties, openings, food and so much more in what he calls "PhillyPublicist on TikTok is my love letter to Philly." Aversa helped grand open 130 restaurants during the pandemic - and he had and continues to have the only access to the next big restaurants in Philly changing the city's food scene. He is currently working on 40 more openings - and plans to share things about them all on his platforms.

For Instagram, Aversa has been on there for years and while he started with shortform more on TikTok, he would post the daily smaller insider things on Story - and recently started to explore Reels. Now, he will continue to share micro-content on Instagram Stories, and longer more impactful videos on Reels and TikTok. With this new Reel going viral, and his 90K new followers, he is sorting out the particulars for the two platforms while doing his day job as a top Philly PR guy - but no matter what expect more things that celebrate Philadelphia.

When asked what do do when your video goes viral, he said, "Stay calm, stay consistent, take it all in and celebrate it, don't let it overwhelm you, don't let others get in your head with 'what to do next' but do seek advise from a person or two you trust, answer as many people as possible, keep posting consistently, adapt your content but stay true to your mission, and most of all have fun with it all. An influx of new followers last year completely changed the nature of my account on TikTok - and the same is happening on Instagram - so while I need to think a little more global with followers from other countries, I am still going to be here celebrating my city and our food, attractions and Zoo animals. I hope to connect with everyone as best I can!"


Kory Aversa is the CEO, President and Founder of Aversa PR & Events. He founded the company 10 years ago and has become the fastest growing and most recognized PR firm in the region with over 130 clients, locations and concepts, that include Parx Casino, Philadelphia Zoo, Garces, Lokal Artisan Foods, FCM Hospitality, Sofitel Philadelphia, Christmas Village, Northern Liberties, Fishtown District, Stove and Co. Hospitality Group, Main Line Today, Glu Hospitality, French Toast Bites, Lokal Artisan Foods, Old City District, Lamberti Restaurants, Philly Theatre Week, Ardmore Initiative and others. Kory works hard to make PR accessible for mom and pop business to larger entities, with a special focus on Black, Brown, LGBTQ and Female owned businesses. Focus areas include theatre, arts, tourism, restaurants, neighborhoods, gaming, experiences and small businesses.  

Kory was recognized as one of Philadelphia Magazine's Top 76 Most Influential Philadelphians in 2021. In 2021, Kory received the PR PROactive Award by the Philadelphia Public Relations Association. He also received Best of Metro Honors for Best Publicist, and Aversa PR won for Best PR Firm. He was also named Hometown Hero in 2021 by Philadelphia Phillies during Pride Night. Kory organized the region's Philly Gay Pride month activities as a volunteer and community organizer last year, generating nearly 300 stories.  

Aversa PR is a boutique public relations agency focusing on Philadelphia - and who is now doing work and projects in 25 states. The agency focuses on media outreach, traditional public relations, blogger and influencer outreach, lite marketing support, volunteer management, lite event planning and more. The agency was created to celebrate Philadelphia and focus on food, hospitality, tourism, theatre, arts, circus arts, neighborhoods, business districts, small businesses and more. The agency currently has 130+ clients.