When Pope Francis comes to the U.S. in September, millions of faithful followers with try to catch a glimpse. The Roberts family of Bergen County, N.J., will be among them. But they won't be staying in a hotel. Instead, they are sleeping at the zoo. The Robertses will travel with more than 200 others from Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Ridgewood on a weekend trip to the world meeting of families in Philadelphia, one of the final stops on the pope's U.S. tour.
But with huge crowds expected to flood the area, hotel rooms are expensive and few and far between, so church staff started thinking outside the box.
For $65 a head, the families from Mount Carmel will sleep in sleeping bags in the bird and insect buildings of the Philadelphia Zoo. Father Gino Delarama says he did a site visit and was assured there is nothing to worry about.
The Roberts kids are thrilled and have only one concern: escaping lions.
From the zoo, the Mount Carmel group may have to walk more than a mile and a half to get to the event. But they say it is all part of the pilgrimage experience -- one that would approve of.
The group is trying to build excitement around the pilgrimage which they will be documenting on social media in real time. They already have a hashtag -- #olmczoocrew -- and their slogan is "Pope Francis we're sleeping at the zoo so we can see you."