Explore: The National Aviary
On my family’s recent trip to Pittsburgh, we made a stop at the National Aviary. To be quite honest, I had no idea this place - which is the only private indoor zoo for birds in the entire U.S. - was located in Pitt until I googled “Pittsburgh family must do’s” or something along those lines. Regardless, this looked like a good find, so everyone hopped in the car and headed that way! Turns out, the aviary was one of our favorite experiences of our entire trip!
The day we went, it happened to be a bit dreary, but luckily, most of the exhibits are located indoors, so it is a great place to go if you are looking for something to do when the weather isn’t cooperating. When we entered, my toddler shrieked with glee as he saw fossils and illustrations of dinosaurs and birds of the prehistoric period. It was really interesting learning about the evolution of birds from the very beginning! We then turned and were stunned by the eagle exhibit, just on the other side of the glass. I’ve never been so close to bald eagles before, and we were even able to see the Steller’s sea eagle, one of the largest birds of prey!
We wandered on and stumbled upon Penguin Point, and I have to tell you, my heart swooned! This exhibit was definitely my favorite. You can go outside and see the birds diving in the water as well as sunning themselves on “shore” and then head back inside to see them swimming through the glass. There is even a fun tunnel that the kiddos can crawl through to get a closer look at these adorable swimmers. We spent an ample amount of time here with our bird friends, and every moment was wonderful!
Another exhibit we really enjoyed was the Tropical Rainforest. Here, we found a multitude of species, from colorful parrots to flamingos (another one of my favorites). We loved taking this impressive area in, with towering trees, colorful vines, and fantastic bird calls throughout. Fun fact - a sloth can also be found lounging in these parts!
My husband loved the Condor Court exhibit, too. This exhibit is outdoors and it boasts a huge observation window where you can see these massive raptors spread their 10 foot wings. They are a little intimidating to look at, but impressive nonetheless!
Although we did not participate during our visit, there are numerous seminars and demonstrations available where you can have an even more in depth look into the world of birds. Some experiences give you the opportunity to feed some of the aviary’s feathery friends. We really appreciated that the aviary shared their conservation efforts with their guests. We were able to watch a medical procedure going on through an observation window in which veterinary professionals cared for an ailing bird. Visuals of efforts like these are so important for kiddos to see!
We left the aviary with new knowledge and great memories. I’m so glad we discovered this beautiful zoo, and I am certain that if we make it back to Pittsburgh, we will make a repeat visit!