Did you know that the Pittsburgh Zoo was recently ranked #4 in the Nation for Zoo's! If you are looking for a great way to spend the day with the entire family ... look no further than this fabulous zoo in our own backyard! Located in Highland Park, just minutes from the city, if you haven't been for a visit lately, you will be delighted with the changes and updates!
Last week, my littlest one (4) and I decided to make a day out of exploring the Pittsburgh Zoo together while her older siblings were in school. If you think the Zoo is just for kids, it's not -- there were so many couples and seniors enjoying a stroll through the zoo just as much! The Zoo is actually open every day of the year, no matter the weather conditions, but this happened to be a beautiful, clear and sunny September morning, just before noon. The animals were so lively and there was so much interaction!
Based on a bit of a hilly terrain (it is Pittsburgh, you know!) with beautiful lush landscaping, we took our time strolling through all of the exhibits. We decided to pack a picnic lunch and enjoyed it on a bench near the elephant exhibit. We could watch these guys all day long. They play in the water and are really a lot of fun to watch. An added bonus was getting three of the elephants up close and personal (including a baby elephant!) when we walked through the Elephant house. My daughter got a kick out of watching them eat hay, and how they would use their trunks to sweep it into a pile and scoop it into their mouths. What was really cool was that there is so much more than just seeing the animals in their habitats. There are colorful and interesting facts at every exhibit. If you purchase a Zoo Key when you come in ($2), you can plug it into a box at each exhibit to hear more facts about the animals too. The exhibits are just so interesting and really answer the questions one might ask (like how fast do they run, what do the eat, things like that).
We stopped half way through our visit to enjoy some ice cream before heading to the Aquarium with the penguins, fish and sharks. The penguin exhibit is a lot of fun to watch, the penguins jump in and swim right up to the viewing window! The highlight here was the humongous shark tank, viewable from the top and the bottom -- just amazing! Being able to visit with the stingray tank is great fun too. My little one climbed through the tunnel under the tank and was able to pop up right in the middle of the tank for another up close view.
The brand new Water's Edge exhibit was what topped off our visit -- including Polar Bears, Sea Otters and Sharks. Our favorite was when the Polar bears kept swimming around and coming right up to the glass where my daughter was, it was like he was interacting just with her. We enjoyed seeing them from all the different angles, including from under their swim tank in a huge underwater tunnel that made you feel like you were swimming with them!
Of course, no visit to the Pittsburgh Zoo is complete without a trip to Kids Kingdom! We got to spend time climbing and sliding to ensure a good nap when we got home. A walk through the deer exhibit and kangaroos allowed us even more up close encounters. We finished off our visit with some kiddie rides and some time watching with the sea lions.
If your kids like the zoo as much as mine, you might consider purchasing a Zoo Membership ($75) that allows unlimited visits and benefits for the whole family, and more importantly, you'll be helping the Zoo's efforts to preserve our most precious natural resource: wildlife. And don't forget about the zoo for a unique way to celebrate a birthday or even enjoy a week of summer camp!
They are open daily from 9am-5pm, and every day is a perfect day for visiting with the animals. If you haven't been lately, what are you waiting for!?