The National Aviary is home to over 500 birds and an amazing 150 species! Located on the North Side of Pittsburgh – it is one of just two stand alone aviarys in the USA -- and the largest in our nation!
The National Aviary is a favorite for my animal loving kids … the most requested attraction visit in our area – we can spend HOURS just roaming and interacting with the animals and this day was no different.
Did you know?? Originally named the Pittsburgh Aviary … the facility had lost city funding back in 1991. Local community leaders began a major funding initiative that ultimately changed the Aviary from a public to private facility … and in 1993 was given honorary national status and renamed the National Aviary – home of fun, education, conservation programs, breeding programs and research for thousands each year.
As you enter the National Aviary, you're given a map and a list of the feedings and specific shows for the day … almost all of the bird feedings are in front of and include the public. I would suggest you plan out your visit to include as many of these as possible to really get the full effect of your time at the National Aviary. We started off with a feeding in the Tropical Forest – (TIP - if you can, get there early and stand in the open area towards the end of the bridge, the kids will get the best view and even a chance to feed a bird or two themselves, right from their hand!)
In addition to this feeding (which is included with your ticket) … there is also a Wetlands Feeding, a Penguin Feeding and Bat Feeding. For a small nominal fee, the kids can also enter the Lorikeet cage and feed them nectar – a fun experience if you haven’t done this yet! We were there on a Saturday and the line here got a little long … arrive a little earlier to get a better spot in line!
What was different on this visit was our opportunity to check out the live Beaks 2 free-flight bird show featured twice daily at 11am and 1:30pm (except Tuesdays). The FliteZone Theater was built in 2010 and is the first indoor theatre in the nation built specifically for bird shows. Note, a visit in the summer will allow you to see Taking Flight in the outdoor deck! I would recommend arriving at least 15 minutes earlier than show time to get a seat up front. In many of the seats, you will literally find yourself ducking as the swoosh of bird wings above will be THAT close! No cameras or video is allowed … and this is great because it really lets you get immersed in the experience. You will get to meet several species of birds VERY up close – including the parrot, hornbill and pink flamingo - our favorite. Not only is this experience interactive, but it is also very informative and much of it continues with the National Aviary philosophy of conservation and education. The staff at the National Aviary, by the way, are super helpful and full of interesting tidbits of information ... stop and talk with them when you get a chance!
After the show, we had more time to roam the exhibits … my kids really enjoyed watching the three-toed Sloth, the worlds slowest mammal, move ever so slowly from one end of his exhibit to the other. I always enjoy the Eagles … Abby and Liberty -- their large and majestic presence never fails to awe.
Favorite Part - You can’t miss Penguin Point, right in the center of the building … the kids can climb through tunnels to see them even more up close. You can visit with them from inside and out … above water and below! If you are visiting soon, the penguin babies may be on display across the hall … currently about 5 weeks old, they are pure fluff and adorable-ness!
We are looking forward to the re-opening of the outdoor Condor Court this spring ... an interactive and educational experience with the Andean Condor -- one of the largest flying birds in the world -- offering a wingspan of up to 10 1/2 feet! Native to South America ... these birds are part of the vulture family and something we are excited to see up close and learn more about!
If you are going, the National Aviary is open most every day, except Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas day – hours are 10am – 5pm daily. Admission prices range from $12-$20/pp. Your best bet is to consider a member ship – family memberships start at $85 and include free parking all year long. Otherwise, your best value would be the All Day Pass that includes the live bird show and lorikeet feeding – you know the kids will wanna do it all! There is metered parking on the street – or head around back and pay $5 parking in the lot.
Enjoy your visit and tell them PittsburghKidsGuide sent you!