Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium
After riding up a two story tall escalator from the parking lots, you will enter One Wild Place, home of the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. Located five miles east of Pittsburgh in the city’s Highland Park neighborhood, the zoo generally attracts a million visitors a year, making it the most popular attraction in Western Pennsylvania.
If you have little ones along, make your first stop the Kids Kingdom, a fun and active part of the zoo providing young visitors with a look at animals native to Pennsylvania along with reptiles and other animals, and a petting zoo where they can get up close and personal with some of the animals. This attraction helps make Pittsburgh’s zoo one of the top four chillden’s zoos in the US, and helps the zoo meet one aspect of its mission — providing an environment for families to spend time together and learn.
After hanging out in the Kids Kingdom, be sure to take children further up into the zoo so they can visit with some of the endangered animals in the Asian Forest and the inhabitants of the African Savanna — elephants, gazelles, giraffes, lions and more.
The Pittsburgh zoo works hard to conserve natural resources and to create research projects supporting the preservation of species in the wild. In keeping with that mission, three Amur tiger cubs were born at the zoo in September, 2010 and are thriving.
One of the newer additions to the zoo is the PPG Aquarium, completed in 2000. Peek through the glass to get an up close look at sharks, sting rays and other animals including turtles and a Giant Pacific Octopus as they swim around their watery home. Be sure to visit the penguins, always a crowd favorite for their antics in and out of the water.
Both children and adults will love the newest addition to the popular zoo: Water’s Edge, which features sea otters, sharks and frolicking polar bears. Visit the charming fishing village created to accommodate the bears, and if you are lucky enough to arrive at feeding time, you can catch the water ballet of polar bears swimming over your heads in the viewing tunnels.
Entertaining monkeys, apes and other primates await you in the Tropical Forest. The Gorillas can often be found sitting near the viewing windows, allowing visitors to make eye contact with the fierce creatures.
And what zoo would be complete without bears? The zoo’s resident bears make their home in the oldest section of the zoo, where they have lived in the rocky hillside environment for years. Children can always be found waiting patiently across the moat in hot weather to see if the bears will dive into the pool to cool off, a favorite way to end a fun day at the zoo.