By Heather Wampler
There is nothing worse than bored kids on a snowy day. It’s only 1 p.m. and they’ve already built a snowman, made snow angels and gone sledding. “MOM! I’M BORED!” is ringing through your once peaceful home. What is a mom (or dad) to do when the kids don’t want to sit around the house? What sort of place offers educational, yet fun things for the kiddos to do? Pittsburgh’s own National Aviary, of course!
Hours: Daily 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day; Open 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.
General Admission: Adult: $13, Child: $11, Senior: $12
All Day Pass: Adult: $45, Child: $43, Senior: $44
National Aviary members and visitors who are on active duty with the military enjoy unlimited, free admission year-round. Tickets for Wings!, Skydeck and Encounters are non-refundable and non-transferrable to a different day/time.
The Aviary offers a wide array of daily events to help keep the kids interested while they learn about the birds of the world. The activities start around 10:15 a.m. and continue throughout the day until 4 p.m. A lot of the different things are age sensitive. (I.e. ages 2-6, ages 7-12 and so on and so forth). The Daily Events are no additional charge and you can look online for the different activities and times at http://www.aviary.org/vis/daily.php
If you or the kids are feeling brave, you could always have an encounter with a bird. From Raptors to Flamingos to Penguins, you can get in there and get involved with birds you would otherwise never have a chance to know.
Information and Pricing:
Raptor Experience: Takes place from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. daily. Advance registration is required. The fee is $100 per person; $90 per person for National Aviary members. Price includes a photo CD of the experience. Open to ages 12 and up; ages 12-16 must be accompanied by a paying adult.
Flamingo Connection: Attendee must be at least 42″. Children 16 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Group size limited to four people. Tickets for Wings!, Skydeck and Connections are non-refundable and non-transferable to a different day/time. $30 / person and it does NOT include admission.
Penguin Connection: Attendee must be at least 42″. Children 16 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Group size limited to eight people. $30 / person and the price does NOT include admission.
Please call: (412) 258-9439 for more information.
If you do want your kids to learn while having fun, the Aviary does offer age appropriate educational programs. Preschool and kindergarten age children programs last about 30 minutes and are $8/child. Grades 1-4 last about 1 hour and depending on the program your child wants to participate in, it is either $8 or $9. Grades 5-8 last about 1 – 1 ½ hours and again depending on the program your child wants to do it is either $8 or $9. Grades 9 – 12 last anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours depending which program you would like to do and prices range from $8 – $11.
When you’re done feeding the Aviary’s birds, it’s time to feed your own little birds. One of my favorite places to go is Buca Di Beppo. They offer family-style dining, the food is delicious and the atmosphere is relaxed, which is wonderful for the kids.
Another great place is the Spaghetti Warehouse. The food is just phenomenal and I’ve been going there since I was a kid. Now, my boys love going to eat the ravioli and garlic bread. It’s a Pittsburgh staple and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.
If you’re really not in the mood for a sit down dinner, you can always hit McDonald’s or Wendy’s drive-thru on the way home. There are a ton of fast food joints in Pittsburgh.
Heather is a mom and blogger living in Pittsburgh with her husband and twin boys. You can find more of her writing at www.thepittsburghhousewife.wordpress.com.