We all know that the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is a great place to take the family; but a national publication acknowledged it as well! In fact, Parents magazine recently named our zoo one of the top in the country for children! In its May 2009 edition, the magazine ranked the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium as the fourth best zoo in the country for kids.
With this in mind, we decided to take a look at some of the top reasons why our zoo is top-notch for the little ones!
Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
One of the main reasons that the Pittsburgh Zoo is so popular with kids is that an entire section of the zoo is actually devoted to children. Encompassing more than seven acres, “Kid’s Kingdom is the place where kids rule and learn what it’s like to be an animal by acting like one,” the zoo touts on its website. In addition to a petting zoo, this interactive children’s area features mammals, reptiles and animals native to Pennsylvania. From the sea lions to the reindeer, the alligators to the millipedes, there is sure to be an exhibit to interest just about any kid!
Though the meerkat exhibit is technically part of Kid’s Kingdom, it’s worth singling out as yet another big draw for the little ones. As part of this exhibit, kids are welcome to crawl through acrylic tunnels and pop their heads up in little bubbles – much like their mongoose-counterparts which burrow through complex tunnels. The exhibit gives kids a chance to get up close and personal with the funny-looking meerkats!
Child & Family Programs
From “Zoo Tots” to “the Animals of Harry Potter,” the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium offers a host of classes and educational programs in its Wildlife Academy for kids of all ages – and even their parents! There’s even a Winter Mini-Camp that uses “live animal visits, craft projects, songs, stories, learning stations, and Zoo tours” to teach kids aged 5 through 9 about “the beauty and magic of nature.” Older kids can get involved in “Keeper Conversations” and attend the hands-on Zoo U. to “explore new areas of science and conservation in a fun and exciting way!”
To learn more about all the child & family programs at the zoo, visit www.pittsburghzoo.org/Education/ChildAndFamilyPrograms
Maybe it’s because they can relate to their size; but little people sure do seem to love little animals (who doesn’t?!). The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium seems to always be welcoming new babies each year. In the last year alone, the zoo’s new additions include a sea lion pup, Amur tiger cubs, baby Springboks and a litter of African Painted Dogs!
Water’s Edge Exhibit
The Water’s Edge exhibit has been delighting zoo visitors of all ages since it opened in 2007. With its 30-foot-long underwater viewing tunnels, kids can get nose-to-nose with polar bears – and get great views of otters and even sharks!
Not every zoo is lucky enough to host an aquarium on-site; but that, of course, is the case at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. In addition to all the animals and exhibits in the zoo itself, the state-of-the-art PPG Aquarium features everything from penguins and piranhas to stingrays and sharks.
Combined with the zoo’s wide, stroller-friendly pathways, educational facilities, and refreshments, these are just a few of the reasons the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is such a hit with kids!