- Mon: 10am-5pm
- Tue: 10am-5pm
- Wed: 10am-5pm
- Thu: 10am-5pm
- Fri: 10am-5pm
- Sat: 10am-5pm
- Sun: 10am-5pm
This zoo is for the birds -- literally. The National Aviary is the nation's only independent non-profit zoo solely dedicated to birds. Located on Pittsburgh's North Side, right in the middle of Allegheny Commons West Park, the aviary offers close-up encounters with birds from all over the world. Perfect for a day out with kids, children can listen to tropical birds squawk from the treetops, watch small, grassland birds zip by, and even witness penguins float over them from underground tunnels.
Parking and Public Transportation at the National Aviary
The aviary has its own personal lot, which cost between $5-$10 for non-members. The streets right outside also offer metered parking and some free parking with 1-2 hours limits, depending on the day. The North Side T subway station is about a half mile walk away and will take you to other North Side and Downtown destinations for free.
Best and Worst Time to go to The National Aviary
Most of the birds, including the penguins, are indoors, so seasons do not generally affect visitors. Weekends and summer time will be busier, because children are not in school, but the aviary hosts many field trips during the week, so generally, anytime to visit is as good as any other.
Admission to the National Aviary
General admission tickets cost $14-$20. Children (ages 2-12) are a couple bucks cheaper and seniors get a dollar discount. Children ages 2 and under are free.
Must See at the National Aviary
There is no doubt that the South African penguins are the aviary's main draw. Their rock and water filled exhibit is the largest and their interactions are the funniest. Also, you can then brag to everyone that you saw the namesakes for Pittsburgh's NHL Hockey Team, the Penguins.
Other places to visit near the National Aviary
The North Side is chock full of fun things to do, but since the aviary is a family friendly place, the suggestions will be in that vein. The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh is just two blocks away and offers great classes and exhibits catered towards learning and play. The Carnegie Science Center offers interactive exhibits and is also close by. Or take your kids to a ballgame and watch the Pirates play at PNC Park.
Insider tip for visitors to the National Aviary
If your kids continue to beg you to take them to the aviary to see the penguins, but you have already taken them every weekend for the last two months, there is a way to appease them. The aviary's website has a special penguin cam that broadcasts the antarctic birds doing their thing.
Author's bio: Ryan Deto, originally from California, has been exploring the streets of Pittsburgh for more than four years. He has been published in "LA Weekly" and has traveled to more than a dozen countries and more than 40 states throughout America.