Pittsburgh's National Aviary in the North Side is a unique place to visit, there is no doubt about that. It is the country's largest Aviary and is also the only one to be recognized by Congress.
With over 600 animals from roughly 200 species, this one has something for everyone. Throw in the public feedings that take place throughout the day and you have one spot worth coming back to time and time again.
Large Habitat Rooms to Explore
One of the features about the National Aviary that we love is that there are several large habitat rooms for you to explore where the birds are allowed to fly free in an area that mimics the birds' natural environments.
The Tropical Rainforest is a hot and humid enclosure which features exotic birds from the world's diminishing rainforests and includes various macaws, Victoria crowned pigeons, and palm cockatoos.
The diverse Wetlands exhibit includes an array of large birds, like the brown pelican and American flamingo, to many smaller varieties including blue-winged mountain tanager, golden-breasted starlings, and many more.
The small Grasslands exhibit include some of the world's tiniest birds and is home to many finches and sparrows (as well as the occasional mouse- don't be afraid but watch where you step!).
It is one thing to look at a gorgeous bird on the other side of a cage or through a glass enclosure, but being up close and in the bird's natural environment is a better experience altogether- both for visitors like us and the birds themselves.
Plan to Visit for the Shows
Although we thoroughly enjoy visiting the Aviary just to explore the themed habitat rooms above, you would be wise to plan your visit around a few of the daily shows and feedings that are scheduled for guests (which are posted each and every day on the Aviary's website).
The shows at the Aviary include a bird of prey show on the roof-top SkyDeck, informational shows in the theater about the unique birds that call the Aviary home, and many live feeding sessions for the penguins, parakeets, bats, and, for 2016 at least, the baby sloth just to name a few!
As the Aviary has live shows and feedings scheduled roughly every 30 minutes each and every day, you will be able to enjoy several during a visit; however, if you have your heart set on witnessing one in particular (which for us on our latest visit was the baby sloth feeding) you'll definitely want to plan in advance as individual feedings may be limited to once or twice per day at most.
Overall, the National Aviary in the North Side lives up to its reputation as being the country's premier collection of birds and is the perfect day out for those looking for something just a bit different from the Pittsburgh zoo.
The National Aviary is located at 700 Arch Street in the North Side and is open seven days a week (but is closed on select holidays).
For more animal experiences in Pittsburgh, check out the Pittsburgh zoo!
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