A Visit To The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium – Construction Update
When you think of wintertime activities, visiting the zoo may not be the first thing that comes to mind. While it might be a little cold, it’s one of the best times of the season to make a visit. Not only are the crowds and strollers lighter, but the animals are super active!
Yesterday, we made an impromptu visit to the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. We were not asked to report on the zoo or paid to endorse it on this visit, and did not receive comp passes. We are simply fans and patrons of the Pittsburgh Zoo and wanted to share with our readers about how wonderful of a zoo it is.
The zoo is offering several holiday-inspired activities such as lunch or dinner with Santa and the Penguins on Parade.
Literally every animal we stopped to see looked incredibly happy and super active! Even the elephants were out having a good time!
They must have given the gorillas a shot of 5 hour energy because they were really hyper, especially the babies!
All the monkeys were having fun!
The lions and tigers were posing perfectly for some nice snap shots!
It was really nice to experience the zoo during a the non-crowded off season. Not only did this create a more relaxing atmosphere for exploring, but it allowed us to have front row views of the animals and sea life!
Light crowds resulted in some great photo opportunities at the PPG Aquarium as well.
As always, the polar bear exhibit was exciting. We watched in awe as the polar bear swam, played with a giant ball, and roared! Check out the video!
The under water viewing area was very entertaining while they were playing!
The picnic and dining space including “The Islands” that surrounds the Jambo Grill was under construction for improvements. We will have to come back and check it out when construction is complete!
The new improvements of The Islands will offer visitors more seating, an improved ambiance, and greater accessibility of the space.
Despite the wintry Pittsburgh temperatures, many of the island natives who make their homes in these exhibits can still be observed. Siamangs, clouded leopards, and Visayan warty pigs all have cozy, heated indoor spaces with large viewing windows so visitors can watch as the animals play their way through the winter months in comfort.
Penguins on Parade is back again for the holidays. Watch the penguins strut their stuff along the pathway outside of the PPG Aquarium on Saturdays and Sundays at 11:30 a.m. throughout the winter months, weather permitting of course.
If you plan to make a holiday visit, we do want to point out that some animals are off exhibit until it warms up. The Galapagos tortoises, Philippine crocodiles, deer, kangaroos, beavers, and a few others were off exhibit until spring. These species need special accommodations during the colder months.
This was also our first visit to the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium’s first sit-down, full-casual restaurant, which opened this past summer. The inviting space features high ceilings, bamboo accents, and life-size animal murals. Guests can admire panoramic views of the giraffes, elephants, zebras, and cheetahs roaming the African Savanna from both the air-conditioned indoor and outdoor patio seating as you enjoy your meal. Of course it was cold during our December visit, so the heated restaurant felt fantastic!
We had a chicken club sandwich with fries as well as a chicken strip basket, kettle chips, and tried a pizza. Everything was fantastic and the chicken club may have been the best sandwich we ever had from any park! The special sauce was delicious!
Although we aren’t particularly fond of restaurants serving chips as the standard side dish, the homemade kettle cooked style chips were amazing! There were also a variety of other items available such as artisan carved sandwiches, fresh salads, hot dogs, burgers, fries and more.
The combination of the fresh food and all of the animals around made for a really great experience, even on a chilly day.
Although some exhibits were closed, we had an awesome day at the park. It’s one of the few times we made a unannounced visit for just that reason… to visit. If you haven’t yet, we highly suggest making an off-season visit, especially with these great events coming up!
For tickets and more information about the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, visit their official website by clicking here.
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