The Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, revisited

I opened my email after a three-day hiatus from it, and was pleased to find a comment awaiting my approval today. The comment was in regard to an August 2006 post about the local zoo, comprised of a polite “thank you” and a request for link consideration.

I must admit that my critique of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium was straightforward and not entirely glowing with praise. I saw room for improvement while also seeing some truly well planned exhibits. Keep in mind that my opinion comes from having worked in a zoo and aquarium combination (Denver’s Ocean Journey, since then renamed Denver’s Downtown Aquarium.)

I applaud the Pittsburgh Zoo for its excellent promotion of two essential realities of a modern zoo: be a leader and a significant contributor to the conservation of endangered and threatened species; conduct research which supports and enhances the quality of animal and plant life, visitor experiences, education, and conservation.

The zoo was established in Pittsburgh in 1898, with an aquarium center addition in 1967; it was the first public aquarium in the state. Today the zoo sits on 77 acres, contains 475 species of animals and boasts over 4000 animals total. They have a successful breeding program with their Amur tigers as well as their African elephants.

The exhibits vary. 16 acres have been dedicated to the African Savanna, 5 acres to an indoor tropical rainforest. Water’s Edge, World of Discovery, and Kid’s Kingdom are equally as entertaining. The zoo offers Video Feeds online.

My husband, a marine biologist, will spend the entire day inside the PPG Aquarium, clinging to the glass in unintentional imitation of the starfish from “Nemo”, talking over his shoulder at the kiddies as he points out the interesting aspects of each fish. I was delighted with the PPG Aquarium; each display was perfect. As promised by their web site:

In June 2000, the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium celebrated the grand opening of its newest jewel, a 45,000-square-foot state-of-the-art aquarium. The $17.4 million facility flows with 380,000 gallons of salt and fresh water and houses more than 40 aquatic exhibits. It is Pennsylvania's only public aquarium and makes Pittsburgh one of only six zoos in the country to house a major aquarium. With the theme "Diversity of Water," the PPG Aquarium is home to more than 4,000
aquatic animals from around the world, including penguins, stingrays, jellyfish, an electric eel and thousands of exotic fish. The building includes a classroom for educational programs to help visitors further explore the "mysteries of the deep."

I do have one recollection that did not make it into my previous Zoo post: the gift shop. My memory of the action items is fuzzy, but I do remember how friendly the young women were as they rang up our purchase (a refrigerator magnet – my “tourist” obsession!)

I do encourage you to stop by the zoo if you are in the Pittsburgh area.

Current Zoo Admission Rates & Hours as of July 2008

Adult $12
Seniors (60 years of age or older) $11
Children (ages 2-13) $10
Children under 24 months Free
Parking Free
Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission Gates close at 4:30 p.m.

December 1 through March 31

Adult $9
Seniors (60 years of age or older) $8
Children (ages 2-13 years) $8
Children under 24 months Free
Parking Free

The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium homepage’s image is a screen shot displayed here for information purposes only. All rights to the homepage belong to the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.

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