An Honest Review of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

by Crystal Carder

I received complimentary tickets for posting this review. All opinions are my own.

School is almost out for the year and I couldn’t be more ready to get on with summer. I’m so ready for vacations and fun, that I couldn’t wait for our son’s school to take a field trip to the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium over Memorial Day weekend.

Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium are literally one of my family’s favorite places to go to in Pittsburgh! The zoo has been a place I’ve visited since I was a kid and I’ve made many great memories there. While our visit came at the start of the zoo’s busy season, we still had such a great time visiting that I can’t wait to go back again! If you’ve never been the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, you definitely should start planning your visit for this summer!

PPG Aquarium and Pittsburgh Zoo

Our Experience at the Pittsburgh Zoo

A day at the zoo with little ones is always so much fun! During our time at the Pittsburgh Zoo, we got to see some of our favorite animals up close and watch them in their habitats. Since the zoo is laid out in sections by country, it’s really easy to find out what animals you should be seeing and learn where all of your favorite animal species come from. We loved walking through the African Safari because that is where the giraffes, elephants, and zebras are.

Elephants in the African Safari at Pittsburgh Zoo

The zoo has done an amazing job making it easier for everyone to peak at all their favorite animals and they now offer more than just one viewing area for the zoo’s most-watched species including the gorillas.

Jungle Exhibit at Pittsburgh Zoo

There are so many animals to see at the zoo, but one of my favorite areas to walk through was actually one of the newest additions to the zoo in 2015 – The Islands.

Islands at the Pittsburgh Zoo

The Islands is this really cool 22,000 square-foot exhibit that has endangered species. Most of these animals are outside and you can get extremely close to them. Some the animals even have warning signs, like the one below, to keep you from getting sprayed because you’re literally that close! 

Splatter Zone in the Islands at Pittsburgh Zoo

If you’re visiting the zoo with kids, the zoo also has some really fun activities to keep antsy kids from getting bored. In fact, that’s one of the reasons Pittsburgh Zoo was rated one of the top children’s zoos in the country!

Kids Kingdom slides at Pittsburgh Zoo

Kids Kingdom should be one of the last places you visit at the zoo because once you visit, your children won’t want to leave there! Kids Kingdom offers fun play areas with slides, a petting zoo, and a close look at animals kids love.

Our family spent hours looking at the different animals inside the Pittsburgh Zoo! Even though it was a busy day, we still got to spend plenty of time watching all of the animals that we wanted to. We even got to spend some time watching the 1-year old gorilla, named Frankie, play outside.

PPG Aquarium Experience

As a kid, one of my favorite things about visiting the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium was the aquarium itself. The PPG Aquarium is located inside of the Pittsburgh Zoo and offers an array of aquatic species from every watery habitat on Earth.

looking inside PPG Aquarium and Pittsburgh Zoo

Inside the aquarium, you can find all things from sharks to penguins to clownfish.

While the aquarium isn’t as big as some, it is a great place to introduce children to the aquatic life. Plus, the zoo and aquarium are always planning new and exciting events. Every winter, the aquarium even marches the penguins in a parade outside in the chilly Pittsburgh weather. 

We had such a fun time visiting the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium this year! While things have changed slightly since our 2017 visit, we love all that the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium have to offer. Whether you’re looking for something to do or a unique learning experience, you can find it all at the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium.

Things to Know Before Your Visit to the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Before you plan your visit to the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, there are a few things that are nice to know including:

  • You are allowed to bring in your own snacks and drinks.
  • The zoo opens at 9:30 am during the summer and 9 am the rest of the year.
  • Walking at the zoo is a bit hilly, no steep climbs, but it is not flat walking.
  • You can rent wheelchairs, strollers, and scooters at the zoo, but it is best to reserve them ahead of time during the zoo’s busy season.
  • The zoo and aquarium are extremely kid-friendly and there are multiple play areas for children.
  • Parking at the zoo is free and there is plenty of parking.
  • Ticket price includes both the zoo and the aquarium. You can’t purchase one without the other.
  • You can add-on fun experiences like meeting a giraffe or ziplining to your visit.
  • The aquarium does have some shark, but they are not big sharks.

I hope this post helps you plan your visit to the zoo and aquarium. For more travel guides and tips, check out my adventure section.

To learn more about the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, visit the zoo’s  website and/or follow the zoo on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Youtube, and Twitter.

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An Honest Review of Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium

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Angela May 30, 2019 - 4:48 pm

You all look as though you’re having a great time. Great shot of the elephants. They’re such amazing creatures.

Stephanie Stebbins May 30, 2019 - 6:22 pm

I love the zoo. It’s such a great adventure for the kids! That splatter zone sign cracked me up! I haven’t been to the one in Pittsburgh but will plan to visit the next time I make it up there. So fun!

Chad May 30, 2019 - 6:25 pm

This definitely seems like an amazing Zoo to check out. Thanks a lot for the review, i will check it out next time i am around.

Kate Murray May 30, 2019 - 7:22 pm

Great article…Never knew you could zipline at the zoo! Watch out Philly Zoo, we might be going to Pittsburgh this year (we live in between!)

Crystal Carder May 31, 2019 - 12:38 pm

Haha! Philly has some catching up to do (just joking). I’ve never been to Philly Zoo, but the new zipline at Pittsburgh looks like a ton of fun!

Alexandra May 30, 2019 - 8:09 pm

I am traveling to San Diego this summer and will be visiting the San Diego Zoo. I also have family and friends in Altoona, so I already know where I wanna go if I visit!

Crystal Carder May 31, 2019 - 12:37 pm

I LOVE Altoona! You have to visit the zoo if you come in for a visit, not sure how it compares to the San Diego Zoo, but on the east coast, the Pittsburgh Zoo is pretty amazing!

Lydia Smith May 31, 2019 - 2:32 am

I have always want to visit the zoo with my kids and you just motivated me. The zoo looks really nice and my kids will love it. Nice reviews.

Crystal Carder May 31, 2019 - 12:36 pm

Thank you, the zoo is a great place to visit with kids!

Lala May 31, 2019 - 7:05 am

I love going to the Zoo. This year I’m planning to visit an aquarium here in my country. It’s my first experience, but I’m excited to go there. Hope one day I can come to this Zoo too.

Crystal Carder May 31, 2019 - 12:31 pm

I hope you have a great time visiting your aquarium!

Catherine Santiago Jose May 31, 2019 - 9:35 am

Sounds like everyone of you are having a great time exploring this place. It so nice to see a place where you can learn while having fun.

Crystal Carder May 31, 2019 - 12:29 pm

Yes it is! We love places that are fun with an educational side!

twinspirationalparties May 31, 2019 - 10:26 am

Looks like a very nice zoo to visitm kids would definitely love it here. Thanks for the recommendation.

Fatima Torres May 31, 2019 - 3:59 pm

I love that they have a dual attraction center. The idea of having both an aquarium and a zoo makes the trip even more exciting.

Mavs Escala May 31, 2019 - 8:32 pm

If I am going to bring my kid outside, it’s going to be at the zoo!

Nina Cochingco June 1, 2019 - 3:26 am

So nice to see places like this. Even if it is for kids in particular. It is still entertaining for adults too sometimes. Lmao.

Jackline A June 1, 2019 - 5:39 am

I love the zoo and hoping to visit our local zoo this summer with my daughter. Your family and you looked like you had a great time.

Kalyan Panja June 1, 2019 - 9:18 am

I would love to spend a day in the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium as I love watching the exotic fishes. Thanks for sharing about your experience.

Alexandra Pilo-Torrijos June 1, 2019 - 9:39 am

This looks like a great zoo. I love that it has an area for the kids to play as well

Nelly June 1, 2019 - 2:02 pm

I love love love zoos. I never went to this one, thanks for reminding me how much I love animals

Christopher Mitchell June 1, 2019 - 5:45 pm

I may actually be in Pittsburgh before the end of the summer, so I’ll keep this in mind!

Samar June 1, 2019 - 9:15 pm

Been there to this zoo, and the experience was really mind blowing.


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