World of Oceans is the newest seasonal theme for the one and only National Aviary, located on Pittsburgh’s North Side. It’s designed to highlight the fascinating lives of water birds, such as flamingos and penguins, through new daily programs, many of which are included with admission, and new play spaces.
“Each new season is like a whole different National Aviary visit! This summer’s theme, World of Oceans, shines through in experiences like Wonderful Waterbirds, where you can get closer than ever before to an American flamingo in our state-of-the-art theater, and our exciting new interactive play spaces where your drawings come to life. Combined with fun ocean-themed décor, music, and signage throughout the Aviary, World of Oceans feels like a seaside vacation right here in Pittsburgh, ”said National Aviary spokes woman Molly Toth. “Experiences like these offer the chance to learn about the importance of oceans for wildlife and for people. During their visit, people will come to understand that we can all play a role in keeping oceans clean and healthy and supporting life all over the planet. ”
Along with a chance to see all the water birds, there is a new interactive play space that encourages visitors to waddle, walk, and hop. As visitors move across the Dynamic Floor, underwater creatures respond to their movements.
At another play space called Draw Alive, people can sketch or draw their own sea creatures or birds. Then, scan their art, and the drawing shows up on a large screen as an animation within an ocean scene.
“These interactive play spaces are really dynamic and engaging. Kids will obviously love them, but they are fun for adults, too,” Toth said.
As the National Aviary celebrates its 70th anniversary, visitors can head to the Tropical Rainforest, its oldest habitat, for a special feeding. This habitat is home to more than 30 bird species and plants such as cacao and coffee.
Experts will highlight waterfowl and other water birds like egrets that live in this free-flight room. Birds land up close to visitors during feedings, and friendly Aviary team members will point out different birds as they come by and answer guest questions.
Visitors can meet the colony of African Penguins during mealtime in Penguin Point. There are twice-daily feedings with experts giving educational talks. The National Aviary is the leader of Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s SAFE (Saving Animals From Extinction) program for African Penguins, an international collaboration working to protect this species, which is endangered in the wild.
“As our staff are feeding the penguins, you get to hear about the special adaptations — like webbed feet and waterproof feathers — that penguins have that make them perfectly suited for life in the oceans,” Toth said. and learn about the members of the colony as individuals, visitors learn how simple actions like choosing sustainably sourced seafood and using fewer plastic products, can make a big difference for penguin species around the world. ”
Visitors can dive deeper in the world of penguins and support the National Aviary’s work to save birds and protect their habitats with a private Animal Encounter. The Aviary offers Penguin Encounters and Jr. Penguin Encounters year-round and Private Penguin Feedings through November. more information about Animal Encounters, including sloth, owl and falcon encounters, is available at aviary.org.
Beginning with the launch of World of Oceans, the Aviary will be open seven days a week, 10 am to 5 pm The theme runs Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.
Admission is $ 17.95 for adults, $ 16.95 for seniors and $ 14.95 for children. Visitors ages 2 and younger are free.
Annual memberships are also available. People can put their daily admission toward a membership. More information is available at aviary.org..
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