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No Fear Of Flying American National Aviary: Pittsburgh, PA

Trivia question: Where is the American National Aviary? (Yes, that’s birds).

Answer: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The former steel city is home to the country’s national bird collection. Actual living birds – 500 representing 150 different species from around the world, many endangered.

Education and preservation is the mission of this immersive zoo designed to place you close, really close, to feathered friends, small and large. The walk-through habitats are my favourite, creating an indoor tropical forest complete with waterfalls, perfect to visit in dry winters. Small birds swoop over-head demonstrating natural behaviours, while Great Argus Pheasants, Victorian Crowned Pigeons, and popular Ibis stroll along side you.

Added bonus: look up among the vines and see if you can spot Wookie, a Linnaeus’s Two-toed Sloth hanging out in this newly renovated habitat.

In other parts of the aviary, birds remain behind fences – for good reason. The collection of raptors and birds of prey in the Main Hall are incredible and I’ve never seen a Bald Eagle, with five-foot wing-span, so close before. If that isn’t impressive enough, nearby the Steller’s Sea Eagle represents the largest eagle species on the planet.

If you’re charmed by penguins (who isn’t?) the aviary is home to 20 African Penguins, waddling and waving in a circular exhibit complete with kids viewing tube, those bubble domes allowing little ones to pop their heads into the penguin action. Wheelchair (and stroller) accessible.

The National Aviary in Pittsburgh is open daily 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is $16 for adults, $14 for kids and children under 2 are free. The Amazing Amazon live birds show is extra.

Sherri Telenko is a Southern-Ontario based travel writer. Please check out her four-footed adventures at www.dogtrotting.net.

Sherri Telenko is a freelance writer and blogger living in Southern Ontario. Sign up for travel ideas at www.dogtrotting.net or follow her on twitter @SherriTelenko.


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