The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is a 77-acre facility with thousands of animals from around the world, representing hundreds of animal species. Many of the animals at this zoo are a part of national Species Survival Plans, and 22 of the species in the zoo are endangered or threatened. This zoo is also one of just six facilities in the entire United States that is a combination zoo and aquarium.
The animals at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium are kept in habitats that closely mimic their natural surroundings. These enclosures are separated into a number of areas, depending on where the animals live in real life. The African Savanna is one of the most popular areas, as it is home to lions, rhinos, giraffes, zebras, and other animals. Most popular in this exhibit, however, is the African elephant herd, which lives on 16 acres and includes two young elephants that were born in 2008.
Nearby, guests will find the Asian Forest, which has snow leopards, tigers, Komodo dragons, and other animals, and the zoo is also home to an African Ravine habitat, which has a family of painted dogs. Another exhibit beloved by guests is the Tropical Forest Complex, an indoor rainforest that is home to nearly 100 primates including orangutans, tamarins, and western lowland gorillas. This rain forest environment has over a150 different plant species.
In 2000, the zoo opened the PPG Aquarium, which has the theme "Diversity of Water.'' These state of the art exhibits feature a number of unique animals in interactive and up-close experiences. There is a two-story shark tank, a tunnel through the stingray tank for guests, and a revolving tank, which is the first of its kind in the United States. Some of the other animals featured at the aquarium include giant octopuses, jellyfish, penguins, sea horses, and electric eels. An exhibit called Water's Edge connects the aquarium to the rest of the zoo. This exhibit houses polar bears, sea otters, and other animals, which visitors can view from two underwater tunnels and 10 different windows above the surface.
For children, the zoo has an area called Kids Kingdom, which is ranked as one of the top three children's zoos in the United States. The area is a learning environment, with mole-rates, reptiles, bats, deer, sea lions, birds, and many other animals. This area also has a smaller walk-through aquarium and a meerkat exhibit with viewing bubbles that allow guests to come up and inside the animals' tunnels.
Located in downtown Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium has admission rates of $10 to $12 during the summer and $8 to $9 in the winter. From Memorial Day to Labor day, the zoo is open from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, with the last admission at 4:30 PM. During the rest of the year, hours are slightly limited, and some of the animals may not be available for viewing during the cold winters. For more information, guests can call 412-665-3640 to talk to a zoo staff member.