No matter what city we travel to, I always want to see what activities there are for the family. We happened to be in Pittsburgh last month and the weather was beautiful for a few days we were there. When I say beautiful I mean not crazy hot like South Florida. I was able to wear SLEEVES!!! Do you know how excited that makes me?
I volunteered to take the boys cousins to The Pittsburgh Zoo while the adults were doing other adult things. If we had more time, I would have explored a few more attractions while we were in the city. I’m planning out a few for this summer.
Just like when we go to Disney, Haven has to grab a map and plan out where we are going. It’s one of my favorite things. I love that he enjoys maps and planning as much as I do. We also save a few maps to bring home. It’s fun to find them a few months down the road, look at them and talk about our favorite parts of the day. It’s an easy and FREE souvenir.
I love watching the boys experience new animals and attractions that we don’t have at our local zoo. Even the animals we do have at home, seeing them in a different environment or a little closer made the experiences completely different.
The Pittsburgh Zoo has a great play area for kids, even younger kids to enjoy. While most parents stayed at the bottom of the slide, I did appreciate that I was able to climb up and keep a closer eye on the boys. This was closer to the end of the park, but we did it as one of the first activities. To get some of the energy out so they could enjoy walking around the park instead of running ahead of me. We could have easily stayed in this area for much longer than we did but I wanted to make sure we could see everything in a few hours.
With all of the running and playing the kids asked for a snack very quickly into the day. In all honestly, I didn’t pack enough. I do like that you can bring in food with you and it’s such a money saver.
Tip #1 – Take your own food and drinks.
I will say that most of the snack bars were CLOSED!!! Which was no good because we wanted drinks and the vending machines only took coins. So I had four thirsty kids, no change and broken water fountains.
There is something relaxing about being able to watch animals underwater. I did love that they had seals and otters that we could watch up close. There was a little stadium area where you could sit and enjoy a snack (if you plan ahead) instead of just sitting at picnic tables… you can watch some of the animals.
Tip #2 – Take Your Lunch to Sea Otter Cove or the Polar Bears and enjoy in the shade while watching the animals.
Tip # 3 – Take a group picture under the water.
I was in awe of this underwater hallway. I’m sure taking your family picture might be easier than with four excited kids… but the color under there is awesome.
Tip #4 – Wear comfortable shoes. Think hills and hills and hills.
This girl is spoiled with flat Florida land. I can walk all the Disney parks in one day and not work my legs as much as here. Of course if you live in a place with hills, you are probably accustomed to it. Me. Not so much.
I will say there were some parts of the Zoo that reminded me a lot of Animal Kingdom, only much less crowded.
If you do choose to eat lunch there your only option (at least when we were there) was Jambo Grill. Again, this has a huge Animal Kingdom vibe. The prices for lunch were about $10 for the kids and $15 for adults, and you are getting a quick service meal.
While not impressed with the food, the views were amazing. I will say it’s not everyday you can enjoy lunch while sitting across from a giraffe.
There was another play area behind the Jambo Grill that reminded me a lot of Florida.
The kids took their shoes off and loved playing in the sand while I was able to relax a little and check to see how we were doing on time.
It wasn’t like beach sand but more like dirt. Take wet wipes to clean the kids up after this. or maybe a change of clothes if you are going somewhere after. This sand left them dirty. But remember, dirty kids are happy kids.
Tip #5 – Save time for the Aquarium.
In case you are wondering the Zoo and Aquarium could be an all day adventure. Open to close. While the aquarium doesn’t take as long, I wish we had more time to experience it. They were closing soon and we had to zip through the aquarium to try and see everything.
My absolute favorite part were the penguins. I don’t think I’ve been this close to a penguin since I was the boys age, and even then I’m not sure if that is a real memory or not. 🙂
I completely fan girled out at this exhibit and had to be pulled away by the kids.
Fair warning. There is a Dippin’ Dots on the way out of the park, and after a long day… they will be able to convince you it’s a good idea. Just go ahead and budget it in. You’ve already had a great day… celebrate it.