Road Trip Guide: Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium

Moja, left, an African elephant, and her two daughters, Zuri and Victoria, were all born at the Pittsburgh Zoo.
Moja, left, an African elephant, and her two daughters, Zuri and Victoria, were all born at the Pittsburgh Zoo. AP file photo

Zebras are back and tortoises have arrived at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium for summer 2014.

Zebras were once among the most popular animals at Pittsburgh Zoo, at 7340 Butler St. in the city. But the popular park, www.pittsburghzoo.com, has been without the African creatures for seven years. Tracy Gray, public relations manager, said the zoo brought in a pair for this tourist season.

“They were among our visitors’ favorites,” Gray said.

“People just loved seeing them. They’re active, mingling with the giraffes.”

Active does not describe the zoo’s other new attraction. But Gray said the animals are likely to be a favorite among visitors.

“This is the first time we’ve had the Galapagos tortoises,” she said. “They’re huge, and very interesting.”

The Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium is along Route 130 west, off I-376 (Parkway East) in the city’s Oakland district.

Walk with the animals ...

The animal park is sectioned off in these regions:

•  Kids Kingdom, perfect for youngsters to see everything from an alligator to river otters to kangaroos. The kingdom offers sea lion shows twice a day.

•  Water’s Edge, in which tunnels take visitors beneath the tanks, where polar bears and sand tiger sharks swim.

•  PPG Aquarium, with species including octopus, squid, penguins, sea horses and stingrays.

•  Asian Forest, with snow leopards, red panda, komodo dragons and Amur tigers.

•  African Savanna, where the zebras share the spotlight with lions, elephants, gazelles and an ostrich.

•  Tropical Forest, which puts visitors in the company of monkeys, lemurs, sloths, orangutans and gorillas, among other animals.

Some areas of the zoo offer interactive experiences, including petting areas with goats and deer and a time for pictures with elephants, although you must schedule ahead to meet the pachyderms.

“That’s a great opportunity for people to get close-up and get pictures with the animals,” Gray said.

While you’re there ...


June 14-22:

Eat’n Park Family Week. Each day will highlight different animals throughout the zoo with fun activities, animal encounters, mascots and live entertainment.


July 12:

Macy’s Baby Day. Entertainment, games and crafts for the “little ones.”


July 25:

Unmask the Wild! Summer Safari. Food from regional restaurants and live entertainment.


Aug. 16-29:

UPMC Summer Kids’ Zoofari. Kids can ask the experts about their favorite animals, with theme days and activities.