Education can be lots of fun – just don’t tell the kids that! If you’re looking for a family outing in Pittsburgh, PA, drop by the PPG Aquarium.
One of our favorite places to go visit is the Pittsburgh Zoo, home of the PPG Aquarium. First built in 1967, it was renovated in 2000, and now boasts a 45,000 square foot, two-story aquarium featuring several aquatic habitats. I love how it’s set up, because you feel like you’ve got the best seat in the house – like you’re looking right into the ponds, rivers, streams, and oceans that the creatures came from.
As you walk through the aquarium, you’re totally immersed in an underwater world. Many of the exhibits are open-topped, complete with running water falls, fish splashing just on the surface, and the perfect amount of lighting to make you feel like you are part of the habitat.
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One of the most amazing aspects of this aquarium is a water tunnel you can walk through. Imagine enormous sand tiger sharks that swim alongside you as you walk by – that’s exactly what happens at PPG Aquarium. To be that close to such a magnificent, but dangerous, creature is an experience that will simultaneously give you chills and amaze kids of any age. There’s also another water tunnel that connects to the polar bear exhibit outside; when it’s open, you can watch the polar bears take a dip, play with toys, or grab their dinner.
There’s no risk of boredom here. Showcasing a spectrum of colors and species, the aquarium also has two-story cylindrical saltwater tank that contains sharks and other large fish from around the world. Just pull up a chair and be prepared to sit astounded for hours.
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Many of the exhibits in the PPG Aquarium contain native Pennsylvania fish, which is interesting to those of us who live here. It’s wonderful to get a fish-eye view of what’s living in our waters.
Another amazing exhibit you need to stop at within the aquarium is the penguin exhibit. Everyone loves the penguins and their antics! Kids and adults alike will be delighted watching the penguins swim, play, eat, and chase each other beneath the water’s surface.
There are too many species of fish contained within those walls to touch on all of them, but suffice to say I would recommend the PPG Aquarium to anyone. It’s open almost every day (closing only on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day), and prices are reasonable: Adult tickets are $16; Seniors are $15; Children ages 2-13 are $14; and Children under 24 months are free (and parking is also free).
If you ever find yourself in Pittsburgh, stop by and see the PPG Aquarium – I’ll see you there!
Summer Davis is the mom of three kids, four dogs, and several tanks of fish. She boasts a passion for all animals, whether they are in the water or on land. This fish aficionado has kept many different species in her time, but holds a special place in her heart for wild and domestic bettas. When she’s not talking about fish, Summer “spins” her extra time as the director of a baton twirling organization.