Sunday, May 1, 2011

In the Big City: National Aviary

I used to hate, and I do mean hate, birds.  I found them noisy, dirty, and frankly, a bit scary.  But, since taking up photography, I started seeing things, particularly things in nature, in a whole new light, and apparently, I now love birds.  Crazy, right?  With my newfound appreciation of birds inspiring me, I suggested to Hubby that we visit the National Aviary in Pittsburgh.  What a blast we had.

Doing a little research beforehand, we learned that the aviary has a free flight show called Wings.  We decided, when we paid our admission, to pay a few extra dollars for VIP seating, which paid off in the long run.  We had about an hour before that started, so we went to see some birds.

First we went to see the penguins, which are near and dear to my heart.  They were so cute, we went back to see them a little while later, when it was feeding time!


Next we went into the wetlands area. So many lovely birds here, and many of them would come right up to you. I took about a million pictures.


After this, we went for the penguin feeding, and then it was time for Wings. Unfortunately, photography was not permitted during the show. But I can tell you, it was amazing having the birds fly inches above us. Various birds from different locations were featured, to help teach us the importance of preserving the environments in which they live. I was selected as a volunteer for the gull portion of the show, and a gull came and took meat from a stick I was holding. It was amazing. We also got to see a bald eagle, which remained out after the show ended, so I did get a picture of him.

We decided to grab a bite to eat, and enjoy the on site cafe. Really great food at reasonable prices, by Bistro to Go. It was perfection.

Next up, we went to the tropical rain forest. As you can imagine, the birds were exotic and gorgeous. However, the lush vegetation made it hard to get good pictures.


Next up we visited the Lorries and friends. A wide variety of, well, interesting birds were in here.


Next up, we had the grasslands. To me, this was the most calming part of the whole place. It seemed brighter, more open, and I just loved it.


Finally, we finished up with the condors. It was extremely difficult to get pictures of them.

All in all, we had a simply amazing time at the aviary. Most major cities have zoos, but not many have aviaries, and we are fortunate to have such a great one in Pittsburgh. It was a great experience, well worth the admission price.

To see all my pictures from the Aviary go here.