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Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium
Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium logo.svg
Date opened June 14, 1898
Location 1 Wild Place, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 15206 USA (in Highland Park)
Land area 77 acres (310,000 m2)
Number of animals Over 4,000
Number of species 475
Memberships AZA
Major exhibits Asian Forest, African Savannah, Tropical Forest, Bears, African Ravine, PPG Aquarium, Water's Edge, Kids Kingdom, Worlds of Discovery

The Pittsburgh Zoo is one of only six major zoo and aquarium combinations in the United States. Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's Highland Park, the zoo sits on 77 acres (310,000 m2) of park land where it exhibits over 4,000 animals representing 475 species, over 70 of which are threatened or endangered. The zoo also participates in 64 Species Survival Plans.



The Pittsburgh Zoo opened on June 14, 1898. It added a children's zoo in 1949, and the aquarium center (now the PPG Aquarium) was added in 1967. The PPG Aquarium was the second largest in the country and the only public aquarium in Pennsylvania at the time. This is one of the few zoos with an outdoor elevator and escalator. The elevators were installed in 1898 by the Westinghouse elevator company and were modernized several times in the 1980s. They were modernized by Montgomery the same time the escalators were installed. The elevators were modernized an additional time in 1994 by the Schindler elevator company.

The zoo has added several new features in the last generation, included among these is the Asian Forest (1983), the 16-acre (65,000 m2) African Savanna (1987), and the 5-acre (20,000 m2) indoor rainforest Tropical Forest(1991), which won many awards when it opened.

The sea lion exhibit in the Kids Kingdom section of the Pittsburgh Zoo.

Kid's Kingdom

Featured animals include:

Eastern Grey Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus)

Seba’s Short-Tailed Bat (Carollia perspicillata)

North American Beaver (Castor canadensis)

Naked Mole Rat (Heterocephalus glaber)

Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis)

North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis)

Meerkat (Suricata suricatta)

California Sea Lion (Zalophus californianus)

Llama (Lama glama)

Dromedary (Camelus dromedarius)

White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus)

Wild Goat (Capra aegagrus)

Domestic Sheep (Ovis aries)

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)

Barn Owl (Tyto alba)

Silvery-Cheeked Hornbill (Bycanistes brevis)

Spotted Python (Antaresia maculosa)

Milk Snake (Lampropeltis triangulum)

Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix)

South American Rattlesnake (Crotalus durissus)

Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)

Central Bearded Dragon (Pogona vitticeps)

Madagascar Day Gecko (Phelsuma madagascariensis)

Gila Monster (Heloderma suspectum)

Beaded Lizard (Heloderma horridum)

American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)

Colorado River Toad (Bufo alvarius)

Chongololo (Archispirostreptus gigas)

Emperor Scorpion (Pandinus imperator)

Mexican Redknee Tarantula (Brachypelma smithi)

PPG Aquarium

Pennsylvania Waters Exhibit - a river exhibit that flows along the front of the new building, with waterfalls descending into a pool of North American fish from the region.

Open Ocean Tank - a two-story, 100,000 gallon tank that combines sharks, fish, and simulated coral to resemble a more diverse and complete ecosystem.

Amazon Rainforest Exhibit - a two-story recreation of a flooded Amazon rainforest, including lush plant life, piranhas and huge South American pacu.

Two Oceans- a cold water marine exhibit featuring a uniquely shaped window that allows visitors to view fish swimming above and alongside them.

Stingray Tunnel - a unique educational exhibit where children can crawl through a clear tunnel to view stingrays swimming above and alongside them.

Featured animals include:

King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus)

Gentoo Penguin (Pygoscelis papua)

Macaroni Penguin (Eudyptes chrysolophus)

Yellow-Spotted River Turtle (Podocnemis unifilis)

Zebra Shark (Stegostoma fasciatum)

Blacktip Reef Shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus)

Bonnethead (Sphyrna tiburo)

Xingu River Ray (Potamotrygon leopoldi)

Yellow Stingray (Urobatis jamaicensis)

Longnose Gar (Lepisosteus osseus)

Arapaima (Arapaima gigas)

Red-Bellied Piranha (Pygocentrus nattereri)

Glass Catfish (Kryptopterus minor)

Redtail Catfish (Phractocephalus hemioliopterus)

Electric Eel (Electrophorus electricus)

Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis)

Big-Belly Seahorse (Hippocampus abdominalis)

Leafy Sea Dragon (Phycodurus eques)

Weedy Sea Dragon (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus)

Common Creek Chub (Semotilus atromaculatus)

Greenside Darter (Etheostoma blennioides)

Banded Archerfish (Toxotes jaculatrix)

Heckel Discus (Symphysodon discus)

Staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis)

Moon Jelly (Aurelia aurita)

Common Cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis)

North Pacific Giant Octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini)

Spotted Spiny Lobster (Panulirus guttatus)

Asian Forest

Tiger (Panthera tigris)

Leopard (Panthera pardus)

Snow Leopard (Uncia uncia)

Reeves’s Muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi)

Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)

Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis)

Tropical Forest

Ring-Tailed Lemur (Lemur catta)

Black-and-White Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata)

Black Howler (Alouatta caraya)

White-Faced Saki (Pithecia pithecia)

Cottontop Tamarin (Saguinus oedipus)

Diana Monkey (Cercopithecus diana)

Mandrill (Mandrillus sphinx)

Angola Colobus (Colobus angolensis)

Black Crested Gibbon (Nomascus concolor)

Western Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla)

Bornean Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus)

Hoffmann’s Two-Toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni)

Poison Dart Frog (Family Dendrobatidae)

African Savanna

African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus)

Lion (Panthera leo)

African Bush Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

Plains Zebra (Equus quagga)

Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis)

Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis)

Springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis)

Dama Gazelle (Nanger dama)

Thomson's Gazelle (Eudorcas thomsoni)

Ostrich (Struthio camelus)

Dwarf Crocodile (Osteolaemus tetraspis)


Brown Bear (Ursus arctos)

American Black Bear (Ursus americanus)

Spectacled Bear (Tremarctos ornatus)

Water's Edge

When Water's Edge is completed this spring, sea otters and walruses will join the polar bears in Pier Town, a replica of a coastal fishing village. The exhibit will provide visitors with cultural and conservation messages through interactive props such as a seafood market, a cannery, a fishing boat, and a utility company. Designed to be inspiring and thrilling, Water's Edge will bring visitors and animals together for up-close and personal encounters.

Featured animals include:

Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus)

Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris)

Grey Nurse Shark (Carcharias taurus)

Breeding achievements

On September 12, 1999, one of the Zoo's female African elephants, Moja, successfully gave birth to a female calf, later named Victoria. This was a major feat for the Zoo, because Victoria was the first African elephant to be born and survive in North America since 1982. Also, she was the first to be born to a captive-born mother. A second calf, a male named Callee, was born to another female named Savannah almost exactly one year later on September 19, 2000. The father of both of these calves is a bull named Jackson, who is currently the only male African breeding naturally in North America. Both Moja and Savannah became pregnant again in 2006. On July 9, 2008 Savannah gave birth to a female calf named Angelina. Moja gave birth to a female as well on July 25, 2008. This calf has been named Zuri.

Recently, on August 8, 2006 the Zoo's female Amur tiger, Toma, gave birth to a litter of three cubs. This is also a major accomplishment because Amurs are critically endangered, and every successful litter counts a great deal. Although one of the cubs died of a heart defect in September, the other two are healthy and doing well; their future looks very bright. The surviving cubs are a male named Petya and a female named Mara.

Another Amur tiger cub was born to Toma on May 11, 2008. The male cub had been taken from his mother because Toma was not being very attentive to him. Handlers later determined that it is most likely because Toma is not producing enough milk, if any at all. On September 12, 2008 the baby cub was named after Billy Ray Cyrus, the famous Country music, and television star. Zoo representatives said the donors who paid to name the cub “Billy Ray” wanted to honor a late family member who was a big Cyrus fan.

Billy Ray will likely grow up to be about 11-feet-long and weigh 450 pounds, according to the zoo.

On June 13th 2009 a baby sea lion was born. And other recent birthes include two North American river otters and a pair of baby beavers.

Accidental deaths and injuries

On November 19, 2002, elephant keeper Mike Gatti was killed by one of the zoo's elephants.[1] Gatti, 46, was killed while attempting to encourage the elephant to move to a different part of her enclosure.[1] She butted him with her head, crushing him against the ground and killing him instantly.[1] This was the first and only instance of a human fatality at the zoo.[1]

Future projects


  1. ^ a b c d Belser, Ann, and Marylynne Pitz. "Elephant kills keeper at Pittsburgh zoo", the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, published November 19, 2002, accessed December 26, 2007.

External links

Coordinates: 40°29′02″N 79°55′05″W / 40.484°N 79.918°W / 40.484; -79.918



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