Best time to visit Pittsburgh, PA

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium in Pittsburgh, PA

Reserve a day for a personal encounter with each of the 6,000 beautiful animals residing here

Best time: all year round (best: late May–early September)

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
Flamingos at the Pittsburgh Zoo
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Spread across 77 ac (31 ha), Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is home to over 6,000 animals, featuring all sorts of wildlife from iconic African lions and flamingos to the world's largest species of rodents, tortoises, and lizards. In addition to the open areas, the indoor buildings include the PPG Aquarium, Tropical Forest Complex, and Worlds of Discovery. A winning combination of zoo and aquarium is not common in the USA—there're only six found throughout the country. And Pittsburgh's aquarium claims to be one of the best. You'll find the animals kingdom in Highland Park, 6 mi (10 km) from downtown Pittsburgh up the Allegheny River.

Summer, best time to visit

Pittsburgh Zoo is open all year, except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. However, each season offers a different experience and variable hours and prices (check "External Resources" below). The best time to explore the Zoo is Memorial Day through Labor Day, or late May to early September. During summer, you'll find all animals on exhibit, as well as all other attractions available, including daily UPMC Tram rides. Also, you benefit from the longest hours of operation, but the tickets are more expensive too. Meanwhile, fall, spring, and winter have limited operation and reduced admission. The indoor attractions operate without restrictions, regardless of the season.

Fall & spring

The weather conditions determine which wildlife are on exhibit in fall and spring. Most likely you'll be able to see only those animals that are comfortable in a cooler climate. Other wildlife might still be seen indoors or via windows. Additional tourist attractions such as gift shops, rides, or food stands depend on park attendance. UPMC Tram runs only on weekends until the end of September. Also, the last two weekends of October are dedicated to ZooBoo, a Halloween-themed event.


If you visit Pittsburgh Zoo in winter, expect warm-weather animals and reptiles to be off exhibit. Most attractions are closed. Nonetheless, the indoor viewing areas and windows allow some wildlife watching. But the major advantage of the cold period of the year is Penguins on Parade—these cutest waddlers make an appearance outside at noon every Saturday and Sunday from early December through mid-March. Another seasonal highlight is Zoo Lights Drive-Thru scheduled from late November to early January.

Now that you know the perks of every season, choose the date and visit this wonderful place that encompasses the entire world's fauna. The Zoo ensures that you'll make a lifelong connection with local residents.

Practical info

What is the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium visiting schedule?

Visitors can go to Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium any day, except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. The best time of the year to visit is between the last Monday of May and Labor Day, usually in early September. During the summer, all animals and attractions are available, but tickets may be more expensive, and hours shorter in other seasons. Show more

What happens during the Halloween-themed event at Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium?

The ZooBoo is a special event at Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium that is usually held on the last 2 weekends in October. ZooBoo offers a suite of activities and treats, including activity stations, treat stations, a haunted house, a costume contest, and a parade. Visitors willing to participate in the event must have ZooBoo tickets, which they can obtain on-site during the event. Show more

When is Penguins on Parade held in Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium?

Penguins on Parade takes place outdoors at Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium every weekend, Saturday and Sunday, from early December through mid-March, typically at noon. Recommended that attendees arrive a few minutes earlier for a better view of the penguins. Penguins on Parade enables visitors to see the penguins close up while learning interesting facts about the species. Show more

What winter attractions are closed in Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium?

Many animals, particularly warm-weather animals and reptiles, are off exhibit in the winter season, and most attractions are closed. However, indoor viewing areas and windows still provide an avenue for excellent wildlife watching. During winter, Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium features special events such as Penguins on Parade and Zoo Lights Drive-Thru, where visitors get to drive through the park and enjoy holiday lights from their cars. Show more

What indoor buildings can visitors explore in Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium?

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium boasts several indoor buildings, such as the Tropical Forest Complex, Worlds of Discovery, and PPG Aquarium. These buildings are home to an array of animals, including aquatic animals and tropical butterflies. Visitors can explore these indoor structures throughout the year, but outdoor exhibits are weather-dependent. Show more

External Resources

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