This Saturday, Dave and I took Riley to the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. We had originally planned to go see the parade of penguins, but since the weather was unseasonably warm, it would have been dangerous for the penguins to be out walking. A bummer for sure, but the upside is that the weather made for a very nice zoo day!
We met with some friends around 11am and it was already packed. Dave and I grew up going to the Philadelphia Zoo, but this one is much smaller. There is both and upside and downside to this. The upside is that it is easily walkable and can be thoroughly explored in one day. The down side is that I feel the areas for the animals were very small by comparison, and couldn’t help feeling a little sad for them.
It took Riley a little while, I think, to understand what we were doing, but once she saw the animals, I think she had fun! Since she is so little, I’m sure she didn’t understand all of it, but she did like looking at the different animals as we pointed them out to her and you could tell she was trying to figure out what to make of them all.
We saw a tiger, flamingos, and a hippo. I love flamingos!
Another big difference between here and the Philadelphia Zoo was the landscape. Philadelphia is open and flat. Like anything else in Pittsburgh, this zoo has plenty of hills! So while we weren’t aiming for a workout, we covered probably about 2.5 miles of hilly walking. Perfect, since we ended up staying until mid-afternoon and I never got my run in.
The elephants came right up to the water and started drinking it!
We went into the primate house, but I don’t have any photos from it. There was a baby gorilla! I’m not sure how young it was, but it was definitely the main attraction for everyone who went inside. We also saw a gorilla take a poo, though, so… big day in the primate house.
My favorite animals to see are always the giraffes. Ever since high school, I’ve been jokingly called a giraffe because of my long neck, so I feel I relate to them. Plus, they are just such chill looking creatures and crack me up. The two zebras in the exhibit were really active- running and chasing each other, rolling in the mud, playing like you would see dogs play with each other. I’ve never seen zebras act like that before and it was pretty funny.
She doesn’t smile in pictures often, but I swear Riley was having a great time! haha
This poor cheetah was in the next exhibit over, pacing back and forth, watching the zebras and giraffes. I couldn’t help but laugh because he’s never going to get them. (His partner was sunbathing nearby, well aware that his prey was unattainable.)
Riley got a piggy back ride. I’m not sure who enjoyed this more- Dave or Riley!
The aquarium was easily Riley’s favorite part. When she saw the fish in the tanks she got SO EXCITED. I was not expecting it at all, but something about them really made her giggle and point and shout for us to look at them. She tried so hard to climb out of her stroller to get closer. It was one of those moments that made me so glad to be her mommy because she was so happy.
It wasn’t a big loss that the penguins didn’t parade. We saw them in their habitat, but Riley had no interest. She wanted to go back to the fish.
The two polar bears were putting on a good show, too. One of them has this peculiar dance that he does day in and day out and has done is for years. I later read it’s because polar bears are used to covering miles and miles of space, but when they are confined to a habitat they can no longer do that. So this is their way of adapting or getting out the frustration. It is apparently not an uncommon site at zoos. Poor guys.
After the polar bears, the zoo turns into a kids’ area, but Riley was too young for it yet. As we passed the petting zoo, however, Riley saw some goats and got excited for them. In October we went to Trax Farms Fall Festival where they had a petting zoo and she got to pet goats then. She must have remembered!
All in all it was a fun day. Maybe next year, we can go back and watch the penguin parade. I think Riley will really enjoy the animals then!
Dave and I celebrated our anniversary back on November 8th. How crazy that we’ve been married a whole year already! Our wedding day is still one of the best days of my life!
If you missed the other parts of mine and Dave’s European adventure, check them out here:
We spent our last few days of vacation in Lucerne, Switzerland, right at the base of the Swiss Alps.
Before I get into Europe: Part 2, I just have to say that Alaska was AMAZING.
And Dave and I are officially homeowners. NBD.
But now, back to Europe.
If you missed Part One, check it out here: Amsterdam and the Netherlands
Our next stop after Amsterdam was Munich, Germany. We took a flight in and then, after a bit of detective work and language guessing, we made our way on the train to our hotel. We stayed at another NH hotel and this one was even better than Amsterdam. Although there were two twin beds (pregnant me secretly enjoyed this), we were on the 12th floor and had a spectacular view of old city Munich.
Since Dave and I are leaving on vacation number two on Friday, I supposed I should at least post about some of our European vacation! We booked the tickets about a week before I found out I was pregnant so it turned into a babymoon! Unfortunately that meant I couldn’t drink and had to watch what I ate, but we still lived it up.
To keep these posts from getting too out of hand, I’m splitting the vacation into three parts by country. First up, The Netherlands!