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“Distressed Polar Bear”

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
Ranked #33 of 193 things to do in Pittsburgh
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Enjoy a family experience that fosters understanding, respect, and appreciation of wildlife with a visit to the Pittsburgh Zoo. Take a trip to the Islands and get an eye to eye view of warty pigs, Philippine crocodiles, and clouded leopards. Venture into the Jungle for an Odyssey of fun where you’ll discover our giant anteater, the elusive fossa, the world’s largest rat, and the pygmy hippo. Take in the scenic bird’s-eye view of the African Savanna before heading to our aquarium and Water’s Edge, home of the impressive polar bear and playful sea otter. *Jungle Odyssey and Zoo zip line open Summer 2017.* There is so much to explore at the Zoo, we provide 77 acres of fun! The Pittsburgh Zoo is open every day of the year except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Prices vary per season, so visit our website: and follow us on Facebook,and Twitter.
Reviewed 14 July 2014

If it weren't for the fact that the poor polar bear was in great distress, I would give this zoo a higher rating. However, the plight of the polar bear, who obviously needs an upgraded enclosure, was very sad. He was pacing a few steps forward, then backward, then forward, and repeating this over and over for HOURS! We visited at the beginning of our visit, several more times throughout, and again at the end of our visit... and he was pacing the entire time! It was quite disturbing to watch, and I overheard other visitors commenting on his lack of space and freedom.

When I called the person in charge of customer relations at the zoo to express my concern, she indicated that they were using behavior modification to try to get the polar bear to "act" differently. In other words, they withheld his treats and toys when he paced… and only gave them to him when he was not pacing. Goodness… wouldn't it be more humane to give him a better enclosure?

We also observed the leopard pacing back and forth in distress, along with a few other animals doing the same.

Other side notes: 1)There were great play areas for children with seating areas for adults to rest, 2)The dining areas were filthy, with condiments not properly replenished.

Overall this is a beautiful zoo, and some of the enclosures are spacious and better than I've seen at other zoos. However, I can't give this zoo a higher rating because it is quite disturbing to witness animals in distress.

7  Thank koolkat808
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,034 - 1,038 of 1,695 reviews

Reviewed 10 July 2014

A few areas are under renovation but all in all this was a great treat while we traveled to Pittsburgh. The Aquarium offered pretty much everything one can ask for. The outdoor exhibits were great with a few under renovation. The price of admission was fair and I would suggest you give the zoo a try when in town.

1  Thank Bart P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PittsburghZoo, Public Relations Manager at Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, responded to this reviewResponded 21 July 2014

Thank you for visiting the Pittsburgh Zoo! We're happy to hear that you had a great time and we appreciate your feedback! Please come again soon!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 July 2014

This was not the best zoo I've ever been too; however, you can't beat that it is a zoo and aquarium for one price for like 15 bucks. You easily spend 15.00 to 25.00 at most zoos alone. A lot of the attractions were under construction, but on a nice day I'd recommend to go here.

2  Thank Nick M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 July 2014

Well laid out zoo with lots of learning and lots to see! I love the aquarium (because it's airconditioned) and it has so much to see, from sharks to penguins and the polar bear experience is just awesome!

Thank agneseire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PittsburghZoo, Public Relations Manager at Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, responded to this reviewResponded 21 July 2014

Thanks for the positive feedback about your recent trip to the Zoo! We are happy that you enjoyed your time here and hope you'll be back again soon!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 4 July 2014

I must first start by addressing our being disappointed. We really were super please with the entire zoo and aquarium and were only disappointed with the elephant area. We came from Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada just to see the Elephant Area. We had seen a special on Oasis that had showed the Elephants and their keepers and the birth of an elephant. We made special plans just to come see the Elephants featured on Oasis without realizing the Elephant enclosure along with the Giraffe area was under construction.

Aside from that as this was our first visit to the Zoo & Aquarium we were in AWEEE. We thought it was so neat having to ride the elevator up to the zoo. We havent stopped telling everyone how "real" the animals enclosures were. I keep saying its like they are in the wild. The first animals we saw were the Tigers, it was so cool. We were able to see a turtoise and a hedgehog up close and even touch them. The aquarium was a really nice surprise. We knew there was an aquarium but had no idea it would be a large as it was. Also we really enjoyed walking in the under water tunnels. The sharks swam right next to where we were standing - such an awesome experience for our daughter. Our only regret was leaving our camera in our car.

Thank MrsC44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PittsburghZoo, Public Relations Manager at Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, responded to this reviewResponded 21 July 2014

Thank you for visiting the Pittsburgh Zoo! We're sorry to hear that you were disappointed about the elephant exhibit, but we're very glad to hear that the rest of your trip exceeded expectations. We appreciate your feedback and we hope you'll be able to visit again soon.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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