This Summer Only: Living Dinosaurs at the National Aviary

This post includes information about the exhibit Living Dinosaurs at the National Aviary. Our family was asked to provide this review in exchange for our visit. All opinions are 100% our own.

If you’ve been reading or following us on social, you’re probably not surprised by the fact that we are big fans of the National Aviary (located right here in Pittsburgh). It started back in the days of the Rhinoceros Hornbill (which is no longer on exhibit), expanded to the twins’ love for the penguins, and now there is a brand new exhibit this summer that captivated us – the Living Dinosaurs at the National Aviary!

Living Dinosaurs at the National Aviary

Through September 29, visitors to the National Aviary will be treated to interactive exhibits that tie in the connection between birds and dinosaurs. Starting right when you enter the hallway across from the Toco Toucans, you’ll be able to compare bird and dinosaur eggs and see some real fossils (be sure to look for the ax symbol on the info cards at the stations!). Each bird exhibit has a dinosaur footprint to share some facts about the connection between the bird and their dino relatives.

If your kids have an imagination like ours’ do, they be convinced they met a real baby T-Rex during Ty’s storytime, that they are archaeologists excavating fossils or that they’re
pterosaurs! These fun, immersive exhibits add a special touch to the theme of the special exhibit, so make sure you budget a good 3-4 hours to take it all in!

A realistic baby t-rex!
Isla & Arianna pretending to be archaeologists
Ava and Evan dressing up like pterosaurs

Living Dinosaurs: The Details

Living Dinosaurs, presented by Peoples

Now through September 29

Our interactive exhibit features a dinosaur nest play space and dress up station, microscope stations for exploring fossil eggs, dig pits and dig tables for budding paleontologists, and fossil puzzles that allow kids to reconstruct a dinosaur skeleton! Colorful signage, vibrant illustrations, and life-size models bring dinosaurs to life! For an extra fee, experience Birdly®, a virtual reality flight simulator, and feel, see, and hear like a Pterosaur!

Join us at 11 am for Storytime with Ty, an animatronic feathered baby T-Rex that blinks, roars, and interacts with guests, and then visit the Rose Garden at 12 pm for Paleo Play for a dinosaur-themed game or craft. At 3 pm every day our staff lead a “Feathers and Fossils” tour through the National Aviary to see birds up close and learn how they’re more like dinosaurs than you might think…

Source: National Aviary

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National Aviary: The Extras

In addition to checking out the Living Dinosaurs exhibits, you might want to add a few extra experiences to your day. We did the Amazing Amazon show (birds fly directly overhead!) and fed the Lorikeets. While there is plenty to do, these are things we’d never done back when we were members and now we realize we had been missing out! Tickets for these experiences can be bought at the ticket counter when you buy your admission.


About the National Aviary

The whole family will love exploring our lush habitats where beautiful birds fly freely around you, visiting with our colony of adorable African Penguins, and looking for Wookiee the sloth in our Tropical Rainforest. There’s always something new to discover with exciting hatchings, nesting birds, and friendly staff. The National Aviary is open daily from 10 am – 5pm. Our primarily indoor facility is ADA compliant, stroller-friendly, and easy to navigate. We offer on-site parking (on a first-come, first served basis), a café with open seating, and two gifts shops. Visit to learn more or call 412-323-7235.

Guess Who’s Back?

On Saturday, Arianna’s day was MADE.

You see, the Rhinoceros Hornbills have been off exhibit at the National Aviary. This upset Arianna very much.

But all is good now.


And apparently, she also took photos to remember it.


And knows how to talk to them.

And she wanted to go back yesterday. And today. Dear Elephants, I think you better scoot over because there may be a new favorite “animal” in town.


The Rhinoceros Hornbill is back on exhibit at the National Aviary. They had a grand opening of their new exhibit, “Canary Call”, prompting visitors to think about how birds are indicating changes in our environment. It’s frankly awesome, and includes the new, ready for breeding, Rhinoceros Hornbills. Good thing we’re members, because I’m not sure this kid could get enough in one visit.

Upset Arianna

On Sunday, we gave the ‘lil Burghers their own version of a Yinzsplosion, a trip to the Pittsburgh Zoo AND the National Aviary. We’re members of both, so the kids have come up with their own patterns and expectations of the trips.

For instance, it’s a given the we have to go see the monkeys and the elephants at the Zoo. These are the kids’ favorite animals. It’s okay if we don’t make it through Kids Kingdom or go to the snake house–mom’s afraid–but on times when we do (like Sunday), it’s a big bonus.

At the Aviary, the “thing” for Arianna is going to see the Rhinoceros Hornbill. What this typically prepared Mom didn’t know was that the exhibit was being renovated. (I hear that it’s in hopes that a baby may join the couple!) Translated–she was not able to see her bird. One would think that if her two-year-old brother could roll with the punch that Arianna (oh, so soon to be 5) would be able to handle it. Evidence that she was not?

IMG_0953 (Copy)

That face took a good ten minutes to erase. She cuddled up in my lap on a bench while Greg talked to the docent in the area. I tweeted. Evan tried to make her smile. It wasn’t working. She’s in love with that bird, and there was no denying that she was upset.

In the days since then, she’s looked at our photos and visited the Aviary’s website just to check and see if her birds are back yet. (Patience is a virtue, my dear.) She talks to them, telling them she cannot wait to see them again.

Rhinoceros Hornbill
Rhinoceros Hornbill from another Aviary trip

Hopefully I’ll be on the ball and take her back the very day they return…or I’ll never live it down. Connections, keep me honest here. Moms have a hard enough job to do, agree?

Okay, shameless plug. If you are thinking about a gift for Arianna’s upcoming birthday and really cannot help yourself, consider adopting the Rhinoceros Hornbill for her. She’d love you forever, promise.