National Aviary Armadillo Encounter: Cuteness Overload!

New at the Aviary: an Armadillo Encounter!

Finding an excuse to visit National Aviary is easy for me and my family. We look for excuses like, “it’s raining”, or “it’s a Tuesday”. Honestly, we don’t need an excuse to visit – the birds and other animals are all we need (did I mention they have TWO sloths?). But, when new animal encounter opportunities arise, it’s straight to Pittsburgh‘s North Shore we head! Earlier this week, we had the pleasure of hanging out with a nine-month old armadillo and it was cuteness overload. Here’s the scoop on the National Aviary Armadillo Encounter and why you should give it a go.

Wonka, the Southern Three-Banded Armadillo.
New at National Aviary: Armadillo Encounters. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

How Long Does an Armadillo Encounter Last?

Happily, it’s about 30 minutes in length. When we visited, it was a hoot watching Wonka, a nine-month old, Southern Three-Banded Armadillo prance around. Yes, I wrote prance. He’s so very graceful when he moves – and that’s something I never knew until having the opportunity to watch him up close.

Will I get to Touch the Armadillo?

Absolutely. Wonka has a bowl that he’s been trained to feed from and when he gets inside, you can totally feel his protective armor.

Will the Armadillo Touch Me?

You can only hope. Wonka was very curious during our encounter and was climbing on our legs and feet. He’s very comfortable around people so that definitely helps. If he does get a little too close for your liking, all you have to do is notify his handler.

How Much Does an Armadillo Encounter Cost?

Right now an Armadillo Encounter is $40 per person for 30 minutes of interaction. Afternoon sessions are booked with up to four people.

Why an Armadillo Encounter?

Really good question. It turns out that the Southern Three-Banded Armadillo is listed as Near Threatened compliments of hunting and loss of habitation. National Aviary loves having animal ambassadors to spread the word on how you can help protect their habitats.

Can you spot the three bands on Wonka, animal ambassador for National Aviary?
Can you spot the three bands on Wonka, animal ambassador for National Aviary? Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

Will I Be Able to Visit the Rest of the Aviary?

Sure! Animal Encounters are in addition to paid admission (or a membership) so, yes! You can explore the Aviary before or after – or both! All is asked is that you arrive a few minutes beforehand to sign waivers and check in.

Ready for some cuteness overload? Here's the scopp on National Aviary Armadillo Encounter in Pittsburgh, PA, and why you need to book a visit pronto!


Where Do I Sign Up for an Armadillo Encounter?

In a nutshell:

  • Armadillo Encounters can be booked for up to four guests. A good suggestion is to book at least a week in advance.
  • Cost is $40 per person plus admission.
  • Under 16 must be accompanied by a paying adult. To register, call 412-258-9445.
  • National Aviary admission: Adults $15; Children (ages 2-12) $14; Seniors (60+) $14; under 2 Free..
  • For more information, go to

Thanks to the gang at National Aviary for letting us sit in on an Armadillo Encounter! Wonka was the cutest and I’d highly recommend to anyone and everyone!

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