If you’re an animal lover, visiting Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is a must. But, what if you really want a personalized experience when you visit? Are there options that allow you to upgrade your experience? You betcha! Here’s what you need to know about the Pittsburgh Zoo Sea Lion Wild Encounter including tips to make the most of your visit!
(Sea) Lions, & tigers, & bears – oh, my! Sorry, couldn’t help myself.
If you’ve read the blog before, you know that I adore animals. Get me anywhere near a sloth and I’ll start to cry. Actually, put me close to any cute animal and I’ll tear up. Last week, my family and I had an experience of a lifetime – a Sea Lion Wild Encounter at Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. And that encounter left me feeling so excited to share you you our experience! Here’s the scoop on our visit and what you can expect when you book one.
What’s a Pittsburgh Zoo Sea Lion Wild Encounter?
In a nutshell, it’s a special opportunity to hang with the zoo’s California Sea Lions. You’ll not only get educated on how the Zoo cares for its sea lions, you’ll learn so much including feeding habits and fun facts. I mean, did you know that sea lions typically lose and gain a ton of weight depending on the time of year and breeding season? I had no idea!
With each 30-minute Sea Lion Wild Encounter, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into training the mammals, what and how much they eat, and how playful they are. We stood on the beach area of the Sea Lion tank and watched them spin and flip in the water. It was a chance to find out how intelligent they are, too. Each Sea Lion is trained to perform specific actions, either for the benefit of keeping it healthy or entertained. THAT I loved learning about.
Tips for Making the Most of Your Pittsburgh Zoo Sea Lion Wild Encounter
It’s always a good idea to go prepared in my eyes, so I asked the Sea Lion keepers for three tips to make the most of your Sea Lion Wild Encounter. Here’s what I was told:
1. Wear Closed-Toed Shoes
Take into consideration the type of shoes you’ll be wearing for the encounter. The keepers suggest closed-toes shoes as water will splash onto the beach area when the Sea Lions jump onto it. If that happens, pit your toes up in the air so it doesn’t flood your shoes. Also, it’s a safety issue as the Sea lions can get pretty close to your feet.
2. Bring a Camera
There’s no limit to the amount of photos you can take during a 30-minute Sea Lion Wild Encounter. You’re also allowed to take video clips as well. The coolest part is that, as long as the sea lions are amenable, you’ll have the chance to have your photo taken with one. How awesome is that?
3. Come Prepared with Questions
You may not have have considered this tip, but it does make sense. When I walked out onto the Sea Lion’s beach, any coolness factor that I may have has went right out the window. For me, it was truly an experience of a lifetime and, if I hadn’t thought about questions ahead of time, I would have gone completely blank.
After the beach encounter, we did have the chance to check out the Zoo’s largest Sea Lion, Sea Hawk, and his indoor training session. It was during this time that we could ask as many questions as we wished, which included everything from what do they eat to how many the Zoo has. And the coolest thing about the indoor training session was how considerate the trainers are, to both the encounter guests and the animals.
How Much Does a Pittsburgh Zoo Sea Lion Wild Encounter Cost?
I was super surprised at the answer: $60 per person. I my eyes, that’s a bargain. For as close as I was able to be to the Sea Lions and the amount of time in the Wild Encounter, it’s a great deal!
How to Book a Pittsburgh Zoo Sea Lion Wild Encounter
You’ve got two options when it comes to booking a Pittsburgh Zoo Sea Lion Wild Encounter:
- Up to 24 hours in advance, book online at http://www.pittsburghzoo.org/Event-Wild-Encounters
- Same day tickets may be available – check at the front gates on the day of your visit. Of course, the Pittsburgh Zoo Sea Lion Wild Encounters are hugely popular, so your best bet is to lock down your visit ahead of time.
Additional Tips for A Pittsburgh Zoo Sea Lion Wild Encounter
Yep, a couple:
Guests under 16-years old must be accompanied by an adult
At this point in time, the Zoo is unable to accommodate service animals. If you have a mobility or special need, please contact the Zoo in advance. It will do its best to work with you.
Disclosure: My family & I were graciously hosted by the folks at Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium to give you fine folks the scoop on its Sea Lion Wild Encounter. All opinions are my own & photos are my Steven Locke!
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