Best Adult Events At Pittsburgh Zoo

Pittsburgh Zoo Adult events - Gala

We love taking our teen daughter with us no matter what day or time of year for family-friendly fun, but there are times when it’s date night. When I’m not traveling, we try to have date night at least one night a week, and both of us really look forward to it.  It’s those nights that I adore looking for Pittsburgh events that are fun. And many of them involve crossing the Highland Park Bridge and heading to Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. Happily, they have plenty of adults-only parties and events that have become super popular. From beer tasting to dancing to swanky bashes, here are the best adult events at Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. 

  1. Pittsburgh Zoo Gala
  2. Summer Safari
  3. ZooBrew Okroberfest
  4. ZooBrew Spring Hops
  5. Parent’s Night Out
  6. Sip & Swirl
  7. Crafting Events
Pittsburgh Zoo Adult events - Gala
We clean up nicely, especially when it’s for the Pittsburgh Zoo Gala.

1. Pittsburgh Zoo Gala

The Pittsburgh Zoo Gala is a biennial (that’s every two year) event that I seriously look forward to as soon as it ends. Not only does it give Mr. Locke and me a chance to wear an evening gown and tuxedo, it’s over-the-top with swankiness, food, and drink. The walkways are beautifully decorated and it truly is its premiere event.

We had the pleasure of attending the 2018 Pittsburgh Zoo Gala and it was so much more than I could have imagined. We were able to walk right up to the elephants and pet them , as well as several other exotic animals. The musical acts were top notch, too, as was the show stopping dance number, Excursion to the Exotic. 

We got up close and personal with Pittsburgh Zoo’s Sea Lions. Here’s the scoop on our Sea Lion Encounter fun. 

2. Summer Safari 

Pittsburgh Zoo Adult events - Summer Safari
Saying Cheese with Pittsburgh Zoo’s Alpaca. Photo Credit: Steven Locke


Summer Safari is an annual event (happily), and its one we look forward to. Lower key than the Gala, it’s still a chance to dress up and catch the animals at night. The nocturnal species are such a pleasure to watch. 

Each year, the animal encounters vary, but you can be sure that they are fun! I’ve had a constrictor sat on my shoulders, held an armadillo, and got up close with an owl. If you’re a foodie, you definitely won’t want to miss Summer Safari. Small plates from tons of Pittsburgh restaurants and the Zoo’s official caterer, Taste, always leave us extra full. There’s also plenty of music and dancing and a full bar at each station.

If I may make a suggestion, if you can swing VIP Party tickets, you’ll get extra time at the party, a VIP-only tent for eating and drinking, and additional animal encounters. 


3. ZooBrew Oktoberfest

Pittsburgh Zoo Adult events - ZooBrew Oktoberfest
The cute, take-home mini mug at this year’s ZooBrew Oktoberfest. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

We jut attended our first ZooBrew Oktoberfest last weekend and it was really fun. My husband is a beer connoisseur, so it makes sense to check out over 40 craft breweries while enjoying light bites and good music. Apart from the Zoo’s official mascots, there weren’t any animal encounters that we saw. 

ZooBrew definitely caters to a younger crowd (there’s Beer Pong!), but older folks will have no problem enjoying the atmosphere, brews, and food. 

Note: ZooBrew is for guests 21 and over. 


4. ZooBrew Spring Hops


Similar to Oktoberfest, ZooBrew Spring Hops has three separate tasting stations. You’ll also receive a plastic ZooBrew mini mug to test-drive the beer. There’s also live entertainment. The only difference I can tell is the fact it’s in the spring, so feel free to go to both every year. 


5. Parents’ Night Out


Okay, this is technically an event for kids, but parents will benefit, too. On select Saturday nights from 5-9pm, parents can drop off kiddos ages 4-11 to hang out in the Education Complex. The kids get pizza for dinner, animal encounters, a craft, and a tour. 

What do parents get? Four hours to go out to dinner and a movie. Or you can head home and take a nap. So, yeah, it’s definitely for parents – but the kids will have fun, too. 

Just in case you ARE looking for Pittsburgh Zoo events for children, check out how much fun it is to be a Pittsburgh Zoo Camper

6. Sip & Swirl


A fundraising event, Sip & Swirl was so popular this year that it completely sold out. In a nutshell, guests were able to sample wine from local and national wineries and vineyards. They also checked out the exhibits at twilight – the perfect time to see the animals. 

In addition to a commemorative glass to take home, you can purchase bottles to take home. Add in the fact that there are animal encounters and live music and we’re talking a great girls’ night out idea. 


For all of the upcoming Pittaburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium events, head to its official calendar

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  1. […] when it comes to travel. I mean, I don’t really get to see gators, or eat Cajun food, in Pittsburgh unless they’re at a zoo or in a specialty restaurant. And when it comes to visiting where the […]

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