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National Aviary invites guests escape to the tropics

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
| Thursday, July 19, 2018, 1:33 a.m.
Guests can make new friends at Night in the Tropics at the National Aviary on Pittsburgh’s North Side.
CARLY MORGAN
Guests can make new friends at Night in the Tropics at the National Aviary on Pittsburgh’s North Side.
There will be lots of delicious food to enjoy at Night in the Tropics event at the National Aviary on Pittsburgh’s North Side.
CARLY MORGAN
There will be lots of delicious food to enjoy at Night in the Tropics event at the National Aviary on Pittsburgh’s North Side.

You don’t have to travel to a tropical island for that getaway feeling.

Just head on over to Pittsburgh’s North Side and join the National Aviary for a vintage beach party at the 16th annual Night in the Tropics on July 21.

Guests will bask in the sights, sounds, colors and tastes of all things summer, all while enjoying the lush setting of the aviary and mingling with rare and beautiful birds.

“It is the best summer party — from the entertainment to the food to the atmosphere of feeling like you are in the tropics — we’ve got it all,” says Cheryl Tracy, executive director at the aviary about one of its biggest fundraisers.

What’s happening

The event will feature tasty bites from more than 30 of Pittsburgh’s favorite restaurants and bakeries as well as beer, wine and specialty drinks.

“We have such a wonderful selection of food from area restaurants,” Tracy says. “No one will go home hungry.”

There will be hula dancers, surfer-style musical performances and exotic fire performers, compliments of Tuika’s Polynesian Island Magic. Guests will dance under the stars to sultry Latin beats with disc jockey Mike MC and enjoy live music by The Lava Game. The aviary’s lush habitats will be open for guests to explore after dark, including the newly renovated Tropical Rainforest.

There will be opportunities for up-close interactions with colorful birds and a chance to visit the immersive butterfly garden.

Guests get to watch a painting demonstration by Maria DeSimone Prascak, who does custom mural and fine art. They can then bid on one of her pieces as well as enter to win a trip to Aruba or a black-and-gold sports package for Steelers, Penguins and Pirates game experiences.

The aviary features a virtual reality area so one can get a feel how it feels to fly like a bird. This is the latest in technology. The aviary was the second location in the country to have it behind San Jose, Calif.

For a good cause

Proceeds support the aviary’s local and international education, avian medicine and conservation programs. The aviary is America’s only independent indoor nonprofit zoo dedicated exclusively to birds.

Its diverse collection comprises 500 birds representing more than 150 species from around the world, many of them threatened or endangered in the wild. The aviary’s large walk-through exhibits create an intimate, up-close interaction between visitors and free-flying birds, including opportunities to hand-feed and to meet many species rarely found in zoos anywhere else in the world.

This year’s theme

Beach party is this year’s theme as guests are invited to dress like they would if they were spending an evening walking in the sand listening to the waves coming up on shore. They are expecting 1,300 guests.

JoAnne Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 724-853-5062 or jharrop@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Jharrop_Trib.

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