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5 Ways National Aviary Will Warm Up Winter In Pittsburgh

| Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, 2:19 p.m.

Winter activities are hard to come by in Pittsburgh.

Fortunately, the National Aviary can heat up even the coldest, snowiest day with exciting entertainment options for children and adults throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio and Northern West Virginia.

Here are 5 Ways the National Aviary will warm up winter in 2018:

Interactive Feedings

When: Daily, multiple times

Cost: Included with admission

Some expert advice from National Aviary ornithologist Bob Mulvihill: children are braver than adults.

All are welcome to take part in public feedings for more than 50 species of birds in some of the National Aviary's free-flight habitats. Mulvihill says grandparents and parents are likelier to stand back and take photos and videos rather than join children in offering worms to birds. He also says this would be a mistake.

"Just do it," Mulvihill says.

If you aren't up for actually feeding birds, try watching the daily feedings of bats and penguins, or take a listen to the Condor Talk (begins March 1). The National Aviary offers visitors several unique daily activities, many of which are included with admission.

Be sure to pick up a map at the front desk on your way into the National Aviary.

Baby Sloth Talks

When: Daily, 12:30 p.m.

Cost: Included with admission

Vivien, born in August 2017, is helping the National Aviary show people the importance of rainforest conservation. Her daily feedings are popular because, like most sloths, Vivien sleeps between 15-20 hours daily.

When awake, Vivien's curiosity is unmistakable.

"Sloths will spend most of their lives in the trees," says Christa Gaus, the National Aviary's Assistant Manager of Behavioral Management & Education. "They are native to the rainforests of South and Central America — an area with a lot of biodiversity, and a habitat that humans rely heavily upon for various products including important medicines."

During an interactive encounter (available for an additional fee), curious visitors can touch and photograph a sloth while learning how to help preserve rainforests and protect these and other amazing creatures that need our help.

Sounds like all the more reason to schedule some personal time in a private setting with Vivien

Welcome To The Jungle

When: February 23, 6-10 p.m.

Cost: $30 per person ($35 per person at the door)

This event is a 21-and-over party perfectly positioned between Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day.

Attendees can purchase food from Atria's Restaurant and wine, signature cocktails and craft beers supplied by Penn Brewery while also dancing to a soundtrack spun by DJ Scottro . Tropical trees, colorful birds, and the National Aviary's resident sloth and armadillo will supply the sights and sounds of a warm-weathered getaway. At this one-night-only vacation, parrots will paint (really!) and you'll be able to create an air plant craft thanks to Best Feeds Gardens Centers .

Good luck finding a more unique date plan for a Friday night.

Proceeds benefit the National Aviary's initiatives in conservation , education and veterinary medicine.

"The timing of this is ideal," says Kristen Lewandowski, a volunteer at the National Aviary since 2014. "It's cold and dreary. To escape that for a few hours — and it's a lot less expensive than a nice dinner out with friends — and help a good cause, you can't beat it."

Flamingo Fest

When: February 24-25, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Cost: Included with admission

Ever spy a flamingo doing yoga? Well, you can at this exciting event .

"Flamingos dance to show off to one another, and many of their dance moves resemble human poses for stretching and yoga ," says Trisha O'Neill, the National Aviary's Director of Education & Visitor Engagement. "During this movement game, kids (or adults!) role play various poses and movements that flamingos make."

Whether during this yoga game, story time or crafting, getting up close with flamingos is a fun and educational experience for people of all ages.

Amazing Amazon presented by AAA Travel

When: Debuts March, 3, daily

Cost: $5 per person

An upgraded Helen M. Schmidt FlitezoneTM Theater transports visitors to South America's tropical rainforest. In this live, multi-media production, the National Aviary's armadillo will demonstrate its natural digging behavior. A Toco Toucan will simulate hopping across a vine as he would in a rainforest canopy and pluck fruit from plants with his beak.

Just don't forget about Valentino the sloth.

"Guests are always thrilled to see one of our resident sloths," says Cathy Schlott, the National Aviary's Curator of Behavioral Management & Education. "Valentino is a perfect representative of the diversity of animal life in the rainforest".

The National Aviary, which features over 500 birds and 150-plus unique species, is located at Allegheny Commons Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Visit its website or call (412) 323-7235.

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