National Aviary logo
Go button
What\'s New at the Aviary
The Main Hall at the National AviaryIn the late nineteenth century, Pittsburgh’s first plant conservatory was established on the Aviary site, in a location previously occupied by the Western Penitentiary from 1826 to 1880. The conservatory was destroyed by a natural gas explosion in the late 1920s, and in 1952 was rebuilt by the City of Pittsburgh with the addition of birds to the indoor gardens. The Aviary was one of the first zoos to present its collection in free-flight rooms and natural exhibits with over 25,000 square feet of space.

In the 1980s, the Aviary began evolving its focus toward wildlife conservation through captive breeding of rare and endangered birds. When municipal budgetary cuts threatened to close the institution in 1991, a group of concerned citizens formed Save the Aviary, Inc., a private nonprofit corporation. The Aviary was privatized in 1992 and a year later, by declaration of the U.S. Congress, the Pittsburgh Aviary was designated honorary national status and renamed the National Aviary in Pittsburgh.

With world-first avian breedings, numerous education awards, internationally recognized field research and conservation programs, a world-class avian veterinary program that is breaking new ground in preventative care, and multiple opportunities for interactive experiences, the National Aviary has grown from simply presenting its collection in attractive settings to realizing its responsibility to celebrate, protect and preserve birds for the perpetuation of the web of life.

Logo links for the National Aviary, Regional Asset District and Association of Zoos and Aquariums

The National Aviary is supported in part through membership, donations, and funding from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and the Allegheny Regional Asset District.
© 2009 National Aviary in Pittsburgh