Living Treasures Animal Park
July 4th, 2011
I love finding a new Kid-Friendly Destination. One of the many things I adore about living in Pittsburgh is the bountiful assortment of kid activities: the Zoo, the Children’s Museum, the Science Center, the Natural History Museum, Tyke Hikes, parks, pools, fountains, ball games, and a seemingly-endless supply of other Fun Things.
And yet, there’s always a new one to be discovered.
This weekend, my folks and I took the kids to Living Treasures Animal Park. It’s north of the City about an hour, so it’s more of a trek than we usually undertake, but it was worth the drive.
Living Treasures is like a cross between a regular zoo and a really big petting zoo. They have a pretty good assortment of animals — from tigers to Barbary lions to hyenas to timber wolves to bears to reindeer to various monkeys — but unlike in a traditional zoo, all the exhibits are geared to maximize the interaction that park-goers can have with the animals.
|Note the lion five inches away from my daughter.|
You buy buckets of animal feed and bags of carrots and then are free to feed the goodies to most of the animals. There were paddocks of fallow deer, sticking their heads through the bars, begging for treats. And ponies and llamas and donkeys and and goats and sheep and reindeer (!) and a Royal Tibetan Yak (humbly named Andrew), all eager to get their share of snacks.
They had even rigged up a system by which visitors could feed some of the less family-friendly critters. The monkey cages had buckets with pulley systems that allowed you to put feed in, then winch it over to their cages. And other animals — including the bears — had pvc piping leading into their cages. You put a bear-specific treat (purchased from a gumball machine) into the piping, and it plopped down into their cages. It was pretty cool.
|Scottish Highland Cow – look at that tongue!|
Miss Mouse had a ball. She proudly toted her bucket of feed around, flinging handfuls at the animals. (Since most of the time she was too squirmy to hold her hand out flat for them to eat out of.) The highlight of her day, though, was a pony ride. It was her first, and she was enchanted.