The National Aviary

Visiting The National Aviary and Build-A-Bear

Jimmy took the day off of work on Friday because we planned a family day! We started the day off with coffee and then visited the National Aviary.

We really hyped up this outing to Sadie all week and by Friday morning she kept saying “The birds!” on repeat, except it came out as “Da bwirds,” which was adorable.

Family with masks onDad holding toddler at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh

We walked past the flying foxes (aka the largest species of bats) and I was shocked at how large they are. If you aren’t weirded out by bats, Google pictures of flying foxes. One of the workers told us they’re really friendly, which made me a little less afraid of them, lol.

Sadie’s favorite birds were the flamingos and owls. I liked listening to the canaries, and Jimmy thought the toucans were cool. It totally amazes me that God not only made birds, but so many different varieties of birds, all with such unique features and needs. I think seeing so many in one place had me like “Whoa, God is really creative.”

Toddler at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, PAToddler at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, PA

The National Aviary is such a neat place. I think what I love the most is that each exhibit mimics the bird’s natural habitat. Going to see the macaws didn’t feel like we were looking at parrots in a cage; it felt like we entered a lush, warm tropical rainforest and just so happened to stumble upon some beautiful macaws.

It’s a totally immersive experience, which makes it easy to forget you’re in the middle of a bustling city.

National Aviary in Pittsburgh, PA

Last time we visited the Aviary with Sadie, she was only a few months old. We took a picture by the condors and decided to recreate it two years later.

Mom and baby with condor ay National Aviary in Pittsburgh, PAMom and child with condor at National Aviary in Pittsburgh, PA

After our exciting morning out, we went home and hung out while Sadie napped. Once she was awake in the late afternoon, we headed to Build-A-Bear! She received a gift card for Christmas, so we figured our family day was the perfect day to use it.

I had never actually been through the Build-A-Bear process, but it’s really cute! It involves picking a character or animal to stuff (Sadie was so confused by deflated-looking animal shapes before they were stuffed, haha), putting a heart in it, and optional things like adding sounds, scents, clothing, and accessories.

Toddler at Build-A-Bear making a Skye from Paw Patrol

Sadie picked her favorite Paw Patrol character, Skye. She totally decked her out with a pink dress, collar, leash, and pup pack. I liked that it was an experience and she was able to bring something home to remember the outing.

She thought she was pretty cool walking out of the mall with Skye in her new “home.” 😎

Father and daughter walking at mall with Build-A-Bear box in Pittsburgh, PA

All in all, it was a great day! We usually do a family night each month, but having a whole day together every once in a while is very special 🥰

The Pros and Cons of Living in Pittsburgh

I’m currently reading This Is Where You Belong by Melody Warnick. It’s about loving the place you live, and it got me thinking about living in Pittsburgh. I’ve been living in the ‘Burgh since I was two-years-old, so I’ve been here over 20 years.

I’m pretty sure I could write a book on what it’s like to live in Pittsburgh, but I’ll try and keep this post to a simple pro and con list.

Cons of Living in Pittsburgh

  • Traffic. We have a few tunnels in and around Pittsburgh, and there always seems to be traffic around them. Jimmy and I have been known to plan outings around the heavy traffic times in the city.
  • Winter. The winters can be quite cold and snowy. In February 2010, we were hit with over 21 inches of snow. It was kind of awesome, though, because I didn’t have school for about a week 🙂


  • Cloudy Days. Pittsburgh has an average of 203 cloudy days per year. It definitely makes me appreciate the sun when I see it!

Pros of Living in Pittsburgh

  • Livability. Pittsburgh constantly places high on the nation’s list of most livable cities due to its low crime rate, low cost of living, cultural opportunities, outdoor activities, and low risk of natural disasters.
  • Dialect. Have you ever heard of Pittsburghese? Pittsburghers like to use words like yinz, nebby, and slippy, along with phrases such as “Kennywood’s open” and “Apost tu.”
  • Bridges. Pittsburgh has a whopping 446 bridges. Some of the well-known ones are the Fort Pitt Bridge, Smithfield Street Bridge, and Roberto Clemente Bridge. The Roberto Clemente bridge is one of my favorites during Pirates’ and Steelers’ games, because the bridge is closed off to vehicles and pedestrians get to take over and walk across it.
One of my favorite bridges, the Smithfield Street Bridge.

One of my favorite bridges, the Smithfield Street Bridge.

  • Sports. Between the Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins, Pittsburgh is a huge sports city. Heinz Field, PNC Park, and the PPG Paints Arena are all awesome venues and the teams themselves are even better. The atmosphere during baseball, football, and hockey games in Pittsburgh is unparalleled.
  • Seasons. Pittsburgh experiences all four seasons and fall is especially gorgeous.



That time I met a bald eagle at The National Aviary!

The cons of living in Pittsburgh aren’t that uncommon for a lot of cities in the United States. The pros, though? They make living in Pittsburgh absolutely amazing. I’m proud to call this city my home!

What are the pros and cons of where you live?