Friday, July 4 Back

The National Aviary

Website: The National Aviary

The Pittsburgh Aviary was built in 1952 and was one of the first zoos to present its collection in free-flight rooms. It was privatized in 1992 and in 1993 the U. S. Congress decared the Pittsburgh Aviary was designated honorary national status and renamed the National Aviary in Pittsburgh.

The Aviary was close to our hotel (and it one of the stops on the Hop On - Hop Off tour). We took the hotel shuttle. The Aviary’s collection comprises more than 500 birds of 150 different species from around the world. The facilities are great and each day there are various bird feedings and some special shows. We thoroughly enjoyed it.

Jerome Bettis' Grille 36

Website: Jerome Bettis' Grille 36

Jerome Bettis’ Grille 36 has been voted Pittsburgh’s best sports restaurant every year since it opened. We were seated on the outside with a great view of The Point across the river. Inside the restaurant they have 50 TV's for watching every sport you can think of. We had burgers and sandwiches for lunch and the food was great (really great burgers). In case you are not a Steeler fan, Jerome Bettis played for the Steelers and helped them win Super Bowl XL. He retired after that (2006).

Station Square

Website: Station Square

'After lunch we walked back to the hotel and regrouped. In addition to all the crowds gathering for the evening's fireworks, there was also a Pirate game, so traffic was at a standstill. We took the 'T' (commuter rail) to Station Square. One of the 'T' stations was just a block from our hotel.

Station Square was originally a large rail line that handled a lot of commercial traffic. In 1970 the need for such a structure disappeared and it seemed doomed to become a commercial cemetery. In 1976 the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation developed the site and that's when a hotel was built and the Gateway Clipper feet went into business. In 1994 the property was sold to a developer and now it is full of restaurants, entertainment, and specialty shops. We had originally planned to eat lunch at the Grand Concourse, but changed our schedule. We were glad we got to go inside and take some photos.

Dinner Cruise and Fireworks

Website: Gateway Clipper Cruises

Soon after we settled on Pittsburgh as our next vacation city, it didn't take long for great minds to discover The Gateway Clipper Cruises -- especially the dinner cruise on July 4th that offered a great view of the fireworks from the boat. The Gateway Clipper Fleet has five riverboats and dinner cruises are available all year long. They also provide game day shuttle service for Pirate, Steeler and Panther games. They also have sightseeing tours. It was perfect for us. No hassles. We even had an easy time getting back to the hotel on the 'T' because we were going the wrong way. Everyone else was trying to get away from that area of town!