National Aviary Celebrates Sloth Birthdays



Molly Toth, Communications Specialist

Office: 412-258-9456  /

National Aviary Celebrates Sloths with Birthday Parties

Visitors signed cards and sent well wishes to sloths Wookiee and Vivien, and watched them enjoy specialty cakes to celebrate their August birthdays


Pittsburgh) August 15, 2019 – The National Aviary’s adorable sloths are growing up! The National Aviary today celebrated the birthdays of Linnaeus’s Two-toed Sloths Wookiee and Vivien, who are turning nineteen and two, respectively, in August. National Aviary staff and visitors enjoyed watching Wookiee and Vivien snack on specially created birthday cakes made of some of their favorite foods including corn and green pepper for Wookiee, and a sweet potato cut in the shape of a number 2 as a cake-topper for Vivien. Visitors also celebrated with sweet birthday treats, the chance to sign a birthday card for the sloths, interpretive sloth talks, and activities. To celebrate sloth birthdays, the National Aviary is offering a 50% discount on any Sloth Encounter booked by August 31. Encounters offer a chance for sloth lovers to get up close to sloths, touch their soft fur, take photos, and learn more about these fascinating rainforest dwellers.

“In addition to being extremely adorable, our sloths at the National Aviary play an important role as ambassadors for other rainforest species, and for that alone they deserve a celebration!” said Christa Gaus, National Aviary’s Manager of Visitor Experiences and Training. “People have an emotional connection to our sloths when they meet them in our Amazing Amazon show, in the Tropical Rainforest, and in special Sloth Encounters. They help visitors learn about actions we can all take—like buying sustainably harvested nuts, chocolate, and coffee and recycling aluminum cans—to protect rainforests.”

In the Helen M. Schmidt FliteZoneTM Theater, visitors gathered for a sloth talk from Christa Gaus, National Aviary’s Manager of Visitor Experiences and Training. Vivien, the National Aviary’s two-year-old sloth, made a special appearance, listening as guests sang “Happy Birthday” before plucking her cake-topper from the plate adorned with hibiscus and corn—decadent treats fitting for the occasion!

In Wookiee’s home in the recently remodeled Tropical Rainforest, National Aviary staff presented him with a specialty cake of corn, vegetables, and hibiscus flowers. A long piece of corn on the cob cut to look like the number “1”, and green pepper in the shape of the number “9” adorned the top. Visitors watched as Wookiee made is way slowly down a vine to inspect his indulgent birthday spread.

The National Aviary is home to three sloths, Wookiee, Vivien, and Valentino, who are ambassadors for rainforest species. Sloth encounters are available daily at 9:30 a.m. and can be booked in advance by calling 412-258-9445, and are 50% off when booked by August 31. A portion of admission to the National Aviary and fees for interactive encounters help the National Aviary save birds and protect their habitats. Visitors can also see Valentino the Two-toed Sloth in daily showings of Amazing Amazon Presented by AAA Travel at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Admission to the show is $5 per person. This weekend only, the National Aviary also offers Rainforest Brunch on Sunday, August 18. Enjoy offerings from Atria’s in the historic Rose Garden and a special visit from a sloth! Call 412-258-9445 to reserve seats.


Photos and video available upon request.


About the National Aviary


The National Aviary is America’s only independent indoor nonprofit zoo dedicated to birds. Located on Pittsburgh’s historic North Side, the National Aviary’s diverse collection comprises 500 birds representing more than 150 species from around the world, many of them threatened or endangered in the wild. The National Aviary’s large walk-through habitats create an intimate, up-close interaction between visitors and free-flying birds, including opportunities to hand-feed and to meet many species rarely found in zoos. Hours of operation are 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily. For admission rates and more information visit