Marge the African Penguin. Photo courtesy of the National Aviary.

News in brief (Got a tip? Send us an email)

Check out the Aviary’s new chick

After conducting a DNA feather test, officials confirmed this week that the African Penguin chick that hatched at the National Aviary on Jan. 3 is female. Named Marge, she is the 11th African Penguin — an endangered species — born at the Aviary on the North Side, but she’s the first chick for parents Buddy and Holly. Visitors can see her daily from 12:30 to 2 p.m. through the Avian Care Center window.

Pittsburgh Botanic Garden debuts $10.5 million Welcome Center and Auto Garden

At noon on April 1, the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden — located at 799 Pinkerton Run Road in Oakdale — will open its new Welcome Center. The 7,500-square-foot building boasts a café, gift shop, offices and event spaces. The revamped Auto Garden will expand the site’s parking area and house a 177,000-gallon stormwater detention system. Nearly 125,000 people have explored the site’s 460 acres of gardens and woodlands since it opened in 2015. You can buy your timed ticket online and read more about it in this NEXTpittsburgh story.

Commonplace Coffee brews up a blend for Schenley Park

On March 20, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and Commonplace Coffee released Schenley Park Blend, the second in a series celebrating five regional parks, including Frick, Highland, Riverview and Emerald View. The Schenley Park Blend will be available through mid-May online and at Commonplace Coffee locations for $16.50 per 12-ounce bag. New blends are released on the first day of each season. Commonplace will donate 25% of the profits to the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

Photo courtesy of the City of Pittsburgh Department of Infrastructure and Mobility.

New mobility hub in the Strip

The City of Pittsburgh’s Department of Mobility and Infrastructure is installing a new Move PGH Mobility Hub in front of the renovated Terminal building at Smallman and 18th streets. It will house a fleet of Spin e-scooters later this spring and offer transit information on a digital panel.

Check out Octofree, a blog for folks with food allergies

Pittsburgher Liz Fetchin, a former food editor and everyday home cook, has launched Octofree, a blog for people with intolerances to the top eight food allergens: dairy, gluten, nuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and eggs. Through the site, Fetchin will provide recipes and resources that empower people to enjoy safe and delicious meals.

Experience art, food and wine online

ZYNKA Gallery, Black Radish Kitchen and Allora Wine Group are offering an online sensory experience combining art, food and wine from 7 to 8 p.m. on April 9. Chef Kate Romane has crafted a four-course menu and winemonger Michel Mincin selected two perfect pours to pair with the gallery’s “Viewer Discretion Advised” exhibition, which features work by artists Stephen Tuomala and Terry Boyd. A limited-edition, signed, collaborative piece by the artists is included in the ticket price.

Catch a Neid’s fish sandwich at Spirit

If you miss the famous fish sandwich from Nied’s Hotel, which closed in 2019, Spirit is reviving the tasty tradition. On April 2 from noon to 7 p.m., Spirit will host a Good Friday Fish Fry in its parking lot at 242 51st Street in Lawrenceville. For $10, you can get Nied’s signature dish: a fish sandwich, fries and coleslaw. Spirit will also sell soda, beer and cocktails. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Kristy Locklin is a North Hills-based writer. When she's not busy reporting, she enjoys watching horror movies and exploring Pittsburgh's craft beer scene.