Eat, Do, Shop, Play and Learn
A restaurant that specializes in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Dance classes for toddlers and parents. A lending library for educational toys. Storytime at a nearly 90-year-old bookshop. A civic institution sailing the three rivers. In and around Pittsburgh, the offerings for families looking for food, fun and more go so much deeper than the expected family outings. From places to outfit and entertain to natural wonders and city treasures, here are some of our favorites.
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Some days, all kids need is a backyard. Other days, creative and stimulating play requires a bit more. On those days, consider trips to places where play is taken seriously. ––LD
The Andy Warhol Museum
While The Andy Warhol Museum might not seem like the ideal museum for a visit with children, the underground level in “The Factory” includes a play area for families with books, toys, puzzles and comfortable furniture inspired by Warhol’s life and art. Also offers periodic “Half-Pint Print” programs where children ages 1-4 can drop in and create their own silkscreen print.
117 Sandusky St., North Shore
Spend a day on the slopes — with no skill required — by snow tubing at Boyce Park. Check website for schedule.
788 Center Road, Plum
photo by connie george|carnegie science center
Carnegie Science Center
When visiting the Carnegie Science Center, don’t forget about Highmark SportsWorks (in a separate building but included with admission). Interactive activities include Reaction Time Hockey, Olympic Sprint and a 25-foot Rock Wall, plus a new ropes course.
One Allegheny Ave., North Shore
Fun Fore All
A mini golf course, but so much more: The updated entertainment center includes an XD Dark Ride video-game experience, arcade games, batting cages, a four-story ball pit area and more.
8 Progress Ave., Cranberry Township
Visit the store to shop or attend one of many events, from a game demonstration to tournaments. You can also borrow games for a “test drive” or trade in games to make room on your shelves for new additions.
2115 Murray Ave., Squirrel Hill
photos by chuck beard
Kids 10 and older can participate in the two- to three-hour Go Ape obstacle course experience complete with zip lines and Tarzan Swings. Kids 10-15 need one adult to supervise per two children; kids 16 and 17 can venture out on their own if an adult signs their waiver.
991 Tennis Court Road, Allison Park
Let’s Move! Family Dance Party
Kelly Strayhorn Theater has no shortage of family-friendly events, but keep an eye on the calendar for the Let’s Move! Family Dance Party. A DJ plays kid-friendly music, kids can do art projects and the cost is “pay what makes you happy.”
Kelly Strayhorn Theater, 5941 Penn Ave., East Liberty
The Lightning Bug
Laser tag, glow-in-the-dark mini golf, indoor bumper cars, a rock climbing wall, a playground area that’s free for all visitors and more.
170 Scharberry Lane, Mars
Lilliput Play Homes Towne Center
Experience the opulent structures created by Pittsburgh company Lilliput Play Homes in their Towne Center play area. Children can visit the neighborhood market, doctor’s office, fire station and more — all their own size. Open 9:30-4 M-F; call for weekend hours. An all-day pass costs $12 for the first child ($8 for siblings) and parents are free.
4125 Washington Road, McMurray
Neville Roller Drome
Old-school roller-skating rink. Sessions include family skate, artistic skate (waltz, tango or fox trot across the rink) and open skate for teens, tweens and young adults.
5109 Neville Road, Neville Island
“Out of the Park” Playground
Partially funded by Pirates Charities, the playground is handicap accessible and open to all. Features a large pirate ship, swings, spinners and other play fixtures.
Graham Park, Cranberry Township
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Included with admission, Make-a-Craft Mondays — held every Monday from 10:30 a.m. to noon — let children construct their own nature-inspired craft using recyclable materials.
1 Schenley Drive, Oakland
photo by laura petrilla
Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library
The Toy Lending Library is a favorite spot for families looking for a way to spend a rainy day with their youngsters (ages 0-6). There are hundreds of toys to borrow (if you’re a member) or you can just spend an afternoon playing.
5401 Centre Ave., Shadyside
The Seesaw Center
Open specifically during the school year to provide a place for children from infancy through kindergarten to play during winter months. Kids can play dress up, climb, build and more. Unlimited memberships and daily passes available.
935 Pine Ave., Castle Shannon
Settlers Cabin Wave Pool
Have fun in the sun at the wave pool at Settlers Cabin Park (also site to a great high dive). Cost for residents is $5 for adults, $4 for teens 14-17, $3 for youth 6-12 and $1 for children 5 and under.
Ridge Road and Papoose Drive,
Sky Trail Ropes Course
Sky Tykes section for kids under 48 inches. Main section includes two levels and a zipline.
Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills, 590 Pittsburgh Mills circle, Frazer Township
Stay ’n Play
Two play rooms, fine motor skills and gross motor skills, that encourage learning; open during the school year. More structured events and activities include story time, mommy and me yoga and bread baking. Memberships and daily passes available.
1900 Cochran Road, Mt. Lebanon
Triple B Farms
Giant board games, rope maze, ducky derby races, hay bale jump, berry picking and more. Feed pygmy goats, chickens, potbellied pig, rabbits and other farm animals.
823 Berry Lane, Monongahela
The Wheel Mill
You’ll find 80,000 square feet of ramps and trails for riders of all ages and skill levels. The park has eight rooms, a foam pit, jump lines and much more.
6815 Hamilton Ave., Homewood
Thirty-three bowling lanes, laser tag, arcade games, billiards room and — for grown-ups to recharge — the END ZONE Sports Bar.
2525 Freeport Road, Harmar