Best of the Burgh '2011: Kids and Family

From the best old-school videogame store to the best summer program, our editors pick the best in Pittsburgh kids and family events.


 

Best behind-the-scenes tour that might get hairy

Pittsburgh Zoo
To show gratitude, the Pittsburgh Zoo offers exclusive behind-the-scenes tours to special donors. But once a year, the zoo staff opens its gates and crates to Facebook followers for a back-door tour of the impressive giraffes, those cute tiger cubs and the ever-eccentric penguins. The social-media special allows fans to purchase after-hour tickets for a closeup encounter of animals in their zoo habitat, seeing—or touching—what’s normally just part of keepers’ experiences. Truly a popular attraction and a memorable adventure for any animal lover. Just stay away from the tarantula case. —Melissa Urick

  One Wild Place, Highland Park; 412/665-3640, pittsburghzoo.org

Best store to buy old-school videogames

Groovy
After school, you spent hours playing Pitfall or Burger Time on Intellivision. Or perhaps, Super Mario Brothers on Nintendo Entertainment System rocked your youth in the late ’80s. The fact that these consoles are still operable is impressive, and you can find a variety of old-school videogames to play in ’em at Groovy. Is there something missing in your Atari collection? Stop in weekly, since there is always something “new” taking over the counter space. —M.U.

  1304 E. Carson St., South Side; 412/381-8010

Best 50th birthday bash

Charlie the Tuna’s milestone exhibit at the ToonSeum
Talk about beating the odds: The fact that Charlie the Tuna ever reached the Big 5-0 (which must be equivalent to 500 in tuna years) should be cause for celebration in itself. After all, the survival of this audacious fish, a beloved advertising icon for StarKist, was the serendipitous consequence of a semantic misunderstanding. Sporting a red beret and cool shades, Charlie thinks StarKist is seeking tuna with good taste—not tuna that tastes good. (A critical distinction.) “Sorry, Charlie.” In February, StarKist sponsored a show in Charlie’s honor at the ToonSeum to celebrate his reaching the half-century mark. It’s now part of the corporate archives at StarKist headquarters on the North Shore—the building featuring Charlie on its exterior. —Mike May

  945 Liberty Ave., downtown; 412/232-0199, toonseum.org
 

Best summer program for little Einsteins

Peculiar Paleontology Camp at the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History
For budding Bill Nyes, the only thing more mind-blowing than seeing dinosaurs is meeting the real, live scientists who discover them. At the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, this creative science camp will enable pint-sized paleontologists (ages 6-7) to cover land, sea and sky as they meet unusual dinosaurs, pterosaurs and ichthyosaurs as well as prehistoric birds and mammals. Even cooler, some of the most exciting discoveries were made by researchers right there at the museum—from huge titanosaurs to thumb-sized micromonkeys. —Celanie Polanick

  4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. July 25–29: $220, child non-member; $200, child member. 412/622-3131, carnegiemnh.org/camps
 

Best green school makeover

Falk Laboratory School at the University of Pittsburgh
The Falk School has been a creative place for kids to learn since it opened in 1931. But once the school’s expansion and renovation stages ended last year, it became an even more inspiring—and environmentally friendly—place for kids to grow and thrive. The imposing, traditional architecture of the original building contrasts beautifully with the modern, industrial feel of the new sections, which were partly built from recycled or salvaged materials. The rooftop playgrounds and green “living roof” make brilliant use of space. And floor-to-ceiling windows in the new library and cafeteria offer tons of sunshine, plus inspiring views of the Cathedral of Learning and Pitt’s main campus. —Melissa Rayworth

  4060 Allequippa St., Oakland; 412/624-8020, falkschool.pitt.edu
 


More of Best of the 'Burgh:


Zoo photo by Laura Petrilla; charlie the tuna photo courtesy of toonseum.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Meet Rescued Animals at Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Meet Rescued Animals at Carnegie Museum of Natural History

The new Live Animal Encounters program introduces museum visitors to rescued wildlife.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Feast Series Returns to Carnegie Museum of Art in Oakland This September

Feast Series Returns to Carnegie Museum of Art in Oakland This September

The third iteration of the series will feature chef J.J. Johnson, formerly of The Cecil and Minton's Supper Club in Harlem.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Best Places for Kids on Rainy Days in Pittsburgh

Best Places for Kids on Rainy Days in Pittsburgh

Read on for some under-the-radar ideas on how you and the kids can survive a rainy day this summer.

Comments


Tres Rios Has Potential, But Hasn't Distinguished Itself Just Yet

Tres Rios Has Potential, But Hasn't Distinguished Itself Just Yet

The tacos-and-tequila bar and restaurant on the South Side doesn't do anything wrong, exactly, but has room to grow.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Who Belongs on a Pittsburgh Steelers Mount Rushmore?

Who Belongs on a Pittsburgh Steelers Mount Rushmore?

As the team prepares the inaugural class of its Hall of Honor, Mike Prisuta selects the four members of the Steelers family most deserving of inclusion.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Make a Trendy Transition into Fall Style

Make a Trendy Transition into Fall Style

No. 14 Boutique in Lawrenceville put together this chic outfit for the tricky period when summer cools into autumn.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
A Hitman and His Bodyguard Get Into Trouble (No Need to Overcomplicate Things)

A Hitman and His Bodyguard Get Into Trouble (No Need to Overcomplicate Things)

Reviews of "The Hitman's Bodyguard" and "Wind River," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Delicious Design: Our Cookie Table Contest Winner & Runners-Up

Delicious Design: Our Cookie Table Contest Winner & Runners-Up

These Pittsburgh couples certainly know how to bring the cookie table tradition to life.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Produced in Pittsburgh: MONMade Takes Local Crafters National

Produced in Pittsburgh: MONMade Takes Local Crafters National

Close to a half dozen local businesses, among them Savannah Hayes and Stak Ceramics, will make their debut next week at the mega interior design and home goods-focused show in New York City.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

School trustees voted this week to increase tuition for in-state and out-of-state students.

Comments

Edit Module

Edit Module