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.
Pittsburgh has plenty of activities to offer families when it’s nice out, but we all know it won’t be sunny every day in Pittsburgh. Whether you’re a mom, dad, sibling or babysitter, it can be a challenge to keep the kids entertained when outdoors is off limits. Here are some ideas to spark their imagination.
photo by Tess Petak
For the Baseball Fanatic
The Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum at the Sen. John Heinz History Center
There's no crying in baseball, except perhaps when its raining. The Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum at the Sen. John Heinz History Center has plenty to keep your baseball fan going into extra innings. Learn about Pirates heroes such as Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell and Bill Mazeroski, and the Pittsburgh Crawfords of the Negro Leagues are also well represented.
Among our favorites are the two-story mural that illustrates Forbes Field and the expansive Wall of Trading Cards.
Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, 1212 Smallman St., Strip District; heinzhistorycenter.org/sports
photo courtesy of Lilliput Play Homes town Center
For the Imaginative Child
Lilliput Play Homes Towne Center
For any child with an imagination, the Lilliput Play Homes Towne Center is the perfect place for them to play pretend. They can visit the company's expansive line of elaborate play buildings, including a grocery store, doctor’s office, fire station, beauty salon, bistro and more (all make-believe, of course).
The center offers an eating area and is also available for birthday parties.
Lilliput Play Homes Towne Center, 4125 Washington Road, McMurray; lilliputtownecenter.com
photo via flickr creative commons
For the Train Enthusiast
Take a Ride on the T
Riding the T might be ho-hum for most commuters, but it could the ride of a lifetime for a little one who loves trains. The T is free of charge within Downtown and the North Shore, which is a good thing since once your child climbs aboard, they may not want to get off. It's also a great way to introduce teach them how to use public transportation. One tip: It's best to avoid rush hour.
Port Authority of Allegheny County, portauthority.org/paac/SchedulesMaps/StadiumService.aspx
photo by kristi jan hoover
For the Avid Biker
The Wheel Mill
Bring your kids to this 80,000-square-foot indoor mountain bike and BMX park that offers eight rooms filled with various terrains and trails for bikers of all skill levels and ages.
The park also offers accommodations for children still learning to ride and lessons for beginner and intermediate riders, as well as children with no bike experience.
“We have kids as young as a year and a half old coming in here to ride,” says Wheel Mill owner Harry Geyer. “We actually have races for them every other Friday night. It’s pretty entertaining.”
The Wheel Mill offers season passes or single-day passes, as well as various summer camps for your child. Bike rentals are available at the facility.
The Wheel Mill, 6815 Hamilton Ave., Homewood; thewheelmill.com
photo courtesy of Pittsburgh toy lending library
For the Player
The Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library
A go-to spot for younger children on a rainy day is the Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library, an indoor play space for children six years and under.
Established in 1974 by a group of parents who saw the need for an organization that would lend out toys, the library now has 400 toys in its collection.
“We have them organized by imaginative play, cognitive play, gross motor and infant,” says library volunteer Elizabeth Lubay. “There’s basically anything a child could want to play with that you can take out for two or three weeks, play with it, bring it home, bring it back.”
Non-members can enjoy the play and art spaces for free on their first visit and at $5 per child ($10 maximum for each family) for every other visit. Children under 1 are always free.
Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library, 5401 Centre Ave., Shadyside; pghtoys.org
photo by chris reidenbaugh
For the Swimmer
Upper St. Clair Community and Recreation Center Indoor Water Facility
There are plenty of pools in the Pittsburgh-area, but only a few that can be used during any kind of weather. One of our favorites is the indoor water park at the Upper St. Clair Community and Recreation Center — a diamond in the rough.
The water facility is open year-round and features a lap pool, resistance channel, leisure pool, spray features, play structures and slides.
You can purchase a membership or buy a $12 day pass for the entire facility, which includes use of the water park. Best of all, the Recreation Center is not limited to residents of Upper St. Clair.
Upper St. Clair Community & Recreation Center, 1551 Mayview Road, Upper St Clair; 412/221-1099, twpusc.org/crc/aquatics