City Guide 2018-2019: Do
Every parent has heard the refrain: There’s nothing to do. It’s time to disprove that idea and explore some of the many things to do in our region.
photos by chuck beard
★ Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh
The hands-on interactive children’s museum provides loads of “real stuff” experiences for play and learning. Don’t miss the special exhibit, “Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails.” Also on display are iconic items from “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” including original puppets and a sweater and sneakers worn by Fred.
10 Children’s Way, North Side
★ Cinema in the Park
Free outdoor movies — typically hits from the past year — are shown on the big screen throughout the summer in multiple parks around Pittsburgh.
★ Code Breakers
The North Hills escape room offers a kid-friendly option every weekend for guests ages 7-12. Games for ages 13 through adult are also available.
1130 Perry Highway, Ross Twp
★ Color Me Mine
The pottery-paint studio offers a two-hour Kids Night Out for ages 5-12. Includes pottery painting, pizza, games and story time.
Squirrel Hill and South Hills
photo courtesy dependable drive-In
★ Dependable Drive-In
Take in a double-feature with the whole family; there’s usually a pairing of G- and PG-rated features on one of the drive-in’s four screens. Robust concession stand offerings are cheaper than those at nearby multiplexes. Kids 5-11 get in for $3; ages 12 and older, $8.
549 Moon Clinton Road, Moon Twp
★ The Frick Pittsburgh
Take the whole family to an evening picnic on the lawn of The Frick Pittsburgh during Summer Fridays at the Frick. Pretend you live in a simpler time as strains of music fill the air from the night’s musical guest; while you’re there, visit the restored Frick family home, Clayton. Bring your own food or patronize local food trucks.
7227 Reynolds St., Point Breeze
★ Fun Slides Carpet Skatepark
Ever try carpet skating? Billed as a safer alternative to skateboarding, it basically involves sliding on ramps and other obstacles with special shoes. There’s a bounce area for kids ages 2 and up, blacklight dodgeball games for older kids, and even a Super Ninja Challenge Course.
1130 Perry Highway, Pine Twp
★ Gateway Clipper Fleet
Offers several kid-friendly themed cruises — everything from superheroes to princesses to the Enchanted Rivers School of Wizardry. Snacks, face painting, souvenirs and balloons are available.
350 West Station Square Drive, South Shore
★ Ice Rink at PPG Place
From Light Up Night in November through February, you can lace up and skate at the MassMutual Pittsburgh Ice Rink at PPG Place. The rink, which boasts of being 67 percent larger than the Rockefeller Center ice rink, is a great place to defy winter.
Two PPG Place, Downtown
★ Idlewild and SoakZone
Idlewild is an easily accessible park with areas perfect for young children and other spots the whole family will love. Parking is free and so is admission for kids 2 and under. There are seven themed lands, including StoryBook Forest and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.
2574 U.S. Route 30, Ligonier
★ Legends of Pittsburgh Fitness and Performance Center
This no-nonsense gym at the Pittsburgh Mills mall has some fun with “American Ninja Warrior” classes, and parties, for kids. The course can be modified for all ages and includes a rock climbing wall, zip line, obstacle course, hanging ropes, rope wall and slacklines.
559 Pittsburgh Mills Blvd., Tarentum
★ Living Treasures Animal Park
Get up close and personal with wild (and not-so-wild) creatures of the land, sea and air. Feed a giraffe, enjoy a walk-through aviary or ride a camel at the Moraine site near New Castle. It’s a great way to spend a day with kids of all ages.
New Castle and Jones Mills
★ Pennsylvania Trolley Museum
Worth the drive if your kids are interested in trains or transportation. Take a trolley ride and walk through a collection of about 50 trolleys — 15 of which have been restored to working condition. Offers three holiday celebrations: Bunny Trolley, Pumpkin Patch Trolley or Santa Trolley as well as Daniel Tiger’s Weekend.
1 Museum Road, Washington
★ Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium
The Pittsburgh Zoo is one of only six major zoo and aquarium combinations in the United States. There not only is a first-rate children’s section at the zoo but tons of special events and classes geared to kids of all ages.
7370 Baker St., Highland Park
★ PNC Carousel
Carrying on the tradition of the original Schenley Park Carousel, which opened in 1913, the Victorian-style carousel features fascinating creatures and old-fashioned pipe-organ music. The carousel caters to younger riders and is wheelchair accessible.
Schenley Plaza, Oakland
photo by dave dicello
★ PNC Park Kids Days
Pirates games are fun for families no matter what day of the week, but Sunday afternoons are designated Kids Days. Visit the Family Fun Zone on Federal Street from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., pick up the kids’ promotional item of the day at the gates for kids 14 and under then let the kids run the bases afterwards. If it’s your kid’s first game, visit guest relations for a special certificate.
115 Federal St., North Shore
★ Row House Cinema
In its four years, Row House Cinema has proven that it’s a place that welcomes kids. Don’t miss Cereal Cinema, where kids come for cereal at 9:30 followed by a 10 a.m. film. To keep up with the extensive offerings for kids, check out the Facebook page Row House Kids.
4115 Butler St., Lawrenceville
★ Shakespeare in the Parks
Introduce the kids to Shakespeare at as early an age as you want with the annual Shakespeare in the Parks performances — this year they’ll stage “The Two Gentlemen of Verona.” The actors put on a stellar show and the atmosphere is slightly casual, as dogs and children of all ages are welcome in the audience. It’s a perfect place for a bit of culture, whether or not the kids can sit still.
Various locations; pittsburghshakespeare.com
★ Soergel Orchards and Trax Farms
If you haven’t heard about agritainment, it’s the concept that merges agriculture and entertainment in fun and educational activities such as hayrides, classes and festivals. If you want to experience it yourself, few places do it better than Soergel Orchards in the North Hills and Trax Farms in the South Hills.
Wexford and Finleyville
★ Venture Outdoors
With activities that include kayaking, hiking, fly fishing and geocaching, Venture Outdoors’ mission is to introduce people to the benefits of outdoor recreation all across the region. In addition to its extensive youth programming, many offerings are suitable for all ages.