We recently took a trip to Pittsburgh Pennsylvania to experience all they have to offer for families. I was extremely impressed with the city and the facilities they had for educating children. Everything was above and beyond my expectations.
The city is beautiful with tons of steel bridges to see and amazing architecture, but kids aren't really into those things. They want to play and get hands on. Here are 5 places that our kids just can't stop talking about. You'll get a taste of some great educational places to visit as well as some fun past times.
This museum is huge. What started in a historic building expanded into a massive 5 stories of play and learning. Plan to spend a full day at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh because it will take you that long to get to all of the sections. Starting on the ground level you'll find a Cafe with great food options and a Studio for classrooms and painting. This also leads to the outside play area, the Backyard, that includes bubbling mud, a playground and a sand box.
Start moving to the next floor and you'll find the Limb Bender (2nd picture), a wall that reminded us of an ant box, where kids can climb through the walls all the way up to the next level. The Makeshop, an engineers dream, houses multiply hands on things for you to make and construct. Head down the hall to the Attic which has a Gravity room! If you make it to the other side you'll get to slide down a big slide. A little further and you'll find the Garage (3rd picture), a massive room where you can build a car and send it down a test track. Drop parachutes from the top level and slide the super spiral slide. The last room on this floor is for revolving children's exhibits.
The second floor is the perfect place for younger children. They call it the nursery but it's great from children under 5. With puppets, trains and hands on stations there is something for little hands to explore. There is also a soft play area for tiny babies. Our favorite level in the museum was the top floor. The Waterplay floor (4th picture)! Seems crazy to have tons of water pouring onto the floor on the highest level in the building but it's amazing. Kids can throw on a smock of just get soaked while playing with water tables and random pipes that come out of the floor. When the kids are done playing in the water they have a dryer box the kids can blow dry themselves. If I lived in Pittsburgh, we would have an annual membership to this museum, it was that amazing. They also hold birthday parties and events in the basement level.
Every child loves seeing animals! But most cities you have to visit two locations to see the aquarium and the zoo. Not in Pittsburgh though. You get everything in one location and in one admission. Tons of great animals to see like polar bears, penguins, elephants, tigers and lots more. Wear your comfy shoes and pack a lunch (food is pricy) because the park is very large and has hills, so you'll get a workout. If you are visiting in the summer we suggest heading into the zoo section first. You'll make it to the picnic and food area around lunch and then head to the aquarium during the hottest part of the day. The aquarium is indoors so it's a nice break. Finish your day in the Kids Kingdom where the kids can play and pet animals. You can take a seat while your little ones get one last push of energy out. Just think, napping before you leave the parking lot.
Carnegie Science Center and Sports Complex
This is another 4 stories of amazing hands on learning from any age. If you have older children this is the place to go. Great for every age but we want to point out that even teens will love the Carnegie Science Center. The science center is 4 floors with everything from a planetarium, robots, water tables, earthquake machine and so much more. Every corner we turned a “WOW” escaped my mouth. This was just in the science center. The biggest miniature railroad and village I've ever seen. Take a walk outside and you'll find the USS Requin submarine that you can take a tour of. The top floor is were you will find the best activities for smaller children. Also on the property is the Highmark SportsWorks center. Here, you can take sports challenges, simulations and physics of sports.
Gateway Clipper – Good Ship Lollipop
Take a scenic tour of Pittsburgh from the rivers that surround the city. The Gateway Clipper fleet of river boats have many options to choose from, but if you have kids you'll want to take the Good Ship Lollipop. Your kids will get to participate in Pirate training and become honorary Pirates. All while you enjoy the beautiful views on the river. They also have a Princess cruise, Super Hero cruise and an ice cream social that the kids will love.
Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball Game
If you visit Pittsburgh during baseball season, catching a Pirates game is a must. Even if you don't like either of the teams playing, the experience is unmatched. PNC Park sits right on the river and every seat has an amazing view of the city skyline. If you visit on a Friday you'll get a free T-shirt just for being there! I also suggest that you spring for the All you can eat seats! The All You Can Eat seats are a special section in the park that you can get all the food and drink you want from the concessions. Hot dogs, popcorn, ice cream, hamburgers and nachos galore. Feeding hungry kids can get expensive. These tickets are a flat rate, you get a wrist band and a special section to sit in. You just walk up to the counter and tell them what you like (if it isn't already sitting out) and they hand it to you. Super simple and easy, I wish our stadium had this option. When you have kids, taking in a game is all about the experience. It's not just the game, it's eating the stadium food and cheering along. Just check out the view from the All You Can Eat seats (3rd picture), it's right out of a magazine.
So those are our favorite places to visit with kids in Pittsburgh. The city has lots of other great places to explore as well but these were the highlights of our littles ones trip! To see more pictures from these great places please visit our album on Facebook.