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There are hardly enough words to describe how deeply in love we fell with Pittsburgh on our recent visit. It was a total, “Who knew this place was so amazing?” moment, for sure. Packed with incredible history (Mister Rogers! Steel mills! World’s first modern art museum!), stunning views (our obsession with Pittsburgh’s famous yellow bridges is, well, next level), and more kid-friendly activities than you can count, this tops our list for favorite family destinations, for sure. What are the best things to do in Pittsburgh with kids, you ask? Here’s our top 5!
Is your kid obsessed with LEGO? The Art Of The Brick is hands down the coolest exhibit we have ever seen in a museum, ever. The Carnegie Science Center is now featuring this massive art exhibit, made exclusively from LEGO bricks. With every twist and turn in this exhibit, you’ll be increasingly shocked at what has been built with LEGOs, and at the sheer amount of pieces on display.
The exhibit’s incredible artist and creator, Nathan Sawaya, is a former lawyer turned LEGO savant. You can explore countless larger-than-life replicas of classic art like the Mona Lisa, a figure from Easter Island, a T-Rex fossil, and more. Each piece is more breathtaking than the last, and the entire exhibit is mind-boggling.
After that, pop over to the hands-on building part of the exhibit, and let your little builder begin constructing his or her own art. Each station has an activity or challenge to complete, or you can “free build” if you choose. From constructing racing cars and seeing which one is fastest, to a Lego version of “The Floor is Lava,” there’s no end to the building fun.
And while you could spend hours at the Lego exhibit alone, the Carnegie Science Center is packed with other amazing exhibits to explore. There is a large water exploration area, so prepare for lots of splashy fun! Your child will also love to check out the real life submarine on display in the river right outside of the Center. Cross a little bridge and get right into the inside of the ship to see what it was like to be on a submarine in years gone by.
We could have spent days at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh! The rich history of the museum and the passion for art that’s infused in everything there, made it an incredible experience – and dare we say, the most incredible children’s museum we have ever been to.
Children and parents alike will adore the new Mo Willems exhibit, where kids can interact with real-life versions of their favorite characters from the beloved Pigeon book series.
The Waterplay area was a definite favorite, and impossible not to adore. There are countless exhibits, and you truly could spend an entire day or two exploring everything that’s there during your trip to Pittsburgh.
Another absolute favorite was seeing the original Mister Rogers Neighborhood puppets. You can show your child the first Daniel Tiger, who was created way before the cartoon version ever was. This piece of history brought tears to our eyes, reminiscing about childhood memories.
The amount of art that’s present throughout the museum, and woven into every exhibit, is breathtaking. A large activity atrium is filled with long strips of surveyor’s tape, hanging from the ceiling, to create a stunning display. The cafeteria features a massive pendulum dangling over a marble display, with dozens of tiny metal pegs standing up, arranged in a circle. The pendulum swings via gravity and the turning of the earth alone, and after 24 hours, each peg has been knocked over.
PNC Park, home of the Pirates, is consistently voted one of the most beautiful MLB ballparks in America, and we can’t disagree. This park is actually breathtaking. Nestled alongside the Allegheny River, we took in stunning views of the city and Pittsburgh’s trademark bright yellow bridges, all while enjoying a Pirates vs. Diamondbacks game.
Ticket prices are very family-friendly, which is incredibly refreshing (especially considering this Daily Family is from the northeast, and Boston Red Sox tickets for a family are practically a second mortgage), and the Pirates Cove club seats come complete with all-you-can-eat popcorn, peanuts, and fountain beverages. Can you say, “childhood dream come true?”
EXPLORE AND CONNECT
Kennywood is a must for any Pittsburgh trip with kids – this amusement park has a rich history and opened 120 years ago. Yes. 120 years ago! Some of the attractions are original to the park, which is pretty amazing to be able to experience that history.
The famous Noah’s Ark funhouse was opened in 1936. A giant whale is at the entrance, and you walk through its mouth, up across a platform, and right into the ark. The ark’s twists and turns and bumps and shakes will spook even the oldest thrill-seeker.
The park itself is absolutely gorgeous, something we never expected to say about an amusement park. There is plentiful greenery, and the park has a peaceful feel to it. With rides from little kids all the way to adults, and in the brand-new Thomas the Train Thomasland attraction, there’s loads of fun to be had.
And the food? Never in a million years did we expect to be impressed with amusement park food. Kennywood has nailed it, with traditional fare like pizza and fried dough, to fried Oreos, and delectable strawberry parfaits. There’s even an organic cafe. Yes. An organic health-conscious cafe at an amusement park. We took in a delicious organic coffee and apple juice as we moved on to the next attraction.
If you’re considering a trip to Pittsburgh and not planning to go to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, think again. This museum is spectacular. We could have moved into the museum and stayed there for a week. There’s no words to describe how fascinating it is.
Our tour guide was a virtual encyclopedia of endless facts about the museum’s history, down to the very materials used to create each exhibit, staircase, and pillar. Each exhibit is thoughtfully curated, and many are world-famous. Your dino-loving child will be obsessed with all of the dinosaur fossils on showcase at the museum,
You’ll look in awe at the massive amounts of wildlife on display, dozens of larger-than-life dinosaurs, and the sheer history on showcase. So many species are there to take in and learn about, and there’s also a stunning hall of crystals and gemstones. This is absolutely a can’t miss during your trip to Pittsburgh.
We’re truly still reeling from how we absolutely fell in love with the city of Pittsburgh, and cannot wait to return. This is just a taste of the incredible city, and there’s so much more to explore. In a city with history this rich, with such a focus on family-friendly activities, it’s easy to see why this should be on your family travel bucket list this year.
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