Pittsburgh, known as the “City of Bridges,” is a vibrant city filled with diverse cultures, historical landmarks, and fun activities for everyone in the family.
While Pittsburgh has many exciting places for children, it has activities that aren’t just fun for kids. They’re also educational and can be pretty specific to their likes. From building with LEGO blocks to museum sightseeing, there’s a host of things kids can spend their entire day doing. In addition, Pittsburgh is one of the top locations in the United States with kid-friendly metro areas!
Here are our top picks for the best Pittsburgh activities with kids.
Like every good tourist destination, Pittsburgh is home to several interesting museums. The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh offers fun activities for kids of different ages. Children can enjoy immersive experiences with activities like water play, art making, and pretend play. If you want to walk around the museum with your kid, it takes about 3 hours to get around the space and explore all the options.
This museum is also ranked as the second-best children’s museum in the United States.
There is also the Carnegie Science Center, a famous museum that has a large in-flow of tourists. Although it isn’t exclusively a kids’ museum, this marvel is home to one of the most enormous planetary projections on Earth. You can take your little ones to look at the stars and the skies, learn a bit about astrology and planets, and explore the beautiful gifts of history in the rest of the museum.
Parks and outdoor areas
Another great way to keep your kids entertained is by exploring Pittsburgh’s many parks and outdoor spaces. The Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens features beautiful gardens, a butterfly forest, and an outdoor children’s discovery garden.
Kids can learn fascinating details about indigenous plants and rare floral wildlife, but this garden isn’t limited to just its flowers. The architecture and ambiance are captivating as well. The Phipps Garden has a Victorian-style infrastructure that is sure to have your kids thinking about princes and princesses.
As for worries about environmental hazards, Phipps offers an eco-friendly, safe, and fun place for your family to learn and enjoy their visit to Pittsburgh. This conservatory has a beautiful history and themes that will keep the kids occupied.
Families can also enjoy activities like hiking, biking, and nature walks at Frick Park or Schenley Park.
Pittsburgh has exciting features for animal lovers. The Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium is home to many animals and sea life. The region has one of the largest zoos in the United States. Families can spend endless hours browsing through the many attractions the zoo provides, like animal feedings, shows, wildlife descriptions, and so much more.
The zoo is open from Sunday to Saturday and is so large that it houses over 3500 animals, including some endangered creatures.
You don’t have to leave the comfort of the zoo to see the aquarium because they are both housed on the same premises. Kids explore the African Savannah, see polar bears, have fun in the Kids Kingdom, and go through the famous Forest Passage.
You may be worried about the safety of your kids or just about animals getting too close. Rest assured that the zoo is secure and measures are taken to ensure that everyone is protected while they enjoy the wonders of the location. You also have to do your part by following the instructions of the zookeeper.
Parks and outdoor adventures
Almost every big state in the United States brags about its fantastic amusement parks, but Pittsburgh is different. The state offers a historic amusement park from the late 1800s — the Kennywood Park. With proper maintenance and lots of effort, they’ve maintained some of the wooden rides from back then while also integrating modern amusement into the park. Kids can have the time of their lives on the many available rides and enjoy the snacks, drinks, and fun opportunities.
Don’t worry about not getting enough tickets because of the crowd, as the amusement park offers customers the chance to make reservations with many bonuses and enticing nuggets. It’s always a great idea to visit the park in daylight and spend at least 3 hours exploring the different activities with your kids.
Kennywood also offers excellent food choices and free parking space, so it’s much easier to get a large family without worrying about parking.
Another popular option is Sandcastle Waterpark, featuring waterslides, lazy rivers, and a wave pool.
Aside from amusement parks, your kids can also engage in various outdoor adventures. Take a bike ride in the Tree Rivers Heritage Trail. For a unique experience, visit Go Ape Treetop Adventure Course where kids can test their skills on a high ropes course in the trees.
Pittsburgh has some fun recreational activities you should try out, and you can do this at the IdleWild & SoakZone. Here, you get access to loads of child-friendly watersports, dining areas for kids, and side attractions just for their entertainment. This place is built just for kids, so you can be sure it is safe for them to play.
Idlewild also gives discounts and bonuses on specific ticket purchases. You can pay for certain packages and access other parks by the same recreational facility. Click here to book Idlewild & SoakZone tickets for your family now!
If your child is a sports fan, Pittsburgh has some of the best teams to root for. Catch a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game at PNC Park or a Pittsburgh Penguins hockey game at PPG Paints Arena. You can also take a tour of Heinz Field, home to the Pittsburgh Steelers football team.
Throughout the year, Pittsburgh hosts several family-friendly events that are sure to be a hit with kids. The Three Rivers Arts Festival is a 10-day event that includes live music, art exhibits, and children’s activities. In the winter, head to the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium for their annual “Zoo Lights” display featuring over one million lights.
There are loads of kid-friendly attractions in Pittsburgh, from recreational parks to educational museums to even the joyful amusements of the waterpark. This state is also tourist-friendly, so if you aren’t native, you don’t need to worry too much about unfriendly people.
Here are some travel tips when enjoying Pittsburgh activities with kids:
- It’s always best to visit most of these attractions before mid-morning to take a break after lunch.
- For the waterparks, a hot afternoon is the ideal time to take your kids for a swim.
- When traveling with your kids anywhere, always remember to teach them safety rules and keep an eye on them.
Do you have other recommendations for fun things to do in Pittsburgh with kids? Let us know in the comments section below!
Katherine Cortes is a long-time backpacker and a freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).