Pittsburgh Playdate + Family Venues

The Pgh Momtourage has done over 100 playdates in the last 4+ years. Join us for our twice-a-month playdates - it's a great way to see your way around the city! :) Find our events on our facebook page.
But you might be planning a Pittsburgh stay-cation or just looking for some new ideas to check out with your kids. Here are some of the places we have visited, loved, & recommend - they are family-friendly for all!
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Free Summer Fun
  • Picnic at Point State Park - a great place for a family picnic with plenty of room for kids to run around. Parking can be tricky, but taking the bus or the T can also add to the adventure!
  • Beechwood FarmsBeechwood Farms is an amazing, free outdoor classroom! The newest additions to Beechwood are Audubon Center for Native Plants and DiscoverGround. Audubon Center for Native Plants sells plants that attract birds, butterflies, and wildlife. And DiscoverGround provides outdoor, natural play opportunities for kids and their parents. Both are located adjacent to the Beechwood parking lot.
  • Cinema in the Park - enjoy outdoor movies on the big screen at parks all around Pittsburgh. See the 2016 locations + movie titles here
  • Blue Slide Playground - a neighborhood favorite - bring a piece of cardboard to slide down down the Big Blue Slide! Also, a castle-themed playground, a toddler play space, great walking trails + a picnic area.
  • Southside Works - park (for free) at the Riverfront Park (off of 18th street), walk or bike along the riverfront towards SouthSide works and even across the Hot Metal Bridge. In the summer your kids will want to run through the fountain in front of Cheesecake Factory! Check out CF or BD's Mongolian Grill (stir-fry) for dinner. Sincerely Yogurt on Carson Street makes a yummy treat! 
  • Crafton Playground - sits next to the Crafton Pool. 
  • Squaw Valley Park (Fox Chapel) - We love this park with wide paved paths that circle around a pond. You can usually find ducks ready for your handouts. :) There are 2 separate large playgrounds as well as a sand volleyball court that doubles as an excellent sandbox when no games are in play! 
  • Hartwood Acres - This is an excellent place for a Nature Hike / Stroller Walk with wide, paved paths around it's 600+ acres. You can also pay for guided tours of the mansion. They hold lots of great events there throughout the summer, including PyroFest!  
  • Dormont Park - a large wooden castle-like structure. Wide open spaces for running and lots of picnic areas. 
  • Blueberry Hill Park - (Sewickley) one of the best attractions for this park is that it has a very large sandbox under a pavilion! There are a variety of toys that are left there all the time, but you can bring your own as well.  The Blueberry Patch playground is the main one, but one or two other playgrounds also located in the 87-acre park. You can also stop and see the historic log house in the lower meadow area. 
  • Wiltshire Park - (Upper St. Clair) includes a paved walking path that winds through the park with bridges that cross over the creek. Park amenities include a seal that sprays water, a sand box, playground & swings. The only downside is there are no restrooms. So you may want to bring a portable potty if you have a child that might need one. :) 
  • Round Hill Park + Exhibit Farm - bring some bread to feed the geese at the pond, take a self-guided tour of the working farm & check out the herb garden. In the summer, your kids will definitely want to head to the spray park, and there is a fantastic playground as well! See my review of this great place here
  • Cinemark's Summer Movie Clubhouse  - Looking for a break from the hot sun this summer? Then check the listing for participating theaters for summer movie fun! Tickets are only $1 when purchased at the door, or you can buy a bundle ahead - 10 movies for only $5! 
  • Nature Hike at Schenley Park - make a picture list of anything you might see in this park, grab a pack of stickers, and head out on the stroller friendly paths. Mark each picture off with a sticker once spotted. An awesome & easy kid's adventure!
  • Soergel's Orchard - while there are many awesome things to eat & pick at Soergel's, it's also a Momtourage fave because of their always-free resources for kids! Pet the Farm Animals & bring some quarters to feed, Tiny Town playhouses - general store, hotel and even a jail house offer a great opportunity for kids to use their imaginations. The kids can captain a great ship, conduct a train or even drive a big monster truck or try your hand at Sluice - arrowhead and gem bags are available for sale in the market and then head outside to pan as the water rushes down the sluice.
Free Water Fun
  • North Shore Water Steps - we love this water freebie that also runs along side a great walking/trail and has awesome views of Pittsburgh! Shallow water makes it a great for little ones. 
  • Troy Hill Spray Park - out of all the spray parks, Troy Hill is one of our favorites. It is one of the area's largest ones and there is an indoor bathroom. Water shoes are suggested and cups/buckets add to the water fun. A small playground sits next door as well. Directions can be tricky as it sits behind a large brick building and fenced in basketball court. Free parking is along the tree-lined street. 
  • Beechview Spray Park 
  • Beach at Raccoon Creek State Park - This is a great beach for little ones! Has a nice, wide patch of sandy beach with a gradual slope into the water. Kids have plenty to shallow water to play in. A bathhouse and a food refreshment stand are nearby. And if you're feeling adventurous, this State Park also has great camp sites!
  • Southside Works fountain - see suggestions above under "free summer fun" for Southside Works ideas
  • Round Hill Spray Park - more details listed above. 
The BIG Summer Venues:
  • Idlewild & Soak Zone - If you have younger kids, put this on your summer bucket list! It's been voted the Best Children's Park in the World for the past 4 years and although it's a bit of a drive from Pittsburgh, well worth the trip. Storybook Forest, rides, shows, & the waterpark make for a full family day full of fun! See my full review here.
  • Kennywood - looking for the full amusement park experience? Kennywood is the long-standing Pittburgh tradition. 31 major rides, including three wooden coasters, two steel coasters, water rides, spinning rides, hi-speed rides, kid-sized rides for tiny daredevils, and even a few relaxing rides. My review of our time spent in Kiddieland is here.  
  • Sandcastle Water Park - the place for water fun for all ages! Zero depth entry, shallow pools, and small slides for the littlest ones, lazy river for some down time, and big fast slides & rides for the more adventurous kids & adults. See my full review here.
  • Upper St. Clair Waterpark - officially known as the Community & Recreation Center at Boyce Mayview Park, it also includes beautiful indoor AND outdoor waterparks. Read the full details  in my review of this venue here.  
Outdoor
  • Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium - a local family favorite for sure!
  • Kayak Pittsburgh + Pittsburgh Paddleboard - enjoy two spectacular water favorites on some of our beautiful rivers!
  • Living Treasures Wild Animal Park - a bit of a drive from Pgh, but definitely worth it! This animal park allows you to get pretty up close & personal with the animals, even feeding them with food purchased on site. The only downside is the path isn't 100% stroller friendly. 2 locations (Moraine + Donegal). Stop at Moraine State Park on your way home!
  • Kiski Junction Railroad - a working freight short line that offers scenic tourist train rides in Western PA. If you have kiddos that love trains, then taking a ride here will be a magical experience! Choose from open or closed passenger cars that include tables for eating as well. Tours leave exactly at 2pm on Tuesdays, Fridays & Saturdays. Children 3 & under are free! Tours offered June - October, with special events for Fall & Christmas.
  • Touch-A-Truck - happens each May in the Strip District and is a fun way to let your kids get behind the wheel, honk the horns and meet the men and women who drive the trucks. This event supports the Junior League of Pittsburgh!
  • Dormont Pool - this is an excellent pool for kids because it has zero depth entry on 2 sides! That means babies & toddlers can maintain a little independence of sitting & playing in the shallow water. Also includes a slide in the deeper end & a mushroom waterfall in the shallow end.  
Indoor Play Spaces
  • Snapology - we just love this amazing hands on place for kiddos! Lego® Building Stations, Interactive Gaming, Slot Car Racing, Zoob® Building Station, Duplo® Blocks, Giant Soft Blocks, You can even build on the walls! The new location is fantastic.
  • Cafe Date 4 Kids - an indoor play center with a bounce house, ball pit, jungle gym, monkey bars, seesaw, puzzles, climbing wall + more! Separate baby room as well. A snack bar is a great option for refreshments + drinks. 
  • The Seesaw Center - this is a wonderful indoor play place / open October through April.
  • E2 Toys to Try  - one of the Momtourage's favorites! ALSO has an outdoor play area which is a great option.
  • Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library- play space + art space + and yes, you can check out items if you have a membership! Your first visit is free. :)
  • Ballocity / Fun Fore All has it all! Mini golf, go karts, kiddie rides, bumper boats, batting cages, arcade, rock wall.....but the Momtourage likes to hang out at Ballocity - 3 stories of fun including air cannons that shoot foam balls, “Ballcano” blasts foam balls high into the air,  & a four story slide! There is also a separate toddler area for the little ones. Only $5/child (adults free) AND - Thursdays are FREE at Ballocity! 
  • Wildwoods Highlands - activities, rides, games, and adventures for every age, every day, all year round. Mini golf, bumper boats, laser tag, snow tubing, outdoor kiddie rides. The Momtourage heads to Wildwood’s Kiddie City. A gigantic four level jungle gym filled with twisting slides, ball pits, and soft mats.The  preschool special: soft play, any kids meal and 4 tokens for only $6.95!
  • Monster Mini Golf (Monroeville) - a super fun place to check out where your clothes & teeth glow in the dark! An indoor course is perfect for a rainy day, escape from the cold winter or a break from the hot summer. See my review of our family's tour here.  
Active Energy Burners (i.e. a parent's best friend!)
  • Jump Zone in Allison Park - features massive, themed inflatable slides, obstacle courses and bounce houses kids love, interactive games, toddler activities and more!
  • GymSport Athletic Center - Gymsport opens its doors (M-F/9am-noon) for parents to bring in their preschool- (or younger) aged children for parent-supervised playtime in their exciting Jungle Gym and  preschool equipment. $5 for one hour of play that is guaranteed to bounce some wiggles out. :) 
  • Sky Zone Leetsdale - an amazing indoor trampoline park that your kids will love! Open Jump, 3-D Dodgeball and SkyRobics fitness classes guarantee that mom & dad can have just as much fun!
Free Indoor Places
Museums
  • Children's Museum of Pittsburgh - we are so lucky to have this awesome place in PGH! 
  • Carnegie Science Center  - experience 4 floors of interactive exhibits. See an Omnimax movie on the biggest screen in Pittsburgh! Explore the galaxy at the Buhl Plantetarium. Try out 30 interactive experiences at SportsWorks. Watch live shows and discover programs for the whole family! 
  • Carnegie Museum of Art & Natural History - they've added more & more hands on exhibits for kids which make this is a great family destination!
  • The National Aviary  - The National Aviary is America's only independent indoor nonprofit zoo dedicated exclusively to birds. Has more than 500 birds representing more than 150 species from around the world, many of them threatened or endangered in the wild. 
  • Phipps  Conservatory - 19 indoor & outdoor gorgeous gardens. The Discovery Garden is a beautiful hands-on place for kids. In the Tropical Forest Conservatory, kids will enjoy spotting a variety of animals in the forest. 
Tours 
  • Boyce Nature Center - pre-arrange your visit and you may be able to make edible ornaments & place them along the nature trails to help the active wildlife, learn the history of the maple sugaring process, take a guided tour along the nature trails + much more! 
  • Tyke Hikes led by Venture Outdoors -  They welcome parents or caregivers with children / newborn - 5 years old. Explore nature, touch the trees and look for little critters on easy walks in various park. Hikes are trail-friendly for strollers, slings, child-carriers or on foot. Strollers must be able to maneuver off road. Children on foot should wear tennis shoes. They provide a craft and snacks after the hike. 
  • Lawrenceville Fire Station - the Lawrenceville firefighters are such a great crew and great with the kids! Bonus: playground just down the block. 
  • "Lunch & Learn"  Whole Foods Wexford - we enjoyed a tour of all the great (& yummy) resources that Whole Foods has to offer! They provided us with a delicious lunch as well. 
Fall Fun
  • Triple B Farms Apple & Pumpkin Festival - pick apples from the kid-height orchard trees, take a hayride & spy all sorts of fun hay creations, corn maze, fresh apple cider donuts (!!), bounce maze, ride the Liberty tube slides (my kids favorites!), pet animals, pick your pumpkins & get your fall flowers. 
  • Soergel's Orchard  - hayrides, bounce houses, cornstalk maze, fresh apple cider, Tiny Town, pet the farm animals, and of course, pumpkins!
Winter Fun / School Year Events
  • Playdate on Ice at Mt. Lebanon Rec Center - this is an awesome way to introduce your child to ice skating with their walkers & buckets for kids to balance on (sleds to pull non-skaters on as well!) Every Thursday, 9-11am, September - May. $4.25 / person - skate use included in fee. Open to any preschool or kindergarten age child accompanied by an adult on skates.
  • North Pole Express / Kiski Junction Railroad - Ride in comfortable, enclosed, heated passenger train care, bring letters to Santa in an envelope and they will mail them, free cocoa & cookies for the kids. A portion of the proceeds goes to the Armstrong County Food Bank. Reservations required. 
  • Pittsburgh Symphony Tiny Tots Concert - The Pittsburgh Symphony offers several FREE kids concerts each year, usually held January - April. They do a fantastic job engaging the kids & making it a fun musical experience! Reservations are required. Open for kids ages 3 & up. 
  • Greentree Library - if you are looking to burn off a little energy in the winter, the Greentree Library opens up their gym for kiddos to run & play following their various storytimes. During the summer, they encourage visits to local parks & only open it on rainy days. 
  • Brookline Rec Center - Every Wednesday from 10-11:30am, they hold an open gym & guided exercise class for FREE! An instructor leads the kids (& their caregivers!) through a series of exercises & games. This is followed by a storytime, snack & craft project. Suggested for kids ages 1-5, class runs September - May. Membership is required to use the center, but is free to sign up.
  • Indoor Waterpark - you don't have to put away the swim gear for the winter! Officially known as the Community & Recreation Center at Boyce Mayview Park, it includes beautiful indoor AND outdoor waterparks. Read the full details  in my review of this venue here.  
Hands-On / Classes / Special Events
  • Party in the Park - We celebrated our 4 year Momtourage anniversary by hosting this fun family gala at the West End Overlook. Local entertainers, businesses & a food truck came to add to the fun. See pics here.
  • Annual Trick-or-Treat at Chartiers Manor Assisted Living- this has become our Halloween tradition, you can't beat seeing the joy the residents have at interacting with the costumed little ones!
  • The Clay Cafe - a hands on paint-your-own pottery studio with a great selection of plates, mugs, tableware, children's items, decorations, boxes, & frames to decorate for any occasion!
  • Music Together Class - Courtney Heath of Music Together did a wonderful music class for us!
  • Arts & Craft Day
  • Sandwich Sculpture & Smoothie Day - we had so much fun make adorable animals out of sandwiches! See link for ideas.

5 comments:

C. Fred Higgs III said...

This is my first time visiting the PghMomtourage.com, after my wife pulled it up on my computer . It is an excellent resource, as I have been looking to diversify my GiveMommyABreak activity portfolio of where I can take the kids.

I just didn't have alot of 'inside play' options.

Thanks for what you do for our wives!

-CFH3

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