10 fun freebies for kids during Pittsburgh RADical Days

This story was first published on Sept. 7. See additional free RADical Days activities in Kristine Sorensen’s KDKA report following the story.

For 17 years, Pittsburgh RADical Days have showcased the best of Western Pennsylvania. Arts organizations, museums, and other benefactors of the Allegheny Regional Asset District’s 1 percent local sales tax open their doors for those who have contributed to their funding. Families love to take advantage of these fun freebies from some of their favorite destinations.

Here’s a list of 10 activities that will delight kids of all ages. But don’t stop here. There are lots more events to be found on the RADical Days website.

1. Hay Days

Petting zoos, pony rides, puppet shows and, of course, hay rides, will be featured Sept. 22 at Hartwood Acres and Oct. 6 at South Park for Hay Days. The Hartwood Acres event features Family Green Fest, with educational activities focused on the environment. South Park hosts Public Safety Day with vehicles and equipment from Allegheny County’s public safety departments on display.

2. Pop-up Chamber Concerts

Calling all Beethoven, Bach and Mozart enthusiasts. Student groups from the Youth Chamber Connection will perform pop-up concerts at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh locations in Lawrenceville, East Liberty, Homewood and the West End on Sunday, Sept. 23. Times will be announced on Sept. 16.

radical days
Giant flowers are part of the mesmerizing “Gardens of Sound and Motion” exhibit at Phipps Conservatory.

3. Gardens of Sound and Motion

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is home to some of the most gorgeous landscapes in Pittsburgh. In addition to the Children’s Discovery Garden and the Tropical Forest, the Gardens of Sound and Motion, an interactive soundscape of visual and kinetic art, will be featured with free admission on Monday, Sept. 24.

4. Day of Art (and dinosaurs)

On Saturday, Sept. 29, a free day of art will be offered at three locations, including:

5. Doubleheader of Music and Words

Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland will host the Pittsburgh Youth Chorus at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30, followed by an appearance by children’s author Cuban-American Meg Medina, author of “The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind,” as part of Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures‘ Words & Pictures series. Reservations requested.

6. It’s a hoot

On Thursday, Oct. 4, the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania will host Owl Prowl at Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve in Fox Chapel, tracking the nocturnal birds of prey in their natural habitats. Space is limited, so you’ll want to reserve a space early at aswp.org.

7. Visit the Gilded Age

Step back in time on Saturday, Oct. 6, at The Frick Pittsburgh. Clayton, the Frick family’s mansion, will host free family activities, along with tours of The Frick Art Museum and the Car and Carriage Museum.

radical days
A free day at the zoo is a welcome treat.

8. Zoo Day

The Pittsburgh Zoo will offer free admission starting at 9 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 7, featuring its newest residents: the Canadian lynx kittens at Forest Passage and the baby gorilla at the Tropical Forest. At 10 a.m., kids’ activities start, accompanied by Chamber Music Pittsburgh. At noon, the River City Brass will perform.

9. Moon Glow

The Senator John Heinz History Center will feature the Smithsonian’s “Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission” for all budding astronauts and their families on Monday, Oct. 8. The exhibit features items that including Neil Armstrong’s space suit and the Apollo 11 command module.

10. Dance Party

The dance ambassadors of Pittsburgh Musical Theater’s Xtreme Teen Broadway will take over South Main Street in the West End for Dancing in the Streets. Fan participation is optional but welcome. The performance starts at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 13.