10 things to do in Pittsburgh with kids this weekend, from animatronic dinosaurs to fab fireworks

Photo above courtesy of The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.

This weekend bridges the gap between 2022 and 2023, and there are lots of ways to celebrate. From animatronic dinosaurs to fireworks, there are plenty of things to do in Pittsburgh.

Check out what’s happening in and around the city: There are a handful of fun New Year’s Eve events for families, and many of the indoor kid play places are open both days. This weekend also looks to be unseasonably warm for December in Pittsburgh, so a playground or hike are also great options. 

Friday, Dec. 30: Holiday Dreams! A Holiday Cirque! 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

This ground-breaking holiday show incorporates acrobats, aerialists, comedians and daredevils performing incredible feats using the latest in visual and technological “magic” such as holograms, projection mapping, and interactive lasers. Created with the mission that it must appeal to children and grown-ups alike, the show includes music, dance, comedy and a lovably funny story—all wrapped up in a holiday theme!

things to do in Pittsburgh with kids this weekend

Friday, Dec. 30: Trains, Trains, and More Trains at St. Philip Parish, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

This is the last evening for this local train display, which teaches kids and grownups alike about local streetcars in Crafton and Ingram. Free, but bring a donation of a nonperishable item for local food banks. Their Facebook event page has more details. 

things to do in Pittsburgh with kids this weekend
Photo courtesy of St. Philip Parish.

Friday, Dec. 30 and Saturday, December 31: Holidays at the History Center, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Heinz History Center is open during its usual hours Friday and Saturday this weekend, and kids 17 and under are still free this month. Note: They are closed on Sunday, Jan. 1. Their holiday display in the lobby is dazzling, and the display honoring the 50th anniversary of the Steelers’ Immaculate Reception is even more poignant with the recent passing of Franco Harris. Find out more here

things to do in Pittsburgh with kids this weekend
Photo courtesy of Heinz History Center.

Friday, Dec. 30 – Sunday, Jan. 1: Dinosaur Adventure, various times

This all-new exhibit at the Monroeville Convention Center features life-sized dinosaurs that come alive with movement and roars. Activities include fossil crafting, Jurassic jeeps, themed obstacle courses and taking a ride on a dinosaur. Admission is $35 for ages 2-12, $25 for ages 13 and older, and free for those younger than 2. More info can be found here

Saturday, Dec. 31: Countdown to Noon at the Children’s Museum, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

This longstanding tradition is perfect for kids who can’t make it til midnight. The museum, which will be open for regular hours, hosts a dance party and countdown until noon. It’s a win-win. Kids get to celebrate, parents get to put them to bed at their regular time. Full details can be found here

Saturday, Dec. 31: New Year’s @ Noon at Neighborhood North Museum of Play, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 

For families in Beaver County who haven’t yet checked out the Neighborhood North Museum of Play in Beaver County, this event is perfect. Designed for kids under 6, this event is only $5 each. Explore the museum, celebrate with a balloon drop at noon, and have the kids home and ready for bed with plenty of time to spare. Details can be found here

things to do in Pittsburgh with kids this weekend

Saturday, Dec. 31: Harmony Silvester Celebration, 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

In downtown historic Harmony, which is just about 40 minutes from Pittsburgh proper, the adorable town square celebrates New Year’s Eve in Germany — which occurs at 6 p.m. local time — each year. Called Silvester, the day is filled with food, fun, a ball drop and fireworks. The full list of details can be found here

Saturday, Dec. 31: First Night Celebration, 6 p.m. to midnight

The main event this weekend in the city is Pittsburgh’s First Night celebration, which has always included many kid-friendly events. It’s supposed to be 50 degrees with a rain-free window around 6-8 p.m., so it could be the perfect night to head downtown. We have a guide to the whole evening here. A few highlights are the AHN Family Zone, Highmark Holiday Block Party, and at 819 Penn Avenue, you can explore a fully immersive, five-foot-high ice maze by master ice carver Rich Bubin of Ice Creations, open from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 31: Black on Black Love Art Exhibit, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. 

While you’re Downtown for the First Night festivities, check out this can’t-miss art exhibit. At 820 Liberty Avenue, you’ll find the Black on Black Love art exhibit by BOOM Concepts, where eight artists will be displaying works identifying different expressions of Black love and how its force is shared, extended, created, embraced, honored, interpreted and protected within and among the Black community.

Sunday, Jan. 1: Dazzling Nights at Pittsburgh Botanic Gardens, 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. 

The lights at the Pittsburgh Botanic Gardens — which are different than the lights at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens — have been popular this year. They are open on New Year’s Day for families looking to extend that holiday cheer into the new year. 

Are you signed up for the Kidsburgh newsletter? It’s the best way in the new year to make sure your family knows what’s going on around the city. Also, check out our guide to good sleep for kids adjusting after a long break from school, and our guide to indoor play places when the weather is chilly. 

And if you’re looking for more things to do in Pittsburgh with kids, don’t miss our big guide to events happening all winter long