Chilly nights and the growing music of cicadas are a welcome harbinger of autumn. Family entertainment shifts to more seasonal offerings, too. Check out this week’s top things to do with kids in Pittsburgh.
1. Find your way through a corn maze (in person)
A 3-acre corn maze is part of the redefined Harvest Days at Trax Farms beginning Saturday, Sept. 19. A $10 ticket includes a hayride, a visit with farm animals, the pumpkin patch and, of course, the chance to get lost in the corn maze. Reserve your family’s time slot in advance for a farm-fresh experience. Kids 2 and younger are free.
2. Join the scientist takeover (at home)
This week’s installment of Super Science Days at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History challenges the museum scientists to take over with insight into their expertise. Each day this week, a different scientist runs the show, teaching a lesson and leading a hands-on activity. Kids will learn about the duties of ornithologists and make a pair of binoculars. And they can take their favorite stuffed animal on a safari while they delve into the subject of mammals. Scientist Takeover runs through Saturday, but you can catch up anytime online.
3. Get RADical (in person and at home)
This week’s RADical Days highlights free virtual and in-person offerings. View the complete calendar here.
Tour Manchester Craftsman’s Guild on Friday, Sept. 18, and Sunday, Sept. 20, to get a close look at the ceramics studio and digital lab.
The August Wilson Cultural Center reopens this week, presenting “Like the Shape of Clouds in Water,” to be viewed in person daily, beginning Sept. 18, as well as online.
4. Be a night owl (at home)
Just because it’s called Night Owl Camp doesn’t mean kids will miss their bedtimes. The Phipps Conservatory monthly series for ages 4-13 touches on topics such as sustainability, science and art with interactive lessons. “Biology in the Burgh,” scheduled from 6–7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18, will examine the animals, bugs and plants in the 412. Night Owl Camp registration is $15.
5. Fall into seasonal fun (in person)
Triple B Farms is geared up to welcome families to Fall Fun, a reinvention of seasonal activities that includes pumpkin, apple and sunflower picking. The festivities begin Saturday, Sept. 19, with $10 timed tickets. Kids 2 and younger are free. Expect two corn mazes, visits to the animal barn and hayrides. And be sure to sample delicious treats like Apple-Cider Donuts, Apple Fries and Caramel Apples for a delightful finish to your visit.
6. Pick up a paintbrush (at home)
The National Aviary hosts monthly Birds & Brushes Virtual Art Classes beginning Saturday, Sept. 19. Artists of all ages will learn to paint Aviary creatures, starting with a sloth. Included in the step-by-step instructions is a behind-the-scenes look at each species. The cost is $25 per lesson, with an optional material kit for $20. The class runs from 11 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Get the complete lineup here.
7. Drive up to the drive-in (in person)
It’s a big week for drive-in movies. Read on:
Allegheny County’s free Drive-in Movies season screens “Toy Story 4” on Thursday, Sept. 17, at South Park and Saturday, Sept. 19, at Hartwood Acres. Catch “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” on Tuesday at Boyce Park.
Citiparks’ Dollar Bank Drive-in Movie Night series comes to a close with “Men in Black International” on Saturday, Sept. 19, on CCAC’s North Side campus. Free tickets will be available at 10 a.m. Thursday.
Another session of Carpool Cinema runs at Carrie Blast Furnace with a Rockin’ Rhythm Revue on Friday, Sept. 18, and Saturday, Sept. 19. Kids will get a sampling of a great range of American music with a lineup that includes “O, Brother, Where Art Thou?,” “Ray,” “American Graffiti” and “The Blues Brothers.” Tickets are $5 for kids and $8 for their grownups. Buy them here.
8. Learn 18th-century cooking skills (in person)
Visit the Oliver Miller Homestead on Sunday, Sept. 20, and learn how the Miller family preserved foods to last through the winter. “Preserving the Harvest” demonstrates how salting, smoking and pickling kept meat and vegetables safe without refrigeration. Self-guided tours operate from 1:30–4:30 p.m. on Sundays.
9. Pick the perfect pumpkin – and apples (in person)
Soergel’s opens its apple orchard and pumpkin patch for daily picking beginning Saturday, Sept. 19. The usual fall activities we’ve come to expect will not be offered this year, but the Petting Zoo will be open. Plan ahead with walking shoes to stroll to the field and orchard. Access is free, with a limited number of pickers following safety protocols.
10. Register for Citiparks Family Dinner Night (at home)
Citiparks, Eat’n Park and United Way will team up to distribute 500 free dinners on Tuesday, Sept. 22. Each dinner, enough to feed a family of four, includes salad, pasta and sauce, bread and sweet potato pie. At 6 p.m. that night they are hosting a short live stream show featuring the chefs who planned the meal and surprise guests. All registered diners will receive a link to the livestream. Citiparks Family Dinner Night is intended for those experiencing food insecurity during the pandemic. Register here by Thursday, Sept. 17, for a meal pickup.