11 things to do with kids this week in Pittsburgh, from spray parks to a zoo parade

Photo courtesy of Citiparks.

Ready to get out and get active with your kids? We have lots of high-energy happenings and other fun stuff to keep your family entertained. Check out our top things to do this week with kids in Pittsburgh.

1. Get wet!

Perfectly timed to hot weather, Citiparks spray parks are open for the season on May 29 (Beechview opens on June 17). Scattered throughout eight Pittsburgh neighborhoods, these cooling playgrounds include movement sensors that – abracadabra! – magically turn on the water. You’ll find tunnels of misting jets, tall flower showers and squirting tubes. The spray parks are designed for all ages, from the smallest toddlers to fun-loving teens. No swimming skills are required. The spray parks are open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Find the complete spray park list and directions here.

Image courtesy of Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.

2. Head to a zoo parade

The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium officially launches summer with its first Opening Season Parade. Kicking off at 11 a.m. on May 31, the parade begins at the Forest Passage, winding through the zoo to end at the Kids Kingdom patio. Expect mascots, a variety of popular princesses, dancers and favorite characters. The parade is included with general admission. Buy tickets in advance here or purchase at the gate.

Image courtesy of Sony Pictures.

3. Catch the first walk-up, pop-up movie at Hazelwood Green

UPDATE: Due to the threat of rain, the date has been moved to July 9.

Row House Cinema partners with Hazelwood Local to present a free movie on the lawn at Hazelwood Green Plaza. The walk-up, pop-up event will present the animated feature “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” (PG), Oscar winner for Best Animated Feature. Show up at 7 p.m. May 28 with blankets and enjoy concessions from on-site food trucks. The movie starts at 8:30 p.m. Registration is free, but required.

Photo courtesy of Venture Outdoors.

4. Paddle in a kayak

There’s nothing better than getting out on the water, feeling the sun on your face and the breeze in your hair. Kayak Pittsburgh’s North Park location is open for the season, offering a safe and fun outlet for family paddles. Kids from 3 years and older love paddling tandem kayaks with their grownups. Older kids from ages 13-15 can man a solo kayak when accompanied by a grownup on the water. Reserve boat rentals and time here. Prices range from $16-$26.50 per hour.

Photo courtesy of The National Aviary.

5. Take Journey to Africa                                                         

The National Aviary focuses on the rich diversity of ecosystems in Africa with a new program that opens on May 29. “Journey to Africa” delves into avian species found in a wide range of environments, from deserts and rocky shores to grassy savannahs and dry deserts. Meet birds from each of these areas and learn how they adapt to their unique surroundings. Be sure to catch the immersive bird show, “African Adventure.” Kids will thrill to experiencing a Red-Billed Hornbill flying overhead and the 6-foot wingspan of a Grey Crowned-crane. Daily events include the African Penguin Feeding, Vultures in Flight and Eagles of Africa. Make a plan and buy your timed tickets here.

Photo courtesy of McConnells Mill State Park.

6. Tour a historic gristmill

The 19th-century gristmill at McConnells Mill State Park opens for the season on May 26. The summer schedule runs from 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. The mill closed as a commercial business in the 1920s, but the gears, pulleys and milling machines have been preserved. Kids are fascinated by the process that harnessed the hydropower of Slippery Rock Creek to spin the turbine and grind wheat or corn. Park at the Kildoo Picnic Area and walk down the stone stairs trail. Masks are required inside the mill.

Image courtesy of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

7. Join the Bucaroos Kids Club

The Pittsburgh Pirates invite kids 14 years and younger to join the Bucaroos Kids Club for a season of baseball fun. With a free Silver membership, kids will receive benefits like a club ID and lanyard, a free Pirates game ticket and four BOGO vouchers, a Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich or nuggets, plus a monthly newsletter to keep up on all the Pirates baseball news. The Gold level is $25, with additional benefits. Sign up here.

Image courtesy of Lucasfilm.

8. Get tickets for this week’s Dollar Bank Drive-in Movie

“Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (PG-13) hits the big screen on May 29 at the Pittsburgh Zoo parking lot as part of the Dollar Bank Drive-in Movie Series. Gates open at 8 p.m. with the movie screening at 9 p.m. Tickets are free, but reservations are required due to the limited number of parking spaces. Tickets will be available here at 10 a.m. on May 27.

Photo courtesy of Tour-Ed Mine.

9. Tour a coal mine

Former coal miners take the lead in guiding visitors through the Tour-Ed Mine & Museum in Tarentum. The miners provide the perfect perspective in explaining coal-mining experiences throughout the nearly 170 years of the mine’s operation. Hard hats on, kids and grownups travel 160 feet below the earth in a flat coal car for the half-mile journey. The fascinating 30-minute tour demonstrates mining tools and methods from the 1850s to current times. Visit the museum to get a look at the company store, where miners bought goods with company scrip. Don’t forget a hoodie: Temperatures underground remain at 52-56 degrees year-round. Tour-Ed Mine is open Wednesdays through Sundays with four tours per day. Make your reservations here.

Photo by Sally Quinn.

10. Mix up a batch of Super Bubbles

Kids love bubbles, so it stands to reason gigantic Super Bubbles would be loved all the more. This Maker Monday recipe can produce bubbles – really big bubbles! – that are absolutely mesmerizing as they shimmer in the sun. A handful of ingredients will provide lots of batches of Super Bubbles, perfect for entertainment at a backyard family picnic. Find the directions here.

Photo courtesy of Carnegie Science Center.

11. Make music (in person)

Do you have a kiddo who loves to sing, bang on a drum and shake a tambourine? Little kids who get their kicks from making music will find their muse at Carnegie Science Center’s monthly Music Mondays on May 31. Kids will sing and play along with favorite childhood songs like “Old MacDonald” and “Wheels on the Bus.” The hour-long activities are included with general admission. Buy your timed tickets here.