13 family events around Pittsburgh to make the most of the long weekend 

It’s a three-day weekend here in Pittsburgh, with most students off for Indigenous People’s Day on Oct. 9. Whether you’re looking for a quiet free activity, a way to learn about indigenous culture in our region or a larger fall festival, there’s plenty going on around the city to keep you busy. Check out these family events happening around Pittsburgh this weekend (and don’t miss our guide to fall harvest festivals and pumpkin picking and our guide to not-so-scary Halloween events and our guide to fall flea markets): 

Weekends in October: Kennywood Phantom Fest

Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in October, Kennywood gets its fright on. During the day, the scares are milder and family-friend, but after 5 p.m., things get a bit creepier. There are over 30 rides open during Phantom Fest, several haunted houses, and a trick-or-treat scavenger hunt from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays for kids ages 10 and under. 

Friday, Oct. 6 – Saturday, Oct. 7: “Sugar Skull!” at the Byham Theater

A Día de Muertos Musical Adventure is a touring bilingual/bicultural musical that uses traditional regional music and dance from Mexico to tell the story of 12-year-old Vita Flores, who thinks her family has gone loco planning a celebration for deceased loved ones. Click right here to learn more. Tickets are $30.25.

Friday, Oct. 6 – Sunday, Oct. 8: Fall Home Show

It’s time again for the fall home and garden show at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. There will be food, vendors, displays, and even a game room. Adults are $10, kids are $4, and children under age 6 are free. 

Saturdays in October: Zoo Boo, Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium

What’s more fun that seeing all the amazing animals at the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium? Dressing up to see them while also getting candy. Trick-or-treat throughout the Zoo, create fun crafts and show off your spooktacular costumes in the Halloween parade. This fun family event is included in zoo admission.

Saturday, Oct. 7: Fall Flower Show Opening, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, various times

Hometown Harvest pays tribute to the bounty of the harvest season and the plants and animals that make it possible through festive displays. Kids will love the return of the Garden Railroad, which travels the four seasons of Pennsylvania. Timed tickets are required.

Saturday, Oct. 7: Archaeology Day at Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

As part of Pennsylvania Archaeology Month, archaeologists from the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology will present lectures and identify artifacts, accompanied by demonstrations of prehistoric technology. Admission is $15 for adults, $14 for seniors, free for ages 17 and younger.

Photo courtesy of Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village.

Saturday, Oct. 7: Mars Applefest, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

In downtown Mars, the local historical society will be hosting a fall bonanza in downtown historic Mars, which includes rides on their Shortline Railroad for kids. Find all the details here — it should be “out of this world.”

Saturday, Oct. 7: Chess Week in Pittsburgh Celebration, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Queens Gambit invites the public to celebrate the impact of chess in Pittsburgh at this free event, happening at Commonwealth Charter Academy in the Waterfront. You’ll find presentations from youth instructors and engaging activities for chess enthusiasts of all ages. Get details and register here.

Saturday, Oct. 7: Haunted Miniature Railroad at Carnegie Science Center, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Special, spooky and mysterious features have been added to the Miniature Railroad and Village at Carnegie Science Center, which reopens on Oct. 7.  Eagle eyes will find a werewolf, Bigfoot, a witch, zombies and the Headless Horseman among other Halloween-themed figures. The railroad display is included with Science Center admission.

Photo courtesy of Carnegie Science Center.

Saturday, Oct. 7: Hip-Hop Camp at the August Wilson Center, 11 a.m. 

Designed for students age 10-16, this camp is led by DS Kinsel. The purpose of this camp is to educate students on the history and significance of graffiti art and its role in hip-hop, Black culture, and public art. This event is $50, but scholarships are available. Registration is required. 

Saturday, Oct. 7: Create and Learn with Center for Creative Reuse at CLP, 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

At the Knoxville branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, it’s time to get creative with scraps and baubles diverted from landfills by the Center for Creative Reuse. This free event is open to kids in grade school. 

center for creative reuse
Plastic people for sale at the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse. Photo by Ted Anthony.

Saturday, Oct. 7: Family Nature Walk at Powdermill Nature Reserve, 2 p.m.

Did you know the learning and fun that happen at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History doesn’t just occur in Oakland? At Powdermill Nature Reserve, which is located in the Laurel Highlands, the museum is conducting research and running education programs year-round. This nature walk is pay-what-you-can (even if that’s nothing) and registration is required.

Family Nature Walk at Powdermill.

Saturday, Oct. 7: Campfire Ghost Stories,” Hartwood Acres, 7 p.m. 

Bring your own chairs and blankets for free Stories & Songs with Josh & Gab at Hartwood Acres Amphitheater,There will be a sign language interpreter at this event. Prepare to be spooked — in a kid-friendly way. This event is free. 

Monday, October 9: Celebrate Indigenous People’s Day with the Carnegie Museum of Natural History

The folks at the CMNH have created a resource to learn about the history of the land Pittsburgh was built on, which can be found here. The museum is open all weekend for visitors to tour the Alcoa Foundation Hall of American Indians, which is interactive and geared for kids and adults of all ages. There is a presentation at 1 p.m. entitled, “Academia and Indigenous Communities: Opening the Doors to Collaborative Research and Community-Driven Projects.” It’s geared towards adults, and is free (registration required)

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