8 family events in Pittsburgh this weekend, from the Big Day Aht to the Asian Lantern Festival

Photo above courtesy of Venture Outdoors.

These final weeks of the summer are filled with cool family events in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area. Check out what’s on tap for this weekend.

Photo by Sally Quinn.

 Beginning Friday, Aug. 12: Asian Lantern Festival at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, 6:30 p.m.

The Asian Lantern Festival returns this weekend to the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium for a second year. It runs Thursdays through Sundays from until Oct. 30. The vibrant silk and steel structures glowing from within include handcrafted favorites from 2021, along with new additions kids will love: A lineup of dinosaurs. Walk along zoo paths and admire wildlife-themed lanterns, such as a Chinese dragon, a tree filled with butterflies and swimming sea turtles. Entertainment on various dates includes Taiko drumming, martial arts and Asian dance. Timed tickets are $19.95 for kids ages 2-13 and $22.95 for their grownups.

Friday, Aug. 12: Cello Fury in concert at South Park Amphitheater, 7 p.m.

On Friday night, Cello Fury will be appearing with special guest Good Brother Earl at South Park, as Allegheny County’s free Summer Concert Series continues (see the full summer lineup here). The show begins at 7 p.m., but families usually arrive early to enjoy a full evening out. Bring a blanket and picnic basket or grab some dinner at the on-site food trucks.

Friday, Aug. 12 (Arsenal Park and Grandview Park), Saturday, Aug. 13: (Grandview Park and Riverview Park) and Sunday, Aug. 14 (Schenley Plaza): Dollar Bank Cinema in the Park, beginning at dusk

The City of Pittsburgh hosts this free movie night, happening at several parks this weekend. On Friday night, “American Underdog” is playing at Arsenal Park (40th Street at Davison Street, Lawrenceville) and on Saturday night you can catch the same movie at Grandview Park (Bailey Avenue, Mt. Washington). Also on Saturday night, the James Bond movie “No Time to Die” is playing at Riverview Park (Observatory Hill). According to Common Sense Media, that’s recommended for kids 14 and over. And on Sunday, catch “Finding Nemo” at Schenley Plaza (Forbes Avenue, Oakland). Grab a blanket, a lawn chair and some snacks to enjoy a lovely evening of free cinema under the stars. Click here for more details on upcoming movies in this series.

Saturday, Aug. 13: Big Day Aht, Venture Outdoors, first events begin at 6 a.m.

Family events in Pittsburgh this month include plenty of outdoor fun. On Aug. 13, Venture Outdoors returns for a summer celebration of the great outdoors with an unapologetic Pittsburgh accent. The organization’s Big Day Aht packs a full array of fresh-air programming into a single day on Aug. 13. The activities include many that are geared to kids of all ages and abilities. Sign up for a Summer Bird Hike, Forest Bathing on Sycamore Island or a Beginners Skateboard Workshop. Bring your pup along for a Doggie Paddle or take a Tyke Hike. Activity prices range from free to $25, but all require registration.

Saturday, Aug. 13: Kindergarten Readiness Celebration at Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

Entering kindergarten is a big step for any child, but for pandemic-era kids it can be even more complicated. Help your little ones start the year off right by visiting the Children’s Museum this weekend. Kids can get on a real school bus and see what it’s like and pick up some back-to-school essentials. And parents can learn more about vaccination, healthy nutrition and more. Free for all rising kindergarten students and one accompanying adult with each child. Reserve your spot here.

Photo courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

Saturday, Aug. 13: Super Science Saturday: Black and Gold at Carnegie Museum of Natural History, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

The month’s Super Science Saturday delves into Pittsburgh pride, referencing the color combo and mascots for which our city is known. See how black and gold plants, bugs and birds create a home-field advantage through their colorful patterns and camouflage. The natural history of our penguin, parrot and panther mascots will be covered, too. Expect a scavenger hunt along with other fun stuff. Super Science Saturday programming is included in the museum’s general admission. Best for kids ages 7-12 years.

Sunday, Aug. 14: Nature Play Date at Frick Park, 1 p.m.-3 p.m.

They had us at “mud kitchen.” It’s hard to argue against a play date with nature. Families are invited to meet at the Nature Play Area at the beginning of the South Clayton Trail for a wild day in the wild. Expect to get dirty while climbing, building and investigating the space. And then, there’s that irresistible mud kitchen — home to mud pies, mud cakes and other muddy creations. This activity is best for younger kids up to age 10. Register here for this free event through Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy.

Sunday, Aug. 14:  Allison Russell in concert at Hartwood Acres, 7 p.m.

You can catch Allison Russell performing at Hartwood Acres on Sunday night. The show begins at 7 p.m., but families begin arriving hours earlier. Bring a blanket to sit on and a picnic basket full of supper, or grab some food at the on-site food trucks.

Looking for more family events in Pittsburgh? Check out our daily events calendar, and don’t miss our handy guides to: