9 great things to do in Pittsburgh this weekend, from MessFest and Soul Asylum to vintage ‘base ball’

Cinema in the Parks photo above courtesy of the City of Pittsburgh Office of Special Events.

There are so many things to do in Pittsburgh this weekend with kids. Kennywood’s Fall Fantasy Parades have begun and the Asian Lantern Festival continues at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. And there are so many other indoor and outdoor events happening. Check out this lineup:

Friday, Aug. 19: Soul Asylum in concert at South Park Amphitheater, 7 p.m.

South Park hosts one of its biggest shows of the year this weekend: Soul Asylum with special guest Corey Glover of Living Color. This is one of the final weekends of Allegheny County’s free Summer Concert Series (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.

Saturday, Aug. 20: Family Nature Day with Fred Rogers Productions and WQED, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Join the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Fred Rogers Productions, and WQED at Poin State Park for a special day celebrating and exploring nature. Activities will include a nature walk, crafts, activities, storytime, and a screening of “Through The Woods,” the animated short-form series from Fred Rogers Productions. “Through the Woods” follows a young boy named Rider and his beloved dog Wolfie as they venture into their backyard woods in search of adventures. As they meet the animals that live there, they observe, ask questions, and ultimately inspire viewers to make discoveries of their own. You can get details and register here for this free event. (The third and final “Through The Woods” event will take place on Saturday, Sept. 10, at Raccoon Creek State Park.)

Saturday, Aug. 20 (Grandview Park and Riverview Park)  and Sunday, Aug. 21 (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 Saturday night at Grandview Park (Bailey Avenue, Mt. Washington), catch “Finding Nemo.” Or head over to Riverview Park to see “Stand and Deliver.” And on Sunday, bring your bigger kids to watch “10 Things I Hate About You” 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.

Photo courtesy of Carnegie Science Center.

Saturday, Aug. 20: MessFest, Carnegie Science Center, 10 a.m.

Science is fun, but messy science? Even better! MessFest returns to Carnegie Science Center for a summer-ending blast of goo, gunk and explosions that teach scientific principles in the wildest way possible. Learn about surface tension by creating bubbles that are longer than a car. Shoot a super soaker to create graffiti art. Smash strawberries and use chemistry to extract their DNA. For more messes, consider elephant toothpaste, slime in a baggie, egg drops and a super science dunk tank. MessFest is included in your general admission tickets. Buy them in advance to prevent disappointment as this popular event is likely to sell out.

Saturday, Aug. 20: Vintage Base Ball, Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Take them out to the old-timey ballgame, where baseball fans will get a kick out of the annual Vintage Base Ball Day at Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village on Aug. 20. Three games will be played by the Somerset Frosty Sons of Thunder, the Addison Mountain Stars and the Keystone Base Ball Club. Players will be decked out in old-timey uniforms and play the game according to the 1860 rulebook. At that time, gloves were not worn by players, called “ballists.” Batters were called “strikers.” Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy during a game and spend the rest of the day exploring the historic site. The Base Ball Games are included with Meadowcroft admission.

Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival.

Saturday, Aug. 20 and Sunday, Aug. 21: Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival, West Newton

Jolly King Henry welcomes his friends and subjects to the magical village of Morelandshire for the opening weekend of the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival. Expect crowd pleasers throughout the day with sword fighting, magicians, exciting tales of adventure from heroines in disguise, plus Dragonfire, a fire-breathing comedy act. And you won’t want to miss the action-packed jousting of chivalrous knights on horseback. Tickets are $12 for ages 5-12, $25 for grownups and free for those younger than 5.

Sunday, Aug. 21: Michael Franti & Spearhead with special guest Arrested Development at Hartwood Acres, 7 p.m.

You can catch Michael Franti & Spearhead with special guest Arrested Development 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.