Kidsburgh Summer Guide: 75+ family-focused events and activities

Celebrate International Mud Day with messy clean fun. Photo above courtesy of Pittsburgh Botanic Garden.

What are the best ways to spend time with kids this summer? The Pittsburgh region offers an incredible calendar of cool activities and fun events for families. Our Kidsburgh Summer Guide has all the details. Your mission is to squeeze as many as you can fit into your family’s schedule. Check out what’s coming up:

Now through June 19: “Rapunzel,” South Park Theatre. A couple is forced to promise their firstborn to Witch Iswitch. She imprisons Rapunzel in a tower – and then the fun begins with an entertaining escape. Set on the outdoor stage, picnics and lawn chairs are welcome. Tickets are $5, free for ages 3 and younger.

Photo by Bryan Conley, courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Art.

Now through Aug. 23: Inside Out, Carnegie Museum of Art. The summer season returns for its fourth year with a celebration of Pittsburgh’s cultural landscape with outdoor performances, art-making and viewing, food trucks and yoga workshops. Find the complete schedule here. Free.

Now through Aug. 25: “Mr. Messado’s School of Magic for the Young and Young at Heart,” Liberty Magic. Every Sunday, Mr. Messado brings a fresh new take on the age-old art of prestidigitation. Tickets are $25-$40.

Photo courtesy of The National Aviary.

Now through Sept. 2: Colors in Flight, The National Aviary. Visitors can enjoy the sight of brilliantly colored birds soaring through lush tropical habitats, along with new daily activities, interactive play spaces, larger-than-life décor and educational programming. Free with Aviary admission.

Photo courtesy of Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.

Now through Sept. 8: How People Make Things, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. The exhibit is inspired by the factory tour segments from the “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” television series. Free with general admission.

Now through Sept. 8: Summer Flower Show: Under the Sea, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Phipps has been transformed into a walkable aquarium with undersea delights like a treasure chest filled with gold coins, tropical fish made of flowers and a giant pearl inside an oyster. Admission is $21.95 for grownups, $19.95 for seniors, $13.95 for ages 2-18.

Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Botanic Garden.

Through Sept. 15: “Big Bugs + Pollinators,” Pittsburgh Botanic Garden. Artist David Rogers created these massive sculptures of some of the world’s smallest creatures. Botanic Garden admission is $15, $13 for seniors, $9 for ages 3-17.

Through Jan. 5: The Science Behind Pixar, Kamin Science Center. This interactive exhibit delves into the creative process and the STEM skills – science, technology, engineering and math – required to produce Pixar features. More than 50 interactive and hands-on displays fill 1,200 square feet on two stories. Timed tickets are separate from Science Center admission priced at $22 for grownups, $20 for seniors and $18 for kids.

June 19: Black Power Story Time, Frick Environmental Center. Award-winning artist D.S. Kinsel will read two stories followed by a garden activity led by PPC naturalist educators. Best for ages 4-9 years. Registration is free.

June 19, July 7, Aug. 18: Trolls and Pup Patrol Cruise & Tour, Gateway Clipper Fleet. Meet and greet favorite series characters and enjoy a dance party on a river cruise. Tickets are $35, $20 for ages 1-12 years, $5 for infants.

June 20: World Refugee Day, Schenley Plaza. The day will include cultural performances, speakers, artisan craft vendors, food and family activities. A free shuttle will be on a continuous loop from Downtown to Schenley Plaza. Activities are free with no registration needed.

Photo courtesy of CitiParks.

June 20-Aug. 1: Dollar Bank Cinema in the Parks. Free movies under the stars are scheduled for parks throughout the city. Find the complete schedule here.

June 20-Aug. 8, Allegheny County Movies in the Park. Free.

Photo courtesy of Allegheny County Parks and Recreation.

June 21, 22, 23, 30: Park After Dark: Fascinating Fireflies, Allegheny County Parks. Allegheny County Park Rangers host all-ages outings to learn about Pennsylvania’s official state insect: the firefly. Fascinating Fireflies sessions are free, but registration is required.

June 21-23: Pogopalooza 2024, Market Square and Wilkinsburg. Expect three days of high-flying championship competitions. There’s a classification for kids, too, with the 15 and under Bounce-off. Tickets are free but registration is requested.

June 22: Meet the Maker Day, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. Join adult creatives for special demonstrations and collaborative making.  Art forms include making mosaics and tufting. Free with museum admission.

Photo courtesy of Carnegie Science Center.

June 22, July 13, July 27, Aug. 10, Aug. 24: Skywatch, Carnegie Science Center. Reconnect with the night sky through a featured planetarium performance and, weather-permitting, live views of night sky objects in stunning telescopic detail. Tickets are $12.

June 22: Summer Splash, Carnegie Science Center. Dive into the science of the three rivers with games and entertainment. Help build a snowman, or make a mini snowman of your own, discover green infrastructure in our rain garden and meet fish, amphibians, and reptiles native to our waterways. Summer Splash is free with general admission.

June 22: “Homelands: Native Nations of Allegheny” opening day, Fort Pitt Museum. Created in collaboration with Delaware, Seneca, Seneca-Cayuga, and Shawnee communities, this groundbreaking exhibition will illuminate the past, present, and future of the region’s Native tribes with rare artifacts and new scholarship. Admission is $10, $6 for ages 6-17, free for ages 5 and younger.

Photo courtesy of Freedom Farms.

June 22-23: Berry Festival and Craft Show, Freedom Farms. Expect a berry merry time at Freedom Farms, where you can savor berry-flavored everything. Freedom Farms Concessions will go berry-crazy cooking and baking food offerings. Grownups can sample from the beer and wine. There’s plenty of appeal for kids, too, with face painting, tractor rides and a petting zoo. Admission is $10. Free for ages 3 and younger.

June 23, July 21, Aug. 14: Superhero Cruise and Tour, Gateway Clipper Fleet. Kids can meet their favorite superstar heroes on this kid-themed cruise. Tickets are $35, $20 for ages 1-12 years, $5 for infants.

Photo courtesy of CitiParks.

June 23-July 28 (Sundays): Bach, Beethoven and Brunch, Mellon Park. Enjoy relaxing music with BYOB (bring your own brunch) every Sunday morning. Find the complete schedule here.

June 24-July 3: “The Magical Land of Oz: The Musical,” South Park Theatre. This musical adaptation will keep toes tapping all the way down the Yellow Brick Road. Tickets are $5, $3 for ages 3 and younger.

June 25-30: “The Color Purple,” Benedum Center. The musical adaptation of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel spotlights Celie, a downtrodden young woman and her life over 40 years. Best for ages 13 and older. Tickets are $35-$98.

June 28-30: Oakmont Greek Food Festival, Oakmont. The Oakmont Greek Food Festival celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Food and pastries are sold from noon to 9 p.m. with live music and dancing until 11 p.m. All your most desired Greek specialties will be on offer. Festival admission is free.

June 28: Family Pride Night, Pittsburgh Zoo. This special after-hours welcoming event for the LGBTQIA+ community promises family fun, including crafts, music, and vendors. Admission is $25.

Photo courtesy of Big Butler Fair.

June 28-July 6: The Big Butler Fair, Prospect. Kids will love seeing the animals at the petting zoo as well as the competing livestock. Events include the chainsaw carver, Aim High Canines dog show, a blacksmith show and School Bus Demolition Derby. There’s lots more – fireworks, country music concerts and delicious carnival food. Big Butler Fair admission is $9, free for ages 6 and younger. Ride-all-day carnival wristbands are $30.

Photo courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Art.

June 29: Story Saturday: “A Story for Juneteenth,” Carnegie Museum of Art. Enjoy a story time with “A Flag for Juneteenth” by Kim Taylor, followed by a making activity for kids ages 12 and younger. Story Saturday is free with museum admission.

June 29: International Mud Day, Pittsburgh Botanic Garden. Families all over the world celebrate this day by getting really muddy while observing nature. Dress for mess and bring a towel and change of clothes. Accompanying adults may watch from a distance or participate in the muddy madness. Admission is $15, $13 for seniors, $9 for ages 3-13.

Photo courtesy of Unicorn World.

June 29-30, Unicorn World, David Lawrence Convention Center. Unicorn World is populated with animatronic, moving and neighing unicorns, live magical creatures like mermaids and fairies, plus balloon bubble houses and a wish wall. Advance timed tickets are $30, free for ages younger than 2. No admission will be sold at the door. An additional Magical Pass, $20 in advance and $30 at the event, includes extras like face painting, professional photo, rides and bounce houses.

July 3, Aug. 14: Summer Seedlings, Pittsburgh Botanic Garden. An intro to nature for ages 3 to 6 years with indoor and outdoor activities. Registration is $15.

Photo courtesy of Heinz History Center.

July 4: Fourth at the Fort, Fort Pitt Museum. Fort Pitt Museum staff, scouts and local veterans will help kick off the Fourth of July holiday by raising a 36-foot American flag. Then, visitors can enjoy a family-friendly afternoon of living history demonstrations and tour a replica of George Washington’s Revolutionary War tent. Admission is free for outdoor activities.

July 4: Independence at the Point, Point State Park. Enjoy free family activities, live music and line dancing from 4 p.m., followed by fireworks at 9:35 p.m. Food concessions will be set up throughout the park. Admission is free.

Photo courtesy of Squonk.

July 4: Squonk’s “Brouhaha,” Point State Park. Squonk performs its immersive outdoor spectacle, “Brouhaha,” which bursts with rollicking music, dazzling imagery and audience participation at 5 and 7 p.m. Free.

July 4: Independence Day Celebration, Meadowcroft Rockshelter & Historic Village. Celebrate the spirit of America with historical demonstrations and period games. Activities included with general admission.

Photo courtesy of Carnegie Science Center.

July 4: Explosive Science, Carnegie Science Center. Get the perfect view of fireworks and guaranteed parking. All tickets include a reserved viewing area, a movie and popcorn in The Rangos Giant Cinema, live entertainment, a cash bar, four floors of exhibits, and live theater shows. Tickets are $79 for Café Terrace, $109 for 21+ Rooftop Bar, $139 for PointView Hall, which includes a buffet dinner.

July 6: “The Secret of N.I.M.H.,” Harris Theater. The animated movie follows a brave widowed mouse who must move her children out of their home in a field before the local farmer starts plowing. Tickets are $5-$11.

July 9-14: “The Music Man,” Benedum Center. This classic musical tells the story of fast-talking traveling salesman, Harold Hill, as he cons the people of River City, Iowa, into buying instruments and uniforms for a marching band. Tickets are $35-$98.

Photo courtesy of Anthrocon.

July 6: Fursuit Parade, Downtown Pittsburgh. The Furries will march down from the David Lawrence Convention Center to Penn Avenue, stopping between 9th and 11th streets at 2 p.m. for the annual Anthracon Parade and Block Party. Free.

July 7: Liberty Day, Oliver Miller Homestead. The Homestead recognizes the Miller boys’ involvement in the Revolutionary War. Visitors can raise a Liberty Pole with the names of loved ones who served throughout the years to ensure our country’s independence. A reading of the Declaration of Independence is followed by a firing of the guns and a round of firecrackers. Admission is $2.

July 8-17: “Snow White and the Seven Fairy Godmothers,” South Park Theatre. This twist on the classic fairy tale promises laughs along with a happy ending. The outdoor theater welcomes picnics and lawn chairs. Admission is $5, free for ages 3 and younger.

Photo illustration courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

July 12: Discovering Dippy: The Dinosaur That Changed the World, Carnegie Museum of Natural History. All dino enthusiasts, aspiring scientists, natural history lovers, and friends of the museum are welcome to help us celebrate Dippy’s discovery 125 years ago. The all-day event includes talks by leading scientists, historians, and museum professionals. Registration is free with general admission.

July 13: Super Science Saturday: Dippy’s Jurassic World, Carnegie Museum of Natural History. A Jurassic celebration of the 125th anniversary of the discovery of Dippy includes excavation in Bone Hunter’s Quarry and learning how scientists bring specimens back from the field. Free with general admission.

July 13: Story Saturday: “FlipFlopi,” Carnegie Museum of Art. Enjoy a story time reading of “Flipflopi: How a Boat Made from Flip-Flops Is Helping to Save the Ocean” by Linda Ravin Lodding and Dipesh Pabari, followed by a making activity for kids ages 12 and younger. Story Saturday is free with general admission.

Photo courtesy of Arcade Comedy Theater.

July 13, Aug. 10: Penny Arcade: Kids Comedy Show, Arcade Comedy Theater. This interactive comedy experience is ideal for kids 4 to 8 years old. The show encourages children and their parents to unleash their imaginations and sense of humor. Tickets are $12.

July 13-14: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in Concert, Heinz Hall. The Grammy-winning soundtrack by composer John Williams will be performed alongside the Oscar-nominated film in a live concert experience. Tickets are $35-$110.

April family events in Pittsburgh
Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy.

July 14, Aug. 11, Sept. 8: Kids Day, Schenley Plaza. Kids Day features free carousel rides, interactive activities and live performances. Free, no registration required.

July 17, Aug. 4: Princess Cruise, Gateway Clipper Fleet. Party like a princess as you meet and greet favorite royalty and enjoy a D.J. dance party on a river cruise. Tickets are $35, $20 for ages 1-12 years, $5 for infants.

July 18: Teen Night: Dippy 125, Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Teens ages 13 to 18 years are invited to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the discovery of Dippy. Expect Jurassic-themed activities, learn why the discovery of Dippy was such an important event, and enjoy a snack in the teens-only lounge. Registration is free.

July 18-20: Ypapanti Greek Food Festival, East Pittsburgh. The indoor dining room features a menu of Greek entrees and a variety of pastries. Or enjoy the festive environment of the outdoor Grecian Garden with authentic folk dancing and live music. Festival admission is free.

weekend events Pittsburgh
Photo by Renee Rosensteel courtesy of Picklesburgh/PDP.

July 18-21: Picklesburgh, Downtown. It’s a big dill for pickle lovers to come together at Picklesburgh. Pickle mania hits its zenith with imaginative pickle-flavored eats. Compete in the pickle juice drinking competition. Savor exotic treats like pickle-flavored cupcakes, cotton candy and beer. Kids will find pickle-ish fun at the L’il Gherkins KidsPlay Activity Area where they can decorate pickle necklaces, make puppets and work on coloring pages. Admission is free.

July 19-21: Tekko 2024. David Lawrence Convention Center. This Japanese pop culture event features cosplay, music, anime, gaming and many other fun activities. General admission is $70 and includes all three days plus preview night.

July 19-Sept. 1: “Young Frankenstein,” Greer Cabaret Theater. This monstrous musical is an adaptation of Mel Brooks’ hilarious movie. Tickets are $75.

July 20, 21, 27, 28: Breakfast with the Animals, Pittsburgh Zoo. The Zoo celebrates a special Christmas in July with breakfast and an up-close experience with education ambassador animals. Then, explore the Zoo to see animals get a special breakfast treat. Tickets are $40, $10 for those younger than 2.

July 20 and 21: Fiddlesticks: Summer Adventure, Moon Senior High School and Mars Senior High School. The Pittsburgh Symphony goes on the road with vocalist Katy Williams, conductor Jacob Joyce, and Fiddlesticks, the seven-foot feline friend who loves to dance, clap and celebrate music with his friends in the neighborhood. Tickets are $10-$15.

July 21, Aug. 11: Sensory-Friendly Science Hours, Carnegie Science Center. Exhibit lights and sound effects are adjusted and special hands-on activities are added to foster a safe, welcoming environment for all visitors. Activities are included with general admission.

Photo courtesy of Oliver Miller Homestead.

July 21: Whiskey Rebellion Day, Oliver Miller Homestead. The first shots of the Whiskey Rebellion were fired on Oliver Miller’s son William’s property in 1794. Learn the history of the event from docents in traditional costumes. Admission is $2.

July 22-31: “The Story of Hansel and Gretel: The Musical,” South Park Theatre. Can Gretel save her brother from the evil – but hilariously funny – witch? Their adventure through the woods is certain to entertain. Admission is $5, free for ages 3 and younger.

July 23: Dippy & Friends: A Virtual Event, Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Join dinosaur curator Matt Lamanna to learn about Apatosaurus, Stegosaurus, Allosaurus, and other amazing animals that shared Dippy’s world some 150 million years ago. Registration is free.

Photo courtesy of Pressley Ridge.

July 28: Pressley Ridge Ice Cream Fundae, Pittsburgh Zoo. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Pressley Ridge fundraiser. Held at the Pittsburgh Zoo, visitors stroll through the zoo, stopping at stations along the way, where sponsors compete for your vote for best flavor. Tickets are $25, $10 for ages 4-17, free for ages 3 and younger. A Family Four Pack runs $50.

Aug. 1: 18th-Century Firearms and Accoutrements, Oliver Miller Homestead. Firearms and their hardware served as weapons of war and as tools in early, everyday American life. Admission is $2.

Photo courtesy of Moraine State Park Regatta.

Aug. 3-4: Moraine State Park Regatta. The regatta celebrates its 25th anniversary this summer. The purpose is to showcase eco-recreational activities for all ages with water and land opportunities for all ages, nature-themed experiences, live music and vendors from the local community. Admission is free.

Aug. 3: Explore PA Outdoors, Fort Pitt Museum. Learn about 18th-century hunting and fishing techniques, including weapon demonstrations, throughout the day on the museum’s lawn. Admission is free for outdoor activities.

Aug. 4, 11, 18, 25: Summer Soul Line Dancing, Highland Park. All-ages sessions incorporate R&B music in free classes that begin with basic steps and finish with more advanced moves.

Photo courtesy of South Park Theatre.

Aug. 5-14: “Princess Who?,” South Park Theatre. A girl wakes up in the woods with no memory of who she is. Along the way, she encounters a variety of fairy tale characters who offer hints about her identity.  Will the audience figure it out before she does? Admission is $5, free for ages 3 and younger.

Aug. 7: Sensory-Friendly Morning, Pittsburgh Zoo. Those with sensory processing needs are invited to explore the Zoo early on a quiet morning with smaller than usual crowds. Purchase advance tickets.

Aug. 10: Pittsburgh VegFest, Allegheny Commons Park. This showcase of some of the best vegetarian and vegan foods will be on display along with cooking demonstrations. Hosted by the non-profit Justice for Animals organization, VegFest includes live entertainment, wellness vendors and family-friendly activities. Admission is free.

Aug. 10: Story Saturday: “Who Left the Light On?,” Carnegie Museum of Art. Enjoy a story time reading of “Who Left the Light On?” by Richard Marnier, followed by a making activity for ages 12 and younger. Story Saturday is free with general admission.

Aug. 13-18: Little Italy Days, Bloomfield. Catch the Celebrity Bocce Tournament, Pizza Acrobatics and the Miss Little Italy Pageant. Italian bands and crooners fill the stages with live music. Little Italy Days admission is free.

Photo courtesy of Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village.

Aug. 17: Vintage Base Ball Game, Meadowcroft Shelter & Historic Village. Check out what base ball (originally two words) was like during the 1860s. Pack a picnic lunch, peanuts, and Cracker Jacks and enjoy the game. Activities included with general admission.

Aug. 17-18: Stickball at Fort Pitt, Fort Pitt Museum. Learn about the American Indian game of stickball, one of the oldest organized sports played in America. Historically, the game was used to resolve conflicts within tribal communities and between tribes from other towns and regions. Pick up techniques and test your skills at stickball on the Fort Pitt lawn. Admission is free for outdoor activities.

Aug. 23-25: Butler Italian Festival, downtown Butler. Delicious Italian indulgences will be offered along with live music. Watch first responders compete in the Mangia Meatball Eating Contest. The Kid Zone includes carnival rides, blowup slides and a jump house. Festival admission is free.

Aug. 24: 13th Annual Bocce Tournament and Festival, Acrisure Stadium. Support Heinz History Center’s Italian American Program at this annual event. Cheer on the players and enjoy entertainment from The Aces, The New Pure Gold and The Jaggerz. Italian fare by Common Plea Catering will also be available for purchase. Free.

Aug. 24: Cannon Firing, Fort Pitt Museum. Experience the boom of the Fort Pitt Museum’s replica British six-pounder cannon and learn how artillery was used at the Point during the 1700s. Costumed reenactors will ceremoniously fire the cannon at select times, weather permitting. Admission is free for outdoor activities.

Photo courtesy of Acrisure Stadium.

Aug. 29-Sept. 2: Kickoff and Rib Festival, Acrisure Stadium. Grab plenty of napkins for this lip-smacking, finger-licking event. Football season officially begins with the Kickoff and Rib Festival that fills the area around Acrisure Stadium. A lineup of local and national bands will take the stage throughout the five-day festival. Admission is free.

Aug. 29-Sept. 1: Taste of Greece Festival, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. An army of volunteers is cooking up a storm to prepare for the onslaught of thousands of Greek food fans expected at the Taste of Greece Festival in McCandless. Festival admission is free.

Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

Aug. 31: “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” Benedum Center. This live orchestral rendition of the series’ iconic soundtrack is paired with a nearly two-hour recap of the animated series’ three seasons displayed on a full-size cinema screen. Tickets are $25-$100.

Sept. 7: Story Saturday: “Florette,” Carnegie Museum of Art. Enjoy a story time reading of “Florette” by Anna Walker, followed by a making activity for kids ages 12 and younger. Story Saturday is free with general admission.

Sept. 7: Pistons in the Park, Allegheny Commons. Check out classic and tuner cars, trucks and street rods. Food vendors and trophies are part of the fun. Admission is free.

Sept. 11-29: “Hamilton,” Benedum Center. The Broadway blockbuster hit returns to Pittsburgh. Single tickets go on sale on June 24.

Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Taco Festival.

Sept.14: Pittsburgh Taco Festival, Strip District. This festival draws more than 25 food trucks and vendors offering the city’s best taco variations. Kids will be entertained with games, face painting and other activities. Tickets start at $13 for general admission, free for ages 4 and younger.

Sept. 15: Preserving the Harvest, Oliver Miller Homestead. Learn the 18th century methods of preserving fresh food for the long winter ahead. Admission is $2.