This Pittsburgh summer guide packs the 2019 season with family fun

We love summer! The boredom level for kids is at a seasonal low with great programming, outdoor activities and more festivals than your schedule can handle. Read on for every event your kids have been waiting for!


Through June 26: “The Granny Awards Musical,” South Park Theatre. The Children’s Theatre summer series is performed on the outdoor stage.

Through June 27: “Hyronomous A. Frog – The Frog Prince,” Apple Hill Playhouse. Hyronomous was once a prince who was turned into a frog. To break the spell, he must be kissed by a maiden. Silliness ensues as he tries to act like a human. But will he get his kiss?

Through July 6: “The Lion King Jr,” Looking Glass Theatre at Little Lake. The summer season opens with a kid favorite as Simba learns about friendship and leadership.

Through July 27: “Sleeping Beauty,” Mariposa Theatre for Young Audiences. In a twist on the classic story, the evil Griselda turns back time to show what really happened.

Through Sept. 1: Living Dinosaurs, The National Aviary. Be transported to prehistoric times and discover the fascinating similarities between birds and dinosaurs.

Through Sept. 2: Giraffe Meet & Greet, Pittsburgh Zoo. Meet the giraffes face to face every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Through Sept. 2: “Da Vinci the Exhibition,” Carnegie Science Center. Explore the complicated beginnings and lifetime achievements of Leonardo da Vinci, interact with his machines, explore his world-renowned paintings, and discover his innovations in flight, hydraulics and music.

Through Sept. 2: Butterfly Forest, Phipps Conservatory. Get an up-close look of some of nature’s most prized pollinators alongside the blossoming flowers that feed them.

Through Oct. 6: Van Gogh in Bloom, Phipps Conservatory. Phipps’ horticulture team has masterfully transformed the historic glasshouse with breathtaking re-imaginings of the post-impressionist’s acclaimed works, including “Starry Night,” “Sunflowers” and “Wheat Field with Cypresses.”

June 21: Snowball Day, Carnegie Science Center. Bring your saved snowballs to the science center and launch them into the river with a snowball slingshot.

June 21-23: Yu-Gi-Oh Tournament, David Lawrence Convention Center. Join hundreds of enthusiasts and trading card duelists for the Yu-Gi-Oh Regional Tournament.

June 22: PPG Festival of Color, Pittsburgh Zoo. Kids can show off their creative abilities while enjoying wild and bright activity stations including sand art, chalk art, coloring, face painting, and T-shirt tie-dying.

June 22-Aug. 21: KidsPlay, Market Square. Free interactive and educational programming for kids every Tuesday and Saturday.

June 22, July 13, Aug. 17: Living History: Garrison’s Drill, Fort Pitt Museum. The Fort Pitt Garrison will be on hand to demonstrate 18th-century military drills and fire the museum’s reproduction cannon.

June 22, July 13 and 27, Aug. 10 and 24, Sept. 14: Penny Arcade shows, Arcade Comedy Theater. At this improv comedy show for ages 5–12 years, kids draw, write and craft at Collaboration Stations, then help bring those ideas to life on stage.

June 23: Family Kayaking & Ice Cream Social, North Park Lake. Take a short paddle as a group before indulging in a sweet treat.

June 23: Tranquil Trail Fairy House Hunt, Frick Park. Step into an enchanted world and search along the Tranquil Trail for Fairy Houses. Fairy doors are usually put at the base of trees, where kids can leave gifts or notes for the fairies.

June 23-Aug 25: Solar Sundays, Carnegie Science Center. Safely observe the sun with solar telescopes and sun funnels every Sunday.

June 24-28: Let’s Move Summer Fun Days, Phipps Conservatory. Five days of action-filled activities will have the whole family moving, discovering and exploring, all while having tons of fun.

June 24-Aug. 26: Moon Mondays, Carnegie Science Center. Early learners and their grown-ups will enjoy special presentations of Moon-themed stories in the planetarium, under a full Moon and starry sky in the planetarium every Monday.

Photo courtesy of Venture Outdoors.

June 26-Aug. 28: TriAnglers Lunchtime Fishing, Three Rivers Heritage Trail. All ages and skill levels can go fishing with Venture Outdoors on this weekly fishing program. Guidance, rods and bait are provided for free.

June 26, July 16, Aug. 17: Summer Family Fun, Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall. Activities include making cards for soldiers, meeting historical re-enactors and veterans, interacting with museum artifacts, scavenger hunt, and photo booth.

Photo by Bryan Conley.

June 26, July 13 & 31, Aug. 3 & 28: Baby & Me Class, Carnegie Museum of Art. Caregivers and babies take a yoga class together, then view artwork alongside an expert docent.

June 28-July 6: Big Butler Fair, Prospect. Farm animals, bull riding, school bus derby and carnival games.

June 29: Kaiju Big Battel, Byham Theater. In this live monster fighting spectacle, Planet Earth is under threat by a monstrous mob of maniacal villains, menacing alien beasts and giant, city-crushing monsters. Welcome to crazy town.

June 29: Stonewall 50: A Gender Inclusive Celebration for Families, Andy Warhol Museum. An all ages, family-friendly celebration of LGBTQ+ arts, culture, and inclusive community. Drop in for gallery activities, film screenings, live performance, art making, special guests, and surprises throughout the day.

June 30: Nature Play Date, Frick Environmental Center. Join a naturalist educator at the From Slavery to Freedom Garden, take part in a garden scavenger hunt and help plant vegetables.

June 30: Open Streets Pittsburgh, Downtown, Strip District and Lawrenceville. This free community event opens miles of streets where people can walk, run, bike and explore spaces that would otherwise be used by motor vehicles.


July 1-10: “Tweet the Musical,” South Park Theatre. A perfect introduction to musical theater for little kids.

July 2: Patriots, Then and Now, Oliver Miller Homestead. The program recalls the Miller family’s Revolutionary War service while honoring today’s vets and active military.

Photo courtesy of EQT Celebrate America and Fireworks.

July 4: EQT Celebrate America and Fireworks, Point State Park. The day will be filled with entertainment, including a flag-raising at 10:45 a.m., military flyovers and music, ending with fireworks at 9:35 p.m. Kids Zone Activities will be ongoing throughout the day.

July 4: Fireworks Blowout, Carnegie Science Center. For one price, enjoy exhibits, a screening of “National Parks Adventure” in The Rangos Giant Cinema, popcorn and soda, free parking, a laser show, and an amazing view of the fireworks.

July 6: Anthrocon Furry Parade, Downtown. The annual convention of fun and friendly Furries delights Pittsburgh kids with a cool parade around the David Lawrence Convention Center.

July 8, 15, 22, 29: Family Fun Day at Allegheny County Pools. Fun activities and prizes on July 8 at Boyce Park Wave Pool, July 15 at North Park Swimming Pool, July 22 at Settlers Cabin Wave Pool and July 29 at South Park Wave Pool.

July 9-19: “Let Your Hair Down, Rapunzel,” Apple Hill Playhouse. This musical theatre adaptation of the classic fairytale will keep kids laughing.

July 10: Hop into History: Vault of Pittsburgh, Heinz History Center. This edition considers our future legacy. Look at the 1939 Westinghouse time capsule replica, then fill, bury, and dig up your own.

July 10-27: “Junie B. Jones is not a Crook,” Little Lake Theater. A hilarious and heartfelt tale based on the best-selling book series by Barbara Park.

Photo by CR Bennett via Flicker.

July 11-21: Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, Schenley Park. With lots of events leading up to race day, there are lots of opportunities to admire these beautiful cars, plus fun kid activities.

July 12: Gallery Crawl, Cultural District. This free, quarterly open house of dozens of galleries, stages, artists and performances fills the 14-block footprint of the Cultural District with inquisitive art lovers of all ages.

July 12: It Takes A Village Community Day, Northview Heights Playground. Spend time with your neighbors while enjoying fun-filled family activities.

Photo by Matt Polk.

July 12-21: “Peter Pan,” Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, Benedum Center. This high-flying, Tony Award-winning musical brings the classic tale of the boy who refuses to grow up, Tinkerbell and a dastardly pirate!

July 13 and Aug. 10: Science Saturdays at Rivers of Steel, Rivers of Steel. Educators lead interactive, hands-on workshops exploring our rivers’ complex ecosystems.

July 13-25: “Mister Rogers’ Operas,” Pittsburgh Festival Opera. Two original one-act operas composed by Fred Rogers and originally appearing on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, “Windstorm in Bubbleland” and “Spoon Mountain,” are whimsical, engaging musical stories.

July 13: Greater Hazelwood Community Day, Burgwin Playground & Spray Park. Part of Citiparks’ summer of community festivals.

July 13: “The Enchanted Forest,” Pittsburgh Festival Opera. A family-friendly performance with a contemporary twist on the classic fairy tale.

July 13: Freedom Peace Assembly (Stop The Violence) Block Party, Centre Avenue between Kirkpatrick Street and Grove Street. Enjoy the diverse heritage, food and entertainment of the neighborhood.

July 13: Sensory Friendly Saturday, Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Families with kids on the autism spectrum are invited to visit the galleries 90 minutes before the regular opening time.

July 13: Beltzhoover Community Day, McKinley Park. Community fun with activities and entertainment.

July 15-24: “Snow White,” South Park Theatre. A fun adaptation of a favorite fairytale.

July 16: Whiskey Rebellion Day, Oliver Miller Homestead. The Whiskey Rebellion of 1794 was the most significant domestic disturbance to the newly created United States until the Civil War. Kids can learn the role of our region in this fight.

July 17: Allegheny Dwelling Community Day, Allegheny Dwellings Belleau Drive Rear Playground. Enjoy time with neighbors, entertainment and family activities.

July 18, Aug. 15, Sept. 19: ZOOmba & Zen, Pittsburgh Zoo. This wildly unique fitness series offers a rare opportunity to connect with their inner animal. For ages 10 to adult.

July 19-21: Go Dive Now, Pittsburgh Zoo. The perfect opportunity for beginners ages 10 and older to try scuba diving in a fun and easy environment.

July 20: Fineview BBQ Festival, Fineview Park. Great food and family-friendly fun.

Photo by Marcel Lamont Walker.

July 21: Pittsburgh Giant Pillow Fight, Schenley Park. Crazy fun at this silly all-ages event in its 13th year. Free, but it’s BYOP (pillow).

July 21: Ice Cream Sundae Geocaching, Riverview Park. Explore trails using handheld GPS units to find hidden clues and learn about park ecology, followed by ice cream.

Photo courtesy of Polish Hill Civic Association.

July 21: Polish Hill Arts Festival, Brereton Street. Celebrate city living in this unique neighborhood.

Photo by Renee Rosensteel.

July 26-28: PicklesBURGH, Roberto Clemente Bridge. This cool festival, voted No. 1 Best Specialty Food Festival in America, continues to grow. Lots of entertainment including a Little Gherkins area with hands-on activities.

July 26-28: Wizard World, David Lawrence Convention Center. Celebrate pop culture with comics, movies, toys, games, video gaming, TV, anime, manga, horror, original art, collectibles.

Photo courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

July 27: Super Science Saturday: Scientist Takeover, Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Meet paleontologists, botanists, zoologists and many other scientists who are studying nature and making discoveries at the museum.

July 27: Goat Fest, South Side Park. Part of Citiparks’ summer of neighborhood festivals.

July 28: Open Streets Pittsburgh, Downtown, Uptown and South Side. This free community event opens miles of streets where people can walk, run bike and explore spaces that would otherwise be used by motor vehicles.

Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh International Children’s Film Festival.

July 29-Aug. 6: Pittsburgh International Children’s Film Festival, Row House Cinema. Kids will love these bright, exciting, and inspiring selections of children’s films from around the world.

July 29-Aug. 7: “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” South Park Theatre. The Children’s Theatre summer series is performed on the outdoor stage.

July 30: JoJo Siwa D.R.E.A.M. The Tour, Peterson Events Center. The Nickelodeon superstar brings her tour to Pittsburgh with special guests, The Belles.

July 30-Aug. 8: “Charlotte’s Web,” Apple Hill Playhouse. The barnyard friendship between Wilbur the pig and Charlotte, the spider comes to life in this adaptation of the classic book.

July 31-Aug. 17: “Winnie-the-Pooh,” Little Lake Theatre. Follow the adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh, Christopher Robin, Piglet and Eeyore n this stage adaptation.


Aug. 1-4: ReplayFX, David Lawrence Convention Center. The largest public collection of arcade, pinball, tabletop and console games in the world. Games are free to play with admission.

Aug. 3 and 4: Living History: Artillery and Artificers, Fort Pitt. Learn about artillery in the 18th century during this Living History program.

Photo courtesy of EQT Three Rivers Regatta.

Aug. 3-5: EQT Three Rivers Regatta, Point State Park. Music, boating, food, fireworks and family fun on the riverfront. The Kids Zone includes a beachfront oasis, lost creek mining and pop-up story times.

Aug. 6: Beechview’s National Night Out Against Crime Party. A fun opportunity to spend time with neighbors with activities and entertainment.

Aug. 9: Fleet Feet Liberty Miler, Downtown. The fastest road race in Pittsburgh brings runners of all ages and abilities together to celebrate fitness through 1-mile races.

Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.

Aug. 11: Macy’s Elephant Day, Pittsburgh Zoo. Celebrate World Elephant Day with activities and a talk from an elephant keeper.

Aug. 12-14: “Dorothy Meets Alice,” South Park Theatre. The Children’s Theatre summer series presents its alumni production.

Aug. 14: Hop into History: Victory Foods, Heinz History Center. Explore World War II stories and make wartime-inspired recipes. Try treats that will fit within your ration book budget.

Aug. 14: Half-Pint Prints, Andy Warhol Museum. Families work with The Warhol’s artist educators to create silkscreen prints during this drop-in silkscreen printing activity for children ages 1 to 4 years old.

Aug. 16: Banksville Community Festival, Banksville Park.  Part of Citiparks’ summer series of community festivals.

Aug. 16: Bedford Dwellings Community Day. Join neighbors in a celebration that includes kids’ activities and entertainment.

Aug. 17: Super Science Saturday: Pet-palooza, Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Create a toy for your furry friend, something special for your winged wonder or a treat for your scaly pal all while learning more about the pets in our lives!

Aug. 17: Vintage Base Ball Game, Meadowcroft. Celebrate America’s pastime and cheer for a baseball game, 19th-century style.

Aug. 17: Family Kayaking & Ice Cream Social, Aspinwall River Front Park. Take a short paddle as a group taking in the sights.

Aug. 17: Citiparks Community Appreciation Day, Uptown. Have fun at a festival celebrating this diverse neighborhood.

Aug. 17-Sept. 22: Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival, West Newton. A cast of hundreds of authentically costumed performers recreates life and entertainment in the 16th century. Expect jousting knights, games of skill, fairies and royal appearances.

Aug. 24 & Sept. 21: Squirrel Hill Night Market, Murray Avenue between Forbes Avenue and Beacon Street. Enjoy live local bands, activities for kids, performers, a food truck round-up and offerings from favorite Squirrel Hill restaurants.

Aug. 28: The Wiggles – Party Time Tour, Byham Theater. The Party Time Tour will feature Dorothy the Dinosaur, Captain Feathersword, Wags the Dog, Henry the Octopus and a new Wiggly friend, Shirley Shawn the Unicorn. Kids can sing and dance along to all their favorite classic Wiggles songs as well as new favorites.


Sept. 4-29: “Disney’s The Lion King,” Benedum Center. Your kids know the animated film. Now they can experience the phenomenal Toby Award-winning musical, which broke box office records on its last run in Pittsburgh. Includes a sensory-friendly performance on Sept. 14.

Sept. 6-8: A Fair in the Park, Mellon Park. The 50th annual craft fair draws about 20,000 each year to its juried artists, kids’ activities, live music and food.

Sept. 6-8: Pittsburgh Irish Festival, Sandcastle. Celebrate all thing Irish with live music, genealogy, high stepping dance and a kids’ area where kids can make a take-home souvenir, learn to dance an Irish jog and participate in a singalong.

Sept. 7-Oct. 12: “The Imaginators,” Mariposa Theatre for Young Audiences. Using boxes and other objects found in their garage, three kids travel on an epic make-believe adventure.

Sept. 8: Grandparent’s Day Celebration, Pittsburgh Zoo. Grandparents get free admission and a ride-all-day-UPMC Tram bracelet when accompanied by their grandkids.

Sept. 11: Hop into History: Little Builders, Heinz History Center. Become a master builder and make your addition to Pittsburgh’s skyline. Use Lincoln Logs, magnetic tiles, and other fun materials to engineer a new addition to the city.

Sept. 14: Alphabet Trail & Tales, Frick Park. The 20th Annual Alphabet Trail and Tales celebrates the best in children’s books, interactive story sets, art, music, games and fun for the whole family.

Sept. 14-15: Ligonier Highland Games, Idlewid Park. The focus is on Scottish heritage with plenty to entertain kids from Shetland ponies and Scottish breed dogs to caber tossing and stone put competition.

Sept. 21: ZooZilla Run for the Gorillas and Ele-Fun Run, Pittsburgh Zoo. The annual ZooZilla 5K offers a new 200-yard dash for kids. Benefits the zoo’s gorilla troop.

Sept. 21: Super Science Saturday: Fallfest, Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Kids will learn more about the critters that live in crunchy leaf piles, make a bird feeder and find out how local animals prepare for winter.

Sept. 21: FlyBy 5K and 2-Mile Fun Run/Walk, Pittsburgh International Airport. A one-of-a-kind course grants exclusive access to the airfield and taxiways, past aircraft and alongside the runway at Pittsburgh International Airport.

Sept. 21-22 and 28-29: Penn’s Colony Festival, Saxonburg. Kids will immerse themselves in regional history while experiencing life in a Colonial village.