• Today is: Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Your family guide to summer events in Pittsburgh

summer events
Candy Williams
June19/ 2018

It’s going to be a busy summer in and around Pittsburgh. The Kidsburgh summer lineup includes an array of special events and activities to celebrate the long-awaited season. Have fun!

Through Aug. 31: Dollar Bank Cinema in the Park at nine Pittsburgh park locations. Bring a blanket or lawn chair and head out for free, family-friendly movie events under the stars. Movies begin at dusk.

summer events
Summer Fridays at the Frick offer relaxing evenings for the whole family.

Through Aug. 31: Summer Fridays at the Frick. Popular 12-week series features a diverse variety of free outdoor performances, family-friendly activities, and varied dining options. The first floor of Clayton will be open to self-tour free of charge during Summer Fridays.

Through Sept. 2: The Pigeon Comes to Pittsburgh: A Mo Willems Exhibit, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. Explore the imagination, whimsy and humor of children’s author and illustrator Mo Willems, children’s activities, prints of his illustrations, including works in progress.

Through Sept. 3: Soar!  National Aviary in Pittsburgh. Outdoor free-flight show, a variety of birds of prey, including Lanner Falcons, Black Kites, Hooded Vultures, and an Eagle, will demonstrate their hunting prowess with their skilled trainers.

summer events
Cool off with a dinosaur blast at the zoo. Photo by Paul A. Selvaggio.

Through Sept. 3: UPMC Health Plan Presents Dinosaurs at the Zoo, Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. Be sure to visit before dinosaurs are extinct again.

Through Sept. 9: Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. Children race trains along a giant track, and work together to sort and load cargo to maintain engines, featuring STEM-related play opportunities.

Through Sept. 30: Summer Flower Show, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Interactive soundscapes, visual art and kinetic motion installations bring the summer show to life with interactive art, music and flowers.

summer events
‘The Art of the Brick’ explores all sort of forms, including this swimmer, made completely of LEGO bricks. Photo by Sally Quinn.

Through Jan. 7: The Art of the Brick, Carnegie Science Center. See the world’s largest display of LEGO art, featuring more than 100 sculptures, many made entirely from LEGO bricks, including a hands-on builder activity area with activity tables, free play, and demonstration areas. Timed tickets on sale, separate from Science Center admission.

July and August: Growing Up at Clayton. Summertime family tours on Wednesdays and Saturdays at the Frick. Children can learn about antique household tools and hear stories about growing up long ago. For ages 6 and up, accompanied by an adult.

summer events
A family strolls through the Paddock Area for a close-up look at race cars and drivers at the Vintage Grand Prix. Photo by Bill Stoler.

July 6-15: Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix at Schenley Park, Oakland. A 10-day celebration of vintage racing, car shows and motorsport events, in and around Pittsburgh, for the benefit of the Autism Society of Pittsburgh and Allegheny Valley School.

July 7: Friends of Phillips Park & The New Renaissance Theatre Company present Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” on the lawn behind Phillips Rec Center. Bring a picnic, all ages are welcome.

July 7 and Sept. 29: Tropical Forest Cuba Festival, Phipps Conservatory. Celebrate one of the world’s most botanically and culturally rich regions, with crafts, activities and fun for the whole family.

summer events
Kids love yoga, too. Photo by Kristi Hoffman.

July 8, Aug. 5, Sept. 9: Family Yoga with Let’s Move Pittsburgh and YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh, Phipps Conservatory. A fun family yoga class on Phipps’ front lawn led by a certified YMCA instructor. All levels and ages are welcome. Register here.

July 8 and 29, Aug, 12, Sept. 9: Tech Tours, Carnegie Science Center. Go behind the scenes of the USS Requin submarine and into areas rarely seen by the public; explore unrestored compartments, see the conning tower and check out the periscope.

July 8, Aug. 12, Sept. 9, Oct. 14: Kids’ Days in Schenley Plaza. Free activities for children under the tent including face painting, a balloon artist, lawn games, special guests and performers, free rides on the PNC Carousel, and an opportunity to experience Uber’s self-driving car.

July 9-13: Daniel Tiger Neighbor Days at Idlewild Park, Ligonier. Meet Daniel Tiger, Katerina Kittycat, O the Owl, Miss Elaina and Prince Wednesday from the hit PBS Kids’ television show, “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.”

July 11: Eyes on Pittsburgh: Photography, Heinz History Center. Discover how photographers have seen Pittsburgh through the lens of a camera. Take an outdoor photo safari and make a collage of photographs in this hands-on session designed for 2 to 5-year-olds and their caregivers.

July 13: Blockapalooza Sleepover, Carnegie Science Center. A night at the museum featuring activities with LEGO bricks and admission to the new traveling exhibit, “The Art of the Brick.”

July 14: Second Saturday Studios: Cars, Zip, Zoom and Innovation at the Frick Pittsburgh. Families with children of all ages are invited to explore different and unusual materials or find fresh new ways to use familiar paper, paint and pencils to design their own car.

July 14: Living History: Fort Pitt Garrison Drill, Fort Pitt Museum. The Fort Pitt Garrison will demonstrate 18th-century military drills and the Fort Pitt Museum cannon crew will fire the museum’s replica British six-pounder cannon during this program, weather permitting, 1–3 p.m.

July 20-22: Go Dive Now Pool Tour, Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. All you need is a bathing suit and towel. Must be 10 or older, 54 inches tall and be accompanied by a parent.

July 21: Super Science Saturday: Scientist Takeover, Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Paleontologists, botanists, zoologists and many other scientists are studying nature and making discoveries at the museum. Meet the scientists and learn more about what they do.

July 27, Aug. 11: SkyWatch, Carnegie Science Center. Marvel at celestial wonders with a real, research-grade telescope, rain or shine, includes a virtual tour of the night sky in Buhl Planetarium, chat with astronomy experts, and take a closer look at the observatory.

July 27-Aug. 5: “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast,” Pittsburgh CLO, Benedum Center, Tony Award-winning musical brings favorite characters Belle, Lumiere, Mrs. Potts and Cogsworth as they team up to teach the Beast the true meaning of kindness and love.

July 30, Aug. 27, Sept. 24: Music Mondays, Carnegie Science Center. Choose from a variety of kid-sized instruments or sing-along to children’s favorite songs in the Science Center’s new Little Learner Clubhouse.

Catch thrilling water shows in between hands-on activities at the EQT Three Rivers Regatta.

Aug. 3-5: 41st EQT Three Rivers Regatta, Pittsburgh. Three-day land, air and water festival activities include jet ski stunt shows, Anything That Floats race, powerboat races, live entertainment and kids activities.

Aug. 4-5: Living History: Artillery and Artificers, Fort Pitt Museum. Witness how artillerists at Fort Pitt prepared for cannon firings to defend the Point in the 18th century. Artisans, including tinners, turners and blacksmiths, will tell how their trades contributed to 18th-century artillery.

Aug. 4-11: Kids Zoofari: Animal Tales, Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. Enjoy one last blast of summer fun. Each day, participants will celebrate a different animal with enrichment activities and stories. All kids receive a free carousel ride.

Aug. 4-21: Fall Fantasy, Kennywood Park. More than 150 high school bands from Southwestern PA will march through Kennywood in nightly performances in August.

Aug. 8: Hop into History: Corps of Discovery: A Journey from Pittsburgh, Heinz History Center. Join the Lewis & Clark Expedition, which launched from Pittsburgh, and was the first to explore the American West. Hands-on session for 2-5-year-olds and their caregivers, 10:30-11:15 a.m.

Aug. 9-11 and 16-18: Stage Right Performing Arts & Education. Young Artists Summer Theater presents the musical comedy “Once Upon a Mattress,” for six performances at Aspinwall Riverfront Park.

Aug. 11: “Kindergarten … here I come!” Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. The 14th annual kindergarten readiness celebration features helpful resources, activities and learning from Children’s Museum staff and partners from around the city.

Aug.11-12: Water Weekend, Carnegie Science Center. Enjoy a weekend of special water-themed demonstrations and activities inspired by the Science Center’s H2Oh! exhibit gallery. Check out live animals in our Field Station and learn how to protect our waterways.

Aug. 12: Elephant Day, Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. Activities include live entertainment, a bio-fact table, story time for younger guests, an animal enrichment-making area. Entertainment provided by Disturbing the Peace DJs.

Aug. 15:  Half-Pint Prints, The 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, Penguins & Pajamas, National Aviary. Kids can come dressed in their favorite pajamas, explore Aviary after hours and meet the penguin colony up-close. Make a craft to bring home and watch a movie in the theater.

Aug. 18: ArtLab: Back to School Fun! The Mattress Factory. Kids can make patches and buttons for their backpacks.

summer events
The closeup view of birds of prey at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh is very cool.

Aug. 18: Falconry: The Sport of Kings, National Aviary. Join the National Aviary’s certified falconer, Cathy Schlott, to discover the history, practices and theories behind the unique sport of falconry.

Aug. 18: Vintage Base Ball Game, Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village. Celebrate America’s pastime and cheer for a baseball game, 19th-century style. The teams will wear vintage uniforms and follow the rules commonly used during the 1860s.

Aug. 18: Super Science Saturday: Meowfest, Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Spend a day at the museum learning all about cats. Meet adoptable kitties and present questions to experts from a local veterinary hospital.

Aug. 19: Vivien’s Rainforest Brunch, National Aviary. Celebrate the reopening of the new Tropical Rainforest with favorite rainforest creatures in the Rose Garden and enjoy visits from Vivien, the juvenile two-toed sloth, a spectacled owl, and macaws, then explore tropical habitats and the rainforest.

Aug. 19: Ballet Under the Stars, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Hartwood Acres.  Festivities kick off at 5 p.m. with food trucks and free kids stations, including craft and dance activities, photo ops with costumed ballet dancers and balloon animals. Includes a performance of classical and contemporary dance.

Aug. 22: Hop into History: Celebrate Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, Heinz History Center. Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, including a visit to the stage set, hands-on session designed for 2-5-year-olds and their caregivers, 10:30-11:15 a.m.

summer events
Disney’s “Aladdin,” part of the PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh season, will wow kids with its high energy and colorful sets. Photo by Deen Van Meer.

Aug. 22-Sept. 9: Disney’s “Aladdin” musical, Benedum Center, presented by PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh series, featuring favorite songs from the movie and new music by Alan Menken and Howard Menken.

Aug. 26: PedalPGH, South Side Riverfront Park. Ride with BikePGH in celebrating 25 years of Pennsylvania’s largest bicycle ride. Casual, fun ride exposes people of all ages and fitness levels to the neighborhoods, parks, bridges, and geography that make Pittsburgh unique.

summer events
If your kids love knights, dragons and fairies. they’ll love the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival.

Sept. 1-3: Children’s Weekend at the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival.  Special activities include a Prince, Princess & Pirate Party and costume contest, knighting ceremonies, photos with the King and Queen, medieval rides and games. Festival dates are Aug. 18-Sept. 23.

Sept. 7-9: Pittsburgh Irish Festival, Riverplex at Sandcastle. A celebration of all things Irish, with dance and music performances, children’s area with arts, crafts and games, and Irish marketplace.

Sept. 8: UPMC Health Plan Let’s Move Day, the Frick Pittsburgh. A lively day of active outdoor family fun. Activities range from badminton, croquet and an obstacle course to outdoor adventure bingo and family-friendly yoga.

Sept.10, 17, 24: Munchkin Mondays, Carnegie Science Center. Preschoolers will explore exciting science concepts, activities include story time, make-and-takes, and planetarium and live demo shows just for preschoolers. Free with admission.

summer events
Kids can “Hop into History” at the Heinz History Center.

Sept. 12: Hop into History: Dressing the Part: Clothing and Costumes, Heinz History Center. Explore clothing and costumes through time, including how textiles are made and how fashion has changed, a hands-on session designed for 2- to 5-year-olds.

Candy Williams

Candy Williams is a freelance writer and journalist whose articles have appeared in national and local publications. She lives in the South Hills.

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