Like many local parents, we’re always on the look out for fun experiences to share together as a family without breaking the bank. The following are some great ideas to enjoy Pittsburgh with kids in tow (and stay on a budget).
1. Hartwood Acres Summer Concert Series (FREE)Free, outdoor summer concert series every Sunday at Hartwood acres. Bring a blanket, a lawnchair and a picnic!
2. Living Treasure Animal
A close, intimate experience with a huge variety of animals. It’s a completely different experience than the Pittsburgh Zoo with options to feed and hold different animals. Seriously, you can feed a giraffe!
3. First Time Camper Program
If you’ve never camped in PA before, you will be eligible for the first time camper program. Select Pennsylvania State Parks have teamed up with Gander Mountain to offer camping to first-time campers at participating parks. For just $20 you’re able to rent: (1) four person tent, (2) sleeping pads, (1) tarp, (2) camp chairs, (1) flashlight, (1) lantern, (1) camp stove, and (4) hotdog/Marshmallow cookers. Campers get two nights of camping, equipment rental and hands-on instruction on how to camp by state park expert campers.
4. Movies in the Park (FREE)
The city of Pittsburgh has multiple locations in parks around the region where they show family-friendly movies starting at dusk. Be sure to check your local community for additional viewings at places such as community centers and nearby parks. We visited Pine Community Center for a close-to-home outdoor movie experience last year and it was a blast as well.
5. Round Hill Park and Farm Exhibit (FREE)
1,101 acres of beautiful land, an array of animals, awesome playgrounds and sprinkler parks. Pack a picnic and a change of clothes! We recently visited and you can check out our review here.
6. Soergel’s Orchards (FREE)
There are multiple play areas, tractor rides, a greenhouse, a petting “zoo,” and multiple stores. We love the “Naturally Soergel’s” store with natural, organic and gluten free products. They also offer pick-your-own events throughout the summer months.
7. City of Pittsburgh Sprinkler Parks (FREE)
There are six sprinkler parks throughout Pittsburgh, but Troy Hill (pictures above) is probably our favorite. We’re planning a visit to the newly opened Warrington Spray Park in Beltzhoover this summer.
8. Story Times as Local Library (FREE)
Have a seat in the circle and listen to a story. Story times aren’t just at your local library, there are also a few family friendly business around Pittsburgh that offer weekly story times as well such as Soergel’s and Castle Toys and games.
9. Fun Slides Carpet Park
With a new location in Wexford, Fun Slides Carpet Park is a great alternative to youngsters looking to work on their skating skills. Their unique foot pads allow visitors to glide across ramps, slides and more. The best part? No concrete to fall on!
10. SkyZone Trampoline Park
If you’re looking to escape from the heat (or rain) move the party indoors at SkyZone trampoline park. Trampolines encompass the floors and walls to provide an ultimate bouncing experience. SkyZone
11. Raccoon Creek State Park (FREE)
This 7,572-acre park features a refreshing 101-acre lake (Raccoon Lake) with a gradual grade. Entrance to the park is free. Additional costs may include equipment or facility rentals. Raccoon Creek’s boat rental area provides access to canoes, rowboats, kayaks and paddleboats. They also have fish tackle and bait for those interested in fishing and tons of options for camping. Be sure to pack a picnic and use one their 400 picnic tables!
12. Blue Slide Park (FREE)
Rapper Mac Miller made it world famous, but the Blue Slide Park had always been a popular Pittsburgh spot. With a large hillside slide and tall playground with multiple levels, the outdoor play space is unique but positively fun!
13. Twin Hi-Way Drive In
An oldie but a goodie! There are only about 350 drive ins left in America and you can find a couple right here in Pittsburgh. Come early and play kickball or throw a baseball in the back lot. There’s also a small arcade and a snack bar with tons of reasonably priced options. Don’t forget to bring jammies for the kids (who will most likely fall asleep… but that’s ok) and a couple blankets to stave off any late night chills. It’s a great deal as you get two movies for the price of one and children 5 and under are FREE!
14. Bicycle Shop & Museum (FREE)
The Bicycle Shop Museum is like a small gem that sits in North Shores’ RJ Casey’s Industrial Parks (a short distance from the North Shore bike trail). It’s the largest collection of bikes and parts in the world! You can see our pictures here.
15. South Park Children’s Theater
These amazing outdoor performances truly provide a unique experience for children. Admission is only $3 per ticket! Shows are not only geared towards kids but the performers are kids, too! Lawn chairs and picnics are welcome. There’s a concession stand that offers very inexpensive options such as popcorn, juice boxes and water. They really do a great job and we’re looking to another visit this summer.
16. Kids Castle (FREE)
Kids Castle in Cranberry is, hands down, the most amazing playground we’ve ever been to in Pittsburgh (see our entire list here). Located just past Fun Fore All in Cranberry on Rt. 19, this mega playground is ideal for children ages 5-12 years old (however little ones will certainly love it, too!). You can see highlights from our trip here.
Home of artist Randy Gilson, Randyland is free and open to the public. The colorful, playful space creates a unique atmosphere for visitors to play, look, relax and explore. He uses plants, yard sale finds, paint and more to create one of the most colorful landmarks in Pittsburgh.
18. Water Feature at PPG Plaza
Splash around in the heart of Pittsburgh… in the middle of PPG Plaza! There are 140 streaming columns of water that jet up around the center sculpture and visitors are welcome take a walk through (some rules include no running, no bathing suits and shoes required). The water feature runs from 6am-6pm daily but are periodically turned off throughout the day to “maintain a pleasant business environment at PPG.”
19. Cranberry Waterpark
If Sandcastle is too crowded and the local watering hole is getting boring, you’re going to want to give the Cranberry Waterpark a try!
20. South Park Game Preserve
Don’t forget to bring the bread! Located next to the Bumblebee/ Black & Gold playground, the game preserve is tucked up the hill and is home to peacocks, buffalo, fish, turtles and ducks (and tons of other wildlife). I would suggest making a day of it with the South Park Children’s Theater.