What’s Going on in Pittsburgh this Weekend: August 1-3, 2014

Here’s my weekly listing of family-friendly events in the Pittsburgh region for the weekend of August 1-3, 2014. Highlights of this weekend include: Walking with Dinosaurs at the Consol Energy Center, Disney Junior Live on Tour, the Regatta at Lake Arthur, and the Cinema in the Parks screening of FROZEN (with an extra-special pillow fight preceding the show in Schenley Park on Sunday!).

 

All Weekend, August 1-3

Walking with Dinosaurs at the Consol Energy Center

A large-scale theatrical event, featuring 20 life-size dinosaurs telling the story of their domination of life on Earth.

Times: Friday 7pm; Saturday 11am, 3pm, 7pm; Sunday 1pm and 5pm

Cost: Ticket prices ranging between $27-$77

Location: Consol Energy Center, 1001 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15219

 

Portersville Steam Show

Located on Perry Highway, the Portersville Steam Show features a vintage village, saw mill, cider press, gas engines, oil field equipment, farm animals, train rides, steam engines, kid’s pedal tractor-pulling and SO MUCH MORE! Check website for more details.

 

Fort Armstrong Folk Festival

Located in Kittaning, the Fort Armstrong is a favorite community tradition and celebrates the history of Armstrong County in a kid-friendly way. Lots of music, historic displays, crafts, food, and fireworks on Saturday night! See website for more details.

 

Disney Junior Live on Tour: Pirate and Princess Adventure (except Sunday)

Disney Live! is coming to Pittsburgh for the first time ever, in a production of their Disney Junior Live on Tour: Pirate and Princess Adventure, featuring some of your  child’s favorite Disney Junior characters (Princess Sofia, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Doc McStuffins) and some classic Disney characters, too (Mickey Mouse, Cinderella, and Peter Pan).

Times: Friday 7pm, Saturday 11am, 2pm, and 5pm

Cost: See website for tickets prices

Location: Petersen Events Center, 3719 Terrace Street, Pittsburgh PA 15261

 

Friday Night, August 1

Unblurred on Penn Avenue

Enjoy a family-friendly gallery crawl through the Penn Avenue Arts District in Garfield with food, drinks, and hands-on activities at some galleries, especially Assemble. We really enjoy this event, especially if you come earlier in the evening.

 

GNC Live Well Liberty Mile

Participate in an evening 1-mile race in Downtown Pittsburgh with a wave for everybody ranging from children aged 5 years and older to competitive adults.

Times: Registration begins at 5:30pm

Cost: $25

Location: Start line is on Penn Avenue between 5th and 6th

 

First Fridays at the Frick

The Frick Art & Historical Center presents its monthly summer First Fridays outdoor concert series, featuring Jerry Grcevich and the Tamburitza Orchestra.

Times: 7pm

Cost: Suggested donation $5, Children Free

Location: The Great Lawn, Frick Art and Historical Center, 7227 Reynolds Street, Pittsburgh PA 15208

 

Summer Concert Series at South Park

Allegheny County Parks Department presents their weekly Friday night outdoor concert series at South Park, featuring Serena Ryder with the Harlan Twins for a pop/rock concert.

Times: 7:30pm

Cost: Free

Location: South Park Amphitheater, South Park

 

Frozen at Arsenal Park

Citiparks Cinema in the Park is showing Frozen at Arsenal Park.

Times: Dusk

Cost: Free

Location: Arsenal Park, Lawrenceville

 

Saturday and Sunday, August 2-3

Regatta at Lake Arthur

Take a short day trip to Lake Arthur in Moraine State Park for the annual regatta! Professional sailboat races, children’s activities, and a chance to introduce your kids to a TON of outdoor recreational activities, including stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, dragon-boating, and lots more! See website for more detail. Plus, relax on the beautiful sandy beach!

 

Fantasy Weekend at the Children’s Museum

It’s a Fantasy Weekend at the Children’s Museum, where all guests dressed up as a SUPERHERO will get $3 off admission.

Times: 10a-5pm

Location: Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, 10 Children’s Way, Pittsburgh PA 15212

 

Pop’s Farmyard at Triple B’s Farm

Triple B has launched a new family-friendly program on summer weekends called Pop’s Farmyard. Highlights: a hay bale jump, visits with animals, observation beehive, a farm playground, and “Education Mile,” a hands-on learning station about farming!

Times: 11-4pm

Cost: $5

Location: Triple B Farms, 823 Berry Lane, Monongahela, PA 15063

 

Saturday, August 2

Home Depot Free Kid’s Workshop

Get ready for Back-to-School at this month’s Home Depot Free Kid’s Workshop. Children will be building a mini-crate pencil holder. All instruction and materials provided. Children get a free apron, a pin, and a certificate of achievement.

Times: 9-12pm

Cost: Free

Location: Participating Home Depot locations, including East Liberty

 

Family Science Fair at the Shaler North Hills Library

Participate in the Shaler Library’s first Family Science Fair. Bring a science project and enter for a chance to win a ribbon!

Times: 11-2pm

Cost: Free

Location: Shaler North Hills Library, 1822 Mt. Royal Blvd, Glenshaw PA 15116

 

Art Lab at the Mattress Factory

Celebrate balloons at this special kid-friendly programming at the Mattress Factory. Blow up and decorate a crazy balloon and then put it in the elevator for museum-goers to interact with.

Times: 1-4pm

Cost: Free with admission

Location: The Mattress Factory, 500 Sampsonia Way, Pittsburgh PA 15212

 

Gospel Xplosion feat. Reconcile at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater

Join the Kelly Strayhorn Theater in this family-friendly concert featuring an Open Mic session, Rap Cypher, Pittsburgh’s samba street band, Timbeleza, and Texas-based hip-hop artist, Reconcile. Also, there will be face-painting, double-dutch, special door prizes, and a raffle.

Times: 2pm

Cost: Pay What You Can

Location: Kelly Strayhorn Theater, 5941 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh PA

 

Get Crafty with the Mattress Factory in Downtown Pittsburgh

Participate in an interactive art session with educators from the Mattress Factory Art Museum. Create your own Chiharu Shiota yarn art piece.

Times: 2:30pm

Cost: Free

Location: Downtown & Business, 612 Smithfield Street, Pittsburgh PA 15222

 

Family Fort Night at the Mt. Lebanon Library 

Bring some blankets and pillows and build a fort with your family in the library afterhours. Bring a flashlight and you can read some books in the fort, too! Also includes s’mores and a game of hide-and-seek! Must pre-register.

Times: 4:30-6pm

Cost: Free

Location: Mt. Lebanon Library, 16 Castle Shannon Blvd, Pittsburgh PA 15228

 

Stars of Riverview Jazz Series at Riverview Park

Citiparks presents its weekly Saturday evening outdoor jazz series at Riverview Park, featuring Poogie Bell this week. Followed by Cinema in the Park.

Times: 7pm

Cost: Free

Location: Observatory Hill, Riverview Park

 

42 at Riverview Park

Citiparks Cinema in the Park is showing 42 (rated PG-13) at Riverview Park. Preceded by an outdoor jazz concert.

Times: Dusk

Cost: Free

Location: Observatory Hill, Riverview Park

 

Sunday, August 3

Bach, Beethoven, and Brunch at Mellon Park

Citiparks presents its weekly Bach, Beethoven, and Brunch, an outdoor Sunday morning concert series featuring Carnegie Brass this week. Bagels and coffee available for purchase and children’s activities provided by Temple Rodef Shalom.

Times: 10:30a-12pm

Cost: Free

Location: Mellon Park, Shadyside

 

Soergel Orchards Summer Corn Roast

Soergel Orchards hosts its weekly summer corn roast.  New this year: 5% of the proceeds from this event each week will benefit a different school district.

Times: 11-4pm

Cost: Free to attend, play in their playground, visit their animal petting zoo,etc. , but corn costs extra :)

Location: Soergel Orchards, 2573 Brandt School Rd, Wexford, PA 15090

 

Reservoir of Jazz at Highland Park

Citiparks kicks off its yearly celebration of jazz throughout the month of August during Reservoir of Jazz, held in Highland Park on Sunday evenings. This week enjoy an outdoor concert featuring Maureen Budway.

Times: 5-7pm

Cost: Free

Location: Highland Avenue and Reservoir Drive, Highland Park

 

Weather Permitting

Join the friendly folks at Weather Permitting at the Shadyside Nursery for an evening of live music (Red Western/Andre Costello and Cool Minors/Reverend Hedge), craft beer, food trucks, and children’s activities.

Times: 5-9pm with music usually starting around 6pm

Cost: $10 for adults (includes beer), children free

Location: Shadyside Nursery, 510 Maryland Avenue, Pittsburgh PA

 

Summer Concert Series at Hartwood Acres

Allegheny County Parks Department presents its weekly Sunday evening outdoor concert series at Hartwood Acres, featuring Jerry Douglas with Nameless in August for a bluegrass concert!

Times: 7:30pm

Cost: Free

Location: Hartwood Acres Amphitheater, Hartwood Acres

 

Giant Pillow Fight in Schenley Park

Get silly at a giant kid-friendly pillow fight in Schenley Park, followed by the movie Frozen!

Times: 8pm

Cost: Free

Location: Flagstaff Hill, Schenley Park, Oakland

 

Frozen at Schenley Park

Citiparks Cinema in the Park is showing Frozen at Schenley Park.

Times: Dusk

Cost: Free

Location: Flagstaff Hill, Schenley Park, Oakland

 

Have a great weekend!!

New PGH Family Fun: The Pittsburgh Botanic Garden!

In my New PGH Family Fun series, I highlight new family-friendly entertainment opportunities within Pittsburgh.  I monitor social media sites and conventional news sources to find the most interesting and unique NEW adventure options for families in Pittsburgh.  Then, I write about them here! 

 

I have some BIG NEWS this week!! The Pittsburgh Botanic Garden is FINALLY opening to the public this coming Friday, August 1! This 460-acre property is located about 20-30 minutes west of Downtown Pittsburgh and is situated in the lower third of Settler’s Cabin Park. Phase 1 of its development has just been completed after over 20 years in the making! I recently had the chance to interview the Garden’s Director of Development, Kitty Vagley. Here’s what I learned about the Garden, its history, and the family-friendly parts of it!

 

Map courtesy of Pittsburgh Botanic Garden

Map courtesy of Pittsburgh Botanic Garden

What portions of the Garden will open to the public on August 1?

On August 1st, the 60-acre Woodlands section and the six-acre Homestead will be opening to the public. This portion of the Garden includes 3 miles of trails, an Asian Lotus Pond, a gazebo, a dogwood meadow, a historic farmstead, and several “Family Moments,” or play and discovery areas for children.

 

Can you tell me more about the “Family Moments?”

We have five “Family Moments” in the Garden. The first is our Bookworm Glen with its Storybook House. We also have a Meadow Maze, a giant Bird’s Nest, a “Trees are People” section with faces on the trees, and a “Root of the Matter” area. In this last section, children can use large Lincoln Logs to build homes, use natural materials to build fairy houses, dig in a “digging garden,” and use magnifying glasses attached to tree stumps.

 

Storybook House in the Bookworm Glen

Storybook House in the Bookworm Glen

Will you have kid-friendly educational programming at the Garden?

Yes! We have a free kid-friendly Forest Stories program running on Friday mornings from 10-11:30 a.m. until the end of the summer. During this program, families can take a small hike, participate in a storytime with our partners at the Western Allegheny Community Library, and do craft activities. We are also looking into creating more programming for children in the Fall and in the 2015 season.

 

When will the Garden be open?

The Pittsburgh Botanic Garden will be open from Thursday through Sunday each week from August until November in 2014.  On Saturdays, the Garden is open from  9am-dusk. On the other days, it will close at 5pm.

 

What is the cost to visit the Garden?

Admission to the Garden is $9 for adults, $6 for children 3-18 yo, and free for children less than 3. All Allegheny County residents get one dollar off their admission price. You can also buy a family membership to the Garden for $100, which will give you free admission for two adults and all children OR grandchildren under 18 yo throughout our open season. For info on other membership levels, please click here.

 

Sitting on an egg in the giant Bird's nest

Sitting on an egg in the giant Bird’s nest

What is the address of the Garden?

The GPS address is 1082 Pinkerton Run Road, Oakdale PA 15071. Please note that if you search Pittsburgh Botanic Garden on Google Maps, it will send you to our office address, located about 10-15 minutes from the actual Garden. We will have a welcome tent where you can buy your admission tickets.

 

What other portions of the Garden are still under development?

Construction will begin in the core of the Garden in 2015. This work must be completed by 2025 and will include an Orangery, auto gardens, the tent lawn, an amphitheater, a Mr. Rogers’ Garden of Make Believe, and two display gardens:  the Four Seasons Garden and the Hanging Garden.

 

How was the idea for this Garden conceived?

A group of horticulturists got together monthly at Max’s Allegheny Tavern in the North Side to talk about common horticultural problems in the region. After about a year of meeting, they looked at each other and said, “Every time we meet, we talk about how we need a botanic garden. Why don’t we make this happen?” So, they did! They spoke to others about the idea until they had a fairly sizable and committed volunteer group. They incorporated the fledgling organization in 1991 and spent many years fundraising and searching for a site. They signed a lease in 1998 with Allegheny County, taking over the bottom third of Settler’s Cabin Park. Construction on the Woodlands portion began in 2010 and here we are today!

 

What will happen on Opening Day this week?

August 1 is a quiet opening. We will be holding our Forest Stories program beginning at 10 a.m. with a very special guest reader. We also have a 10:45 ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Woodlands entrance. We are truly looking forward to welcoming our first public visitors!

 

Fairy houses!

Fairy houses!

Finally, what role do you hope the Garden will play for families in the city?

We hope that the Garden will serve as a recreational and educational resource for generations of families. We also hope that the Garden will foster an awareness of the preciousness of our natural resources, since this land was considerably damaged by human activities before we took it over. Finally, we hope families will find a relaxing refuge in the serenity of the Woodlands with all of the nurturing power of nature to teach and heal.

*****

Earlier this summer, I took my kids out to take a look at the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden with Kitty. We trekked through the Woodlands, played in the Bookworm Glen, ogled some fairy houses, sat in a giant bird’s nest, and saw some real birds’ nests, too. It was idyllic. It was gorgeous. It was just awesome. In case you can’t tell, I’m absolutely thrilled to have it in our city!

As the development on the site continues, I’m sure it will become a major attraction for tourists and residents alike. More importantly, it will become a part of our lives. People will get married there. Children will grow up playing there. Elderly couples will walk together there, hand-in-hand, until they can’t do it anymore. It feels special to be in this city during the opening of something so big and beautiful.

Thank you to all the dedicated horticultural enthusiasts who made this dream happen. From conversations over beers at Max’s Allegheny Tavern to THIS beautiful new outdoor space! Well done!!

Want to stay connected with the Garden? Here are links to its Facebook page and Twitter account.

 

What’s Going on in Pittsburgh this Weekend: July 25-27, 2014

Here’s my weekly listing of family-friendly events in the Pittsburgh region for the weekend of July 25-27, 2014. Although it’s a relatively quiet weekend there are a few highlights, including the Pittsburgh Blues Festival, St. Mary’s Ukrainian Festival, and the Lovelace Puppet Festival at Weather Permitting!

 

All Weekend, July 25-27

Pittsburgh Blues Festival

This weekend is the Pittsburgh Blues Festival, the largest fundraiser for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Highlights include: tethered HOT AIR BALLOON rides, a children’s activity area, live music by nationally-known blues musicians, food, and the priceless opportunity to help the hungry in Allegheny County. Friday night offers FREE admission if you bring a bag of nonperishable grocery items. See website for more details.

 

St. Mary’s Ukrainian Festival (except Sunday)

Each summer, St. Mary’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church hosts a huge Ukrainian Festival in McKees Rocks featuring traditional cuisine, live music, and all-ages games. Saturday will also have live child-friendly performances from 5-7pm.

Times: starts at 5pm

Cost: Free

Location: St. Mary’s Ukrainian Festival, 116 Ella Street, McKees Rock, PA

 

Friday Night, July 25

Star Wars Extravaganza at Shaler North Hills Library

Celebrate the cult favorite, Star Wars! The Shaler North Hills Library is hosting an evening of Star Wars-themed crafts and activity. Plus, an opportunity to battle Darth Vader! Advance registration requested.

Times: 7pm

Cost: Free

Location: Shaler North Hills Library, 1822 Mt. Royal Blvd, Glenshaw PA 15116

 

WYEP Final Fridays

Enjoy a live outdoor concert at Schenley Plaza. Have dinner at Conflict Kitchen, ride the carousel, and relax on the grass!

Times: Starts at 7pm

Cost: Free

Location: Schenley Plaza, Oakland

 

South Park Summer Concert Series

Allegheny County Parks Department offers its weekly Friday night outdoor summer concerts, featuring South Park Gospel Music Night.

Times: 7:30pm

Cost: Free

Location: South Park Amphitheatre, South Park

 

Big Miracle at Arsenal Park

Cinema in the Parks is showing Big Miracle (rated PG) at Arsenal Park in Lawrenceville.

Times: Dusk

Cost: Free

Location: Arsenal Park, Lawrenceville

 

Saturday and Sunday, July 26-27

Fantasy Weekend: Princes and Princesses at the Children’s Museum

Enjoy one of the Children’s Museum’s special discounts this summer: at a Princes and Princesses Party! $3 off admission for individuals dressed in a costume relating to the weekend’s theme. Plus, visit with the Volunteer Princesses in the Studio.

Times: 10-5pm

Cost: Free with admission

Location: Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, 10 Children’s Way, Pittsburgh PA 15212

 

Pop’s Farmyard at Triple B’s Farm

Triple B has launched a new family-friendly program on summer weekends called Pop’s Farmyard. Highlights: a hay bale jump, visits with animals, observation beehive, a farm playground, and “Education Mile,” a hands-on learning station about farming!

Times: 11-4pm

Cost: $5

Location: Triple B Farms, 823 Berry Lane, Monongahela, PA 15063

 

Saturday, July 26

One Whirl YogaFest

Bring your family to a special celebration of YOGA! Kids are enthusiastically welcomed at the event, and there are even family-focused yoga classes from 11-1:30pm. See website for more detailed info about offerings.

Times: 6a-6pm

Cost: $35

Location: Point State Park, Downtown

 

Kid’s Day at IKEA Pittsburgh

Celebrate Kid’s Day at the IKEA store in Robinson Township. There will be balloon art, games, and a gift card giveaway.

Times: 9-2pm

Cost: Free

Location: IKEA Pittsburgh, 2001 Park Manor Blvd, Pittsburgh PA 15205

 

Build a TurboTaco Truck at Lowe’s Build and Grow Workshops

Bring your kids to a Lowe’s Build and Grow Workshop, where they can learn to build a TurboTaco Truck. All materials and instruction provided.

Times: 10am

Cost: Free

Location: Participating Lowe’s locations

 

Opera Theater Summerfest’s “The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”

Introduce your children to OPERA at the Opera Theater Summerfest’s kid-friendly production of Mark Twain’s “The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” Running time approximately 40 minutes.

Times: 11am

Cost: Adults $10, Children $5

Location: Beaux Arts Ballroom, Twentieth Century Club, 4201 Bigelow Blvd, Pittsburgh PA 15213

 

Schramm Farm’s Corn Cook-out and Car Cruise

Join Schramm Farm for their second annual Corn Cook-out and Car Cruise with farm fresh foods, entertainment, hayrides, other activities for children, and an antique car cruise.

Times: 11-4pm

Cost: Free to attend, $5 Car registration fee for cars, select activities cost extra

Location: 1002 Blank Road, Jeanette, PA 15644

 

Meet Children’s Author Jessica Lynn Curtis at the University Store

Meet the author of PAPA’s New Home, Jessica Lynn Curtis, at the University Store in Oakland. Jessica will be reading and signing copies of her book.

Times: 11:15pm

Cost: Free

Location: University Store on 5th Avenue, 4000 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15213

 

Superhero Cruise on the Gateway Clipper Cruise

Enjoy a cruise and DJ dance party on the Gateway Clipper Fleet with all of your favorite superheroes!

Times: Board Noon, Depart 1pm

Cost: Adult $25, Child $12

Location: Gateway Clipper Fleet dock is at Station Square

 

Stars of Riverview Jazz Concert

Citiparks hosts its weekly Saturday evening outdoor jazz concert at Riverview Park, featuring Sean Jones. Followed by Cinema in the Park.

Times: 7-8:30pm

Cost: Free

Location: Observatory Hill, Riverview Park

 

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire at Riverview Park

Cinema in the Park is showing “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” at Riverview Park. Preceded by outdoor jazz concert.

Times: Dusk

Cost: Free

Location: Observatory Hill, Riverview Park

 

Big Miracle at Grandview Park

Cinema in the Park is showing Big Miracle (rated PG) at Grandview Park.

Times: Dusk

Cost: Free

Location: Grandview Park

 

Sunday, July 27

Bach, Beethoven, and Brunch

Citiparks hosts its weekly Sunday morning outdoor concert series, featuring Amadeus Trio this week. Children’s activities provided by Temple Rodef Shalom and bagels available for purchase from the Bagel Factory.

Times: 10:30-12pm

Cost: Free

Location: Mellon Park

 

Launch of Neighborhood Flea

The talented local mother, Carrie Nardini, is launching her newest venture this weekend: Neighborhood Flea. There will be food, Chicks in the Hood, chalk, and lots and lots of carefully curated items to peruse and potentially buy.

Times: 11-4pm

Cost: Free

Location: Empty lot across from Marty’s Market in the Strip District, 2300 Penn Avenue

 

Soergel Orchards Summer Corn Roast

Soergel Orchards hosts its weekly summer corn roast.  New this year: 5% of the proceeds from this event each week will benefit a different school district.

Times: 11-4pm

Cost: Free to attend, play in their playground, visit their animal petting zoo,etc. , but corn costs extra :)

Location: Soergel Orchards, 2573 Brandt School Rd, Wexford, PA 15090

 

Lovelace Puppet Festival at Weather Permitting

Weather Permitting is hosting a special “Lovelace Puppet Festival” this Sunday with some of the greatest local puppeteers celebrating the legacy of Margo Lovelace.

Times: 5-9pm

Cost: Adults $10, Children Free. Includes alcohol

Location: Shadyside Nursery, 510 Maryland Avenue, Pittsburgh PA

 

Big Miracle at Schenley Park

Cinema in the Park is showing Big Miracle (rated PG) at Schenley Park.

Times: Dusk

Cost: Free

Location: Flagstaff Hill, Schenley Park

 

Have a great weekend!

Be a Part of the First Jeremiah’s Place Snack Drive!

Some of you may remember my blog post about Pittsburgh’s Jeremiah’s Place last Spring. After writing it, I got to know its founders and have become personally involved in the organization. As the months have passed, I have become thoroughly convinced of its importance in the Pittsburgh parenting community.

Little cutie at Jeremiah's Place

Little cutie at Jeremiah’s Place

So what is it? Jeremiah’s Place (JP) is the city’s first overnight relief nursery, intended to be a place of refuge for local children when their parents need it. Since its opening last April, parents have brought their children to Jeremiah’s Place for a variety of reasons. Some have been in the midst of medical emergencies, needing somebody to watch their children until family and friends can come into town. Some have been homeless mothers, trying to find a job or a place to live. Another woman dropped her son off at JP on her way to jail. Although her family came and got the little boy soon afterwards, she said goodbye to him for a sizeable piece of his childhood.

Whatever their reasons, parents throughout Pittsburgh have found JP to be an irreplaceable comfort in a world filled with uncertainty.

champions-for-kids-logo

I was recently speaking with the founders of JP when I learned that the organization has a need for healthy, nonperishable snack foods to feed the children. So I’m partnering with Champions for Kids to hold a “Champions for Kids SIMPLE Giving Snack Drive” to benefit Jeremiah’s Place.

The Bloomfield Saturday Market and its organizer, Christina Howell of the Bloomfield Development Corporation, were kind enough to offer to host this snack drive on August 9th from 9-1 pm. To make the event even more festive, the Market is sponsoring a number of family-friendly activities that day, including face-painting, a visit with the Volunteer Princesses (and princes), live entertainment, chalk, bubbles, and more! Oh– and all of the usual wonderful parts of the market, including the freshest of local produce and yummy prepared foods! The Bloomfield Saturday Market is located on Liberty Avenue between Gross and S. Winebiddle Streets.

bloomfield marketlogo1

I will have a table set up there (look for the balloons!) with information about Jeremiah’s Place and a collection box. We will be accepting HEALTHY nonperishable snack food items.

Since I’m no nutritional expert, I sought the advice of two of the city’s most well-known moms/healthy eating experts: Leah Lizarondo, founder of Brazen Kitchen, and Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan, author of My Food Notebook, to define “healthy” for me. They both recommended snack foods that are 1) low in sugar 2) low in sodium 3) without artificial flavoring and 4) organic, if possible. Some suggestions they gave:

  • raisins and other dried fruits
  • whole grain crackers
  • low sodium pretzels
  • low sodium popcorn and/or Pirate’s Booty
  • rice cakes
  • apple sauce
  • fruit cups NOT in syrup, such as Dole’s Fruit Bowls
  • squeezable packages of pureed fruits/vegetables/etc.
  • water bottles
  • 100% fruit juice boxes

Jeremiah’s Place also requests that the foods be:

  • NUT FREE
  • Individually-packaged

jpdonationdrivefinal

I hope that you will join me and Champions for Kids on August 9th from 9-1pm at the Bloomfield Saturday Market to support Jeremiah’s Place and its important mission to protect and support Pittsburgh families. You can RSVP at the Facebook event page. Or NOT! Either way, you are welcome. And if you can’t make it to the event, but would still like to donate please email me at pittsburghmommyblog@gmail.com to set up a time to drop items off!

THANK YOU!

 

Disclosure: This blog post and snack drive campaign have been generously sponsored by two wonderful organizations: Champions for Kids and The Motherhood!

 

Giveaway: 4 Tickets to “Disney Junior Live on Tour: Pirate and Princess Adventure!” in Pittsburgh

Disney Junior Live on Tour: A Pirate and Princess Adventure. Photo courtesy of Stern PR

Disney Junior Live on Tour: A Pirate and Princess Adventure. Photo courtesy of Stern PR

On August 1-2nd, Disney Live! will be coming to Pittsburgh for the first time ever for a production of their show “Disney Junior Live on Tour: Pirate and Princess Adventure!” And I have four tickets to giveaway!

In this original, interactive show, audiences can see their most beloved Disney Junior characters including Doc McStuffins, Princess Sofia of Enchancia, and Jake and his Yo Ho friends from Never Land. There will also be special guest appearances by some classic Disney favorites such as Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Captain Hook, and Tinkerbell!

Although my family hasn’t seen the show yet, I did browse through some of the reviews in order to get a sense for the quality of the show. Here are some examples of what I read:

“Couldn’t have been better. Had great seats, theatrics and props were perfect. Every child in the place had a blast My son had such a great time, as did my wife and I. Definitely would see it again.”

“My 4 year old son is a big fan of Disney Jr. and especially of the show, “Jake and the Neverland Pirates.” When I saw this advertised, I knew it would be a perfect first live show for him, and I was right! He loved every minute of it!”

And:

“My 3 year old thoroughly enjoyed the show. It was very animated and bright. he loved the special effects when the bubbles came down and the volcano blew up at the end. Overall, I loved the show and I believe my son did, too!”

As you can see: Reviews=VERY POSITIVE!

*****

“Disney Junior Live on Tour: Pirate and Princess Adventure” will be showing at the Petersen Events Center in Oakland on Friday, August 1 at 7pm and Saturday, August 2 at 11am, 2pm, and 5pm. Tickets start at $35 and are available here.

I was kindly offered the chance to give away 4 tickets to the 7pm show on August 1st to one lucky family. The winner of the tickets will be able to pick them up at “Will Call” that evening. Please enter to win the giveaway below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will run from Sunday, July 20 at 7pm to Friday, July 25 at 7pm and the winner will be announced by Sunday, July 27th. Good luck!!

What’s Going on in Pittsburgh this Weekend: July 18-20, 2014

Here’s my weekly listing of family-friendly events in the Pittsburgh region for the weekend of July 18-20, 2014. Highlights of this weekend include the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, the Cinema in the Park screening of Mary Poppins, and the Children’s Museum’s launch of “Classic Movie Night!” Quirky/Awesome event of the weekend: dancing in the streets of Downtown Pittsburgh on Sunday morning as the roads are closed to vehicular traffic during Open Streets Pittsburgh!

 

All Weekend: July 18-20

9th Annual Trail Fest

Join Pittsburgh Trails Advocacy Group as they celebrate the trails in the Allegheny County Parks with trail runs, hikes, and mountain biking. Friday’s event is in Hartwood Acres starting at 6:30, Saturday is in Boyce Park starting at 9:30am and Sunday is in North Park from 11-5pm. Donations accepted.

 

Zelionople Harmony Horse Trading Days

Celebrate the Zelionople-Harmony area’s annual Horse Trading Days with the well-known horse parade (on Friday at 7pm), live music, food, a children’s activity area, shopping, etc. Please see website for more detailed info.

 

Penn Hills Art Festival (except Sunday)

Join the community of Penn Hills as they host their annual Art Festival featuring live music, food, and art!

Times: Friday 3-9, Saturday 1-9pm

Cost: Free

Location: Penn Hills Library, Saltsburg and Stoller

 

East Brady Riverfest (except Sunday)

Join the community of East Brady as they host a weekend celebration of life on the Allegheny River with carnival rides, fireworks, music, a parade, and lots more. Please check website for more detailed info.

 

Friday Night: July 18

Sister Hazel at South Park

Allegheny County Parks Department is offering their weekly Friday night outdoor concert at South Park featuring Sister Hazel for an alternative rock performance.

Times: 7:30pm

Cost: Free

Location: South Park Amphitheater, South Park

 

Free Movie Night on the Lawn at Hamilton Church Preschool

Hamilton Church Preschool in the South Hills is offering a free outdoor movie night featuring the Lego Movie and Rita’s!

Times: 7:30pm

Cost: Free

Location: Hamilton Church Preschool, 4500 Hamilton Rd, Pittsburgh PA 15236

 

Mary Poppins in Arsenal Park

Cinema in the Park is showing Mary Poppins at Arsenal Park in Lawrenceville.

Times: Dusk

Cost: Free

Location: Arsenal Park, Lawrenceville

 

Saturday and Sunday: July 19-20

Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix: Schenley Park Race Weekend

The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix holds one of its most beloved events this weekend: the Schenley Park Race Weekend! The weekend includes an international car show, a British car show, vintage ride experiences, and vintage races. Also, there will be a Kid’s Pit stop activity tent where children can create a custom racecar out of interlocking building bricks and race it down the track, an interactive community mural that children can paint, and Radio Disney. See website for more details about the Grand Prix.

 

Blue Moon Weekend at the Carnegie Science Center

Celebrate the 45th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing at the Carnegie Science Center. Learn about current space travel, watch “Stars Over Tranquility Base” in the Buhl Planetarium to see what the stars looked like as Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong stepped onto the Moon, watch as makeup artists transform an ordinary human into an otherworldly creature, smile for a photo with a 25-foot inflatable astronaut, befriend a Stormtrooper or a Rebel Alliance character, and create your own UFO and pose with it hovering above the city’s skyline.

Times: Saturday 10-5pm, Sunday 10-4pm

Cost: Free with admission

Location: Carnegie Science Center, 1 Allegheny Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15212

 

Opening of the new Orientation Center and Museum Store at the Frick

The Frick invites families to check out the new Orientation Center and Museum Store. There will be a kid-friendly activity station next to the Frick’s Children’s Playhouse. Also, tour the Clayton Historical Mansion for free this weekend.

Times: Children’s Activities 11-3pm

Cost: Free

Location: Frick Art and Historical Center, 7227 Reynolds Street, Pittsburgh PA 15208

 

Pop’s Farmyard at Triple B’s Farm

Triple B has launched a new family-friendly program on summer weekends called Pop’s Farmyard. Highlights: a hay bale jump, visits with animals, observation beehive, a farm playground, and “Education Mile,” a hands-on learning station about farming!

Times: 11-4pm

Cost: $5

Location: Triple B Farms, 823 Berry Lane, Monongahela, PA 15063

 

Saturday: July 19

Mini Hula Kids Run

Steel City Road Runners is hosting a fun run for children grades K-6 in addition to their Hula Hula Hustle 5K on Saturday morning!

Times: Mini Hula Kids Run starts at 8:30am.

Cost: See website for special registration coupon codes

Location: Riverfront Place, 810 River Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15212

 

Celebrate the Bloom! at Jennings Environmental Education Center in Slippery Rock

The Jennings Environmental Education Center in Slippery Rock is the home of the blazing star prairie, one of the region’s most unique natural places. This Saturday they are holding their annual Celebrate the Bloom! Festival, with nature walks, entertainment, food, and children’s activities.

Times 9am-7pm

Cost: Free

Location: Jennings Environmental Education Center, 2951 Prospect Rd, Slippery Rock, 16057

 

Clean up Downtown Pittsburgh Community Event

Join community members as they help clean, green, and beautify Downtown Pittsburgh in this family-friendly volunteering opportunity.

Times: 9-12pm

Cost: Free

Location: Registration at Market Square

 

Incredible Edible Garden Tyke Hike with Venture Outdoors

Explore the herb garden at Mellon Park with the folks from Venture Outdoors in this kid-friendly hike. Participants will then make a pasta dish using the fresh herbs and eat it!

Times: 10-11:30am

Cost: $10/child

Location: Mellon Park

 

Opera Theater Summerfest’s “The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”

Introduce your children to OPERA at the Opera Theater Summerfest’s kid-friendly production of Mark Twain’s “The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” Running time approximately 40 minutes.

Times: 11am

Cost: Adults $10, Children $5

Location: Beaux Arts Ballroom, Twentieth Century Club, 4201 Bigelow Blvd, Pittsburgh PA 15213

 

Meet Mrs. Hopscotch Rabbit of Calico Critters at Fun Buy the Pound

Fun Buy the Pound in Sewickley will be hosting a “Meet and Greet” with Mrs. Hopscotch Rabbit from 11-2pm.

Times: 11-2pm

Cost: Free

Location: Fun Buy the Pound, 406 Beaver Street, Sewickley PA 15143

 

Dippy’s Birthday Celebration at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Celebrate Dippy the Dinosaur’s 115th birthday! Examine rocks from the fossil bed where Dippy was unearthed, see real bones, visit with the Toonseum as they show how dinosaurs have been portrayed in animation. Also, bring a homemade or bought birthday card for Dippy and receive $1 off admission!

Times: 12-4pm

Cost: Free with admission

Location: Carnegie Museum of Natural History, 4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15213

 

Free Drawing Class the Carnegie Library of Squirrel Hill

Join local artist, Patrick Smith, as he hosts a free drawing class for students ages 6-12 (from 12-1pm) and students 13+ (1-2pm). Students will learn the basics of classical drawing techniques and can start or add to their own portfolios. All materials provided. Advance registration required. Please email  renaissancedrawing@gmail.com to register.

Times: 12-2pm

Cost: Free

Location: Carnegie Library, Squirrel Hill, 5801 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15217

 

Art Lab: Window Refractions at the Mattress Factory

Art Lab is a regular kid-friendly educational experience at the Mattress Factory. This week kids can experiment wth refraction by placing objects in water, then cut up cool trash and turn the Mattress Factory lobby windows intoa a collaborative installation where objects seem to pass through the glass and distort. Inspired by John Latham’s “Untitled” installations.

Times: 1-4pm

Cost: Free with admission

Location: The Mattress Factory, 500 Sampsonia Way, Pittsburgh PA 15212

 

Family Fun Day at Keystone State Park

Keystone Park is one of the state parks within easy driving distance of Pittsburgh. On Saturday, they are holding a Family Fun Day, where families can compete against other families in good-natured athletic matches.

Times: 1-4pm

Cost: Free

Location: Keystone State Park, Derry PA 15627

 

“Dogs Get Scared, Too!” at Northland Public Library

Join the staff from Northland Public Library and Camp Bow Wow as they teach children how to be comfortable around dogs and avoid being bitten. For children ages 4 and up.

Times: 1-3pm

Cost: Free

Location: Northland Public Library, 300 Cumberland Road, Pittsburgh PA 15237

 

The Waterfront’s Summer Music and Marketplace Series

Visit Homestead’s the Waterfront for outdoor music, shopping, and a visit to the I Made It! Market!

Times: 2-7pm I Made It! Market and 3-7pm for music

Cost: Free

Location: The Waterfront, Homestead

 

Laughternoon at the Library

Join the staff at the Oakland Carnegie Library and local comedians as they present an afternoon of kid-friendly comedy. Participate in “laughter yoga,” hear silly stories, hear jokes, etc.

Times: 2-3:30pm

Cost: Free

Location: Carnegie Library Oakland, 4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15213

 

A Magic Show at the Hazelwood Carnegie Library

Join local magician, Weird Eric, as he presents a comedic magic show with balloon art.

Times: 2-3:30pm

Cost: Free

Location: Hazelwood Carnegie Library, 5006 Second Avenue, Pittsburgh PA

 

Classic Movie Night at the Children’s Museum

The Children’s Museum is launching their new classic movie night series and collaboration with the Pittsburgh Filmmakers with a screening of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. The feature film is preceded by film-related educational programming with the Pgh Filmmakers. For more info, please check out my article from earlier this week.

Times: 5pm exhibits close, 5-5:30 food available for purchase and educational activities, 5:30 feature presentation starts

Cost: Free with admission or tickets $3 at the door or $2 in advance

Location: Children’s Museum, 10 Children’s Way, Pittsburgh PA 15212

 

Stars of Riverview Outdoor Jazz Concert

Citiparks offers its weekly outdoor jazz concert series at Riverview Park featuring Stacia Abbott. Followed by Cinema in the Park.

Times: 7-8:30pm

Cost: Free

Location: Riverview Park

 

Saving Mr. Banks at Riverview Park

Cinema in the Park is showing Saving Mr. Banks at Riverview Park. Preceded by Stars of Riverview Jazz series.

Times: Dusk

Cost: Free

Location: Riverview Park

 

Mary Poppins at Grandview Park

Cinema in the Park is showing Mary Poppins at Grandview Park.

Times: Dusk

Cost: Free

Location: Grandview Park

 

Sunday: July 20

Open Streets Pittsburgh 2014

Dance, walk, run, do yoga, and socialize on the streets of Downtown Pittsburgh as they close 1/2 mile of the roads to vehicular traffic and let pedestrians rule the roads!

Times: 8-12pm

Cost: Free

Location: Market Square to the Clemente Bridge

 

Bedford County Fair

Bedford County hosts its annual fair starting this Sunday with carnival rides, games, food, animals, a beauty pageant and lots more. See website for more details.

 

Bach, Beethoven, and Brunch at Mellon Park

Citiparks offers its weekly outdoor family-friendly concert series at Mellon Park featuring the Matt Murchison Mutiny. Activities for children provided by Temple Rodef Shalom and food available for purchase.

Times: 10:30-12pm

Cost: Free

Location: Mellon Park, Shadyside

 

PPG Festival of Colors at the Pittsburgh Zoo

The Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Industries are hosting a celebration of COLOR at the Pittsburgh Zoo. Create a sand art or spin art masterpiece, watch animal painting demonstrations, create chalk art, and get your face painted. Stop by the PPG Aquarium to meet the zoo’s mascots and bring a white t-shirt to tie dye.

Times: 11-3pm

Cost: Free with admission

Location: Pittsburgh Zoo, 7340 Butler Street, Pittsburgh PA 15206

 

Kid’s Day at PNC Park

The Pittsburgh Pirates are playing the Rockies at PNC Park this Sunday and the team is hosting a Kid’s Day! There will be special educational activities on Federal Street prior to the game, kids get a special item at the gate, and kids can run the bases after the game (weather permitting).

Times: Activities 11-1pm, Game starts at 1:35pm

Location: PNC Park, 115 Federal Street, Pittsburgh PA 15212

 

Soergel Orchards Summer Corn Roast Kickoff

Soergel Orchards hosts its weekly summer corn roast.  New this year: 5% of the proceeds from this event each week will benefit a different school district.

Times: 11-4pm

Cost: Free to attend, play in their playground, visit their animal petting zoo,etc. , but corn costs extra :)

Location: Soergel Orchards, 2573 Brandt School Rd, Wexford, PA 15090

 

The Polish Hill Arts Festival

Polish Hill is holding its 7th annual arts festival with artists, craft vendors, entertainment, food, and children’s activities.

Times: 12-9pm

Cost: Free

Location: Intersection of Brereton and Dobson Streets, Polish Hill

 

“Let’s Make a Book!” at the Sunny Side Story Series at Pitt University Bookstore

The Pitt University Bookstore is hosting a regular Sunday afternoon children’s events this summer. This week’s event is about making books! There will be treats, stories, and fun.

Times: 1pm

Cost: Free

Location: Pitt University Bookstore, 4000 Fifth Avenue, Oakland

 

Whiskey Rebellion Day at the Oliver Miller Homestead

Join the folks at the Oliver Miller Homestead in South Park as they celebrate the Whiskey Rebellion, an important event in our country’s history. Displays, lectures, as well as historical skits.

Times: 1:30-4:3opm

Cost: Free

Location: Oliver Miller Homestead, Buffalo Drive, South Park 15129

 

Hartwood Acres Summer Concert Series

The Allegheny County Parks Department is holding their weekly Sunday night concert at Hartwood Acres featuring Lake Street Dive with Brooke Annibale, for an indie rock/jazz/soul concert.

Time: 7:30pm

Cost: Free

Location: Hartwood Acres Amphitheater, Hartwood Acres

 

Mary Poppins at Schenley Park

Cinema in the Park is showing Mary Poppins at Schenley Park in Oakland.

Times: Dusk

Cost: Free

Location: Flagstaff Hill, Schenley Park, Oakland

 

Have a great weekend!

New PGH Family Fun: Volunteer Princesses (and Princes, too!)

In my New PGH Family Fun series, I highlight new family-friendly entertainment opportunities within Pittsburgh.  I monitor social media sites and conventional news sources to find the most interesting and unique NEW adventure options for families in Pittsburgh.  Then, I write about them here! 

I was recently doing some aimless internet surfing when I stumbled upon a Facebook page for a Pittsburgh organization that I had never heard of before: Volunteer Princesses. My interest was piqued. After all, I’m the mom of a 4 year old girl and, whether we like it or not, we are definitely in the throes of a Disney Princess fetish around our house. I know I’m not alone.

Rachel Makary, Founder of Volunteer Princesses

Rachel Makary, Founder of Volunteer Princesses

I decided to investigate the program further and ended up meeting and interviewing its founder, 18 YEAR OLD (!!) Rachel Makary. I learned that Volunteer Princesses is an organization bringing princesses, princes, superheroes and eager little ones together at community events, hospitals, long term care facilities, domestic violence shelters and other places near YOU for FREE. Just because it makes the volunteers happy to see your children smile. Although the organization initially started in 2012, it has recently relaunched and significantly expanded its programming. Want to learn more? Here’s my interview with Rachel:

 

Princesses and Helpers

Some Princesses and their Helpers

Can you tell me more about what Volunteer Princesses does?

Our organization is comprised of a group of dedicated volunteers ranging in age from 15 to mid-30′s who enjoy bringing the magic of princesses, princes, and superheroes to children. Each volunteer carefully crafts his or her own handmade costume and then attends our events “in character.” At these events, our volunteers offer free “Meet and Greets” and photo opportunities for children. We also organize other activities including story-telling, coloring, puzzles, face-painting, jump-roping, blowing bubbles and handing out stickers. Sometimes, we even have sing-alongs and organized games like Red Rover; Red Light, Green Light; etc). We also hold events with individual characters, such as art classes with our Tangled Princess and superhero training clinics.

 

Where are your events?

When we first started, we organized events mostly at local nonprofits like the Ronald Mcdonald House, HEARTH Women’s Transitional Home, and the Children’s Institute. We then decided to expand our services to all the children of Pittsburgh, so we started setting up community events for everyone to enjoy for free. We had an event at Market Square a couple weeks ago and another one in Schenley Plaza recently, too. We plan on having many more throughout the city in the coming months. Please LIKE our Facebook page to find out about our upcoming events.

Parents or community organizers are also welcome to book our characters for parties or events. Although, we never charge for our services, we welcome TIPS! To book, just send us a message on our facebook page and we will reply back to you as fast as we can.

 

Reading a book with Rapunzel

Reading a book with Rapunzel

Why did you decide to start Volunteer Princesses?

I have always enjoyed making costumes for myself and first developed a cosplay hobby in 2012 when I was 16. One day, I was wearing a Merida costume near the Carnegie Library in Oakland when a bunch of little kids came over and wanted me to read them stories and take pictures with them. After that experience, I realized that my costumes could be used to make kids happy. I told a few of my friends about my plans for Volunteer Princesses and they agreed to join. We bought puzzles, face-paint, coloring books, stickers, books, jump ropes, and plastic balls.

Our first event was at the Ronald Mcdonald House. I was supposed to meet a girl who had just had a bone marrow transplant. Although her mom had initially warned me that the little girl probably wouldn’t have the energy to get up out of her bed, she got up, got dressed, and was ready to meet the princesses when we came in!

 

*****
Meeting Rapunzel!

Meeting Rapunzel!

After learning more about the Volunteer Princesses and their programming, it was obvious to me that my kids would freak at this chance. So…I hauled them down to the Carnegie Library in Oakland for an art class with Rapunzel. The experience was ridiculously cute. A group of little girls sat around a table with Rapunzel, each one decorating a handmade coloring page and chatting with each other.

“Where’s Pascal?” one little girl asked of the group.

“He’s in the tower,” another little girl chirped in. Rapunzel nodded in agreement.

“Did Mother Gothel let you out?” asked one worried-looking girl of Rapunzel.

“Only after I did my chores,” said the barefooted, long-haired princess.

The girls nodded to each other in silent understanding. They continued with their work.

The dialogue continued on in this manner, punctuated only by the shrieks of other little children as they spotted Rapunzel for the first time. It was priceless!

volunteerprincesses6

Although my kids didn’t do anything fancy with Rapunzel, it was just perfect. Instead of rushing through a lame photo opp, they had the highly unusual opportunity to just sit down and chill out with her. They loved it.

And I was just SO impressed by Rachel and her initiative in organizing this program. She’s only 18 years old! Just starting college. And somehow, she already has the leadership and organizational skills to pull this all together. More importantly, she has a mature-beyond-her-years spirit. An 18 year old that goes above and beyond to make Pittsburgh children happy? I think that’s really special!

You are a truly exceptional young adult, Rachel, and I foresee very wonderful things in your future. Thank you for what you are doing for Pittsburgh families!