Here’s my weekly listing of family-friendly events for the weekend of December 19-21, 2014. This weekend is your LAST CHANCE to check out many of the city’s holiday festivities.
All Weekend, December 19-21
The Winter Wonderland-themed Winter Flower Show at Phipps continues this weekend. From 5-11pm, visitors can also experience a Candlelit Evening and the outdoor Winter Light Garden.
Times: 9:30am-11pm daily with Candlelit Evenings and its outdoor Winter Light Garden from 5-11pm.
Cost: Adults $15, Children $11, Members free
Location: 700 Frank Curto Drive, Pittsburgh PA 15213
The Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History’s holiday display includes the Neopolitan Presepio, a handcrafted nativity scene. Beginning on December 4th, the Hall of Architecture will also hold the Museum’s decorated 20-foot spruce trees.
Times: Friday and Saturday 10-5pm, Sunday 12-5pm
Cost: Free with admission
Location: Carnegie Museums, 4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15213
The Plaza at PPG Place holds the MassMutual Pittsburgh Ice Rink open seven days/week with $3 skate rental, $8 adult entry and $7 children < 13 entry.
Times: Friday and Saturday 11am-midnight, Sunday noon-8pm
The Wintergarden at PPG Place is open seven days per week until January 7th. This free exhibit features a display of life-sized Santas and original paintings from various countries around the world, a 32 foot tree, gingerbread houses and a unique train display.
Times: Friday 7am-10pm, Saturday 9am-10pm, Sunday 9am-8pm
Market Square holds the Peoples Gas Holiday Market, open seven days/week. The Holiday Market is inspired by the original Christkindlemarkt created in 1545 in Nuremberg and features European-style wooden chalets decorated for the holidays and selling high-quality gifts and ornaments. The Holiday Market also has its own Santa for kids to visit, live musical entertainment throughout the day and a light show every 30 minutes after dark.
Times: Fridays and Saturdays 11am-9:30pm, Sunday 11am-6pm
The US Steel Tower Plaza on Grant Street houses the Pittsburgh Creche, the world’s only authorized replica of the Nativity Creche that stands outside Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. This outdoor display is free to visit.
The Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s annual production of the Nutcracker continues this weekend. See website for specific information on times. Tickets start at $27.
Location: Benedum Center, 7th Street between Liberty and Penn
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra presents its annual “Highmark Holiday Pops” at Heinz Hall. Features classic Christmas music and a visit from Santa. More info about tickets and times can be at the link above.
The Pittsburgh CLO presents its annual “A Musical Christmas Carol” at the Byham Theater in Downtown Pittsburgh. Enjoy this Charles Dickens’ classic with accompanying Christmas music. Children under age 3 are not permitted in the theater.
The Western PA’s Model Railroad Museum’s Holiday Train Display features an interactive children’s area on the bottom floor and a 4000 square foot model train display on the second floor. Also a gift shop and snack bar. On Friday evenings, there is a special “Steam at Twilight” event.
Times: Fridays from 6-9pm, Saturdays and Sundays 11-5pm
Cost: Adults $6, Children $4
Location: Western PA Model Railroad Museum, 5507 Lakeside Dr, Gibsonia, PA 15044
Located in Greensburg, Overly’s Country Christmas is a nonprofit old-fashioned Christmas Village open from November 21-January 1st, featuring lots of lights and holiday decorations, Christmas carols around the bonfire, a model train display, horse drawn wagon/sleigh rides, shopping, food and Santa.
Times: Gates open at 5:30pm
Cost: $15/car Friday-Sunday
Location: Overly’s Country Christmas, 116 Blue Ribbon Lane, Greensburg, PA 15601
Clinton PA holds its annual light display from November 20-January 4th, featuring over a mile of lights and displays in a woodland setting.
Times: Opens at 5pm
Cost: $10 per car donation requested
Location: 600 Clinton Park Drive, Clinton PA
Kennywood Amusement Park transforms into a winter wonderland of spectacular lights, family friendly rides, the Gingerbread Express Train, a holiday light show over the lagoon, visits with Santa and choral performances.
Cost: $17.99, save $2 by buying online or at Giant stores
Location: Kennywood Amusement Park, 4800 Kennywood Boulevard, West Mifflin, PA 15122
West Virginia’s Oglebay Resort holds its nationally-renowned 300-acre holiday light display.
Times: Sunset until 11pm on Friday and Saturday and 10pm on Sunday
Cost: A per car donation requested and valid for the entire season
Location: Oglebay Resorts, 465 Lodge Drive, Wheeling WV
Friday Night, December 19
Youth ages 11-17 are invited to an evening of building board games from scratch with the team at Assemble. Drinks and snacks provided.
Location: 5125 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15225
Every member of your family is invited to this improv comedy show based on audience suggestions for the storyline.
Cost: Adults $10, Children $5
Location: Arcade Comedy Theater, 811 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15222
Saturday and Sunday, December 20-21
Families can enjoy a buffet breakfast with Santa at Macy’s in Downtown Pittsburgh. Breakfast is accompanied by a live holiday production. All kids take home a gift. Advance registration requested.
Cost: $19.95 Adults, $13.95 Children 10 and under, Children under 12 months free
Location: Macy’s, 400 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15219
Fifth Avenue Place and Macy’s will be offering a free Holly Trolley again this year. Run by “Santa’s little helpers,” this trolley circles downtown on Saturdays and Sundays.
Location: Click link above to find pick-up and drop-off locations
Santa will be visiting Phipps Conservatory this weekend!
Cost: Free with admission
Location: Phipps Conservatory, 700 Frank Curto Drive, Pittsburgh PA 15213
A new holiday tradition on the 800 block of Liberty Avenue, Holiday Kidsplay offers drop-in kid-friendly activities at venues in the Cultural District, including the Arcade Comedy Theater, Harris Theater and Trust Arts Education Center. Sunday features a special live musical review by the Pittsburgh Playhouse Conservatory of Performing Arts at the Harris Theater. Also, there is a special puppet-making workshop for the First Night parade. Advance registration is required to attend this workshop.
Schramm’s Farm is offering a “Christmas on the Farm” event with horsedrawn wagon rides or tractor hayrides, Christmas music, holiday displays and visits to Santa’s Workshop.
Cost: Free to attend
Location: Schramm’s Farm, 1002 Blank Rd, Jeanette, PA
The Gemini Children’s Theater’s holiday show this year will be “The Gift of the Ice Queen.”
Times: 1 and 3:30pm
Location: Gemini Children’s Theater, 7501 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh PA
Families can visit with Santa Claus during a special cruise on the Gateway Clipper Fleet, featuring a DJ dance party and special gifts for all boys and girls.
Cost: $25 for adults and $12 for children
Location: Gateway Clipper dock is located at Station Square
Lawrenceville’s Row House Cinema will be celebrating its first Christmas by showing holiday movies. Special kid-friendly showings of Home Alone (noon on Saturday) and Christmas Vacation (noon on Sunday) will be offered.
Cost: Matinee tickets $6
Location: 4115 Butler Street, Pittsburgh PA
Saturday, December 20
The Carnegie Science Center invites families to its “Breakfast Express” event featuring a hot breakfast, a Polar Express Imax movie, a meet-and-greet with Mr. McFeely and the chance to explore the Miniature Railroad and Village plus all the other exhibits! Advance registration requested.
Cost: $25 member / $30 non-member (adult); $20 member / $25 non-member (child or senior), $10 (all children 1–2 years)
Location: Carnegie Science Center, One Allegheny Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15212
The Gateway Clipper Fleet is offering a buffet breakfast with Santa Claus. Call 412-355-7980 for more information about availability. Cruise departs at 9:30am with boarding one half hour prior.
Chatham Baroque offers early childhood-friendly concerts to introduce kids to baroque music called “Peanut Butter and Jam Sessions.” These concerts feature music, movement and other interactive activities designed to engage young children. This month’s Peanut Butter and Jam Session is entitled, “Meet the One-Keyed Wonder: the Baroque Flute.”
Times: 10am, 11:30am
Cost: $10 Adults, $8 Children
Location: McClintic Hall, Calvary Episcopal Church, Shadyside
Enjoy cookies with Santa at the Four Seasons Lodge at Boyce Park Ski Area. There will also be hot chocolate, craft activities and holiday music. Families are invited to bring a new board game to be donated to children in need.
Location: Boyce Park, Four Seasons Lodge
Enjoy a complimentary horse-drawn carriage rides during the holiday season in Downtown Pittsburgh.
Location: Board on Fourth Avenue next to the Plaza at PPG Place
This week’s Creation Station at Fifth Avenue Place is called “The Frozen Life” where kids can make ice paintings and keepsake bead rings. Also, airbrush tattoos will be offered.
Location: Fifth Avenue Place, Fifth and Liberty Avenue
The National Aviary invites children to visit with Santa and his penguin helpers. Kids can also take home a bird seed ornament to feed the birds in their backyard.
Cost: Free with admission
Location: National Aviary, 700 Arch Street, Pittsburgh 15212
One Oxford Center in Downtown Pittsburgh offers special holiday-themed entertainment, activities, crafts and visits with Santa.
Location: One Oxford Centre, Pittsburgh PA
Children in grades 1-5 plus caregivers are invited to a free afternoon of making clay birdhouses with local artisan, Tom Hughes.
Location: 5125 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15224
Sunday, December 21
Please note: The Carnegie Science Center is closed today due to a Steelers home game.
Come to Schenley Park Ice Rink to skate with Jack Frost, the Frozen sisters and a special surprise guest–all from the fantastic youth involved in the Volunteer Princesses organization! Bring a new or gently used book to donate to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
Cost: Free with admission to the ice rink
Location: Schenley Park Ice Rink, Schenley Park, Oakland
Have a great weekend!