2015 Christmas in Pittsburgh Family Guide

2015 Christmas inPittsburgh Family Guide

Although it’s hard to believe, the Christmas season is just about to begin in Pittsburgh. Starting after the city’s Light Up Night celebration this Friday, many local communities, museums and performance venues will begin hosting special holiday-themed events and concerts. In addition, many favorite Christmas attractions will reopen by the end of this month. I have created this 2015 Christmas in Pittsburgh Family Guide to help your family navigate through one of the most exciting times of the year to be in this city!

I have included events and special attractions both within the city and in the surrounding suburbs. At the end, I have also included a special section on Christmas-themed concerts and dance performances. Please note: I will be regularly updating this blog post as more information becomes available, so please check back.

 

Pittsburgh City

I will start this guide with special holiday events and attractions within the city:

55th Annual Light Up Night in Downtown Pittsburgh: The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership hosts the official kickoff to the holiday season at the free Light Up Night on Friday November 20th. The evening features various tree lightings, Santa and reindeer sightings, free horse-drawn carriage rides, the unveiling of the window displays, ice skating, music, food, fireworks and lots more!

 

There are also a number of alternatives to the city’s official Light Up Night celebration on November 20th:

  • Winter Wonderland at Station Square: Station Square is hosting a Light Up Night Celebration with live musical performances, character meet and greets, visits with Santa and live reindeers, ice carving, face-painting and more.
  • Winter Wonderland at the Overlook: The Elliot Community Group hosts Winter Wonderland at the West End Overlook, an alternative to Downtown’s “Light up Night” celebration. Santa will arrive on a fire engine and there will also be games, food and hot cocoa for sale and live music.  Plus, you will be able to see the main fireworks display over the city.
  • Poinsettas and Pointe Shoes at Phipps Conservatory: Another “Light Up Night” alternative: enjoy a unique opportunity to explore Phipps during the evening and see vignettes from Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s rendition of The Nutcracker. Tickets cost $26 for adults and $13 for children. Plus, ticket purchase includes a discount on tickets for the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s full-length performance of The Nutcracker at the Benedum Center. Advance registration required.
Santa Around the World Exhibit at the Wintergarden
Spirit of Giving Around the World Exhibit at the Wintergarden

Light up Night marks the beginning of a number of regular holiday-themed happenings throughout Downtown Pittsburgh. Added bonus: The Pittsburgh Parking Authority garages offer free parking on Saturdays (plus Black Friday) during the holidays.

PPG Place has a number of attractions:

  • The MassMutual Pittsburgh Ice Rink at PPG Place: Starting at Light Up Night, The Plaza at PPG Place will house the newly updated and 25% larger MassMutual Pittsburgh Ice Rink seven days/week with $4 skate rental, $8 adult entry and $7 children < 13 entry. The Rink will hold a special Mascot Skate on November 21st and Santa Skates from 2-4pm on Saturday, December 5, 12 and 19th.
  • The Wintergarden at PPG Place: The Wintergarden at PPG Place opens on November 20th and 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.

Market Square houses the Peoples Gas Holiday Market open seven days/week starting on Light Up Night. 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 and is adjacent to the BNY Mellon Season of Lights, which illuminates Market Square every half an hour.

Finally, the US Steel Tower Plaza on Grant Street houses The Pittsburgh Creche from November 20th to January 7th. The Pittsburgh Creche is the world’s only authorized replica of the Nativity Creche that stands outside Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

There are several other fun activities in Downtown Pittsburgh starting after Light Up Night, including:

  •  Free Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides in Downtown Pittsburgh: Highwoods offers complimentary horse-drawn carriage rides starting on Fourth Avenue next to the Plaza at PPG Place on Saturdays from 11-3pm and 4 to 8pm from November 21st to December 19th.
  • Fifth Avenue Place: Fifth Avenue Place is running its Free Holly Trolley again this year. Run by “Santa’s little helpers,” this trolley circles downtown on Saturdays and Sundays (and Friday, November 27th) from 11-5pm from November 21st to December 20th. Fifth Avenue Place is also offering free holiday activities on Saturdays with the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh starting on November 28 from 11 to 2 p.m.
  • Saturdays at the Centre: One Oxford Centre offers special holiday-themed activities, visits with Santa and Santa Land (previously at Macy’s) from 11-3pm on Saturdays until December 19.
  • Holiday KidsPlay: A relatively new holiday tradition in the 800 block of Liberty Avenue, Holiday Kidsplay offers kid-friendly activities on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5pm. Includes activities at the Arcade Comedy Theater, Harris Theater and the Trust Arts Education Center.

And, of course, the annual Holiday Parade in Downtown Pittsburgh on the Saturday after Thanksgiving:

35th Annual WPXI Holiday ParadeWPXI is holding this favorite annual parade on November 28th. It starts at 9 a.m. on the 22nd block of Liberty Avenue and features marching bands, colorful floats, local celebrities and the arrival of Santa!

Winter Light Garden at Phipps
Winter Light Garden at Phipps

Oakland is another hub of holiday-themed activities throughout the season with:

  • The Nationality Rooms at the Cathedral of Learning: Beginning on November 7th, the Nationality Rooms in the Cathedral of Learning will be decorated in traditional holiday styles and open for special tours. The Nationality Rooms will also hold  a very special Open House on December 6th from 12-4pm with guides dressed in ethnic costumes, free ethnic dance performances and special ethnic food selections.
  • Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden Winter Flower Show: The Winter Flower Show at Phipps begins on November 27th with a ““Deck the Halls” theme. The Conservatory will be open for extended hours from 9:30am-11pm daily for its Candlelit Evenings and its outdoor Winter Light Garden (from 5-11pm). This year, Phipps will also be offering visits with Santa on Saturdays and Sundays from Nov 28-Dec 20, plus November 27 and November 30. Also, the Sugar Plum Fairy will be visiting Phipps on November 21 and December 5 for a free with admission 30-minute creative movement dance class and story time with a dancer in costume.
  • Holidays at the Carnegie Museums: Starting November 27th, The Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History will house the Neopolitan Presipio, a handcrafted nativity scene featuring lifelike figures and colorful details that recreate the Nativity within a panorama of 18th-century Italian village life. Beginning on December 3rd, the Hall of Architecture will also hold the Museum’s six decorated 20-foot spruce trees. The Carnegie Museum of Natural History will also host a special Holidays Around the World event on December 12-13th, featuring holiday-themed stations showcasing the traditions of other cultures through crafts, food and artifacts.

If you would like to take a guided tour of some of these Oakland attractions, check out this option:

Oakland Yuletide Tour: Enjoy a holiday tour of some of Oakland’s most beautiful buildings on December 12th. Begins with a continental breakfast at the Pittsburgh Athletic Association, followed by a guided tour through the Nationality Classrooms at the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning. Finally, a tour of Heinz Memorial Chapel and an organ recital of Christmas music.  Participants will receive coupons to Oakland shops, restaurants and attractions. Tickets are $30.

 

A number of other museums and other special venues offer holiday-themed events within the city over the next month:

  • Carnegie Science Center: The Carnegie Science Center’s Miniature Railroad and Village will reopen in holiday style on November 24th. Also, the Carnegie Science Center will be showing The Polar Express: An Imax Experience from November 27th to January 3rd for $10 for adults and $8 for children.
  • Photos with Santa at the National Aviary: On Saturdays from November 28-December 19th, the National Aviary invites children to visit with Santa and his penguin helpers from 11-1 pm. Kids can also take home a penguin pinecone ornament.
  • Holiday I Made It! Market: This year’s holiday I Made It! Market will be held on November 27-28th at Nova Place on the Northside. The market will feature 100 regional artists, live entertainment, DIY art-making for children, food and more.
  • “The Joy of Cookies Cookie Tour” by the Lawrenceville Corporation: From December 3-6th, Lawrenceville hosts its “Joy of Cookies Cookie Tour,” featuring free cookies and shopping at over 40 stops in Lawrenceville.
  • Members Holiday Event at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh: The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh is hosting a “Members Holiday Event” on December 4th from 6-8pm, featuring visits with wintry friends like penguins from the National Aviary and a reindeer from Living Treasures Animal Park, live entertainment, holiday crafts and gift-making in the Studio. Member admission is free. Guests are welcome at $12 each. Please RSVP by emailing members@pittsburghkids.org.
  • Handmade Arcade: Pittsburgh’s largest independent craft fair comes to the David L Lawrence Convention Center on December 5th and includes an art-making area where children can make handmade holiday gifts.
  • Breakfast/Lunch with Santa at the Pittsburgh Zoo: On Saturdays and Sundays from December 5-2oth, the Pittsburgh Zoo hosts a breakfast or lunch with Santa, featuring food, holiday crafts, decorating sugar cookies and visits with the animals. Two seatings at 9:30am and noon. Cost is $17 per Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium member; $20 per non-Zoo member; $7 per child under the age of 2 years. Advance registration is required.
  • Santa Family Fun Cruise on the Gateway Clipper Fleet: The Gateway Clipper Fleet is offering a special Santa Family Fun Cruise on Saturdays and Sundays (plus Friday November 27 and December 7-8) from November 28 through December 20th with a DJ dance party and special gifts for all boys and girls. Tickets are $26.25 for adults and $12.60 for children. On December 5th, 12th and 19th the Gateway Clipper Fleet also offers a special Breakfast with Santa with a breakfast buffet and visits with Santa. Breakfast service begins at 9 am and cruise runs from 9:30-11:30.
  • Cool Yule Free Family Fun Day at the Frick: On Saturday, December 12th the Frick offers its annual family celebration for the season, featuring stories, family-friendly tours of the Clayton (adult admission rates apply) and holiday art-making. The Frick will also offer a number of other holiday-themed family workshops during December. See website for more info.
  • Holiday Themed Let’s Move Family Dance Party at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater: The Kelly Strayhorn Theater is hosting a holiday-themed Let’s Move Family Dance Party on December 19th at 11 a.m. featuring a DJ dance party, holiday craft activities and more.

Know of any other city celebrations? Let me know at pittsburghmommyblog@gmail.com and I’ll add it to the list.

The Western PA Model Railroad Museum
The Western PA Model Railroad Museum in Gibsonia

Pittsburgh North

The northern suburbs of Pittsburgh hold a couple special holiday attractions:

  • Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland: Butler County welcomes a new Christmas attraction this year, Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland, a musical Christmas light show that also hosts an indoor Santa’s village, running from November 20-January 3rd at a cost of $25 per car.
  • The Western Pennsylvania Model Railroad Museum’s Holiday Train Display: Located in Gibsonia, this model railroad museum is only open to the public during the holiday season when it holds its annual Holiday Train Display. This year’s show starts on November 14th and runs into mid-January. The Museum’s bottom floor has a special interactive area for kids with wooden train tables and a Lionel toy train display. The second floor holds its 4000-sf layout called “A Railroad Journey in Miniature. The Museum is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 11-5pm and Fridays from 6-9pm for its special “Steam at Twilight” exhibit.
  • Hartwood Acres Mansion: Hartwood Acres Mansion is decorated in full holiday splendor starting November 15th. The Mansion offers daily guided tours with advance registration. Also, the Mansion hosts special candlelight tours on select days and a Tea with Santa on November 29th.

 

Also, a number of the northern communities offer special holiday-themed events:

  • Santa’s First Stop in Cranberry Township: Cranberry Township holds its annual Santa’s First Stop event on November 20th at its Municipal Building with activities and crafts starting at 6pm, Santa’s arrival at 7pm, a chance to visit with Santa, Mrs Claus and their reindeers, the giant Lego train display and a stroll through the annual Cranberry Tree Gallery.
  • Light up Kittanning Night: Kittanning hosts its annual light up event on November 20th from 5:30-9pm, featuring Santa’s arrival with Frosty the Snowman, live entertainment, free cookies and hot chocolate, pony rides, dog sled rides and tons more.
  • Brackrenridge-Tarentum Christmas Parade: Brackrenridge and Tarentum hold their annual Christmas Parade on November 21st at 1pm.
  • “Light Up the Wall” in Aspinwall: On November 21st, Aspinwall will host its annual “Light Up the Wall” event with food, music, free Christmas cookies and visits with Santa from 4 to 6:30 pm with fireworks starting at 6:45 pm.
  • Annual Shaler “Lite” Up Night: Shaler Township holds it annual “Lite Up Night” on November 21st at 7pm in front of the Shaler North Hills Library and Shaler Middle School, featuring visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, fireworks, craft tables and refreshments.
  • Etna Light the Night: Etna is hosting its Light the Night celebration on November 27th on Butler and Walnut Streets with a parade at 6:30 pm and fireworks at 9pm.
  • Holiday Parade in Saxonburg: Saxonburg holds its annual Holiday Parade and Celebration at 7pm on November 27th.
  • Light-Up Night in Butler: Butler County Parks and Recreation is hosting its large Light Up Night celebration on November 28th in Diamond Park with a parade, tree lighting, visits with Santa and more!
  • Blawnox Christmas Night of the Lights: Blawnox is hosting its annual Christmas Night of the Lights on December 3rd.
  • Holiday Season Greeting Celebration in Hampton: Hampton Township celebrates its annual Holiday Season Greeting Celebration on December 3rd at 7pm at the Community Center, featuring free cookies, hot chocolate, live music and visits with Santa.
  • Millvale Yuletide Tour and Light Up Night: Millvale is hosting a Yuletide Tour and Light up Night on December 4th with a holiday tree lighting at McCarthy Park at 5:30 pm and a Holiday Carnival from 6 to 8 pm at the Boys & Girls Club with Santa.
  • LaRoche College Festival of Lights: LaRoche College celebrates its annual Festival of Lights on December 4th with crafts, games, Santa, music performances, carriage rides, a live nativity, fireworks and more.
  • St. Paul’s Preschool Santa Express: Located in Allison Park, St. Paul’s Preschool is holding its annual Polar-Express themed fundraiser on December 5th with indoor train rides, hot cocoa bar and cookies, train bounce house, a balloon artist, Polar Express crafts and games, a miniature railroad display, a strolling magician, and face painting. Tickets are $10.
  • Avalon Brighten the Season: Avalon Now presents the 2015 Brighten the Season event on December 12 from 12-4 p.m. featuring visits with Santa, refreshments, crafts, a tree-lighting ceremony and more.
  • Snowflake Festival at Soergel’s Orchard: Soergel’s Orchard is holding its annual Snowflake Festival on December 12th, featuring a Snowflake Express, hot chocolate and other treats, ice carving demonstrations and horsedrawn carriage ride around the grounds.
  • Breakfast with Santa in Pine Township: Families are invited to a special buffet breakfast with Santa in Pine Township on December 12th beginning at 9 a.m. Also features games, crafts and face-painting.
  • Pine Santa Express: Santa will be visiting each neighborhood in Pine on board a fire truck on December 12 from 12 to 5 p.m.
  • Little Cup of Hope: The second annual “Little Cup of Hope” fundraiser will be held at the Pine Community Center in Wexford on December 13th at 2pm, featuring Christmas crafts, treats, stories and a visit from Santa. All proceeds benefit the Pittsburgh Chapter of Flashes of Hope – which takes portraits of children fighting cancer at Children’s Hospital.

 

Pittsburgh South

The southern suburbs of the city hold a special holiday attraction:

Santa Trolley at the Pennyslvania Trolley Museum: The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum offers its annual Santa Trolley on weekends from November 27-December 13th, featuring a caroling-filled trolley ride, holiday craft, a Lionel toy train display and wooden train tables.

 

Many southern communities offer special holiday-themed events:

  • Lebo Light Up Night: Mt. Lebanon hosts its annual Light Up Night event on November 19th from 6-9pm, featuring horse-drawn carriage rides, live entertainment, Southminster Bell Ringers, a model train exhibit, tree lightings and visits with Santa.
  • Santa Claus is Shopping in Monongahela: Monongahela hosts its annual “Santa Claus is Shopping” event on November 20th at 5:30pm, featuring a Christmas tree display, live entertainment, visits with Santa, face-painting and children’s activities.
  • Brentwood Light Up Night: Brentwood is hosting its annual Light Up Night celebration on November 21st at 4pm at Brentwood Towne Square.
  • Holidays at the House: The Woodville Plantation in Bridgeville is hosting a special Holidays at the House event where families can learn about 18th-century holiday customs. Tours are being held from noon to 8pm and cost is $5 with children under six free.
  • A Night with St. Nick at Trax Farm: Celebrate the holiday season at Trax Farm in Finleyville on November 28th!  Visit with Santa, watch the Christmas tree lighting, participate in Christmas crafts, a coloring contest, a reindeer scavenger hunt game and try samples for holiday entertaining. Refreshments and treats available for purchase. You can also attend a special Breakfast or Lunch with Santa on Saturdays and Sundays at Trax Farm throughout December. Cost is $8. Advance registration required.
  • Baldwin Township Holiday Light Up Night: The Baldwin Township Business & Professional Association is hosting a Holiday Light Up Night on November 29th at 6pm, featuring Santa’s arrival by fire truck at the ALDI parking lot the corner of McNeilly Road and Sussex Avenue.
  • Holiday Celebration in Jefferson Hills: Jefferson Hills is hosting its 13th annual Holiday Celebration on November 30 from 6-8pm at the Municipal Center, featuring visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, Christmas trees, refreshments, crafts and a holiday toy drive.
  • Baldwin Holiday Festival: Baldwin hosts its annual Holiday Festival on December 2nd from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Baldwin Borough Building with caroling, tree lighting, refreshements, vendor crafts, a kids craft center, a log cabin and Santa. Please bring a non-perishable food item or monetary donation for the Baldwin Food Pantry.
  • Tree Lighting in Bethel Park: Bethel Park hosts its annual Tree Lighting event on December 2nd at the Community Center featuring entertainment, refreshments and visits with Santa.
  • Scott Township Tree Lighting: Scott Township will host its tree lighting on December 3.
  • Cookies with Santa in Dormont: Dormont is hosting a Cookies with Santa event at the Recreation Center on December 5th from 3-5 pm.
  • Bridgeville Festival of Trees: Bridgeville is hosting its annual Festival of Trees on December 5-6th.
  • Holidays at the Upper St. Clair Community and Recreation Center: The Upper St. Clair Community and Recreation Center holds its annual holiday event on December 5th at 11am, featuring live music, children’s activities, refreshments and visits with Santa.
  • Santa Luncheon in Canonsburg: The Canonsburg Chamber of Commerce holds its annual Santa Luncheon on December 5th at Canonsburg Senior Center, featuring lunch, treat bags, balloon artists, music and visits with Santa.
  • South Park Brunch with Santa: South Park is hosting a Brunch with Santa for children age 7 and below on December 5th at noon. Advance registration required.
  • South Park Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony: South Park Township hosts its annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on December 7th at 6:30 pm in the library courtyard.
  • Cookies with Santa at Round Hill Park: The Allegheny County Parks Department is hosting a Cookies with Santa event at Round Hill Park on December 12th at 10 to noon, featuring cookies, hot chocolate, holiday movies and visits with Santa.
Window Display at Oakmont's Hometown Christmas
Window Display at Oakmont’s Hometown Christmas

Pittsburgh East

The Eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh hold a couple special holiday attractions:

  • Overly’s Country Christmas: Located in Greensburg, Overly’s Country Christmas is a nonprofit old-fashioned Christmas Village open from November 20th-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. Cost is $12/car Monday-Thursday and $15/car Friday-Sunday.
  • Kennywood’s Holiday Lights: Starting on November 27th, Kennywood will transform into a winter wonderland of spectacular lights, family friendly rides, activities and seasonal food favorites from 5-9pm on Fridays-Sundays.

 

A number of eastern communities also have special holiday-themed events:

  • Oakmont’s Hometown Christmas and Parade: On November 21st, The Oakmont business district hosts a night of Christmas festivities, including a Christmas Parade with Santa, marching bands, floats, horses, and lots more.  Other activities that evening: a Nutcracker performance by Western PA Youth Ballet, musical performances, Christmas tree lighting, horse and buggy rides, free Christmas cookies, pictures with Santa, and lots of children’s activities!
  • Greensburg Holiday Parade: Greensburg hosts its annual Holiday Parade on November 21st at noon beginning on North Main Street near the Middle School and ending at City Hall.
  • Season of Lights in White Oak: White Oak hosts its annual “Season of Lights” event on November 21st.
  • The Waterfront Light Up Night: The Waterfront in Homestead is hosting a Light Up Night from 4 to 7 pm on November 22nd with a tree lighting, Christmas music, traditional carolers, visits with Santa and the Snow Queen and more!
  • Monroeville Tree Lighting: Monroeville holds its annual Tree Lighting on November 24th from 7-7:30pm at Old Stone Church on Monroeville Blvd. Kids can bring homemade decorations, hang them on the tree, listen to caroling and visit with Santa.
  • Penn Hills Holiday Light Up: Penn Hills hosts its annual Light Up Night on December 3rd from 7-9pm at the Municipal Building on Frankstown Rd, featuring Santa and his reindeers, tree lighting, clowns, treats, refreshments and train display.
  • Greenfield’s Holiday Parade: Greenfield is hosting its annual Holiday Parade on December 4th at 7pm.
  • Light Up Edgewood Night: Edgewood is hosting a Light Up Night on December 4th at 7pm in Memorial Park, followed by refreshments and visits with Santa in the Edgewood Club.
  • West Homestead Holiday Event: West Homestead’s Annual Holiday Event will be held on December 4th at 7:15pm.
  • Munhall Light Up Night: Munhall hosts its annual Light Up Night event on December 5th at 6pm at the Borough Building, featuring refreshments, carolers and Santa.
  • North Versailles Family Christmas Party: North Versailles is hosting a family Christmas party on December 5th at 5:30 pm at the Community Center.
  • Dravosburg Holly Jolly Christmas Celebration: Dravosburg is hosting its sixth annual Christmas Celebration on December 5th at 6 pm, featuring a tree lighting, visits with Santa, a magic show and lots more.
  • The Historic Steel Valley Christmas Parade: The annual Steel Valley Christmas Parade is happening on December 5th on Eighth Avenue in Homestead.
  • Wilkins Township Breakfast with Santa: Wilkins Township is holding a Breakfast with Santa event on December 5th at 10am at the Wilkins Township Community Center. Reservations by November 20.
  • East McKeesport Children’s Christmas Party: East McKeesport is holding a Children’s Christmas Party on December 19th. Call borough to make reservations.
  • Cookies with Santa at Boyce Park: The Allegheny County Parks Department is hosting a Cookies with Santa event at Boyce Park on December 19th from 10 to noon, featuring cookies, hot chocolate, holiday movies and visits with Santa.
oglebay
New 100 ft. interactive LED display at Oglebay Resorts. Photo courtesy of Oglebay’s.

Pittsburgh West

Finally, the west of Pittsburgh holds a couple special holiday attraction:

  • Christmas Light Up Celebration in Clinton PA: Clinton PA holds its annual light display from November 19-January 3rd, featuring over a mile of lights and displays in a woodland setting. On November 19-20th, there is a special walk-through experience. There are also hayrides and carolers during this celebration. $10 per car donation requested.
  • The Winter Festival of Lights at Oglebay Resort: West Virginia’s Oglebay Resort holds its nationally-renowned 300-acre holiday light display on Thursdays-Sundays starting on November 13th. A per car donation is requested and is valid for the entire festival season.
  • Yuletide in Sewickley: Sewickley hosts a variety of Christmas-themed events, including free carriage rides and entertainment on Saturdays and Sundays in December, visits with Santa (Saturdays from 11-1pm) and his reindeer (Sundays from 1-3 pm) in Wolcott Park. There are also several character-themed breakfasts for kids, Polar Express-themed pajama party and a Santa Parade. See link above for more information. Also, see section below on Sewickley’s Light Up Night.

 

Also, several western communities offer special holiday-themed events:

  • Oakdale Light Up Celebration: Oakdale is hosting a Light Up celebration on November 28 at 7pm.
  • Ohio Township Holiday Tree Lighting: Ohio Township is hosting its annual Holiday Tree Lighting on December 1st at 6:30 pm.
  • Sewickley Light Up Night: Sewickley hosts its annual Light Up Night on December 4th from 5-9pm with entertainment, food from local restaurants and vendor carts, shopping, and the Lighting of the Village followed by a fireworks show. Finally, check out Sweetwater Center for the Arts in Sewickley for holiday-themed craft activities throughout the season.
  • Robinson Township Tree Lighting: Held in Clever Park, Robinson Township’s annual Tree Lighting on December 4th from 6:30-7:30pm, features Christmas lights, refereshments, caroling and Santa.
  • Christmas Tree Lighting in North Fayette: North Fayette is hosting its annual Christmas Tree Lighting on December 4th starting at 6:30 pm.
  • Holiday Festivities in Carnegie: Carnegie is holding its annual Light Up Night at 6 p.m. at the PNC Parking Lot on December 4th and then Santa and carolers will be coming to town on Saturday December 5th.
  • Heidelberg Light Up Night: Heidelberg is hosting a Light Up Night celebration on December 5th.
  • A Visit with Belsnickel at Old Economy Village: Old Economy Village is hosting a visit with Belsnickel, the German helper of St. Nicholas, on December 5th. Event is appropriate for ages 3-8, simple refreshments will be served and there will be a craft activity. Plus, there will be regular historic tours of the village decorated for Christmas.
  • Kennedy Township Breakfast with Santa: Kennedy Township is holding a Breakfast with Santa on December 6th from 9 to 1pm at the Kennedy Township Fire Hall.
  • “Christmas at the Village” at Old Economy Village: A unique opportunity to explore this historic village! Travel back in time to visit a 19th-century Christmas Village. Walk along a candlelit cobblestone streets, window shop in the various stores, listen to music by local choirs, participate in children’s crafts and activities, see Santa, and eat! Held on December 12-13th.
  • Brunch with Santa in Moon Township: Moon Township hosts its annual “Brunch with Santa” event on December 12th at the Doubletree Moon on University Blvd. 10:30 and 11:30 am seatings are available and cost is $10/person, which includes a boxed brunch, visits with Santa and craft activities.
  • Father Ryan Arts Center Holiday Children’s Extravaganza: Father Ryan Arts Center in McKees Rocks is hosting a Holiday Children’s Extravaganza on December 12th, featuring a buffet, games, activities and visits with your favorite Disney and Marvel comic characters.
  • South Fayette Polar Express Pajama Party: South Fayette is hosting a Polar Express Pajama Party on December 13th at 5:30 pm at the South Fayette Community Room at the Senior Center.
nutcrackerpmb
The Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s the Nutcracker. Photo courtesy of the PBT

Finally, there a number of Christmas-themed concerts and shows throughout the city.  Many of these have a huge variety of show times and ticket prices, so I have not included that information for these events. Visit the performance’s website for more detailed information.

Other Christmas concerts: Celtic Woman Christmas on December 7th, the Pittsburgh Camerata’s Celtic Christmas Carol on December 11, 13 and 19th, BE Taylor Christmas Concert on December 12 and 14, Holiday Doo Wop on December 16th and Mark Milovats in Concert: Christmas in the City on November 29

*****

It is my sincere hope that this family guide will help make this holiday season your most magical yet :). Enjoy!

xmas

 

Why aren’t schools letting parents in?

IMG_0066

Suddenly it’s November. Over the past few months, my brain has been focused elsewhere than this blog.  Mainly, navigating the new world of having a school age child. We watched our daughter get on the school bus for the first time and waited eagerly for her to come home that first day—and every day since. She seems happy, talks about friends and has settled into the new routine. The buzz has died down—and I finally have the room to think again. And I have A LOT of thoughts. Bear with me. And then please share your own.

First off, some context. Though I’m not comfortable sharing the name of my daughter’s school, it’s a large public elementary school in a relatively affluent suburban district close to the city. And though our district may not be exactly like yours, I still think we as parents can engage in a discussion about the nature of our schools in the region and the nation.

So here goes…

I’m shocked at how LITTLE I see my daughter. Our district has a full-day kindergarten and she is gone from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.  The mornings are a blur and by the time she gets home from school in the evenings, we have no more than a couple of hours to interact with her. Weekends feel sacred.

Naturally, we ask ourselves “What’s she doing?” during the many hours she spends away from us. And though it feels WRONG, I can’t really answer that question. However, based on the little information we get, I know she’s NOT doing enough of:

  1. Free play: shortly after my daughter started kindergarten, I read this article in the Atlantic by Tim Walker. Walker has spent considerable time studying the education system in Finland, where children don’t start learning to read until beyond kindergarten. Instead, they engage in hours of unstructured play per day. “Play is really the work of childhood,” said Fred Rogers, and I couldn’t agree with him more. I firmly believe that children learn best through play, even when they’re beyond kindergarten. So why is it generally perceived that play time detracts from learning time? Is it because the skills that kids learn through free play and exploration aren’t as easily testable? Sometimes I think so…
  2. Hands-on learning: I recently interviewed an educator at the Winchester Thurston North Hills campus. We discussed the curriculum for Little House on the Prairie, where students read the books in their English class, and then head out to the “Outdoor Classroom,” to learn how to build a log cabin like Pa using real tools. This sort of hands-on, cross-curricular learning has to be superior to worksheets and other traditional educational tools so prevalent in our schools. But why is this style of learning only accessible to families who can afford an expensive private school environment?
  3. Physical activity: I have had several discussions with friends who have school-age boys recently diagnosed with ADHD. “I don’t think there’s actually anything wrong with my son. He’s just not in the right school environment,” said one. In many cases, I must say I agree. I don’t think our kids are getting enough time to run around and be active. Concurrently, we have an ADHD and obesity epidemic. Could they be related? I think so…

I’m not pointing fingers at any particular district, school or teacher. I think we are all facing similar pressures. No matter what district you live in, there’s simply not enough money devoted to education. As a result, many of our public schools don’t have the room to think outside the box. Also, schools must deal with the weight of standardized testing and the Common Core. Student performance in these arenas directly impacts school district rankings, which can influence funding decisions and the very fabric of an area’s economy. People want to live in “good” school districts. And when they live somewhere, they spend money there.

These are true challenges. But–I don’t think–insurmountable. In this case, I think school districts are sitting on a gold mine—Mom and Dad.

The success of this blog has proven to me beyond a doubt that parents (and other caregivers) in our region are truly invested in the education of our kids. You have read about, shared and participated in many of the educational activities that I’ve highlighted in my weekend listings and my other articles. I am thoroughly convinced that parents universally dream of nurturing a well-rounded and happy child. And of course we do. There is no one who cares more about a child’s success than a parent. It’s evolutionary biology 101.

So, why can’t we take matters into our own hands? Partially, I think it’s because schools aren’t letting parents in. PA Clearances aside, I don’t think we’re told enough of what is going on in the everyday lives of our children in the classroom. What are they learning in Science? Math? Social Studies? How can parents effectively supplement this learning both in our homes (through books, hands-on projects, etc) and within the community (structured museum programs, events etc.).

If schools could help bridge this gap, I believe we could overcome some of the limitations of our educational system. Because, unlike teachers, parents can provide more individualized attention based on the specific interests of a child. Also, unlike teachers, parents can provide more opportunities for hands-on, play-based learning. Finally, unlike teachers, parents don’t need a paycheck. We just WANT THE BEST FOR OUR KIDS!

So I ask you—why can’t we find a way to efficiently integrate in-school and out-of-school learning so that parents can take a more active role in helping schools overcome their limitations? 

And now, I’d like to hear from you because I know I’m not alone. Please email me at pittsburghmommyblog@gmail.com, send me a message on the Pittsburgh Mommy Page on Facebook or comment below. And if your child’s school is doing a particularly good job of involving parents, please let me know. I want to hear more!

Addendum: I received some feedback from this article that it was “anti-teacher.” I want to explicitly state that I do not believe that the problems I’ve mentioned above have anything to do with my own child’s teacher or any others. I wrote this article purely to start a conversation about the issues–and to determine a way that we can work together to advocate for our children’s interests. 

What’s Going on in Pittsburgh this Weekend: November 13-15, 2015

Here’s my weekly listing of family-friendly events for the weekend of November 13-15, 2015. It’s a relatively quiet weekend in the ‘Burgh as the city takes a deep breath before holiday festivities begin next weekend!

 

All Weekend, November 13-15

Opening Weekend of the Ice Skating Rinks at North Park and South Park

The Allegheny County Parks Department ice skating rinks at South Park and North Park open to the public this weekend.

Times: Friday 4:30 to 7:00 p.m. and 7:30 to 10:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 11-4 p.m., 4:30-7 p.m. and 7:30 to 9 p.m.

Cost: Adults $5, Children $3 plus $1 for nonresidents of Allegheny County. Skate rental is $2.

 

Friday Night, November 13

Penguins versus Blue Jackets

The Pittsburgh Penguins are playing the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Times: 7 p.m.

Location: Consol Energy Center, 1001 5th Avenue, Pittsburgh PA

 

Saturday and Sunday, November 14-15

Opening Weekend of the Holiday Show at the Western PA Model Railroad Museum

The Western PA Model Railroad Museum debuts its annual Holiday Show this weekend. The Museum includes a first-floor model train area designed for children and another large railroad display on the second floor. There is also a cafe and gift shop on site. The Holiday Show runs on select days until January 17.

Times: 11-5 p.m.

Cost: Adults $6, Children $4

Location: Western PA Model Railroad Museum, 5507 Lakeside Drive, Gibsonia Pa 15044

 

American Girl Fashion Show

The Junior League of Pittsburgh is hosting its annual American Girl Fashion Show fundraiser, featuring a presentation of historical and contemporary fashions, refreshments and door prizes. Recommended for children ages six and up.

Times: Saturday 11 a.m., 2:30 and 6 p.m.; Sunday, 1 and 4 p.m.

Cost: $45-$50

Location: Fox Chapel Field Club, 121 Field Club Road, Pittsburgh PA

 

Saturday, November 14

Kid City Dance Party at the Andy Warhol Museum

DJ Kelly Mom will be hosting an indie Kid City dance party in the Andy Warhol Museum’s entrance space.

Time: 10 a.m.

Cost: Free

Location: Andy Warhol Museum, 117 Sandusky Street, Pittsburgh PA 15212

 

Mini Factory at the Mattress Factory

The Mattress Factory presents its hands-on educational program for children ages three to five with a caregiver. This week, families will be exploring the concept of FUTURE in installation art, through projects, a tour and a story time.

Time: 10 a.m.

Cost: $5 for nonmember child/caregiver pair, free for members

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

 

Lowe’s Build and Grow Workshop

Lowe’s is hosting a children’s Build and Grow Workshop, where kids will build a pullback car. All material and instruction provided. Please register in advance.

Time: 10 a.m.

Cost: Free

Location: All participating Lowe’s locations

 

ArtKids: Warp, Weft, Weave at the Frick

Frick Art & Historical Center presents this free hands-on program. Families can learn how tapestries were made, explore the Frick’s tapestries and make a woven work of art to bring home.

Times: 11-11:45 a.m.

Cost: Free

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

 

Polar Bear Birthday Party at the Pittsburgh Zoo

The Pittsburgh Zoo celebrates its polar bears’ birthdays with birthday cake, a special treat and activities designed to teach children about polar bear conservation.

Times: 11-3 p.m.

Cost: Free with admission

Location: The Pittsburgh Zoo, One Wild Place, Pittsburgh PA

 

Handmade Cards and Gifts with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is hosting a family-friendly handmade card and gift class, where participants will create handmade gifts embellished with fabrics, fibers, dried plants and more. No glue will be used in an exploration of how science can help things stick together.

Times: 11-2 p.m.

Cost: $25

Location: Trust Arts Education Center, 805-807 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15222

 

Brown Bag Concert with the Pittsburgh Opera

The Pittsburgh Opera presents a free all-Mozart program, featuring music from Cosi Fan Tutte, The Marriage of Figaro, The Magic Flute and more. Open to everyone and you’re welcome to bring a lunch.

Time: Doors open at 11:30 a.m., Show starts at noon

Cost: Free

Location: Pittsburgh Opera Headquarters, 2425 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15222

 

Charlie Brown & Snoopy by the Pittsburgh Musical Theater

Pittsburgh Musical Theater students in collaboration with the West End Community present their original production of Charlie Brown & Snoopy. Intended for children ages four to 10.

Times: 12-1 p.m.

Cost: Adults $3, Children Free

Location: Gargaro Theater at the PMT Studio, 327 South Main Street, Pittsburgh PA 15220

 

Penny Arcade: Kids Comedy Show

The Arcade Comedy Theater presents its kid-friendly improv comedy show. Show is preceded by interactive “collaboration stations” which use crafts and literary prompts to help kids generate ideas for the show.

Time: 1 p.m.

Cost: Kids $10, Adults $5

Location: Arcade Comedy Theater, 811 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15222

 

5th Annual Collard Greens Cook-Off

The Braddock Youth Project is hosting their 5th Annual Collard Greens Cook-Off. All proceeds benefit the BYP’s gardening programs.

Times: 1-4 p.m.

Cost: $5 for all-you-can-eat, $5 to compete

Location: Nyia Page Community Center, 416 Library Street, Braddock PA 15104

 

Boyce Park Map & Compass Scavenger Hunt/Hike

Visitors to Boyce Park can follow a map of park trails while practicing the use of a compass and searching for clues to natural treasures.

Times: 2-4 p.m.

Cost: Free

Location: Boyce Park Nature Center

 

Craft Make and Take at Beechwood Farms

Visitors to Beechwood will learn to make paper from recycled and natural materials to create handmade gifts tags. All ages.

Time: 2 p.m.

Cost: Member $10, Nonmember $15

Location: Beechwood Farms, 614 Dorseyville Road, Fox Chapel PA

 

Family Party Night at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History invites families to a party night, featuring hands-on dinosaur, nature and culture-related activities, shows in the Earth Theater, face-painting, live animal encounters, a snack and more.

Times: 6-8:30 p.m.

Cost: $20

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

 

Native American Storytelling at Round Hill

In honor of Native American Month, Allegheny County Parks and Lenora Dingus are presenting traditional stories of the Seneca culture. Rattles, shawls and other cultural items will be incorporated into the stories.

Times: 7-8 p.m.

Cost: Free

Location: Round Hill Park Visitors Center

 

Sunday, November 15

Please note: The Carnegie Science Center is closed on Sunday, November 15.

 

Steelers versus Browns

The Pittsburgh Steelers are playing the Cleveland Browns at 1 p.m. at Heinz Field.

 

Caps For Sale: The Musical by the Pittsburgh Children’s Theater

The Pittsburgh Children’s Theater presents Caps For Sale: The Musical by Adventure Theatre MTC–an original take on the classic children’s book. Show is recommended for ages three to 10 with run time of 60 minutes. Performance will be shown at the Byham on Sunday and then will travel to suburban locations during weekday evenings next week.

Time: 2 p.m.

Cost: $10.50 in advance, $12 at door if available

Location: Byham Theater, 101 6th Street, Pittsburgh PA 15222

 

Escape Football Hike at South Park

Hike It Baby Pittsburgh is hosting a toddler-led hike along Maple Spring Loop in South Park during the Steelers game.

Times: 2:30-4 p.m.

Cost: Free

Location: Meet at Maple Springs Gazebo, South Park, PA 15129

 

Have a great weekend!

What’s Going on in Pittsburgh this Weekend: November 6-8, 2015

Here’s my weekly listing of family-friendly events in the Pittsburgh region for the weekend of November 6-8, 2015. The circus is in town, plus there’s some unique events like the first ever Pittsburgh Gingko Festival and Robot Film Festival: Kids Edition!

 

All Weekend, November 6-8

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus presents Legends, where “performers from around the globe perform awe-inspiring feats of daring, spectacles of strength and thrills of wonder to summon the mythical and the mysterious visions that have only existed in your imagination and now materialize before your eyes: the Unicorn, Pegasus and a Woolly the Mammoth!”

Times: Friday night 7 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m., 3 and 7 p.m. and Sunday 1 and 5 p.m.

Cost: Tickets start at approximately $16

Location: Consol Energy Center, 1001 5th Avenue, Pittsburgh PA

 

Three Rivers Film Festival

The annual Three Rivers Film Festival runs from November 6 to 15. This weekend the festival is showing award-winning Brazilian film The Boy and the World, an “entirely wordless and dazzlingly colorful animation following the journey of a young boy, Cuca, whose cozy countryside life is shattered when his father leaves for the city, prompting him to embark on a quest to reunite his family.” Run time is 80 minutes.

Times: 1 p.m.

Cost: Adults $9, Children $5

Location: Waterworks Theater, 930 Freeport Road, Pittsburgh PA 15238

 

Prime Stage Theatre’s The Crucible

Prime Stage Theatre presents its original production of The Crucible by Arthur Miller. Designed for middle and high schoolers. Run time is approximately two hours.

Times: Friday and Saturday 8 pm, Sunday 2:30pm

Cost: Adult $20-$25, Student (under 16 with ID) $10-$15

Location: New Hazlett Theater, 6 Allegheny Square, Pittsburgh PA 15212

 

Friday Night, November 6

Unblurred

The Penn Avenue Arts District is hosting Unblurred, its monthly gallery crawl. Family-friendly activities are available at several galleries, in addition to free (with donation) refreshments, live music and the Garfield Night Market. Get there earlier in the evening for a more family-friendly experience.

Times: Usually starts around 6 p.m.

Cost: Free

Location: Penn Avenue Arts District, Garfield

 

Alice in Wonderland by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust (also Saturday)

As part of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s new Bridge Theater Series for children ages 7 + (and the India in Focus Festival), Tram Arts Trust presents a new version of Alice in Wonderland, where “four people decide to make a getaway into the world of their own make believe. Using Lewis Carroll’s novel as a base, the performers transform themselves and the objects around them into pure fantasy and nonsense. Upon return to reality, we are forever changed by imagination. This is Alice in Wonderland from a new perspective.” Running time is about 65 minutes.

Times: 7pm

Cost: $10.50 in advance or $12 at the door (if available)

Location: Trust Arts Education Center, 805-807 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15222

 

Saturday and Sunday, November 7-8

Last Weekend of the Fall Flower Show

It’s your last chance to check out the Fall Flower Show at Phipps, celebrating the role of chrysanthemums in Japanese culture.

Times: 9:30-5 p.m.

Cost: Free with admission

Location: Phipps Conservatory, 700 Frank Curto Drive, Pittsburgh PA 15213

 

Greenberg’s Train and Toy Show

The Greenberg Train and Toy Show is the largest traveling model train and toy show serving the northeastern United States. Great for model train enthusiasts, the show also caters to children with elaborate display layouts and sometimes even a train to ride.

Times: 10-4 p.m.

Cost: $9 ($7 in advance), children under 12 are free

Location: Monroeville Convention Center, 209 Mall Blvd, Monroeville PA 15146

 

Saturday, November 7

Help Build A Playground in Brighton Heights

The community of Brighton Heights is getting a KaBoom playground and needs about 250 volunteers to help. There will also be youth activities for children ages 16 and under.

Times: 8-3 p.m.

Cost: Free

Location: Brighton Heights Community Playground at Morrow Elementary School, 3530 Fleming Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

 

Great Pumpkin Smash! at the Carnegie Science Center

The Carnegie Science Center is hosting its annual Great Pumpkin Smash! where you can roll your rotting jack-o-lanterns off the roof and participate in pumpkin-related demos throughout the day.

Times: 10-5 p.m.

Cost: Free with admission

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

 

Free Admission to Fort Pitt Museum for Military

In honor of Veteran’s Day, the Fort Pitt Museum is offering free admission to active military and military veterans.

Times: 10-5 p.m.

Cost: Free

Location: Fort Pitt Museum, Point State Park

 

Peanut Butter and Jam Session by Chatham Baroque

Chatham Baroque presents its monthly preschool educational program designed to introduce young children to baroque music through music, dance and activities. This month’s theme is “The Continuing Adventures of Two Violins: Vi & Len.”

Times: 10 and 11:30 a.m.

Cost: Adults $8, Children $5

Location: McClintic Hall at Calvary Episcopal Church, 315 Shady Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15206

 

Half-Pint Prints at the Andy Warhol Museum

The Andy Warhol Museum presents its monthly silk-screening activity for young children.

Times: 10-12 p.m.

Cost: Free with admission

Location: Andy Warhol Museum, 117 Sandusky Street, Pittsburgh PA 15212

 

Anderson Playground Hike and Craft with Hike It Baby Pittsburgh

Hike It Baby Pittsburgh is hosting a short walk around Anderson Playground in Schenley Park to collect leaves, followed by a craft activity where kids can make name plates using the leaves collected. Please RSVP in advance with child’s name and sign waiver before attending your first Hike It Baby Pittsburgh hike.

Times: 10-12 p.m.

Cost: Free

Location: Anderson Playground, Schenley Park

 

Robot Film Festival, Kids Edition

The first-ever Robot Film Festival, Kids Edition is coming to the Row House Cinema. The event features a robot comedian, short film screenings, live demos, a costume contest and a chance to interact with locally-made robots. Intended for children 0 +.

Times: 10-12 p.m.

Cost: $10 per family

Location: Row House Cinema, 4115 Butler Street, Pittsburgh PA

 

Trax Farm Holiday Craft and Vendor Show

Trax Farm is hosting its annual Holiday Craft and Vendor Show featuring a selection of holiday gift items, plus photographs and face painting by Anna and Cinderella from 12-2 pm.

Times: 10-2 pm

Cost: Free to attend, but all donations benefit the Youth Armory Center in Canonsburg

Location: Trax Farm, 528 Trax Road, Finleyville PA 15332

 

Bounty at Boyce-Mayview Park Fall Fest

The Outdoor Classroom and Township of Upper St. Clair Dept. of Recreation & Leisure present the 7th Annual Bounty at Boyce Mayview Park Fall Fest with free hikes and activities like arts and crafts, self-guided geocaching, face-painting, campfire s’mores, food trucks, music and children’s fun zone and more!

Times: 11- 4 p.m.

Cost: Free, though some activities may cost extra

Location: The Outdoor Classroom, Boyce-Mayview Park

 

Charlie Brown & Snoopy by the Pittsburgh Musical Theater

Pittsburgh Musical Theater students in collaboration with the West End Community present their original production of Charlie Brown & Snoopy. Intended for children ages four to 10.

Times: 12-1 p.m.

Cost: Adults $3, Children Free

Location: Gargaro Theater at the PMT Studio, 327 South Main Street, Pittsburgh PA 15220

 

Puppet Show at East End Book Exchange

Puppeteer Felicia Cooper will perform a puppet show entirely out of repurposed materials that tells the story of a girl who swallows the sun in the midst of a town lightbulb shortage. Designed for children ages 2 to 7.

Time: 12 p.m.

Cost: Free

Location: East End Book Exchange, 4754 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh PA

 

Pittsburgh Gingko Festival

Tree Pittsburgh presents the first Pittsburgh Ginkgo Fest to celebrate the oldest species of tree in the world. The festival will feature a performance by Pittsburgh Taiko (a Japanese group taiko drumming), crafts and origami activities, children’s story time, face painting and tree ID walks.

Times: 1-4 p.m.

Cost: Free

Location: Maple Grove Shelter, Highland Park (next to the Super Playground)

 

Art Lab at the Mattress Factory

The Mattress Factory is hosting its bimonthly hands-on, all-ages Art Lab program. This week, families can meet Factory Installed artist Bill Smith and contribute to a collaborative activity that will be installed together.

Times: 1-4 p.m.

Cost: Free with admission

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

 

Alice in Wonderland by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

As part of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s new Bridge Theater Series for children ages 7 + (and the India in Focus Festival), Tram Arts Trust presents a new version of Alice in Wonderland, where “four people decide to make a getaway into the world of their own make believe. Using Lewis Carroll’s novel as a base, the performers transform themselves and the objects around them into pure fantasy and nonsense. Upon return to reality, we are forever changed by imagination. This is Alice in Wonderland from a new perspective.” Running time is about 65 minutes.

Times: 2 and 7 p.m.

Cost: $10.50 in advance or $12 at the door (if available)

Location: Trust Arts Education Center, 805-807 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15222

 

Native American Storytelling at Harrison Hills

In honor of Native American Month, Allegheny County and Lenora “Lee” Dingus are presenting traditional stories of the Seneca culture. Rattles, shawls, and other cultural items will be incorporated with the stories, and the storyteller will be available to answer questions after the program. Advance registration recommended.

Times: 7-8 p.m.

Cost: Free

Location: Environmental Learning Center, Harrison Hills Park

 

Sunday, November 8

Please note: The Carnegie Science Center is closed today due to the Steelers home game.

Polishfest 2015

The Nationality Rooms Program at the University of Pittsburgh and the Polish Nationality Room Committee are hosting the 30th annual Polish Festival, a celebration of Polish heritage featuring ethnic foods, performances, crafts, gifts and more.

Times: 12-5 p.m.

Cost: Free

Location: Cathedral of Learning Common Room, University of Pittsburgh Oakland

 

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Oakland Raiders

The Pittsburgh Steelers are playing the Oakland Raiders at Heinz Field at 1 p.m.

 

Play Day at Soergel Orchards

Soergel Orchards is hosting an indoor play day in its barn. There will be face-painting, a seasonal craft, story time, spin art, ring toss, pony rides (1-3 p.m). and a hayride (weather permitting).

Times: 1-4 p.m.

Cost: $10

Location: Soergel Orchards, 2573 Brandt School Road, Wexford PA

 

2 X 2 at the Pittsburgh Zoo

PJ Library and Shalom Pittsburgh presents a Noah’s Ark themed afternoon at the Pittsburgh Zoo, featuring crafts, games, an animal experience, stories and a scavenger hunt through the zoo. Activities are designed for children ages two to eight.

Time: 3 p.m.

Cost: Zoo members:Age 2-8: $2, Adult: $4; Non-Zoo members:Age 2-8: $4, Adult: $8

Location: Pittsburgh Zoo, One Wild Place, Pittsburgh PA

 

Mystic India: The World Tour

As part of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s India in Focus Festival, the Cohen & Grigsby Trust presents Mystic India: The World Tour, an internationally acclaimed Bollywood dance spectacular based on the concept of ancient India’s transition into modern India. “The show features renowned musicians, brilliant dancers, breathtaking aerialists and acrobats, and 750 opulent costumes.”

Times: 7 p.m.

Cost: Tickets start at $30

Location: Byham Theater, 101 6th Street, Pittsburgh PA 15222

 

Have a great weekend!

What’s Going on in Pittsburgh this Halloween Weekend: October 30-November 1, 2015

It’s Halloween weekend in the ‘Burgh, which means lots of great community-based Halloween events, trick-or-treating and Dio de los Muertos celebrations!! Here’s my listing of family-friendly events for this exciting weekend.

 

Friday Night, October 30

Boo To You Too! at the Children’s Museum

The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh is hosting a sensory-friendly Halloween celebration featuring trick-or-treating, DIY face-painting, story times, dancing, fortune-telling and more. Costumes are welcome, but not required. Restaurant will be closed, but families can bring their own food and eat at the cafe tables. Advance reservations required here.

Times: Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with limited activities (decorating treat bags, face painting, and fortune teller). Other activities will be from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

Cost: $9 nonmembers, $6 members, children under two are free

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

 

Halloween Happenings at Phipps Conservatory

Phipps Conservatory celebrates the holiday at its annual Halloween Happenings event, where kids can trick-or-treat through the Conservatory, collect healthy snacks and participate in kid-friendly activities throughout. Also, Halloween Happenings is a fantastic time to explore the very short Fall Flower Show at Phipps.

Times: 4-8 p.m.

Cost: Free with admission

Location: Phipps Conservatory, 700 Frank Curto Drive, Pittsburgh PA

 

Jump Zone Halloween Bash

Jump Zone in Allison Park is hosting a Halloween Bash where costumed kids will receive a goody bag. Also, Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin will be playing on the big screens.

Times: 4-8 p.m.

Cost: Free with admission

Location: Jump Zone Allison Park, 4025 Alpha Drive, Pittsburgh PA 15101

 

Scary Swim and Crafts Event at the Upper St. Clair Community and Recreation Center

The Upper St. Clair Community and Recreation Center is hosting a Scary Swim and Crafts Event.

Times: 6-8 p.m.

Cost: Free for members, $5 for nonmembers

Location: Upper St. Clair Recreation and Community Center, 1551 Mayview Rd, Upper St Clair, PA 15241

 

Trick-or-Treating at the Monroeville Mall

The Monroeville Mall is offering trick-or-treating for children ages 12 and under.

Times: 6-8 p.m.

Cost: Free

Location: Monroeville Mall

 

Pine Halloween Parade and Party

Pine is hosting its annual Halloween party featuring a costume parade, costume contest, games, food and more.

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Location: Wexford Volunteer Fire Company, 228 North Chapel Drive, Wexford PA

 

Campfire Ghost Stories at Boyce Park

The Allegheny County Parks Department is hosting a Campfire Ghost Stories program where park rangers will tell spooky stories around a campfire.

Times: 7-9 p.m.

Cost: Free

Location: Boyce Park Commissioner’s Shelter

 

Saturday, October 31

Happy Halloween!! If you’re looking for trick-or-treat times, the Pittsburgh Trib put together a great list of Halloween trick-or-treat times in the region here. Also, don’t forget to move your clocks back tonight!

Still need a pumpkin? Several farms will be holding their fall festival this weekend, including Reilly’s Summer Seat Festival, Soergel Orchards, Triple B Farms, Simmons Farm and Hozak Farms.

 

The Steel City Pet Expo

The Steel City Pet Expo features vendors, demonstrations, live entertainment, pet adoptions and more.

Times: 9-5 p.m.

Cost: $6, children under age 10 are free

Location: Monroeville Convention Center

 

Harrison Hills Halloween Trail Run

Harrison Hills Park is hosting a 5K/10K trail run with children’s activities, food, costume contest, carved pumpkin contest and more. See website for specific schedules.

Cost: Race day registration ($25 adult, $20 youth under 15, $10 walkers) or public can purchase a bracelet for food and contest participation ($10 for adults, $5 for kids 3-12)

Location: Harrison Hills Park, 5200 Freeport Rd, Natrona Heights, PA 15065

 

Open Studio at Pittsburgh Center For the Arts

The Pittsburgh Center for the Arts will be holding a special Halloween edition of its Children’s Open Studio Program. Kids ages 5-10 can be dropped off at any point during that time frame to create Halloween-themed art.

Times: 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Cost: $10 per hour

Location: Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, 1047 Shady Avenue, Pittsburgh PA

 

S’Liberty Saturday: Autumn Open Door

East Liberty is hosting an Autumn Open Door featuring retail and dining deals, children’s activities and trick or treating, horse-drawn wagon rides, a free bike taxi and more.

Times: 10-9 p.m.

Cost: Free

Location: Throughout East Liberty business district (see link above)

 

Halloween Color Crawl at Upper St. Clair Community and Recreation Center

The Upper St. Clair Community & Recreation Center is hosting its first annual Color Crawl, where families can run or walk two miles while being doused with color. Registration forms can be found and turned in at the C&RC, or registration is available on day of the event.

Times: 10-12:30 p.m.

Cost: Race Fee(through October 30)/Day of Race Fee: Individual Participant: $20.00/$25.00, Children 12 and under: $10.00/$15.00, Children 5 and under: FREE

Location: Upper St. Clair Community and Recreation Center, 1551 Mayview Rd, Upper St Clair, PA 15241

 

Halloween Festivities in Sewickley

Sewickley is hosting a number of Halloween-themed special events including a Halloween parade (begins at 10:30 a.m. at 601 Thorn Street) followed by trick-or-treating through the business district starting at 11:30 a.m.). In addition to regular trick-or-treating that evening in Sewickley, there is also the Sewickley United Methodist Church Haunted House from 7 to 9 p.m. for $8.

 

Brentwood Town Square Costume and Candy Crawl

Brentwood Towne Square is hosting a morning of trick-or-treating through the shopping center with a costume contest. Open to children 12 and under with adult supervision.

Times: 10:30-12:30 p.m.

Cost: Free

Location: Brentwood Town Square, Saw Mill Run Blvd and Brownsville Road

 

Owl-O-Ween at the National Aviary

The National Aviary is hosting its annual Owl-O-Ween event featuring trick-or-treating, crafts, story times, close encounters with creatures of the night, a creepy crawly bug station and more.

Times: 11-3 p.m.

Cost: Free with admission

Location: National Aviary, 700 Arch Street, Pittsburgh PA 15212

 

Avalon-Bellevue Halloween Parade

The boroughs of Avalon and Bellevue are hosting their annual Halloween Parade.

Times: Registration begins at 10 a.m., parade starts at 11 a.m.

Cost: Free

Location: Registration at Avalon Elementary School

 

Mt. Lebanon Recreation’s Pumpkin Patch Parade

Mt. Lebanon Recreation is hosting its annual Pumpkin Patch Parade. Wear your costumes and after the firetrucks and inflatables pass, children with adult chaperones are welcome to join the parade. Following the parade, children can trick or treat at participating businesses along Washington Road.

Times: 11 a.m.

Cost: Free

Location: Washington Road between Shady Drive and Lebanon Avenue

 

Murrysville-Export Rotary Halloween Parade

The Rotary Club of Murrysville-Export is hosting its 50th annual Halloween Parade.

Times: Registration begins at 10:30 a.m. at Mother of Sorrows Church, parade begins at 11 a.m.

Cost: Free

Location: Mother of Sorrows Church along Old William Penn Highway to Town Center and then Volunteer Fire Department

 

Dave & Buster’s Halloween Family Event

Dave & Buster’s at the Waterfront is hosting a Halloween Family event, featuring an appetizer buffet, desserts, soft drinks, gaming card, costume contest, family activities and more.

Times: 11 to 2 p.m.

Cost: Two packages available starting at $28/person

Location: Dave & Buster’s, Waterfront

 

Swissvale’s 21st Annual Halloween Parade

Swissvale Borough is hosting its annual Halloween Parade in its business district led by the Woodland Hills High School Band and followed by treats for all children who marched.

Times: Lineup starts at 11:45 a.m., parade begins at noon

Cost: Free

Location: Begins at Roslyn Street at Woodstock Avenue

 

Baldwin Township Halloween Parade

Baldwin Township is holding its annual Halloween Parade.

Times: 2-3 p.m.

Cost: Free

Location: Starting at the municipal building and ending in Armstrong Park

 

Blawnox Halloween Parade

Blawnox is hosting its annual Halloween parade, followed by trick or treating.

Times: Parade at 5 p.m., followed by trick or treating to 8 p.m.

Cost: Free

Location: Meet at Freeport and Woodland Road for parade to Hoboken Church

 

Millvale Library Halloween Party

The Millville Community Library is hosting a Halloween party with trick-or-treating, a costume contest, a haunted house and more.

Times: 5-8 p.m.

Cost: Free

Location: Millvale Community Library, 213 Grant Avenue, Pittsburgh PA

 

Aspinwall Annual Halloween Celebration

Aspinwall Volunteer Fire Department will be hosting its annual Halloween Celebration featuring a costume parade at the Borough Building and treat bags at the Fire Hall.

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: Free

Location: Aspinwall Municipal Building

 

Balafon West African Dance Ensemble at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater

The Kelly Stayhorn Theater hosts Balafon West African Dance Ensemble presenting an evening of dance that celebrates West African traditions and culture through an intergenerational ensemble of dancers and musicians.

Time: 8 p.m.

Cost: Pay What You Can

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

 

Fireworks in McCandless

McCandless Township will be holding a Halloween fireworks display.

Time: 9 p.m.

Cost: Free

Location: Town Hall Grounds

 

Sunday, November 1

Please note: The Carnegie Science Center is closed today.

Mariachi Fiesta at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

In honor of Dia de los Muertos, the Children’s Museum is hosting a Mariachi Fiesta featuring live music, dance and creative activities honoring departed loved ones.

Times: 12-1:45 p.m.

Cost: Free with admission

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

 

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals

The Steelers are playing the Cincinnati Bengals.

Time: 1 p.m.

Location: Heinz Field

 

Dia de los Muertos Celebration

La Escuelita Arcoiris is hosting a Dia de los Muertos celebration featuring hands-on craft activities, face-painting, a puppet show, live music and the creation of “ofrendas” to honor lost loved ones.

Times: 2-5 p.m.

Cost:

Location: Forbes Auto Body, 300 Gist Street, Pittsburgh PA

 

Escape Football at South Park with Hike It Baby Pittsburgh

Hike It Baby Pittsburgh invites you to ESCAPE FOOTBALL on a toddler-led 1.75 mile hike around Maple Spring Loop in South Park. Trail is stroller and carrier-friendly.

Times: 2:30-4 p.m.

Cost: Free (just sign Hike It Baby waiver before attending)

Location: Meet at Maple Springs Gazebo, South Park Township PA 15129

 

6th Annual Great Pumpkin Race

Zelienople is hosting the 6th Annual Great Pumpkin Race with the choice of a 5K or 1 mile fun run. Costumes are encouraged and race with be followed by food, prizes, music and more. Proceeds benefit the St. Gregory Parent Teacher Group and Athletic Programs.

Times: Race day registration opens at 1 p.m. and races start at 3 p.m.

Cost: $25 with family registrations available. See above link for more specific information on costs

Location: St. Gregory School, 115 Pine St.Zelienople, PA  16063

 

Have a safe and happy Halloween weekend!

What’s Going on in Pittsburgh this Weekend: October 23-25, 2015

Here’s my weekly listing of family-friendly events in the Pittsburgh region for the weekend of October 23-25, 2015. This weekend the city celebrates HALLOWEEN with a huge selection of both indoor and outdoor holiday events appropriate for the entire family!

 

All Weekend, October 23-25, 2015

Oliver by the Pittsburgh Musical Theater

The Pittsburgh Musical Theater and the CAPA Orchestra present their musical production of the classic Dickens’ tale Oliver Twist.

Times: Friday and Saturday 7:30 p.m. and Sunday 2 p.m.

Cost: Tickets start at $16

Location: Byham Theater, 101 6th Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15222

 

Pittsburgh Pet Expo

The Pittsburgh Pet Expo is reportedly the largest consumer pet trade show on the East Coast with over 200+ exhibits of pet-related products and services, entertainment and hands-on activities for the family.

Times: Friday 5 to 9 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cost: Adults $9, Kids under age 10 are free and pets are welcome

Location: David L. Lawrence Convention Center, 1000 Fort Duquesne Blvd, Pittsburgh PA 15222

 

Friday Night, October 23

Member Spook-tacular Halloween Event at the Children’s Museum

The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh is hosting its annual Member Spook-tacular Halloween event (for members plus their guests), where families can create black and orange art in the Studio, make costumes out of recycled materials in the MAKESHOP, meet an owl from the National Aviary, dance to music by DJ Kelly Mom and more. Advance registration is required by clicking here or e-mailing members@pittsburghkids.org.

Times: 5:30-8 p.m.

Cost: Members free, Guests of members $12

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

 

Spooky Science Sleepover at the Carnegie Science Center

The Carnegie Science Center celebrates Halloween at its annual Spooky Science Sleepover. Highlights include live spooky science demos, a family Halloween laser show, an Omnimax show, a late night snack and a continental breakfast. Advance registration required by calling 412-237-1637.

Cost: $35/person

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

 

Halloween Make-It-Now Evening at the Pittsburgh Glass Center

Families can stop in to the Pittsburgh Glass Center to make fused glass pumpkins or pendants.

Times: 4-9 p.m.

Cost: $25

Location: Pittsburgh Glass Center, 5472 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15206

 

Back to the Future Celebration at Row House Cinema

The Row House Cinema is hosting a Back to the Future Celebration, showing all three movies starting at 5 p.m. Did you know that Marty McFly traveled to October 21, 2015 in Back to the Future Part II???

Times: BTTF I at 5 p.m., BTTF II at 7:30 p.m. and BTTFIII at 9:45 p.m.

Cost: $17 for all films or $6.50 for Part I and $9 for Part II and III

Location: Row House Cinema, 4115 Butler Street, Pittsburgh PA 15201

 

Creatures of the Night at Beechwood Farms and Nature Reserve (also Saturday)

Beechwood Farms in Fox Chapel celebrates Halloween at its annual Creatures of the Night event, where a costumed firefly leads families on a guided night-time hike through the nature reserve. Along the way, kids will find larger-then-life costumed creatures that read stories, do tricks, etc. Snacks and crafts are included. Advance registration requested.

Times: Tours leave from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Cost: $6 for Audubon Society members and 10$ for nonmembers

Location: 614 Dorseyville Road, Pittsburgh PA

 

Spooktacular Glowstick Walk with Hike It Baby Pittsburgh at Mary Roberts Rinehart Nature Park

Hike It Baby Pittsburgh is hosting a family-friendly evening walk through Mary Roberts Rinehart Nature Park in Sewickley featuring glow sticks/necklaces and flashlights (some will be provided, but bring your own too). Costumes are encouraged. Hike has short, easy trails and all-terrain strollers are welcome.

Times: 6:45-7:45 p.m.

Cost: Free (sign Hike It Baby Pittsburgh waiver before attending though)

Location: Mary Roberts Rinehart Nature Park, 1414 Beaver Street, Sewickley, PA 15143

 

Dobra Tea Halloween Hafla!

Dobra Tea is hosting a family-friendly Halloween party featuring live belly-dancing, a drum circle and an open dance.

Times: 7-9 p.m.

Cost: Free (though do buy some tea)

Location: Dobra Tea, 1937 Murray Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15217

 

Campfire Ghost Stories at Harrison Hills Park

The Allegheny County Parks Department is hosting a Campfire Ghost Stories program where park rangers will tell spooky stories around a campfire.

Times: 7-9 p.m.

Cost: Free

Location: Harrison Hills Park Yakaon Shelter

 

Saturday and Sunday, October 24-25, 3015

This weekend there are a number of great fall festivals at local farms, including:

Soergel OrchardsShenot FarmReilly’s Summer Seat FarmTriple B FarmsSimmons FarmTrax FarmSchramm’s FarmGearhard’s Farm and Hozak Farms.

 

Zoo Boo at the Pittsburgh Zoo

The Pittsburgh Zoo is hosting its annual Zoo Boo event, where children can trick-or-treat through the Zoo, visit a haunted house, do a scary craft and participate in a children’s costume contest and parade. Wear costumes and bring your own trick-or-treat bag!

Times: 10-3 p.m.

Cost: Free with admission

Location: Pittsburgh Zoo, One Wild Place, Pittsburgh PA

 

Pumpkin Trolley at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum

The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in Washington, PA is hosting its annual Pumpkin Trolley, featuring trolley rides to their pumpkin patch and fall activities. Tickets include multiple trolley rides, tours of the Trib Total Media Trolley Display Building, on-site pumpkin decorating and refreshments and games for children.

Times: 10-5pm

Cost: Adults $10, Children $7

Location: 1 Museum Road, Washington PA 15301

 

Creepy Crawly Carnegie Days at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History celebrates Halloween at its Creepy Crawly Carnegie Days event featuring trick-or-treating through the exhibits, spooky tales from around the world and educational activities about creepy creatures. Also, if kids come dressed in costume, they will receive a small prize. No masks, prop weapons or backpacks.

Times: noon to 4 p.m.

Cost: Free with admission

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

 

Alexander, Who’s Not Not Not Not Not Not Going to Move

The Pittsburgh Children’s Theater presents the stage production of Alexander, Who’s Not Not Not Not Not Not Going to Move by Theatreworks USA. The show follows the adventures of grumpy Alexander after finding out that his family is going to have to relocate due to his dad’s job. Show is 60 minutes and geared toward children ages three to 10. The show will be at Mt. Lebanon High School at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday and Seneca Valley Intermediate High School at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Cost: $10.50 in advance; $12 day-of-show if available

 

Saturday, October 24

The WILD RUMPUS at Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve

Hike It Baby Pittsburgh is hosting a Where the Wild Things Are-themed program. Event will begin with a reading of the classic story and then families will trek through the nature reserve “hooting and hollering, banging on pots and pans and wearing crowns and costumes.”

Times: 10-12 p.m.

Cost: Free (just sign Hike It Baby waiver before attending)

Location: Beechwood Farms, 614 Dorseyville Road, Pittsburgh PA

 

ChemFest at the Carnegie Science Center

The Carnegie Science Center presents its annual ChemFest with hands-on activities, demonstrations and talks about chemistry!

Times: 10-5 p.m.

Cost: Free with admission

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

 

Mini-Factory at the Mattress Factory

The Mattress Factory is hosting its bimonthly educational program for children ages three to five years old. This week, children will explore the concept of LIGHT in installation art through hands-on activities, exhibit tours and a story time. Advance registration required by emailing education@mattress.org.

Times: 10-11 a.m.

Cost: Members Free, Nonmembers $5 per adult/child pair

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

 

Peanut Butter and Jam Session by the Chatham Baroque

The Chatham Baroque presents its preschool musical education program, led by Kindermusik teacher Lynda Wyngerd. This month’s theme is “What has teeth and plays music?” and will engage children through music, dance and play.

Times: 10 and 11:30 a.m.

Cost: Adults $8, Children $5

Location: McClintic Hall, Calvary Episcopal Church, 315 Shady Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15206

 

Fiddlesticks Family Concert by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra presents its first kid-friendly Fiddlesticks Family Concert of the season. This performance celebrates SINGING with songs from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, the Sound of Music, Mozart’s The Magic Flute and more! Concert starts at 11:15 a.m. and generally lasts about 45 minutes, but is preceded by child-friendly activities starting at 10 a.m.

Cost: Tickets start at $12

Location: Heinz Hall, 600 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15222

 

Owl-O-Ween at the National Aviary

The National Aviary is hosting its annual Owl-O-Ween event featuring trick-or-treating, crafts, story times, close encounters with creatures of the night, a creepy crawly bug station and more.

Times: 11-3 p.m.

Cost: Free with admission

Location: National Aviary, 700 Arch Street, Pittsburgh PA 15212

 

Ghouldilocks and the Three Scares by the Gemini Children’s Theater

The Gemini Children’s Theater presents its original production of Ghouldilocks and the Three Scares featuring Ghouldilocks and Little Bo Creep geared to ages two to eight. Wear costumes!

Times: 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Cost: $8

Location: Latitude 360, 200 Quinn Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15275

 

Halloween Fun Cruise on the Gateway Clipper Fleet

The Gateway Clipper Fleet celebrates Halloween at its Halloween Fun Cruise featuring a costume party with a crew of monsters, prizes, dancing and sweet treats.

Times: 11 a.m and 1:30 p.m.

Cost: Adult: $26.25, Child: $12.60

Location: Gateway Clipper Fleet dock is at Station Square

 

Halloween Mayhem at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater

The Kelly Strayhorn Theater celebrates Halloween at its annual pay-what-you-can Halloween Mayhem event featuring zombies, a costume parade, a puppet show, crafts, games, live performances, seasonal refreshments and more. Reservations can be made here.

Times: 12-4 p.m.

Cost: Pay what you can

Location: Kelly Strayhorn Theater, 5941 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15206

 

Autumn Adventure Geocaching at the Outdoor Classroom

The Outdoor Classroom in Boyce Mayview Park is hosting a witch, warlock and magic-themed geocaching adventure. Designed for families with children ages 5 and up, there will also be an introduction to geocaching, a costume contest, a campfire for marshmallows and hot dogs and a pot luck. Please register in advance at link above and include what you’ll bring for the pot luck in your RSVP. Also, check out the UNSPOOKY Night Hike following this program at the Outdoor Classroom.

Times: 2-6 p.m.

Cost: Free

Location: The Outdoor Classroom, Boyce Mayview Park

 

Kid City Rockers Halloween Dance Party

DJ Kelly Mom will spin two sets of your favorite goth music at this family-friendly indie dance party. There will also be a full bar and food menu. Tickets are on sale here.

Times: 3-6 p.m.

Cost: Adults $5, Kids Free

Location: The Allegheny Elks Lodge # 339, 400 Cedar Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15212

 

Haunted Guyasuta

Camp Guyasuta in Sharpsburg offers its annual Halloween event, featuring a hayride, nature hikes, climbing wall, pumpkin patch, bonfire and zip line (for those over age 11). Trail will be non-scary from 3-6pm and scary from 6-9pm.

Cost: $15

Location: Camp Guyasuta, 300 23rd Street, Sharpsburg, PA 15215

 

Kyiv Ukrainian Dance Ensemble presents Just Dance!

The Kyiv Ukrainian Dance Ensemble presents Just Dance!, the story of a young woman who can’t connect with her inner dance spirit, featuring over 40 folk dancers and live music. The event will be preceded by a Ukrainian Kitchen serving traditional Ukrainian foods (1 p.m.)

Times: Performance starts at 3:30 p.m.

Cost: $15

Location: Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, 300 Beechwood Avenue, Carnegie PA 15106

 

Ghost Stories and Campfire Hike with Venture Outdoors

Families can take a guided two-mile hike through Moon Park, then roast marshmallows over a bonfire and listen to family-friendly ghost stories. Advance registration required.

Times: 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Cost: Adults $10 ($6 for members) and $5 for kids.

Location: Moon Park

 

Family-Friendly Open Stage at Hambone’s

Hambone’s in Lawrenceville is hosting a family-friendly open stage event with singing, music and dancing.

Times: 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Cost: Order food!

Location: Hambone’s, 4207 Butler Street, Pittsburgh PA 15201

 

Depreciation Lands Museum Family Lantern Tours

Take a family-friendly guided tour of the Depreciation Lands Museum and cemetery by lantern light with tales of superstitions and customs from the past, a visit from “The Deacon,” the Museum’s resident ghost and cookies and hot cider.

Times: 6-9 p.m.

Cost: Adults $5, Children $3

Location: Depreciation Lands Museum, 4743 S. Pioneer Rd, Allison Park, PA 15101

 

Creatures of the Night at Beechwood Farms and Nature Reserve

Beechwood Farms in Fox Chapel celebrates Halloween at its annual Creatures of the Night event, where a costumed firefly leads families on a guided night-time hike through the nature reserve. Along the way, kids will find larger-then-life costumed creatures that read stories, do tricks, etc. Snacks and crafts are included. Advance registration required.

Times: Tours leave from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Cost: $6 for Audubon Society members and 10$ for nonmembers

Location: 614 Dorseyville Road, Pittsburgh PA

 

Experimental Noise/Music Night at Assemble

Assemble is hosting an all-ages evening of “weird experimental music from local weirdos.”

Times: 7-10 p.m.

Cost: $5

Location: Assemble, 5125 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15206

 

Campfire Ghost Stories at White Oak Park

The Allegheny County Parks Department is hosting a Campfire Ghost Stories program where park rangers will tell spooky stories around a campfire.

Times: 7-9 p.m.

Cost: Free

Location: White Oak Park Chestnut Shelter

 

Sunday, October 25

Let’s Move Pittsburgh Family Yoga

Let’s Move Pittsburgh, a project of Phipps Conservatory, is offering a free family yoga class at Phipps Conservatory. All participants will also receive 50% off admission to Phipps. Advance registration is required at link above. Bring your own yoga mat and towel.

Times: 10 a.m.

Cost: Free

Location: Phipps Conservatory, 700 Frank Curto Drive, Pittsburgh PA 15213

 

Have a great weekend!

What’s Going on in Pittsburgh this Weekend: October 16-18, 2015

Here’s my weekly listing of family-friendly events in the Pittsburgh region for the weekend of October 16-18, 2015. There are a number of great Halloween-themed activities this weekend, as well as the openings of a couple exciting new exhibits and several family-friendly live shows.

 

Friday Night, October 16

Youth Make Monstrous Mash-Ups at the Children’s Museum

The Children’s Museum is hosting an evening maker party for ages 10-15, where youth will combine different materials and processes to create unusual monsters. Parents are not required to attend. Advance registration required.

Times: 5-7 p.m.

Cost: $10 for nonmembers, $8 for members

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

 

Campfire Ghost Stories at Hartwood Acres

The Allegheny County Parks Department is hosting a Campfire Ghost Stories program at Hartwood Acres, where park rangers will tell spooky stories around a campfire.

Times: 7-9 p.m.

Cost: Free

Location: Hartwood Acres Mansion Terrace

 

Bulgarian Na Megdana Folk Festival (also Saturday)

The Bulgarian-Macedonian Cultural Center is hosting a folk festival celebrating Bulgarian dance and music. There will be live music on Friday and Saturday nights at 7 p.m. at the West Mifflin Area Middle School Auditorium ($15) and a dance workshop from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday at the Bulgarian Center ($10). More details at the link above.

 

Saturday and Sunday, October 17-18

This weekend there are a number of great fall festivals at local farms, including:

Soergel OrchardsShenot FarmReilly’s Summer Seat FarmTriple B FarmsSimmons FarmTrax FarmSchramm’s FarmGearhard’s Farm and Hozak Farms.

 

Other special events happening throughout the weekend:

Opening Weekend of the Fall Flower Show and the Garden Railroad at Phipps

Phipps Conservatory has a big weekend, with the opening of its Fall Flower Show (celebrating the importance of chrysanthemums in Japanese culture) and its new fairytale-themed Garden Railroad.

Times: 9:30-10 p.m. on Friday and 9:30-5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday

Cost: Free with admission

Location: Phipps, 700 Frank Curto Drive, Pittsburgh PA

 

Opening Weekend of the Voyage to Vietnam exhibit at the Children’s Museum

The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh debuts its new exhibit, Voyage to Vietnam: Celebrating the Tet Festival. This interactive exhibit highlights the Tet Festival, the most important celebration of the year in Vietnamese culture. Visitors can play in a model outdoor market and street cafe, try on Vietnamese dress and a giant lion head, launch a fireworks display and more.

Times: 10-5 p.m.

Cost: Free with admission

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

 

Zoo Boo at the Pittsburgh Zoo

The Pittsburgh Zoo is hosting its annual Zoo Boo event, where children can trick-or-treat through the Zoo, visit a haunted house, do a scary craft and participate in a children’s costume contest and parade. Wear costumes and bring your own trick-or-treat bag!

Times: 10-3 p.m.

Cost: Free with admission

Location: Pittsburgh Zoo, One Wild Place, Pittsburgh PA

 

Pumpkin Trolley at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum

The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in Washington, PA is hosting its annual Pumpkin Trolley, featuring trolley rides to their pumpkin patch and fall activities. Tickets include multiple trolley rides, tours of the Trib Total Media Trolley Display Building, on-site pumpkin decorating and refreshments and games for children.

Times: 10-5pm

Cost: Adults $10, Children $7

Location: 1 Museum Road, Washington PA 15301

 

RECLAIM at the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse

The Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse is hosting RECLAIM, where families can browse through a plethora of reclaimed creative design materials for your craft projects. A minimum donation of $5 will give you the ability to take away as many of the materials as you want. And there will hands-on creative activities in the shop.

Times: 11-6 p.m.

Location: Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse, 214 North Lexington Avenue, Pittsburgh PA

 

Saturday, October 17

Open Streets Brentwood

The first suburban Open Streets is coming to Brentwood. Over a mile of Brownsville Road will be closed to vehicular traffic and transformed into an open space for recreational activities like walking, biking, running, skating, exercising, dancing, shopping and socializing. There will also be children’s activities.

Times: 9-1 p.m.

Cost: Free

Location: Brownsville Road, Brentwood

 

Walk Through Prehistory with Venture Outdoors

Venture Outdoors is hosting a two-mile walk through the woods and fields surrounding Meadowcroft Rockshelter, the oldest site of human habitation in North America. A guest speaker from the museum will teach participants about the flora and fauna of the area as it relates to the survival techniques of prehistoric people. Hikers will also pass a local beaver dam and briefly visit a recreated 16th-century Monongahela Indian village where participants will have the opportunity to try using the ancient atlatl. Hike will end at the Visitors Center for a 40-minute tour of the famous Rockshelter. Museum admission is included in the cost of the outing.

Times: 10-1 p.m.

Cost: Adults $20, Children $12

Location: Meadowcroft Rockshelter, Avella PA

 

Tranquil Trail Hike with Hike It Baby Pittsburgh

Hike It Baby Pittsburgh is hosting a 2.5-3 mile hike along the Tranquil Trail in Frick Park. Hike is gentle and appropriate for an all-terrain stroller or carrier.

Time: 10-12 p.m.

Cost: Free, just be sure to sign the Hike It Baby waiver before attending your first hike

Location: Meet in the Frick Park parking lot (the one near the soccer field, accessed by Lancaster Avenue in Regent Square on the East side of the park).

 

Preschool Playdate at the Carnegie Museum of Art

The Carnegie Museum of Art is hosting a Preschool Playdate, where preschool children and their caregivers can explore the Museum’s exhibit and make art with museum teachers as guides.

Times: 10:15 a.m. to noon

Cost: $20 per parent and child pair, $14 for members

Location: Carnegie Museum of Art, 4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh PA

 

Owl-O-Ween at the National Aviary

The National Aviary is hosting its annual Owl-O-Ween event featuring trick-or-treating, crafts, story times, close encounters with creatures of the night, a creepy crawly bug station and more.

Times: 11-3 p.m.

Cost: Free with admission

Location: National Aviary, 700 Arch Street, Pittsburgh PA 15212

 

Ghouldilocks and the Three Scares by the Gemini Children’s Theater

The Gemini Children’s Theater presents its original production of Ghouldilocks and the Three Scares featuring Ghouldilocks and Little Bo Creep geared to ages 2 to 8. Wear costumes!

Times: 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Cost: $8

Location: Latitude 360, 200 Quinn Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15275

 

Scooby Doo Live! by the Pittsburgh Musical Theater

The Pittsburgh Musical Theater’s pre-college and transitions programs present their original children’s theater production of Scooby Doo Live! in partnership with the West End Community. A treat is included!

Times: 12-1 p.m.

Cost: Adults $3, Children Free

Location: Gargaro Theater, 327 South Main Street, Pittsburgh PA 15220

 

South Park Hay Day

The Allegheny County Parks Department is hosting its annual free family fall festival at South Park Fairgrounds Oval featuring hay rides, a petting zoo, pony rides, arts and crafts, face-painting, a Halloween puppet show and more.

Times: 12-4 p.m.

Cost: Free

Location: South Park Fairgrounds Oval

 

SouthSide Works Fall Food Fest

SouthSide Works is hosting its annual Fall Food Fest with live music, local food trucks and beer and cocktails provided by Hofbrauhaus.

Times: 12-8 p.m.

Cost: Free to attend

Location: SouthSide Works

 

ZombieFest 2015

Pittsburgh will celebrate ZOMBIES this weekend at the annual ZombieFest with food, vendors, live entertainment and activities for the “undead crowd.” Bring a nonperishable food item to donate to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

Times: 12 p.m.

Cost: Adults $10, Kids under 12 are free

Location: Millvale Riverfront Park

 

ARTLab with John Morris at the Mattress Factory

The Mattress Factory is hosting its bimonthly, hands-on, all-ages ARTLab program this weekend, featuring John Morris and his installation Life, Afterlife. Families can get a closer look at some of his objects, art in progress and paint peelings that he used for his installation.

Times: 1-4 p.m.

Cost: Free with admission

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

 

Greenfield BridgeFest

The Greenfield Bridge is about to be imploded and on the last day it’s open to the public, there’s going to be a huge party with live music, a raffle and a KidsPlus Pediatrics Kids Zone (from 4-7 p.m.).

Times: 4 p.m. to midnight

Cost: Free

Location: Greenfield Bridge

 

Campfire Ghost Stories at Settler’s Cabin Park

The Allegheny County Parks Department is hosting a Campfire Ghost Stories program where park rangers will tell spooky stories around a campfire.

Times: 7-9 p.m.

Cost: Free

Location: Settler’s Cabin Park Gilbert Love Shelter

 

Depreciation Lands Museum Family Lantern Tours

Take a family-friendly guided tour of the Depreciation Lands Museum and cemetery by lantern light with tales of superstitions and customs from the past, a visit from “The Deacon,” the Museum’s resident ghost and cookies and hot cider.

Times: 6-9 p.m.

Cost: Adults $5, Children $3

Location: Depreciation Lands Museum, 4743 S. Pioneer Rd, Allison Park, PA 15101

 

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

The Pittsburgh Penguins are going up against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Time: 7 p.m.

Cost: see website above for ticket options

Location: Consol Energy Center, 1001 5th Avenue, Pittsburgh PA

 

Sunday, October 18

Please note: The Carnegie Science Center is closed on Sunday, October 18.

 

Kids Ultimate Fitness Challenge

The Kids Ultimate Fitness Challenge is dedicated to helping kids stay active and healthy. Kids of all ages will have the opportunity to participate in a time-based obstacle course featuring sprinting, jump roping, wall-climbing, tunnel crawls and more.

Time: 10-6 p.m.

Cost: Free

Location: Allegheny Commons Park, North Side

 

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Arizona Cardinals

The Pittsburgh Steelers are going up against the Arizona Cardinals.

Time: 1 p.m.

Cost: Tickets start around $80

Location: Heinz Field

 

Alexander, Who’s Not Not Not Not Not Not Going to Move

The Pittsburgh Children’s Theater presents the stage production of Alexander, Who’s Not Not Not Not Not Not Going to Move by Theatreworks USA. The show follows the adventures of grumpy Alexander after finding out that his family is going to have to relocate due to his dad’s job. Show is 60 minutes and geared toward children ages three to 10. The show begins at the Byham Theater on Sunday and then travels to suburban venues next week.

Time: 2 p.m.

Cost: $10.50 in advance; $12 day-of-show if available

Location: Byham Theater, 101 6th Street, Pittsburgh PA 15222

 

Talk N Walk: Whoooo Rules The Night at the Outdoor Classroom

The Outdoor Classroom in Boyce-Mayview Park is hosting a family-friendly educational presentation/hike about owls. Families will learn to identify local species of owl, locate owl snags and practice their owl calls. Advance registration required.

Times: 6-8 p.m.

Cost: Adults $10, Children $4

Location: The Outdoor Classroom, Boyce-Mayview Park

 

Have a great weekend!

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