Pittsburgh, PA- An Incredibly Kid-Friendly Destination!

Pittsburgh PA

Last week, Lucas and I headed off on a trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This was our first Father-Son Trip since last summer.

Some of you might be thinking Pittsburgh PA, wow, how glamorous. Right? You can be honest! The truth is that I’ve wanted to visit The ‘Burgh for years, primarily to check out PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates and to try a sandwich from Primanti Bros.

As I read more into the city, I had a strong feeling that it was going to be a really good, kid- friendly destination. When the trip was over, (we almost got stuck there) Lucas asked if we could come again. What does that tell you about the city? It’s gotta be good!

Check out some thoughts on the places we visited during our trip to Pittsburgh PA :

Pittsburgh PA

The National Aviary: The Michael W Travels family loves checking out animal-related attractions. While we’re not big fans of zoos, the Aviary was an amazing place to visit. Areas are divided up by eco-system and the birds are freely moving and flying around- they aren’t in cages (for the most part).

What really stood out was how close you get to the action. There are also various interactions which you can participate in for an additional fee. They offer a great opportunity to learn a little more about the birds while also getting even closer.

Lucas and I did the Penguin Encounter and Aracari Feeding. Both were a lot of fun and probably the highlights of our visit.

(Thanks to The National Aviary for inviting us for a visit. I plan to write a longer post about our experience in the future.)
Pittsburgh PA

Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh: We didn’t spend a ton of time here but Lucas loved playing with pulleys, climbing up cargo nets and going down some fun slides. The highlight here was a temporary exhibit called Hands-On-Harley-Davidson.

Lucas suited up, felt like he was riding a motorcycle and explored other things related to the famous bikes.

Duquesne Incline: We’ve been on funicular’s all over and Pittsburgh has their version called an incline. This is a must-do activity during a visit!

The short ride takes you up to the top of Mt. Washington and offers the best views of the city. (The first image in this post was taken from the upper incline station’s viewing area.)

Lucas loved the ride both ways more than the views, I really enjoyed the full experience and would’ve liked to have done it again if we had the time.

Carnegie Science Center: The Science Center is pretty massive with a submarine parked outside on the river and another building called SportsWorks which is included with the admission.

Lucas and I started out at the submarine, the USS Requin. I’ve been through quite a few subs over the years and always find them fascinating. Lucas loved playing with various knobs, switches, levers and wheels. He took the lead climbing through the doors to each new section. The sub itself is worthy of a visit!

Hands on is the name of the game throughout the Carnegie Science Center. We had fun trying out different activities at the robots exhibit (which also has something like a Robot Hall of Fame). BodyWorks was also a lot of fun with our favorite part being a seat you jump/ sit on which makes various fart sounds when you touch down!

As you can see in the photo above, Lucas also loved getting electrified. We also enjoyed some space exhibits and the Miniature Railroad and Village was really impressive.

Roberto Clemente Bridge: I’ve heard for years that when you go to a Pirates game, fans walk across a pedestrian- only bridge. The Clemente Bridge (aka Sixth Street Bridge) is closed to vehicles before until a bit after the games.

The walk was fun as we stopped to see what some vendors were selling. The views from the bridge are also top notch. You get a great view looking into PNC Park and down the river.

Even if you aren’t going to a game, walking across a bridge in Pittsburgh is a must-do.

PNC Park: One of the main reasons I’ve wanted to visit Pittsburgh was to attend a Pirates game. PNC Park is considered one of the top parks in all of baseball and I definitely see why.

We went to a Sunday game, which was kids day. A lot was going on outside of the park before the game. Free cookie decorating from Eat’nPark, a bounce house and more. We also walked around the outside of the park, taking photos with statues of Pirates greats like Honus Wagner, Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell.

Inside the stadium, the park offers beautiful views of the Roberto Clemente Bridge which is behind centerfield. The seats are pretty much unobstructed since they are angled- expect a good view of the field throughout. Lucas played for a little while at the mini-stadium and play area too.

We also wandered around to different areas of the stadium to watch the game. My favorite spot was the upper area behind home plate. We stood in this area for an inning or so- amazing views!

The Andy Warhol Museum: I told Lucas that we might go to an art museum after the Pirates game and he wasn’t thrilled with the idea. However, once we got inside the front door, his mood changed.

Andy Warhol is an interesting character and I loved learning a lot more about him while wandering around each floor.

Lucas’s favorite area was the “Silver Clouds” installation. Huge silver balloons, something like huge pillows are floating around. As they crash into you, it’s a ton of fun to push them back into the air. Lucas also loved running into piles of the balloons.

Once again, to make little kids enjoy a museum, it’s all about hands on.

I really love Andy Warhol’s pop-art. Is drawing a can of soup art? Sure, why not! I was glad to see my favorite Warhol on display. Not so surprisingly it includes a hamburger. (I’ve had a shirt featuring this image for some time now.)

The Andy Warhol Museum was probably the biggest surprise of our visit. Lucas and I both had a great time. It was too bad that we didn’t have more time to enjoy.

Senator John Heinz History Center: During our last day in Pittsburgh, Lucas and I headed over to the Heinz History Center & Sports Museum. The location was perfect, just a 5 minute walk from our hotel by the convention center.

The building packs a lot of info into the five floors. The ground level was a lot of fun for Lucas since it had a bunch of old vehicles on display including a couple that you can even go into.

The museum covers a ton of info so I’ll just share a few of our highlights.

I’m a big fan of Heinz Ketchup so I loved the learning all about the history of the company. I know that Heinz sells more than just ketchup but wow, what an amazing story the company has. There were lots of interesting artifacts on display, a huge ketchup bottle and even old commercials playing on TVs. I’m a bit surprised that Heinz doesn’t have its own museum!

I really enjoyed seeing some of the original pieces form the set of Mister Rogers. What made it even better was that Lucas was really excited too! He doesn’t have a clue about Mister Rogers but he does like the show Daniel Tiger so he recognized some characters and props from the cartoon.

The Western Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame takes up parts of a couple of floors at the Heinz History Center.

We skimmed the cases of trophies which covered a variety of sports and not just from the pro level. I paid closer attention to the baseball area…

The best parts of the HOF were the interactive areas. Lucas and I tossed footballs through targets, played a hole of mini-gold and we also took a try at bocce. (BTW- Lucas beat me.) Lucas also enjoyed taking photos with various sports cut-outs.

The Strip District: One of my biggest regrets was not having enough time to really explore Pittsburgh’s Strip District.

The area reminded me of Philadelphia’s Italian Market but a bit bigger and more diverse.

The Strip is a great place to grab something to eat, do some shopping (or window shopping) and just wander around. The main concentration of shops isn’t huge- probably around 5-7 blocks at most, along one avenue.

Lucas and I ate at the original location of Primanti Bros. one day and also bought tasty biscotti from The Enrico Biscotti Company and sampled some donuts from Peace, Love & Little Donuts. I would’ve liked to have went for breakfast at one of the popular spots (although lines did look long when we walked by) and also went into more shops. I guess there’s always next time!

Overall, Pittsburgh PA was a really fun city with lots of appealing things to do for adults and kids. I’d like to come back in the future and experience more of Steel City.

Have you visited Pittsburgh PA? If so, what did you think of the city?

I want to thank Visit Pittsburgh for inviting us for inviting us to see the city. (I was provided with a pass to see some of the sites as well as tickets to the Pirates game. All thoughts and opinions are my own and were in no way influenced by this.)

4 thoughts on “Pittsburgh, PA- An Incredibly Kid-Friendly Destination!

  1. I grew up in Pittsburgh, looks like you hit the best-of list here!

    I’d also suggest getting on the water, either renting from Kayak Pittsburgh or taking a Duck Boat tour.

  2. Steve- Thanks for the recs! I loved doing the Duck tour in Boston and would’ve really liked to have done it with my son in Pittsburgh if we had more time. I guess we’ll have to visit again at some point!

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