It’s about time the kids let loose for some fun summer activities, and the best summer fun is free! The Pittsburgh area has a host of recreational, educational and cultural venues to please kids and their families. The rich history of Pittsburgh offers a chance to experience all types of activities on land, water and the historic avenues throughout the city and surrounding neighborhoods. Here are some of the best options for free fun this summer.
1196 W. Carson St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Children ages 5 and under — free
Children ages 6-11 — $1.25 Each Way or $2.50 Round Trip
Kids will be able to see history in motion on top of Mt. Washington. On the way up to the top of the incline from Station Square, the kids can view the inner workings of the cable car and watch the action of the machinery. The exhilarating view of the Pittsburgh skyline, Point State Park Fountain and the parade of boats and all types of water craft make for an inspiring visual masterpiece. There’s also a museum with photos, artifacts, maps and history of the incline. The kids will find a summer tour of the incline an educational and historical lesson about the Pittsburgh region, and the observation deck is the perfect place to dream about what it was like when the incline was first built.
Citiparks Spray Parks
Just like the song “Heat Wave,” the weather has finally cooperated with warm temperatures, and the Citiparks Spray Parks have locations around the city of Pittsburgh to cool off and have some summer fun. The kids can romp around the sensors that turn on and off, and the little ones have fun traveling in a guessing game of when the water will gush in all directions or stop. Kids of all ages and abilities are welcome at the spray parks to run through a gauntlet of different spray zones and obstacles. The various spray devices offer the opportunity to experience a world of water much better than a sprinkler at home. Check for starting dates and times at each location so the kids can enjoy a summer memory each day.
Dollar Bank Cinema In The Park
There are seven locations within the Pittsburgh city limits that will show free movies for the entire family, and the kids will revel in the first-class films of their favorite character themes. What better way to enjoy the movies than under an array of sparkling stars? Spread out a blanket or pack comfortable chairs and don’t forget the popcorn and drinks to make it a special evening. There is a wide variety of movie choices to suit every family’s tastes. Weather may be a factor, so call or check the website for any cancelations before heading out.
Downtown Walking Tours
Grant St. & Sixth Ave.
Kids begin the Downtown Walking tour at the corner of Grant Street and Sixth Avenue for a unique experience. Participants journey on a self-guided city tour recorded by Robert Morris University students. There are 10 languages to choose from and each directional path has audio files that are downloaded onto your mp3 player or device, and a map that shows all the sights of the tour. Kids will feel like they’re on a scavenger hunt that tours the city! Each stop features an audio description of the history, culture and architecture of the the impressive edifices of Pittsburgh. It takes about an hour to take the tour, leaving plenty of time to grab a slice of pizza or an ice cream cone when the journey is complete.
Kids Play At Market Square
23 Market Pl.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Kids and their families will find tons of interesting activities in Market Square each Tuesday from 10-11:30 a.m. The free event is sponsored by Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and allows kids to get involved in crafts and educational programs. There are also special guests to teach the littles ones about safety, storytelling, art and science projects, and there are readings by local police and fireman. Market Square is a vibrant meeting place and there are many activities throughout the summer to keep kids and their families busy. While most of the activities take place at Market Square, there are also planned activities at Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, National Aviary, Three Rivers Storytelling Festival and Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, so be sure to check out the events calendar!
Gerry Cernicky is a retired health and physical education teacher with 36 years of experience. He is a former teacher of the year and a sports writer for the Vandergrift News. He delivers podcasts, and maintains a website and blog. He currently resides in Pittsburgh. His work can be found at Examiner.com.