Whether you and your family are residents of Pittsburgh or you plan to take your spouse and kids on a vacation to the “Steel City,” there are lots of family-friendly attractions in Pennsylvania’s second-largest city. Blessed with a vast array of museums, parks, and research centers, among other points of interests, it is small wonder that several eminent publications—such as Forbes, The Economist, and National Geographic—proclaim Pittsburgh as a top world destination. If you are visiting, check out the hotel specials and track down preferred downtown Pittsburgh hotel suites to fully absorb some of the following family-friendly attractions:
Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Named after its founder, Pittsburgh-based industrialist Andrew Carnegie, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History has been around since 1896. Spanning over 115,000 square feet, the museum primarily consists of 20 galleries. It is best known, however, for its extensive fossil collection, which is rated as one of the best in the United States. Thousands of kids on school group visits every year marvel at the Dinosaurs in Their Time exhibit, which features one of the largest collection of mounted displayed dinosaurs in the country.
Carnegie Science Center
Carnegie himself didn’t found this one. However, the Carnegie Science Center came about due to a merger of the Buhl Science Center with the Carnegie Institute, which operates four museums in Pittsburgh (one of which is the aforementioned Museum of Natural History). The Science Center is one of the four—and it is the most visited one. It’s hard not to see why. It is at this museum where you can see an actual World War II submarine on display (the USS Requin), one of the largest and most detailed model train layouts in the country (Miniature Railroad & Village), and 30 interactive displays that arguably comprise the world’s largest permanent robotics exhibit (roboworld). Also accompanying the robot display is the first physical home of the Robot Hall of Fame, which recognizes notable robots in U.S. history.
Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh
Parents magazine once named the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh among the top 10 children’s museums in the country. This honor can be chiefly attributed to the vast array of creative, fun, and educational exhibits specifically honed for kids and their families. They include Nursery, which is geared towards infants and toddlers; MAKESHOP, where children can explore circuitry, woodworking, and textiles; and Fred Rogers & Us, an exhibit that was created and is named after the iconic creator and host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
Consol Energy Center
Since 2010, the Consol Energy Center has hosted thousands of action-packed and exciting events, making it one of the city’s most popular entertainment destinations. Whether you’re rooting on the Pittsburgh Penguins as they face off against their rivals from across the NHL, or catching one of the national performing acts coming into town there is no shortage of fun and excitement going on at the Consol Energy Center.
Pittsburgh has four historic large parks. Frick Park, which covers 561 acres, is the largest one. It is particularly renowned for its Blue Slide Playground, an area highlighted by a huge blue slide carved into the side of a steep hill. The Blue Slide Playground is most frequently visited in the winter time, when kids can take advantage of the sliding effects of the snow with old pieces of cardboard.
Located at the site of one of the battles of the American Revolutionary War, Kennywood is often touted as one of the finest classic amusement parks in the U.S. Among its features are 31 major rides, which are categorized into Roller Coaster & Thrill Rides, Water Rides, Classic & Dark Rides, and Kiddie Rides. There are also a host of indoor and outdoor “Haunted” attractions, and a Halloween event named “Phantom Fright Nights” is held on Fridays and Saturday nights every October.
For bird lovers in particular, there’s the National Aviary, which is the largest of its kind in the U.S. It is also the only one given honorary “National” status by the U.S. Congress. The National Aviary offers over 600 animals, which represent around 200 species and hail from every single continent apart from Antarctica. Visitors get to check out birds with cool names like the Augur Buzzard, Crested Coua, and Two-toed Sloth.
Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
Pittsburgh is also the site for one of the country’s six major zoo-and-aquarium establishments. Covering 77 acres of park land, the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium provides the opportunity to check out more than 4,000 animals that represent 475 species, 20 of which are endangered. From birds and reptiles to fish and amphibians, each animal is presented in habitats that closely resemble their natural environments.
Known as the fifth home of the Pittsburgh Pirates of the Major League Baseball League, PNC Park is renowned as one of the most family-friendly ball fields in the U.S. It includes a natural grass playing surface that can accommodate almost 40,000 people. Also notable are its relatively inexpensive tickets, wide range of dining choices, and a splendid view of the baseball action.
No matter when you plan your visit to the Steel City, there is an endless amount of fun-filled attractions fit for the entire family to enjoy. Start planning your family vacation today and book your downtown Pittsburgh accommodations at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Suites Pittsburgh Downtown. Located in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh’s historic Cultural District, the DoubleTree Downtown places you merely minutes away from the city’s most popular attractions. Take the first step on your way towards the family vacation of a lifetime and book your downtown Pittsburgh hotel suite at the DoubleTree Downtown today!