A new venture for me will be to write some posts for Made in PGH – My first go at it is going to be significantly edited down – so I figured: “Why not also share my post on my site?”. Here’s the “real” version. This doesn’t have to do with GGYY …so let’s see… If it’s a Sunday start your day off with church and then pursue these funtivities:
Spoiler Alert: If you aren’t around Pittsburgh/Western PA these will not apply to you – except for picnic-ing and unwinding at home – because those you can no matter where you live!
What to Do With Kids For a Day? Kid-Friendly Solutions for that Stir-Crazy Time of Year
The winter season boasts many holiday-themed events to check out. But it’s a Tuesday and you’re losing your mind and need to get out of the house right now! Here are some things we like to check out when trying to keep our sanity and entertain our young kids. (Or even better just tell the visiting grandparents, aunts, and uncles about these things and hand the kids into to their ever-eager arms!).
- Breakfast at Eat n’ Park
- OK so not the poshest of locales, but it’s affordable and ubiquitous in Pittsburgh so no matter your neck of the woods you can get out of the house and get the kids fed and ready to tackle your adventurous day. Of course a placemat that you can color and a free smiley cookie for the little ones helps too.
- Flight Trampoline Park
- Let the kids bounce out their energy during Kid’s Flight from 10AM-11AM on Weekends and 10AM-12PM Weekdays. Since only kids 46” are allowed to bounce during that time you can sit back and relax a little bit while they burn off a smidge of their endless energy supply. Reserve your spot in advance as space is limited and can fill up fast. For those in the North the Urban Air Trampoline Park in Cranberry offers similar options.
- Wildwood Highlands “Kiddie City”
- Let the kids climb and slide and ball-pit themselves silly at the indoor playspace. While it can get crowded on snowy, rainy weather days there are many avenues for them to get lost in all while being in a well-contained space. And at only $5 for kids age 4+ (less or free for the younger ones) we love the pricetag. Even better is you pay for the kid but the adults get in free – just kick off your shoes and pretend you’re only in there because of the kids. And with no time limit you can stay and play for as long as you want.
- Picnic in the Park @ Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve
- Yes, you can picnic anywhere and so actual location possibilities are endless as the Pittsburgh area has many public parks, parklets, and spaces to enjoy. Every kid loves a picnic so if it’s a nice-enough day grab a blanket, pack a PB&J, throw in a juice box, and head to Beechwood Farms. The Discovery Ground Nature Play area will get the kids exploring even thru a few tunnels. Or take a hike on a nature trail. It can double as an educational experience – just try to spot some birds that the rambunctious little ones haven’t yet frightened away.
- Lunch @ Pamela’s Diner
- While most known for their Breakfasts, their “Luncheonette” options at their 6 Pittsburgh locations do not disappoint either. For the Health-conscious adult two fine Pittsburgh-area diners may not be a part of your ideal day, but the kids will love it and that’s all that matters, right? Plan ahead as they are a cash only diner. Bonus: If you head to the Millvale one on a Weds-Sat pop a few feet down the block for a dessert at Jean-Marc Chatellier’s French Bakery.
- Wholey’s Market
- There is a kitchen and you can get a fishy yummy meal, but even better is you can walk the kids around to look at the fish (both alive and dead ones) as well as discover meats for sale which can blow even an adult’s mind (rabbit, anyone?). If you don’t want to scar a young child’s mind perhaps don’t venture to those areas, but if you’re in the mood for being like Rafiki from the Lion King and want to try your hand at explaining the circle of life then explore away!
- Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve
- Yes, we just told you about the incredibleness of Beechwood Farms. But it bears repeating and if you aren’t trying to run to all ends of the earth in one day this is a great place to stay put and take in some fresh air. Ride this one out until the kids beg to leave (which is likely to be never or whenever they get hungry again). Pro-Tip: Pack a secret snack and bust that out if the kids want to leave but you don’t. You’ll get yourself a couple of extra minutes; use them wisely.
- Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
- No we aren’t recommending quiet reading time; we know that is a long shot (but kudos to you if you can swing it!). We love our libraries because of the kid-focused programs they pop up regularly. CLPGH has many mid-afternoon/early evening options – from reading times to crafts and activities. Additional Allegheny County Library Association libraries also provide year-round, daytime edutainment opportunities. We especially love the national award-winning Shaler Library for keeping the little ones learning, moving, and free to be their little loud selves.
- Western PA Model Railroad Museum [I’m posting this at the end of January, so I’m sorry but you missed your opportunity for this one until November 2018! Drat!]
- Only open from late November until mid-January and also only during limited hours (Fri 6PM-9PM; Sat+Sun 11AM-5PM) the race is on to enjoy this wonderful miniature museum but it is worth the trip to Gibsonia. Thomas the Tank Engine fans will be in railcar heaven in the two interactive displays which feature Thomas and his friends.
Keep bedtime schedules in mind then forget about them. Opt for a final bite to eat, maybe a sweet treat, or one last fun activity to cap your Made in PGH kind of day.
- The Porch at Schenley
- Right beside the CLPGH Oakland branch this dinner stop is a no brainer if you’ve opted for the afternoon library scene. There are fancy options for the adults and a kid’s menu for the kids.
- Not always the best idea to sugar-up the kids before bedtime, but you will be the “fun parent” or the “fun uncle” if you head to Oakland or Squirrel Hill and treat them to a waffle topped with daydreams. We love the namesake “Wafflonia” option which allows you to customize your waffle with unlimited toppings — so layer on the ice cream, chocolate sauce, nutella, and, if you can convince them to add a strawberry or banana, you can claim it’s healthy too.
- Leona’s Ice Cream
- If you’re anything like us we’ve stopped saying “As American as Apple Pie” and now opt for the more perfect “As Pittsburgh as Leona’s Ice Cream”. These sweet treats are “100% real dairy, 100% lactose free” and are often made with local dairy and ingredients. It’s a tried-and-true “Made in PGH” dessert and you can pick it up at many local markets, diners, and breweries.
- Klavon’s Ice Cream
- We clearly love ice cream because another Pittsburgh great kid night-cap option is this historic Strip District favorite. Delighting bellies since 1923 you will walk in the doors and walk back in time – to a time when people sat around enjoying ice cream guilt free. (Unless it’s a Tuesday; they’re closed on Tuesdays.) We also love their late night hours, so if the kids don’t quite make it this late you can always put their little heads to bed then sneak a “late night” snack — If you are close enough you can place an order of Klavon’s thru Uber Eats or GrubHub and they will deliver their old-fashioned goodness right to your door!
- Unwind Time @ Home
- No, unfortunately this isn’t a fancy up-and-coming PGH hip spot you haven’t yet heard of. This is your house, apartment, hotel room, what-have-you where you calm the little ones down before getting them to bed. And if you are the visiting grandparent, aunt, or uncle the parents will thank you for thinking of this! (You’re welcome.) All it takes is a piece of paper, pen, and helpers to tell you about their favorite parts of the day. Write a little re-cap of the day’s adventures and turn it into a little story. Get the kids ready for bed (all while dangling the reading of the story over their heads). Once tucked in you simply read them the custom story about their day, kiss them goodnight, and finally relax with that extra Leona’s ice cream you picked up for yourself.
The next time you find yourselves going stir crazy just get out and give yourselves this Made in PGH kind of day!