School’s almost out and summer is near. Keep the kiddies occupied all month with these fun (and educational!) events happening in and around Pittsburgh.
1. Mars Exploration Celebration Days: May 31 – June 2
Greetings, Earthlings! A new year is just beginning on planet Mars. Party with real Martians in the little borough of Mars, PA just north of Pittsburgh. The weekend is filled with cosmic fun, including NASA exhibits, photo ops, drone demos, guest speakers, live entertainment, vendors, a costume contest and a kids’ zone.
2. Carnegie Science Center’s “Summer of Space,” all month
The CSC is launching their Summer of Space including astronomy events, a new educational documentary and weekly museum activities all designed to celebrate the moment man walked on the Moon. Catch a screening of “Apollo 11: First Steps Edition” on the giant screen, don’t miss SkyWatch on June 7, see the new Sun, Earth Universe exhibition (opening mid-June) and much more.
3. KidsPlay in Market Square: Tuesdays and Saturdays, beginning June 4
KidsPlay, produced by the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, provides free interactive and educational programming for children and their families in Market Square, Starting June 4 and continuing throughout the summer, the free events run on Tuesdays from 10 to 11:30 a.m. (with a free lunch and a snack) and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Kids will meet visitors from the Heinz History Center, Animal Friends, Texture Contemporary Ballet, Autism Connection of Pennsylvania, Fred Rogers Productions and more.
4. Strawberry Festival at Shadyside Presbyterian Church: June 7
You’re bound to have a berry good time at the 26th annual Shadyside Presbyterian Church Strawberry Festival. Held from 5:30 to 8 p.m., the event features games, crafts, face painting and food to celebrate the arrival of summer. Admission is free, and all proceeds from the sale of activity tickets, refreshments and baked goods go to Sojourner House, an East End residential rehabilitation facility for women and their children.
5. Science Saturdays for Families at Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area: June 8
Get some sunshine during a Science Saturday cruise aboard Rivers of Steel‘s 94-foot green riverboat classroom. The organization’s educators will lead interactive, hands-on workshops exploring our rivers’ complex ecosystems. June’s focus is on Pittsburgh’s special role within the Ohio River Basin, how we can all help battle pollution and the relationship between watersheds and water quality. Additional Science Saturdays take place July 13 and Aug. 10.
6. Fifth Annual Open House at Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Zone 5: June 8
Stop in the name of the law … and enjoy free family-friendly activities. The Washington Boulevard station doors will be open from noon to 4 p.m. for a community celebration featuring food, music, prizes, a dunk tank and a bounce house. Children can get up close and personal with SWAT, bomb squad, K9 and motorcycle officers.
7. Carnegie Library Summer Reading Extravaganza, June 9
This annual family-friendly outdoor festival at the main CLP branch in Oakland happens from noon to 5 p.m. and includes music, crafts, games, storytelling, food trucks and more. Enroll your little ones in the Summer Reading program, make toys together in the Family PlayShop, take a history-focused tour of the building, explore the Global Library and create your own high-tech circuit vinyl stickers and planetary puzzles, all at this free event.
8. Hop into History at the Heinz History Center: June 12
From 10:30 to 11:15 a.m., kids can get their hands dirty at the Heinz History Center. Museum educators and music instructor Lynda Wingerd will be teaching little ones about Pittsburgh’s natural resources through song, dance and games. The event is free for kids 5 and under. Adults pay regular museum admission, which is good for the entire day. Spaces fill up fast, so register in advance.
9. Sesame Street Family Festival on Flagstaff Hill in Schenley Park: June 15
That famous Muppet-filled street marks its 50th anniversary this year. To celebrate, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind the iconic show, is embarking on a 10-city tour. Catch a free family festival and stage show from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Schenley Park, explore a giant maze and treasure dig, plus there will be photo opportunities and a cookies-and-milk snack station. Film crews will capture footage for the show’s upcoming season. Let’s hope for a sunny day.