June 23, 2016 | 1 comment | Activities, Family Travel, Kid Time

Swimsuit needed: Six unexpected family outings that require a towel

My kids love the water. They have a sixth sense for finding it, an ability that can turn an ordinary outing into water play in an instant. In the summer, my car contains an extra set of clothes, swim suits, towels, and sand / water toys, for a just-in-case water encounter. Here are six Pittsburgh family friendly outings that include getting wet.

1.  A Pirate Game at PNC Park. The Water Steps at North Shore Riverfront Park is a great spot for wading, especially on a warm summer evening before a game. The Water Steps are built of large sandstone blocks of varying heights. This tiered fountain near Hyatt North Shore often has children in swimsuits. You can also combine a visit to this fountain with a bike ride along the river and a picnic on the adjacent grassy hill that offers a beautiful view into downtown, making for a free summer outing.

2.     Phipps Conservatory. An visit to Phipps includes the outdoor children’s Discovery Garden, an interactive play space that includes several gardens, a mushroom fountain where children can fill up watering cans and a woodland stream with fountain creatures that spit water. Because my children go a little crazy with the mushroom fountain and the watering cans, the entire garden gets a good drink, and they need to be dressed in swimwear. There’s also the Bog Garden with fascinating plants such as the Venus flytrap, and the Sensory Garden which stimulates all five senses. Other highlights include a maze, a pretend tree stump made for climbing, a rock pit for digging, burlap sacks and sticks for creating forts and small sanded wood blocks for building.

3.     Lunch or KidsPlay day at Market Square. This outing can quickly turn into free water play with The Water Feature at PPG Place Plaza nearby. 140 spouts of water surround the 44-foot obelisk in the center of PPG Place Plaza. The water soars up to fifteen feet high. The kids love trying to figure out the randomness of the timing, while you can sit in the shade nearby. This is the same spot as the ice rink in the winter.

4.     Round Hill Park and Farm. Another great free outing is to Round Hill Park and Farm, in Elizabeth, PA. They have a working farm with horses, pigs, sheep, chickens, goats, turkeys, and rabbits. On site also is a stream full of geese and ducks. They also have a great new playground and a farm-themed spray park. Pack a lunch and spend the day.


5.     Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. We’ve had an annual family membership for years and it’s on my summer bucket list to visit the Backyard, now open for the season. A trip to the Children’s Museum isn’t complete without a visit to the Waterplay on the third floor. Waterplay is a place where children can experience nearly 20 different exhibit components that let them pump, move, channel and dam the flow of water, and experience rain, spray and ice. They provide waterproof aprons, but many kids, mine included, are in swim suits.

6.     Carnegie Science Center, with adjacent Sports Works and submarine is a great rainy day summer outing. We’ve had an annual family membership for many years. Similar to the Children’s Museum, my kids seem to get more wet than others on the fourth floor of the Science Center, The Exploration Station, which includes the pictured water table. 

Happy Summer.

Carissa Howard

— Shopping for Time

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1 Comment

  1. info

    November 12, 2017 2:40 pm

    We bought it before we had Jordan and as he s growing up we re realizing that we re outgrowing it. Anyways how has your family been?

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