3 Family Friendly Attractions on Pittsburgh's North Side That You Can’t Miss This Summer

Pittsburgh's North Side is a weekend destination with museums, hotels, and sports and entertainment venues to delight the whole family!

Exploring Pittsburgh's North Side is fun for kids of all ages, and some of Pittsburgh’s most notable family attractions are located here. The North Side is friendly, walkable, and you can’t beat the views from the Riverfront trail. If you’re planning your family getaway to Pittsburgh, make sure to include a day or two on the North Side and check out these can’t-miss attractions. Experience space-age fun, a prehistoric adventure, and see one of your favorite childhood books come to life!

Carnegie Science Center

Start your day at Carnegie Science Center, which is located right beside Heinz Field. You can’t miss it, since it has the iconic E-Motion Cone, which changes color based on the weather! Explore 200+ exhibits, such as the beloved Miniature Railroad & Village® and the Highmark SportsWorks® Ropes Challenge

This summer, the Science Center is offering a galaxy of fun, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing all summer with a variety of astronomy events, a new educational documentary, weekly museum activities, and an adults-only evening, all designed to commemorate the moment man walked on the Moon.

  • At Rangos Giant Cinema, check out the new film Apollo 11: First Steps Edition. It was made specifically for giant screens, and The Rangos is Pittsburgh’s largest!
  • The museum’s Buhl Planetarium will launch a brand-new, original show titled, Fly Me to the Moon. This immersive show is perfect for families who want to learn more about the people who helped make the giant leap on the Moon possible.
  • For a full weekend of astronomy fun, plan to visit Carnegie Science during Space Out! Astronomy Weekend, set for Saturday–Sunday, July 20–21. This Apollo 11 celebration will offer interactive activities, telescope viewing, and more, all included in general admission.

Other activities for Summer of Space include Solar Sundays, Moon Mondays, and SkyWatch – Buhl Planetarium’s monthly stargazing event, set for July 16 and Aug. 13 at 8 and 10 pm.

In addition to celebrating Apollo 11, Carnegie Science Center is putting the spotlight on the original Renaissance man in a limited-time-only exhibition this summer. Da Vinci The Exhibition, on display through Labor Day, explores Leonardo da Vinci’s discoveries in art, engineering, flight, music, and more. Perfect for ages 7 and up, it features more than 60 life-size inventions, more than 20 true-to-scale replicas of da Vinci’s paintings, and activity tables inspired by da Vinci’s studies. Make your own Mona Lisa, design flying machines, and build wooden structures!

National Aviary

Located just 15 minutes away from the Science Center is the one and only National Aviary. You can experience walk-through habitats where birds fly freely around you (and a sloth can be spotted in the trees) a colony of African Penguins that guests can see up close, daily feedings including opportunities to hand-feed birds, and immersive experiences like Amazing Amazon presented by AAA Travel and SOAR! in which birds fly over the audience and demonstrate natural behaviors.

This summer, you’ll want to check out New Living Dinosaurs presented by Peoples (open through September 29 and included with admission). Check out real dinosaur fossils, touchable replicas, realistic dinosaur models, and two life-sized pterosaur sculptures. 

Daily activities include:

  • 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. “Dino Discovery Camp,” which includes a dress-up play area, life-size dinosaur nest, dig pit, touchable fossils, and more.
  • 11:00 a.m. Storytime with Ty the feathered baby T-Rex that blinks, roars, and interacts with guests
  • 12:00 p.m. “Paleo Play” game or craft
  • 3:00 p.m. “Fossils and Feathers” guided tour to see birds up close and learn how their fascinating adaptations connect to prehistoric creatures.

As if all that wasn’t cool enough, you can also fly like a pterosaur through Jurassic times on Birdly®, the National Aviary’s full body flight simulator which uses virtual reality, wind speed, audio headsets, flappable wings, and full body, responsive mechanical systems to give participants the real feel of flying. Birdly® costs an additional $5 and is available for guests with a 50-inch or wider wingspan.

Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

Finally, a quick walk just across the way will land you at Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. One of the best family museums in the nation, the Children’s Museum will astound you at every turn. There are plenty of hands-on areas and experiences that inspire joy, creativity and curiosity in kids like The StudioWaterplayMAKESHOP™, The AtticNursery, and Backyard.

And the Children’s Museum isn’t just for little kids anymore. Located adjacent to the Children’s Museum,  MuseumLab™ offers kids ages 10+ cutting-edge experiences in art, technology and learning in the Studio Lab, Tech Lab and Make Lab.

This summer’s exhibits are as unique and exciting as the museum itself:

Very Eric Carle: A Very Hungry, Quiet, Lonely, Clumsy, Busy Exhibit
Through September 8

At this play-and-learn exhibit, visitors step into the pages of Eric Carle’s colorful picture books. His classic “Very” series, all illustrated in his hand-painted tissue paper collage technique, introduces five special insects who take journeys of discovery.

Curious George™: Let’s Get Curious!
Through September 8

Introducing young children into the world of Curious George, this exhibit focuses visitors on a fun, meaningful interactive math, science and engineering-based adventure while it emphasizes the central role that parents and caregivers play.

Nek Chand: A Hidden World  @ MuseumLab™
Through December 31

Immerse yourself in the world of artist Nek Chand - an untutored artist from India who created thousands of large mosaic sculptures using found materials such as rocks, broken crockery and colored stone. Check out more than 45 found-material sculptures by this legendary artist and create sculptures and mosaics of your own.


This blog post is sponsored by Carnegie Science Center, National Aviary, and Children's Museum of Pittsburgh.