Best places to go with a baby or toddler in Pittsburgh
We asked some of our readers for their best tips for outings, restaurants, and stroller walks for moms kicking it on maternity leave in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Whether you’re visiting or live in town, we hope you love their tips and will add your own in the comments.
Our guest tour guide, Katy, is a true rookie mom who just returned to work after spending her maternity leave with baby Miles. You might think Katy is totally confident since she’s letting me post a picture of her with a nursing bra strap showing, but she wrote that she has “never, ever felt more lost or inadequate and simultaneously awesome in my whole life.” She has embraced our “get out of the house” mentality and has provided a suggestion for each weekday, should you find yourself in Pittsburgh with a little sidekick.
Head to Schenley Park
Schenley Park, the “green gem” of Pittsburgh, has something awesome to do no matter what the season or the age of your kiddo. The public pool is just $3 for kids in the summer, the ice-skating rink is also an option in the winter, and the Frisbee golf course always has flexible tee times. If the weather turns dreary (or even if it doesn’t), the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens are a must-not-miss feature. The model train, hands-on children’s garden, and interactive water features keep older kids excited while the fragrant, peaceful benches help moms chillax.
Bonus: the Conservatory has lots of secluded nooks to give new nursing moms some practice at the fine art of public breastfeeding. Afterward, get something yummy to eat in the local, organic cafe in the lobby (the smoothies are the bee’s knees).
Push your stroller around the Zoo
Spend the day at the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium. It almost goes without saying that baby elephants and primate displays are a hit for pretty much everyone. The Pittsburgh Zoo has an added advantage of hilly terrain, so mom gets a pretty intense workout pushing or toting kids up to the aquarium.
After everyone is tuckered out, hit up the refreshment stands in the zoo or even the Zebra Station soft-serve stand with a great river view.
We love the National Aviary
Not sure what to do with a screeching baby? Take him to the National Aviary and let the squawking, hooting birds drown him out or perhaps make him feel better! A running list of regularly scheduled educational shows/presentations will keep even repeat visitors interested and if you time your visit right, your little one might get to feed worms to the birds in the tropical rain forest. As an added bonus, the new penguin display lets you get up close and personal to the birds in giant plastic tubes, so even if you missed the emperor display at the zoo, you can still watch these waddlers go swimming.
After checking out the birds in the captive displays, you might want to ogle one of Pittsburgh’s many flocks of wild turkeys that meander up Mt. Washington. Take a ride on the Duquesne Incline for breathtaking views of the whole city while you keep one eye glued to the foliage for your turkey hunt. When you’re at the top, the free “museum” lets kids stare at the cable car gears while moms can check out historical photos of the days when Pittsburgh really was a gritty city. Spend some time walking along Grandview Ave on Mt. Washington before you head back down.
Take a Hike!
Hilly though the streets may be, Pittsburgh is a very walkable city. Pick out a neighborhood and spend the day recreating one of the Pittsburgh Urban Hikes. These scavenger hunts through various neighborhoods are free and fun for the whole “team” even years after the original hikes. Tackle the South Side and learn about the long-gone steel with mini-breaks at REI (free climbing wall for kiddos) or the Cheesecake Factory. If you’d rather eat than learn, head to the Strip District and mange your way through Penn Ave (don’t miss the biscotti from Enrico’s + you should probably eat lunch there, too. The owner makes everything from the bread to the olive oil to the wine himself!).
Carnegie Science Center
The Carnegie Science Center could easily occupy curious little minds for an entire week. Kids (and parents) can learn about dental care by climbing around a giant mouth or settle into the Omnimax Theater to watch marine life in 3D. The hands-down crowd favorite is the RoboWorld exhibit where real-life roboticists talk about their research and sports enthusiasts can square off to play basketball against a bot.
Baseball and river stroll
After all that stimulation, everyone will probably enjoy a relaxing afternoon strolling along the Allegheny River in North Shore Riverfront Park. Take a load off near the water steps or watch the kayaks and barges glide past. If you sit there long enough and the Pirates are winning, you might see some fireworks after dark! Check out the Pirates schedule for SkyBlast dates.
The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh is a great place for all ages. Each exhibit has something to play with for all ages, including babies.
The Good Ship Lollipop and Station Square
All aboard the Good Ship Lollipop! This cruise sails the Three Rivers of Pittsburgh. Take in the views as local mascots entertain and the captain shares tales of the city. The cruise boards from the Station Square so after you debark, you can stroller through the shops and grab something to eat. Make sure to find the dancing fountain in the center of the complex.
Kennywood is a great place to spend the day with a toddler. There are plenty of rides for everyone and an area set aside for kids. “Kiddy Land” features cars, boats, motorcycles, and more. There are also live shows throughout the week and plenty of corn dogs and ice cream to satisfy your appetite. Make sure to ride the train for a guided history through the park and a chance to relax and rest your feet.
If you want to see what Pittsburgh is all about, head “dahn” to “The Strip.” Vendors hustle their wares along the street in this bustling market district. If you have Pittsburgh pride, buy baby and Daddy matching Steeler jerseys. Take a break in one of several coffee shops that line Penn Avenue. And don’t forget to stop at Wholeys for a peek into the giant fish tanks.
If you are not from Pittsburgh I will excuse you from knowing that there is only one thing to do on STEELERS SUNDAYS. Grab your terrible towel, outfit your little ones in mini Big Ben jerseys and get thee to Heinz Field. (For a list of home games visit the Steelers Home Page)
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