3 Big Fun Things to Do in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, Someplace Fun
We are going to visit a very special city.
Yens' might as well know it now - I'M a Pittsburgher!
When my husband, daughters and I come to Pittsburgh, we come to visit family. That alone is a pleasant, loving and sometimes crazy time! But one summer, I think it was 2006, we all decided to do some real rootin' tootin' sightseeing in the Steel City! We thought, why not have an adventure and see what the tourists see and enjoy? On a beautiful balmy summer day, my mom, my two sisters and my niece, along with my own family traveled in and had an extraordinary fun-filled day.
The Just Ducky Tour
What a wonderful adaption of the old amphibian WWII military vehicles! These transportation carriers are all gussied up and ready for taking you out on the town. The tour starts by driving around the city with the tour guide pointing out the architecture and special buildings like the courthouse and U.S. Steel Tower. You then visit the old downtown and hear about the historical theatre district.Once done there, you get to the waters edge and all of a sudden, you're on a boat gliding down one of the three rivers (Ohio, Allegheny or Monongahela). The guide continues talking as you motor past the science museum and view the Pittsburgh skyline including the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning (see pictures below).
Photos of the Duck TourClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Duquesne Incline
This incline is one of the few left in the United States that is still running. The Duquesne Incline originally opened in May 1877. It was fully restored in 1964 and has become not only a way for commuters to get up and down the steep hillside, but also a tourist attraction perfect for viewing the Pittsburgh area skyline.The cars themselves are made of wood. They travel up the side of the mountainside slowly but securely. Their look reminds me of an old fashioned roller coaster - without the speed or dips! At the top there is a Museum of Pittsburgh history.
Photos of the Duquesne InclineClick thumbnail to view full-size
Children's Museum of Pittsburgh
Or as my family calls it, The Mister Roger Museum.
This museum is inspired by the philosophy of famed teacher and educational TV personality Fred Rogers. The 'learning by play' theme is exemplified in hands-on activities in science and art. The permanent exhibits are built for children to derive concepts and build confidence in their own abilities.Needless to say I grew up with Mister Rogers. His studio was situated right in the city. I even got to shake his hand when they had a studio open house when I was about five. Here is information on touring his actual studio and meeting Mr. McFeely at WQED.
Mister Rogers was a calm presence in my life. As an adult, I can now see how the slower pacing of his shows was beneficial to young minds being inundated with fast-paced, loud and frantic animated shows. In addition, some families have all kinds of drama happening at home. Mister Rogers was a safe place that was consistent, caring and positive. Let's get back to the museum.
For me, it was a nice surprise. I hadn't looked it up online so I thought it would mainly have displays of Mister Rogers artifacts, which would thrill me but I was worried my daughters would get bored. Instead, there was a real kids museum with activities like water play, climbing, building and dress up. In the Garage Exhibit you build things that fly, roll and move. We took miniature parachutes and brought them up to a second floor by a pulley machine. Once you got to the second floor, you could take your parachute and launch it and watch it float to the ground. You can see some of what my girls and their cousin did from the pictures below.
In 2010 the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh was labeled one of the top 10 children's museums in the United States by Parents Magazine. After this trip I appreciated my hometown even more.
Photos of the Children's Museum of PittsburghClick thumbnail to view full-size
Life's Journeys According to Mister Rogers
Fred Roger's show was beautifully adapted to reach children with total, unconditional love. It inspired their curiosity and made a clear distinction for them between real and make believe. Over the years, he covered many subjects. These books artfully compile his thoughts and musings on various subjects. Mister Rogers was a musician but was also an ordained Presbyterian minister. He felt his calling was his television show.
Where to Get More Information
- Just Ducky Tours
Go here to get more information and to make reservations for your Duck Tour.
- Duquesne Incline
Don't miss this on your Pittsburgh trip. Open everyday because its also for commuters to get up and down the steep hillside.
- Children's Museum of Pittsburgh
This is the dream museum based on Fred Roger's belief in learning through play. Wonderful activities for children.
Some Books You Might Enjoy
- Pittsburgh: The Story of an American City
- Pittsburgh: The Story of the City's Public Stairways
The Story of an American City is a great gift for a Pittsburgher or anyone interested in urban history. The reviews are glowing. They explain how this book is something special - just like Pittsburgh itself. It is written in a way that beautifully highlights this often glossed over city.
Pittsburgh's topology is very steep and hilly. The Story of the City's Public Stairways is a fascinating history of how Pittsburghers handled the difficulty of traveling to and from different parts of the city in their unique way.