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A Trip to the Carnegie Science Center

Updated on October 24, 2012

When my six year old son asked me to accompany him on a trip to the Carnegie Science Center I was thrilled to take him. He was last at Carnegie when he was two years old. In case you are not familiar, Carnegie Science Museum is four floors of educational fun. If you are looking for a family fun activity in the Pittsburgh, Pa area, check out this interactive science center. The following article is a description of the many activities you and your child can enjoy with lots of pictures and videos to illustrate the fun.

Carnegie Science Center

Carnegie Science Center Pittsburgh Pa:
Carnegie Science Center, 1 Allegheny Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15212, USA

get directions

The Carnegie Science Center is located just next to Heinz field and along the Allegheny river.


Know your directions!

When planning your trip to Carnegie Science Museum, be sure to have your directions down pat before going into the tunnels. If you are not familiar with Pittsburgh, Pa you soon will be! The interstate leads to a tunnel that takes you to a bridge and a breath taking view of the city. The Carnegie Center will be off to the left but be sure you are in the correct lane as there is little room for error! In all my encounters with Pittsburgh I have found the traffic to be congested. The Science Center is easy to spot due to its red letter sign, Also it is right across from Heinz field, the home of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Panthers.

Air Power

When you enter the front doors you immediately come upon interactive stations. If you were lucky enough to get past the gift shop kids were drawn to the Atrium that featured Air power. Here kids could balance beach balls on a stream of air pressure or use an air cannon. The biggest hit of this area would be the parachutes or foam rockets. This area was in the atrium so sometimes those rockets would make it on the landings of the second or third floors. Kids really got a kick out of this!

There are three other floors to explore!

Here is a station where children can balance a beach ball over a stream of air.
Here is a station where children can balance a beach ball over a stream of air.

Robo World

My favorite floor is Robo world. It features robots ( of course!) When you enter into the floor you come across an animated robot, Andy, who sings to you. I thought he was pretty cool, however my son said he was a little freaked out!t All through the floor you can find find your favorite robots such as Cp3-O and the Robot from lost in Space! Although there were a lot of stars on that floor the hit of Robo world had to be the basketball robot. This robots name is Hoops. He impressed many of the children with his mad skills!

Also in Robo world you can feed a robot dinosaur. At the time my son went to pet him he was not hungry!

Hoops in Robo World

Meet Hoops.  He has a really mean bank shot!
Meet Hoops. He has a really mean bank shot!

One of my favorite exhibits was just off of the second floor. It is a miniature railroad exhibit. This large exhibit features 105 animations. As you walk around the exhibit you can observe the trains and the landscape turning from night to day and night again. There is a lot of intricate detail in the landscape. My favorite part of the miniature train had to be the carnival scene. It was neat to see the lights of the Ferris wheel come on at dusk. My son enjoyed seeing Thomas the train running on the track.

Miniature railroad

There was so much detail in this!  Can you see the garden out back?
There was so much detail in this! Can you see the garden out back?
kids can play in a miniature submarine
kids can play in a miniature submarine


Seascape was on yet another floor. It featured large aquariums with clear tubes connecting them. Kids were amazed at watching the fish travel from one tank to the other. Magifiying glasses were available for children to use to look closely at the coral or the other aquatic life. Also on this floor was a miniature submarine!

seascape aquarium

There were many tanks for children to observe with the use of magnifying glass.
There were many tanks for children to observe with the use of magnifying glass.
This exhibit allowed you to hear how different sounds could be made by different shapes.
This exhibit allowed you to hear how different sounds could be made by different shapes.

Exploration Station

This exhibit is great for kids who are inquisitive. It gives hands on stations for kids ( and adults!) to test their knowledge! Kids could test how sounds were made. My son liked a station that was similar to a pinball machine. It is named the Pin Bell Table. You launch metal balls at metal pieces to see what sounds would be made. His truly favorite station on this floor was a pool table. On the pools table were two hole and metal pegs. Rubber bands were provided so you could make a maze or a pathway to a hole. He was so amazed by this we had to go back to do it again! There was a circuit board exhibit where you can cause the parts to light up by making the right connections. It was sad to say the batteries were dead!

Also in this section were water works. Kids can place pipes together to see how the water flows. There is even a section for the smaller children where you can float things in water, build things in water and even stomp in it! Don't worry, little rain boots and coats are on hand!

You can find some critters here. Occasionally they bring them out to be petted. My son was amazed at how soft a lizard's skin can feel. In the back of the room there were Madagascar hissing cockroaches and a box turtle.

At the Exploration Station animals are available to be petted.
At the Exploration Station animals are available to be petted.
Catch your shadow!
Catch your shadow!

So much more!

There is much more to the Carnegie Science Museum than I mentioned here. Of course it was my son's trio so we went where his interests took him. There is a real submarine outside of the Science Center. It is the USS Requin and it does cost extra for a tour. Needless to say I could not even get my son to look at it! Another place we did not spend too much time at was the Body Tech Exhibit. There were some neat activities that simulated an endoscope. You could fiddle with the long tools and watch yourself operate on TV. The most fun my son had at this station was at the shadow catcher. I know this is not the real name of the station but at least it is what my son called it. Basically you stand in front of a light sensitive board, strike a pose and flash the light. When you move you will see your shadow lingers on!

There are shows!

When you first walk into the main doors you are greeted by persons who will tell you what is on the schedule for the day. You can walk around and do activities or you can attend a few shows. Sometimes the Omnimax theater shows movies for an extra price. They were showing a train ride through the Rocky Mountain Express that day. We did not go as it was not part of our ticket. However we did go to a show about space that was geared towards children. Imagine a theater full of children saying " wow!" every time they felt as if they were flying through space!

Other shows include kitchen theater. The special of the day was fruit flambe the day we were there.

New to me was the addition of High-mark Sports Works. This is a section dedicated to teaching kids and adults about nutrition and exercise. Although I did not go myself I overheard other children comment on how much they enjoyed it. From the looks of it there is a giant sized Operation Game!

I hope you found this article helpful in planning your next family vacation. Also if you are in the Pittsburgh area stop by the neighboring Heinz field for a tour!

Which exhibit is your favorite?

What was your favorite exhibit at the Carnegie Science Center?

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