April opens the year to warm weather outdoor fun, learning experiences and a whole lot of egg-themed activities. Check out LOL farcical performances, free drive-in movies and crazy-looking dinosaurs from Antarctica. Pittsburgh kids of all ages are sure to find events that will entertain and enthrall this month.
1. April 1: Pittsburgh Opera Family Day, Bitz Opera Factory
There’s no better way to introduce kids to opera than the hands-on experience offered at Pittsburgh Opera’s 2nd annual Family Day. The basic components to create opera are broken into four sections, allowing participants to rotate through each activity. Explore the many instruments that make up the opera orchestra in a musical instrument show and tell. Take a voice lesson to learn how to use proper breath support and voice projection. Opera story time offers “The Great Poochini” — dog by day, opera star by night. Try on costumes and consider how clothing conveys information about characters on stage. A Brown Bag concert follows the event. Kids younger than high school age must be accompanied by a grownup. Each family will receive a goody bag. Registration is free but required.
2. April 1, 2 and 8: Egg Hunts, Allegheny County Parks
Hop on down the bunny trail to one of three Allegheny County Parks where kids can meet the Easter Bunny and hunt for treat-filled Easter eggs. The parks will be showing their first blooming blossoms and budding greens. Perfect for a fresh-air outing! Kids will be entertained by a balloon artist and have the chance to get their faces painted, too. Choose a time and age group to register for these egg hunts planned for April 1 at Settlers Cabin Park, April 2 at Hartwood Acres and April 8 at Harrison Hills Park. Registration is $5 for county residents and $7 for others.
3. April 1-2 and 7-8: Eggstravaganza, National Aviary
If anyone knows about eggs, the staff at the National Aviary knows them best. Families are invited to the annual Eggstravaganza, where they promise kids will have an egg-cellent time. Explore the tropical habitats where birds fly overhead or stroll by along the walkway. Peek up into the lush trees and catch a glimpse of a sloth. Meanwhile, kids will complete an egg-themed scavenger hunt, work on a take-home craft and settle down for a storytime. A visit with the Easter Bunny is on the schedule, too. All activities are included in Aviary admission. For an additional fee, check out the new immersive bird show, “Habitat Heroes,” starring superheroes like a bald eagle, an augur buzzard and a grey crowned crane.
4. April 6-16: “Popcorn Falls,” Little Lake Theatre
The single attraction in the sleepy town of Popcorn Falls — its namesake waterfall — has dried up. Facing bankruptcy, a neighboring town threatens to turn Popcorn Falls into a sewage treatment plant. But the townspeople have one last hope. If they produce a play in a week’s time, they will be eligible for a large grant. Just two problems stand in the way: No theater and no play. Two actors play more than 20 roles in this silly farce. Best for ages 10 and older. Tickets are $15 for ages 16 and younger and $25 for grownups.
5. April 6-Sept. 30: “Dinosaurs of Antarctica” 3D and 2D, Carnegie Science Center
This documentary will surprise even the most dino-versed kids, introducing them to creatures they’ve never seen before. “Dinosaurs of Antarctica,” showing at The Rangos Giant Cinema, follows scientists on a quest to understand the ice continent’s profound ecological story over eons — from a frozen desert to a lush tropical world and back again. The South Pole’s six months of sunlight and six months of darkness presented challenges for survival and sparked adaptations, including meateaters with night vision. Meet some fearsome reptiles, like the Erythrosuchus, with its huge jaw and deadly bite. Others are more comical, like the plant-eating Lystrosaurus with its clownish feet and horned beaks. Tickets are $7 (separate from Science Center admission).
6. April 8: Bunny Fun Cruise, Gateway Clipper Fleet
Gather your honey bunnies and set sail on the Bunny Fun Cruise aboard a Gateway Clipper riverboat. Kids will be delighted with a celebrity meet-and-greet with none other than the Easter Bunny himself. Costumed characters from favorite movies and TV will interact with kids, too. Hippity hop to the dance floor where a DJ plays high-energy tunes from current playlists, as well as oldies like the “Bunny Hop.” Expect storytime and games. All kids will receive a special treat. Extra add-ons include face painting, balloons and photos. The two-hour cruise chugs up and down all three rivers. Tickets are $20 for ages 1-12, $32 for grownups and $5 for infants.
7. April 8: Super Science Saturday: Egg-Stravaganza, Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Intrepid junior scientists will be let loose to search for specimens during the Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s annual springtime scavenger hunt. They’ll discover eggs and nests of all shapes and sizes, from tiny ants to giant dinosaurs. Egg-themed clues will guide kids in their search as they collect stamps along the way. The hunt ends with a goodie bag reward full of treats. All Egg-Stravaganza activities are included with museum admission.
8. April 15, 22 and 29: Spring Drive-in Movies, Hartwood Acres
Pack up the kids and load up on snacks to get the most out of Spring Drive-in Movie nights. The family-friendly season begins with the crime-fighting “DC League of Super-Pets” (PG) on April 15. You’ll recognize the voices of Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart and Kate McKinnon. “A Bug’s Life” (PG) on April 22 tells the story of a misfit ant who tries to save his colony from greedy grasshoppers. Watch a hapless but lovable dog follow his dream to become a samurai in “Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank” (PG), screening on April 29. All three films will be repeated in May at South Park. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. with the movies beginning at sunset. Movies are free with no registration required.
9. April 22-23: H2Oh! River Weekend, Carnegie Science Center
Kids dive deep into Pittsburgh’s three rivers on a weekend dedicated to water. They will learn how to turn that river water into clean drinking water through chemistry. The freshwater ambassador animals will take the spotlight to teach kids about the creatures that live in and along the rivers. Scientists will be on hand to chat about the importance of water to the lives of all the earth’s inhabitants. The wet-and-wild fun includes a river scavenger hunt. H2O River Weekend activities are free with general admission.
10. April 23: Walk with a Naturalist: Spring Wildflower Walk, Trillium Trail
Venture Outdoors hosts a family-friendly visit to one of the best places in the area to see blossoming wildflowers, the Trillium Trail in Fox Chapel. Ecologist Henry Schumacher will guide the group along an easy, leisurely-paced 2- to 3-mile hike. The session includes tips and techniques for finding and identifying these springtime beauties, which should be in full bloom. The walk might include some small stream crossings, so it’s not great for strollers. Registration is $15.
11. April 26: “Potted Potter: The Unauthorised Harry Experience,” Byham Theater
This irreverent two-man show condenses all seven Harry Potter books into a hilarious 70-minute performance. The parody includes all of your favorite characters and a real-life game of Quidditch. Expect an endless lineup of ridiculous props, loads of costume changes and a special appearance from a fire-breathing dragon. Harry Potter fans will love it and those who don’t know a Hufflepuff from a Slytherin will be laughing, too. Best for ages 6 to Dumbledore (who is very, very old). Tickets start at $36.
12. April 29: Story Saturday: “Linus: The Little Yellow Pencil,” Carnegie Museum of Art
Scott Magoon’s storybook, “Linus: The Little Yellow Pencil,” is the focus of this month’s Story Saturday. Linus and his eraser, Ernie, don’t always agree, but an upcoming family art show requires them to work together. The tale is a wonderful way of showing kids how collaboration and sharing ideas can be part of the creative process. The in-person storytime is followed by an art-making activity. Story Saturdays are designed for ages 12 and younger. Registration is free and included in general admission.
April 5: Early Childhood Mornings, National Aviary
April 6: Tea Party & Floral Crown Workshop, Pittsburgh Botanic Garden
April 12-16: “Sense and Sensibility,” Highmark Theatre at the Pittsburgh Playhouse
April 15-16: “Perseverance,” New Hazlett Theater
April 22: Wild Earth Day, Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium