This month’s top family adventures guide offers plenty of ideas for enjoying Pittsburgh in August: a comedy cabaret just for families, celestial parties at local observatories, farm-to-table cooking demos geared toward kids, free carousel rides, ballet under the stars and more.

Free carousel rides and fabulous face painting at Kids’ Day at Schenley Plaza

Join the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy on August 9 as they present Kids’ Day at Schenley Plaza. Highlights of the day include an appearance by everyone’s favorite silly snowman from Frozen from 12–1:30 p.m., face painting from 12-4 p.m., free rides on the PNC Carousel from 10 a.m.–6 p.m., and a variety of Nature Play games to engage kids including an animal scat guessing game and a building activity with natural objects. Plan to bring a picnic lunch or try foods from the kiosks in the plaza.

Little Locavores Activity Series at Pittsburgh Public Market. Photo courtesy Farm To Table.
Photo courtesy Farm To Table.

Inspire young foodies with the Little Locavores Activity Series

Throughout the month, Farm to Table is partnering with the Pittsburgh Public Market to present four events in a Little Locavores food series for kids. The goal of the series is to help kids learn how to shop for and prepare nutritious meals. From apple and cheese quesadillas to everyday healthy snacks, kids will learn simple recipes they can make on their own as well as hear information about choosing good foods to eat. On August 27, the series will include a Super Fun Local Food Challenge where kids participate in a game show activity to test their food knowledge. Admission to all events is free but registration beforehand is highly recommended.

Cheer on teams at the DICK’S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series

During the summer of 1951, the PONY League was organized  in Washington, PA. A baseball league for 13 and 14 year-old players, the PONY League held its first World Series in 1952 which included teams from around the country. This month, from August 7 to 12, the PONY League World Series will continue its tradition with national as well as international teams from China, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Austria. In addition to the competition, there will be a Home Run Derby, musical performances, military appreciation night festivities, and a mascot night. Get more info and tickets here. If your family loves sports, another great adventure would be heading to Heinz Field to cheer on the U.S. Women’s Soccer team, fresh off their World Cup win.

Photo courtesy PONY League World Series.
Photo courtesy PONY League World Series.

Learn about animals at Kids’ Zoofari

From August 15 through August 28, your daily zoo admission will give you even more fun and educational value. The Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium will host Kids’ Zoofari, sponsored by CHIP and supported by UPMC for Kids. Families will be able to meet the animal keepers of their favorite animals, touch a stingray, and participate in animal enrichment activities. The Pittsburgh Police will be on hand to provide important safety tips, too. Activities run from 11 a.m – 3 p.m. and are free with admission.

Enjoy free shows under the stars

On August 16 Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre will perform a free concert at Hartwood Acres. Featuring an original work set to Mozart as well as solos from La Bayadère and Sandpaper Ballet, the concert will give a sneak peak of some of the new dancers set to take the stage during the 2015/2016 season. Want to make the most of the night? Come early for dinner and free family activities. Before the show there will be ballerina dress-up, dance activities on the lawn, ballet-themed crafts, balloon animals and food trucks. Click here for times and more info.

Photo: Rich Sofranko
Photo: Rich Sofranko

For more free ways to share Pittsburgh’s arts culture with the family, try Pittsburgh Musical Theater’s Broadway at the Overlook. Starting August 6 at the West End Overlook Amphitheater, there will be 5 opportunities to bring a picnic dinner and view highlights from the upcoming movie-themed season, including Oliver!, Sister Act, Saturday Night Fever, Grease, and Annie. Bonus? Gorgeous views of the city.

Laugh the afternoon away at Kids’ Comedy Cabaret

Photo: Bethany Harvison.
Photo: Bethany Harvison.

The Pittsburgh Comedy Festival welcomes kids and families at its Kids’ Comedy Cabaret on August 29. This imaginative afternoon of family fun will be held from 3-4:30 p.m. at the Henry Heymann Theater on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh. Before the comedy show begins, music from Uke & Tuba will fill the room as families visit collaboration stations to create costumes, craft props and dream up characters that will end up being inspiration for the show. Vince Charming will perform illusion and magic while The Penny Arcade will have everyone laughing. The afternoon ends with a big dance party! Tickets are free but reservations are recommended and can be made beginning August 1.

Discover the city’s neighborhoods through community races

Participating in a community race is one good way to be active with your family and get a feel for a neighborhood. On August 8, the 34th annual Brookline Breeze will offer something for everyone: a 5K run and walk, a 5K wheelchair competition, a 1 mile fun run and a 1 mile dog walk. After the race, join in the fun of Breezefest, where local merchants have sidewalk sales, the Citipark Roving Art Cart makes a visit, and kids can bounce on inflatables and get their face painted. If you want to learn more about the Brookline neighborhood before you go, read this NEXTpittsburgh feature that highlights it.

On August 22 the largest neighborhood footrace in Pittsburgh will be held in Regent Square. Run Around the Square offers a 5K race and a 1.5 mile fun run/walk which will take you through the neighborhood and into Frick Park’s Fern Hollow area. This event will feature music and costumed characters. You can bring your dog on its leash for the 1.5 fun run/walk, too.

Photo: McKeesport International Village.
Photo: McKeesport International Village.

Explore ethnic culture in Pittsburgh at the McKeesport International Village

Take a virtual trip around the world from August 11-13 at the McKeesport International Village. This 55th annual event will offer your family a chance to learn about the many ethnic groups represented here in Pittsburgh. You can visit an international food booth to sample menus from countries like China, Ghana, Hungary, France and more. But it’s not just a food festival; while you enjoy your meal, there will be continuous dance and music performances which will exhibit traditional costumes from a variety of countries. Event highlights also include crafts, games, vendors and educational mini-sessions.

View planets, galaxies and stars at local observatories

Photo: Carnegie Science Center.
Photo: Carnegie Science Center.

The month of August offers up the Perseid meteor shower, typically one of the brightest, most spectacular of its kind all year. But meteors aren’t the only thing on view this month, especially if you use the powerful telescopes during SkyWatch at the Carnegie Science Center’s Buhl Observatory.

Each Friday and Saturday evening through November (currently from 10 – 11 p.m. but times change seasonally), your family can view stars, galaxies, globular clusters, planets and the moon from the rooftop observatory. The cost is only $2 per person (and free if you bring your own telescope to share). Weather can throw a kink in the plans so make sure to call the SkyWatch hotline from the main website before you go.

The Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh operates two observatories that offer monthly Star Parties, including safe solar viewing, celestial viewing and volunteers to answer any questions on the topics. No admission fees or registration required.

Also, don’t miss the Three Rivers Storytelling Festival if your family loves hearing a good tale!

If you’re looking for adult events, check out Top 10 Pittsburgh Events Not To Miss in August.

Looking for music events? Click here.

Mandy Yokim

Mandy moved to Pittsburgh for grad school and fell in love with the city. She is contributing editor of Ultimate Pittsburgh Trivia and Bridges of Pittsburgh. Her freelance work has appeared in a variety of publications including Parents Magazine and Blue Ridge Country. She blogs about Pittsburgh family fun at