We’re fortunate in Pittsburgh to experience the beauty of all four seasons and October exemplifies the best of autumn. The leaves twirl from the trees, pumpkins are ready to be carved and we can finally enjoy the Halloween candy that has teased us from store shelves since August. This month in our guide to the Top Family Adventures in October, you’ll find superheroes, garden trains, wooden ships, science fun, fall festivities and more. Here’s hoping your Halloween tricks don’t outnumber your treats. Happy fall!

Photo courtesy The Columbus Foundation.

Learn from the past through living history events

In the late 15th century, Christopher Columbus sailed across the Atlantic Ocean with hopes of discovering new lands. While opinions differ about his historical legacy, no one can deny that the opportunity to see replica ships of the Niña and the Pinta is an opportunity not to be missed. From October 1st – October 12th, the Columbus Foundation offers Pittsburghers the chance to step onboard these “floating museums” and learn about the type of ship (called a caravel) Columbus used to log thousands of miles in search of lands new to him.

The Niña vessel on display is generally considered to be the most historically accurate Columbus replica ship ever built. Families can purchase tickets at the dock at Station Square for a self-guided tour of both ships. Highlights include seeing firsthand the design and materials used to craft the ship, educational exhibits about the building of the ship, how it was navigated and the history of the time period when it sailed. For more information about the replica ships, click here.

If your family loves living history events, check out Fort Ligonier Days on October 9th – 11th. This festival commemorates the Battle of Fort Ligonier (fought in 1758), an important engagement during the French and Indian War.

Photo courtesy Feld Entertainment.

See your favorite superheroes at Marvel Universe LIVE!

Who are your children’s favorite superheroes? Chances are very good that at least a few of them will be featured in Marvel Universe LIVE! at Consol Energy Center from October 8th – 11th. With over 25 Marvel characters represented, including Spider Man, Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man and Black Widow, this live show sets up a classic “good vs evil” theme as heroes battle villains for the powerful Cosmic Cube.

Throughout the show, families can watch the Marvel characters perform all kinds of action-packed aerial stunts, motorcycle stunts and martial arts. A car chase will have kids on the edge of their seats while special effects and pyrotechnics keep the show’s intensity high.

Make the event extra fun for kids—let them wear the costumes of their favorite characters. Find ticket information and showtimes here.

Photo courtesy Maker Faire Pittsburgh.

Photo courtesy Maker Faire Pittsburgh.

Get inspired to create at Maker Faire Pittsburgh

Join crafters, scientists, garage tinkerers, tech enthusiasts and like-minded DIYers at the Maker Faire Pittsburgh on October 10th and 11th. People of all ages and backgrounds are welcome at this family-friendly event highlighting invention, resourcefulness and creativity.

Get ready to learn and be inspired by over 50 tech exhibits, ranging from 3-D printing to robotics, and more than 20 arts and crafts demonstrations including everything from glassmaking to Japanese painting. In between presentations and workshops, there will be time to enjoy a robotic petting zoo, live performances, a bite to eat from the food trucks and a stroll through 30+ vendors selling their creations. Proof that the planners thought of everything? There’s even a designated Quiet Space where Faire-goers can take a break from the sensory-rich activities. Wow!

For more info. about this amazing community event, check out our article about how the Pittsburgh Maker Faire promises to be a game changer.


Photo courtesy Phipps Conservatory.

Interact with the Garden Railroad at Phipps Conservatory

All aboard! The Garden Railroad at Phipps Conservatory is back this year with a whimsical theme that children are going to love. Opening on October 17th in conjunction with the Fall Flower Show, the Garden Railroad will take guests on an imaginative journey through scenes from classic tales such as Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk and The Little Engine That Could.

Thanks to interactive features engineered by staff members, visitors can make the railroad display come alive. For example, kids can push a button and make a crocodile follow Captain Hook’s ship around Neverland Island. Green thumbs will appreciate that all the plants and flowers surrounding the railroad are grown specifically to match the size of the trains and other features.