Nothing says October like campfires, pumpkin picking and trick-or-treat silliness. They’re all part of the family excitement happening this month in Pittsburgh. Read on for our top 10 kid-friendly events you won’t want to miss.
1. Dinosaur Armor at Carnegie Museum of Natural History: Ongoing
This world premiere exhibit is perfect for the dino-loving kids in your household. Dinosaur Armor shows how the drive to survive pushed the evolution of these prehistoric creatures to develop protection from bigger and fiercer predators. The adaptations that developed over 500 million years include 14-inch spikes and clubbed tails. Neat stuff! Tickets are $3 for kids and $5 for their grownups, in addition to museum admission. Get your timed tickets here.
2. Pumpkin picking and hayrides at area farms: Throughout October
Soergel’s offers free access to its apple orchard and pumpkin patch for daily picking. The Petting Zoo is open, and visitors can plan on walking to the field and orchard.
Shenot’s Farm’s pumpkin patch is open for daily picking following a half-mile walk to the field. The cost is $2 on Fridays-Sundays, free on Mondays-Thursdays, and free every day for ages 2 and younger.
Triple B Farms welcomes families for fall fun that includes pumpkin, apple and sunflower picking. A $10 timed ticket includes two corn mazes, visits to the animal barn and hayrides. Free for ages 2 and younger.
Trax Farms’ Harvest Days include a 3-acre corn maze, farm animals, a pumpkin patch and a hayride in the $10 ticket. Kids 2 and younger are free.
Simmons Farm’s fall festivities include hayrides with pumpkin, apple and flower picking, plus mazes and rubber duck races. Buy your timed ticket in advance.
3. Row House Drive-in Cinema at The Terminal: Weekends Oct. 2-31
Row House Cinema is teaming up with The Terminal in the Strip District for its new Drive-in Cinema, running weekends throughout October. Programming includes family-friendly films — like “The Neverending Story” and “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” — plus Halloween-themed flicks that should be a big hit with kids. Expect to be tempted by the sale of Row House popcorn and beverages. We’re told some fun surprises are in store, too. Tickets are $25 per car.
4. Park After Dark: Campfire with Park Rangers at Allegheny County Parks: Oct. 3 and 30
A crackling fire and the aroma of wood smoke are perfect for chilly October nights. Add in park rangers who lead discussions on nature and history, and a few campfire stories, and the evening is complete. Pack up the family’s camp chairs and head to South Park or North Park on Oct. 3 and 30 for the free, all-ages experience. Register in advance here.
5. TriAnglers Fishing on the North Shore: Oct. 7, 14, 21, 28
October is the final month for Venture Outdoors’ free lunchtime fishing sessions. Every Wednesday, kids can borrow a rod and reel to cast a line into the Allegheny River. Instructors are on hand to guide them on how to bait a hook and reel in their catches. TriAnglers is free for all ages, but participants who are 16 and older require a PA Fishing License. Registration is not required.
6. Virtual Birding with Bob Mulvihill at the National Aviary: Oct. 7, 14, 21, 28
Kids will get a chance to learn more about backyard birds and those migrating flocks flying overhead with these weekly virtual birding lessons. Ornithologist Bob Mulvihill will cover topics like preparing your yard for winter birds, the science of migration and the world of raptors, starring Bald Eagles in Pittsburgh. The all-ages program is suitable for novice and experienced birders — and provides fun STEM lessons for kiddos. Registration is $15.
7. Virtual Young Chefs Thrive Cooking Academy with Phipps Conservatory: Oct. 13, 20 & 27
Chef Emily Larsen leads junior chefs through the paces with virtual lessons on knife skills and culinary aptitude. Families receive an ingredient list before the classes, which include cooking up a marinara sauce from scratch on Oct. 13, a better-than-takeout stir fry on Oct. 20, plus a first-course salad and bruschetta crostini on Oct. 27. Sign up kids for one or all of the classes and help them develop a positive relationship with food.
8. Family Days at Carnegie Museum of Art: Oct. 17
Kids ages 3-18 who visit the museum on Family Days will receive an Art Cat bag of gallery adventure activities, drawing materials and cool ideas for continuing the fun at home. The event is timed to coincide with Super Science Days at Carnegie Museum of Natural History, so you can take advantage of both museum happenings with one admission ticket. Get your timed tickets here.
9. ZooBoo Drive-Thru at the Pittsburgh Zoo: Oct. 17, 18, 24 & 25
Trick-or-treat at the zoo is reimagined with a Halloween parade of cars filled with costumed little monsters. The $60 per car admission includes an audio tour and stops for candy and other treats throughout the zoo. Add to the family fun by decorating your vehicle in a festive “car-stume.” Purchase a timed ticket in advance.
10. Pittsburgh Monster Pumpkins Pop-up on the North Shore: Oct. 30-Nov. 5
The Monster Pumpkins Festival is renamed the Monster Pumpkins Pop-up this year, featuring those gigantic, overgrown pumpkins in a new way. Heinz Field’s Gold Parking Lot 1A will be lined with a drive-by display of pumpkins that are hand-carved into extraordinary works of art. The massive collection will glow at night for a magical Halloween experience.
For more events, go here.