Whether you’re looking for a holly jolly good time or an escape from the yuletide madness, this town’s got plenty of kid-friendly events for Pittsburgh families throughout December.
1. A Musical Christmas Carol at the Byham Theater: Dec. 6-22
Charles Dickens’ time-honored tale gets a melodic spin thanks to the Pittsburgh CLO! Hear your favorite songs and witness dazzling special effects all at a price that would make ol’ Ebenezer smile: Kids ages 3 to 14 can get tickets as low as $17. Do you have a budding artist in the family? Have them participate in the coloring contest by Dec. 2 to win a four-pack of tickets.
2. Cookie Mall & Light Up Lawrenceville: Dec. 7
Lawrenceville United has the perfect evening planned for families who want to get into the holiday spirit. The neighborhood organization is hosting a Cookie Mall, its annual nonprofit bake sale, as well as a kids’ party from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Estelle S. Campbell Boys & Girls Club offering crafts, live music, a children’s choir and a visit from the guy in the big red suit. Non-perishable food items and checks for the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank will be accepted throughout the event. Once you’ve made your charitable contribution, stay for the 7 p.m. tree lighting in the driveway of Allegheny Cemetery to really get the season lit.
3. Polar PJ Parties at the Carnegie Science Center: Dec. 7, 20, 21 and 22
Before Tom Hanks played our beloved Mister Rogers on film, he lent his voice talents to the animated classic “The Polar Express.” Now you can see the film on the Rangos Giant Cinema screen … in your pajamas! Before the flick starts, guest can make their own beverage at the hot chocolate bar (complete with liquid nitrogen frozen marshmallows!) and enjoy a light breakfast snack as well as make-and-take activities. Buhl Planetarium’s “Stars Over the North Pole” show will get you primed and ready for Santa’s visit. Parties start at 8:30 a.m. on Saturdays Dec. 7 and 21 and Sunday, Dec. 22, and at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 20.
4. Penguins on Parade at Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium: Dec. 7 and Saturdays and Sundays through the end of January
What’s even better than watching the Penguins play hockey at PPG Paints Arena? Watching these real penguins march outside of the PPG Aquarium. Starting at 11:30 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday through the end of January, you can watch these lovable birds on parade. Check the forecast before you head down to Highland Park: The temperature must be below 45 degrees in order for the tuxedoed stars to go outside. The event is included with general zoo admission.
5. Keystone State Wrestling Alliance Fan Fest Holiday Toy Drive at Spirit Hall: Dec. 7
Nothing says happy holidays like watching a bunch of dudes duke it out in the ring when KWSA brings all-ages fun to Spirit Hall in Lawrenceville. In addition to the hard-hitting action, the organization is tag-teaming with the Allegheny County Department of Human Services to collect new, unwrapped toys for underprivileged kids and teens throughout the area. Cheer on your favorite wrestler, and while you’re at it, try your luck on raffles, a raffe and other prizes throughout the night.
6. Chanukah Bazaar at Rodef Shalom Gift Corner: Dec. 8
Get all of your shopping done — and fill up on latkes and other goodies! — at Rodef Shalom Gift Corner. Stock up on everything from holiday Judaica and clothing, to jewelry and toys from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. You also can pop by the preschool bake sale, the Biblical Botanical Garden and pot-a-plant station and check out other outside vendors.
7. Kate’s Kid Book Bash at Ace Hotel: Dec. 8
Celebrate the life and work of local children’s book author Kate Dopirak inside The Gym at Ace Hotel. During the free event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., guests can purchase their favorite kids’ books and have them signed by more than 20 authors and illustrators in attendance, including Jonathan Auxier, Nick Courage, Sharon G. Flake, Stacy Innerst, Rachael Lippincott and Siobhan Vivian. In addition to the pop-up bookstore, there will be a silent art auction, hands-on demonstrations by children’s book illustrators and a storytime with readings by notable Pittsburghers. Proceeds benefit Reading Is Fundamental Pittsburgh.