Carnegie Museum of Natural History

From butterflies to model trains to ice skating, these fun events will help your family kick off the new year.

Miniature Railroad & Village at Carnegie Science Center. Photo by Renee Rosensteel.

Locomotion Weekend at Carnegie Science Center: January 7

Train enthusiasts of all ages can join Carnegie Science Center for Locomotion Weekend. The event offers all things locomotive, including a model rail yard featuring displays by local hobbyists, operating train layouts and hands-on activities. Bring your model train for a free checkup at the Loco Doctor table, or check out the new Westinghouse Atom Smasher in the Miniature Railroad & Village. You can also locate the Lenny the Lion figure in the Miniature Railroad & Village, snap a photo and post it on social media with #WheresLenny for a chance to win a Polar Express LionChief Ready-to-Run set.

Locomotion Weekend is free with admission. The #WheresLenny photo contest ends at 6 p.m. on January 8.

Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco. Image courtesy of Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures.

Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures presents Patricia Polacco: January 8

Patricia Polacco has delighted young readers for three decades with tales inspired by her multi-cultural family. Now the author and illustrator will visit the Carnegie Library Lecture Hall as part of the Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures series. During the event, Polacco will reflect on the inspiration behind her 90-plus books, which include such award-winning works as The Keeping Quilt, Babushka’s Doll, The Blessing Cup and My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother.

The Patricia Polacco talk takes place at 2:30 p.m. Tickets cost $11. A book signing on the first floor of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh will follow. Books will be available for sale before and after the lecture from Mystery Lovers Bookshop.

Pete the Cat. Image courtesy of Theatreworks USA.

Pete the Cat at various venues: January 8-15

Kids will have a purr-fectly good time when the Citizens Bank Children’s Theater Series presents Pete the Cat. Inspired by the beloved children’s book series, the all-ages musical follows a groovy blue feline with a taste for adventure. When he’s sent to live with the Biddle family to learn his manners, his crazy ways turn little Jimmy Biddle’s life upside down. But when Jimmy needs inspiration for his art class, Pete decides to help by taking him on a journey all the way to Paris and back in a VW Bus. With original songs and dance numbers, the one-hour-long show teaches valuable lessons about friendship and creativity.

Pete the Cat runs from January 8-15 at the Byham Theater and select area schools (Byham tickets are currently sold out). Ticket prices vary. Children under 2 are free but require a lap pass ticket for entry.

Image courtesy of Assemble.

Learning Party: Pittsburgh and Maps at Assemble: January 11

How are Pittsburgh’s bridges engineered? Can you make a rainfall water flow map of your neighborhood? What kinds of bugs live in local parks? Assemble will answer these questions and many more during their Learning Party: Pittsburgh and Maps. The event allows guests to explore engineering, biology, visual art, and more during hands-on activities led by local makers, scientists, artists and technologists.

Learning Party: Pittsburgh and Maps takes place from 4 to 6 p.m. at Assemble. This event is free and open to all ages. All materials and snacks are provided. Those interested in attending must RSVP.

Image courtesy of VStar Entertainment Group.

Sesame Street Live: Make A New Friend at the Benedum Center: January 13-15

Join Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Cookie Monster and the rest of the gang during Sesame Street Live: Make A New Friend at the Benedum Center. The fun-filled, interactive stage show follows Grover and his pals as they welcome his friend from India, Chamki. Together, they explore the universal joys of friendship and celebrate cultural similarities, from singing and dancing to sharing cookies. The Broadway-quality production will have the whole family bopping along to original songs and fun new parodies of popular radio hits like Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger.” Kids will even get the chance to meet their favorite characters when the performers take over the audience floor.

There will be five Sesame Street Live: Make A New Friend performances at the Benedum from Friday, January 13 through Sunday, January 15. Tickets start at $22.50.

Amanda Waltz

Amanda Waltz is a freelance journalist and film critic whose work has appeared locally in numerous publications. She writes for The Film Stage and is the founder and editor of Steel Cinema, a blog dedicated...