Jousting at the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival.
Courtesy of the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival.

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August continues summer excitement with options to squeeze the most fun from the season before the school year resumes. Sports, jousting and the messiest festival in town are on the calendar. Pittsburgh families will not want to miss these engaging opportunities for kids throughout the Pittsburgh region.

Sailboats on the river.
Photo courtesy of Moraine State Park Regatta.

1. Aug. 5-7: Moraine State Park Regatta

Head to the south shore of Lake Arthur for the annual Moraine State Park Regatta. Your crew can make a splash in or out of the water with challenging and creative activities. Plan for three full days of free family fun or pick and choose from the schedule that includes everything from standup paddle board outings and kayak lessons to hands-on building kits and archery. Festival food, vendors and live music add to the atmosphere. And it wouldn’t be a regatta without fireworks reflecting off the water. The sky show is scheduled for 9 p.m. on Aug. 6.

A close up of a small hedgehog.
Photo courtesy of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

2. Aug. 6, 10, 20, 30: Wonders of Wildlife, Carnegie Library branches

We love our neighborhood libraries and the many ways they engage and educate kids. Carnegie Library and education specialists from the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium plan visits to several library branches for fun, interactive presentations. They’ll arrive in style via a Zoomobile along with animals and biofacts to help kids learn about the Wonders of Wildlife. Catch the critters on Aug. 6 in the South Side, Aug. 10 in Squirrel Hill, Aug. 20 at the Downtown library and Aug. 30 in the Hill District. No registration is needed for these free sessions.

A falcon swoops from the sky.
Photo courtesy of the National Aviary.

3. Aug. 6: Falconry: The Sport of Kings, National Aviary

Discover the history of an exciting sport that spans thousands of years at a special National Aviary session. Falconry: The Sport of Kings will be presented by Cathy Schlott, the aviary’s licensed falconer. Participants will learn about the modern-day practices of falconry and the variety of birds falconers hunt with, and will explore equipment and regulations. The program is intended for ages 10 to adults. An adult is required to accompany kids under 16 years of age. Tickets are $30, which includes admission to the Aviary.

Kids and adults finish kayaking.
Photo courtesy of Venture Outdoors.

4. Aug. 13: Big Day Aht, Venture Outdoors

Venture Outdoors returns to a summer celebration of the great outdoors with an unapologetic Pittsburgh accent. The organization’s Big Day Aht packs a full array of fresh-air programming into a single day on Aug. 13. The activities include many that are geared to kids of all ages and abilities. Sign up for a Summer Bird Hike, Forest Bathing on Sycamore Island or a Beginners Skateboard Workshop. Bring your pup along for a Doggie Paddle or take a Tyke Hike. Activities prices range from free to $25, but all require registration.

Butterfly specimens at the museum.
Photo courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

5. Aug. 13: Super Science Saturday: Black and Gold, Carnegie Museum of Natural History

The month’s Super Science Saturday delves into Pittsburgh pride, referencing the color combo and mascots for which our city is known. See how black and gold plants, bugs and birds create a “home-field advantage” through their colorful patterns and camouflage. The natural history of our penguin, parrot and panther mascots will be covered, too. Expect a scavenger hunt along with other fun stuff. Super Science Saturday programming is included in the museum’s general admission. Best for kids ages 7-12 years.

A large dragon light display.
Photo by Sally Quinn.

6. Aug. 12- Oct. 30: Asian Lantern Festival, Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

The Asian Lantern Festival returns to the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium for a second year. The vibrant silk and steel structures glowing from within include handcrafted favorites from 2021, along with additions kids will love: a lineup of dinosaurs. Walk along zoo paths and admire wildlife-themed lanterns, such as a Chinese dragon, a tree filled with butterflies and swimming sea turtles. Entertainment on various dates includes Taiko drumming, martial arts and Asian dance. Timed tickets are $19.95 for kids ages 2-13 and $22.95 for their grownups.

Kids playing on logs at the park.
Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy.

7. Aug. 14: Nature Play Date, Frick Park

They had us at mud kitchen! It’s hard to argue against a play date with nature. Families are invited to meet at the Nature Play Area at the beginning of the South Clayton Trail for a wild day in the wild. Expect to get dirty climbing, building and investigating the space. And then, there’s that irresistible mud kitchen, home to mud pies, mud cakes and other muddy creations. This activity is best for younger kids up to age 10. Register here for this free event through the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy.

A scientist giving a presentation at the Science Center.
Photo courtesy of Carnegie Science Center.

8. Aug. 20: MessFest, Carnegie Science Center

Science is fun, but messy science? Even better! MessFest returns to Carnegie Science Center for a summer-ending blast of goo, gunk and explosions that teach scientific principles in the wildest way possible. Learn about surface tension by creating bubbles that are longer than a car. Shoot a super soaker to create graffiti art. Smash strawberries and use chemistry to extract their DNA. For more messes, consider elephant toothpaste, slime in a baggie, egg drops and a super science dunk tank. MessFest is included in general admission tickets. Buy them in advance to prevent disappointment as this popular event is likely to sell out.

People playing vintage baseball.
Photo courtesy of Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historical Village.

9. Aug. 20: Vintage Base Ball, Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village

Take them out to the old-timey ballgame, where baseball fans will get a kick out of the annual Vintage Base Ball Day at Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village on Aug. 20. Three games will be played by the Somerset Frosty Sons of Thunder, the Addison Mountain Stars and the Keystone Base Ball Club. Players will be decked out in retro uniforms and play the game according to the 1860 rulebook. At that time, gloves were not worn by players, called “ballists.” Batters were called “strikers.” Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy during a game and spend the rest of the day exploring the historic site. The Base Ball Games are included with Meadowcroft admission.

Adults in costume tell stories to kids at the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival.
Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival.

10. Aug. 20-Sept. 25: Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival, West Newton

Jolly King Henry welcomes his friends and subjects to the magical village of Morelandshire for the opening weekend of the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival. Expect crowd pleasers throughout the day with sword fighting, magicians, exciting tales of adventure from heroines in disguise, plus Dragonfire, a fire-breathing comedy act. And you won’t want to miss the action-packed jousting of chivalrous knights on horseback. Themed weekends include a Children’s Weekend from Sept. 3-5 and a Pirate Invasion weekend from Sept. 17-18. Tickets are $12 for ages 5-12, $25 for grownups and free for those younger than 5.


Through Aug. 3: “Winnie the Pooh,” South Park Theatre

Through Oct. 30: GUITAR: The Instrument that Rocked the World, Carnegie Science Center

Through Jan. 2: Nature’s Amazing Machines, Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Aug. 4, 11, 25: Solar Concert Series, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

Aug.6-21: Fall Fantasy Parades, Kennywood Park

Aug. 13: Kindergarten, Here I Come, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

Aug. 13: Story Saturday, Carnegie Museum of Art

Aug. 14: Elephant Day, Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Aug. 25-26: Pittsburgh Ballet School Open House

Aug. 27: 19th Century Chocolate, Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village

Sally Quinn is a Pittsburgh-based editor and writer who writes about food, entertainment, kid stuff, pop culture, cocktails!