Just because school is back in session, that’s no reason to imagine fun has come to an end. September is bursting with family activities and entertainment to keep your kids happy and active. Look for fresh-air outings, dance parties, theatrical performances and a bit of STEM experimentation.
Be sure to pack your masks and visit each organization’s website and social media to stay updated about Covid safety protocols and guidelines.
1. Sept. 4-Jan. 17: “Rocky Mountain Express,” Carnegie Science Center
“Rocky Mountain Express” is the newest film to be featured at Carnegie Science Center’s Rangos Giant Cinema on the North Shore. The movie combines history and engineering with spectacular shots of a steam engine chugging through the Canadian Rockies. Viewers will be impressed by the ability of the men who managed to complete this transcontinental railway against nearly impossible odds. And those dizzying aerial shots add a bit of excitement, too. “Rocky Mountain Express” screens multiple times daily. Tickets are $7 (separate from Science Center admission).
2. Sept. 9-Oct. 10: RADical Days, multiple locations
It’s the most wonderful time of the year — in Allegheny County, at least. The monthlong RADical Days is the time when organizations that have benefited from the Allegheny Regional Asset District thank taxpayers with free activities and events. Families can enjoy admission to local museums, behind-the-scenes tours of Heinz Field and PNC Park, plus concerts and musical performances. Check out the complete lineup and mark your calendar for a fun-filled month of free, free, free!
3. Sept. 11: Baby Rave, Allegheny Overlook
Little kids who are inclined to bop and bounce to catchy music will revel in Baby Rave. The outdoor dance and music celebration is designed for babies to 5-year-olds. They’ll boogie-oogie-oogie to a live DJ set, curated by RBNOUS, aka Ryan Brown, founder of Make Sure You Have Fun and MSYHF.FM. Cool party favors will help inspire kiddos to get down on the dance floor at the Allegheny Overlook. The adorable Baby Rave, which begins at 11 a.m. on Sept.11, is a free event presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.
4. Sept. 12: Grandparents Day, Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium hosts a generation celebration for grandkids and their pap pap, meemaw, nonna and abuelo. On Grandparents Day, admission-paying kids can bring all their grands and great-grands for free. We imagine kids will get a kick out of playing host to their older relations while spending a day pointing out their favorite animals. Tickets for kids are $15.95.
5. Sept. 13-Oct. 18: Little Sprouts series, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Little Sprouts returns to Phipps for another season of Fall Camp. The weekly virtual series for ages 2-4 covers a wide range of intriguing subjects, from sustainability to art and science. Classes include uncovering the mysteries of pumpkins, using your five senses to explore parts of an apple and how herbs can transform a simple dish with amazing flavor. Little Sprouts costs $65 for the entire six-part series and covers plant kits for each class. Click here to learn more.
6. Sept. 18: Buffalo Creek Water Festival, Buffalo Creek Nature Park
The Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania hosts a family festival at its new Buffalo Creek Nature Park. The Buffalo Creek Water Festival will entertain and educate kids with a menu of activities from fishing to nature crafts and games. Food trucks will be on hand to sate appetites from energetic outdoor exploration and play. Registration is free, but required.
7. Sept. 18-19: Revolutionary War Encampment, Oliver Miller Homestead
The stone farmhouse at the Oliver Miller Homestead stands as a steadfast reminder of Pittsburgh’s frontier families. In 1772, Oliver Miller, his wife Mary Tidball and their 10 children settled on the property within the wilderness that is now South Park. The living history demonstrations that take place every weekend give kids an understanding of how the area’s early settlers lived. On Sept. 18 and 19, a special Revolutionary War Encampment event will highlight the experiences of the country’s earliest soldiers. Admission is $2 for this priceless experience.
8. Sept 23-Oct. 2: “Honk,” Little Lake Theatre
This update of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic tale of “The Ugly Duckling” is sure to delight kiddos with its humor and songs. “Honk!” tells the story of Ugly, who appears quite different from his oh-so-cute duckling siblings. Feeling left out, Ugly sets out on an adventure and learns that being different is not such a bad thing after all. The heartwarming performance will be held at Little Lake Theatre in Washington County. Tickets are $16 for kids and $22 for their grownups.
9. Sept. 25: Girls Rock Science, Carnegie Science Center
Not only do girls rock, Girls Rock Science! Carnegie Science Center is setting aside a special day for girls to experiment with STEM activities and interact with STEM professionals. Hands-on play and demonstrations will give girls insight into all the ways that science rocks. Participation could inspire future studies and spark ideas about science-related careers. The inclusive event is free with general admission to the Science Center.
10. Sept. 25: Junior Great Race, Point State Park
Energetic kids love to run. Now, they can go at it in an organized fashion and end up with a medal. The Junior Great Race, scheduled the day before the Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race, invites kids up to age 12 to participate. The Family Fun Run for ages 5-12 includes kids’ grownups running along. The Tot Trot sets kids up to 4 years through a 50-yard walled chute to the finish line. And littles who aren’t steady on their legs yet can compete on their hands and knees in the Diaper Dash. All kids who complete their competition will receive a commemorative medallion and be eligible to win prizes in the post-race raffle. Plus, they’ll get free snacks and drinks, along with the chance to meet mascots and participate in additional activities. Registration for each junior racer is $10.