June is busting out all over with the return of many of our favorite family-focused places and warm-weather events. With kids looking forward to the end of a very long and trying school year, we’re happy to report a heaping helping of activities they can look forward to. There’s plenty of fun ahead with these top 11 events for kids.
1. Journey to Africa, National Aviary: Ongoing through summer
The National Aviary focuses on the rich diversity of ecosystems in Africa with a new program this summer. Journey to Africa delves into avian species found in a wide range of environments, from deserts and rocky shores to grassy savannahs and jungles. Meet birds from each of these areas and learn how they adapt to their unique surroundings. Catch the immersive bird show, “African Adventure.” Kids will be thrilled to experiencing a Red-billed Hornbill flying overhead and the flapping 6-foot wingspan of a Grey Crowned-crane. Daily events include the African Penguin Feeding, Vultures in Flight and Eagles of Africa. Make a plan and buy your timed tickets here.
2. Movies in the Parks, Hartwood Acres and South Park: June 2-Sept. 4
Following Allegheny County’s spring drive-in season, the free Movies in the Parks summer series invites families to leave their cars and lounge on blankets or chairs for an open-air cinema experience. The weekly fun begins at 7:30 p.m. on June 2 at Hartwood Acres, or on June 5 at South Park. There are also kid-friendly activities before the sunset screenings. “Dolittle” launches the season, followed by “Scoob!” Grownups will enjoy sharing some of their nostalgic favorites, like “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Check out the complete lineup here.
3. Three Rivers Arts Festival Creative Activities, Downtown: June 4-13
We’re excited about the return of a more traditional, in-person Three Rivers Arts Festival. Grownups love the live music, artist market and all that fragrantly tempting festival food. But kids want more to stay engaged. TRAF’s Creative Activities lineup is just the ticket! The Giant Eagle Creativity Zone hosts cultural groups that have organized all sorts of hands-on and interactive endeavors. Explore movement with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, make a take-home box instruments with UniSound and mold seed bombs with Union Project. Find storytelling that engages kids through dance, music and dramatic play at EQT Plaza. And stop by Katz Plaza for a group painting session. Not ready to join the crowds? The schedule includes virtual activities, too.
4. Jurassic Quest Drive-Thru, The Pavilion at Star Lake: June 4-20
Your dinosaur-crazed kids will love the Jurassic Quest Drive-Thru when it makes a Pittsburgh stop during its national tour. More than 70 animatronic dinosaurs will make their home at The Pavilion at Star Lake from June 4-20. Along with a fierce T. Rex, the “sail-backed” Spinosaurus and an intimidating Triceratops, adorable baby dinosaurs will offer a smiling welcome. An audio guide will offer informative background on the creatures through the 60-minute tour. Dino wranglers will stop by your car for more personal interactions. Boost the kids’ anticipation by downloading free Jurassic Quest activities like a coloring book, word search and foldable projects. Ticket prices range from $39-$80 per car, depending on the date and vehicle size. Each vehicle will receive a free safari-style photo with a dinosaur backdrop to keep as a souvenir.
5. Kids Cruises, Gateway Clipper Fleet: June 6-Aug. 29
The Gateway Clipper Fleet’s kid-themed cruises return on June 6 with a Princess Cruise. Popular royal heroines will be on hand to greet little princesses and lead them in fun activities like a DJ dance party. Action fans will prefer the interactive Superhero Cruise that launches June 13. The youngest set can head to the Trolls & Pup Patrol Cruise, the most popular kids cruise, planned for July 11. Find all the details for your river adventures here.
6. BioBlitz Family Fun Festival, Schenley Park: June 6
Explore the biodiversity of Schenley Park during Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens’ annual BioBlitz Family Fun Festival. Choose from more than a dozen free activities led by local scientists and naturalists. The lineup includes walks that focus on subjects like spiders, fungi and snails. Kids can also try their hand at botanical drawing, learn about birding or enjoy a yoga stretch. Registration is free but required for each activity.