Bountiful May brings gorgeous weather that opens up terrific outdoor experiences and cool educational activities. These top 13 can’t-miss events range from free festivals and a celebration of rhinos to entertaining theater performances for all ages.
1. Now through Jan. 22, 2024: Jane’s Endangered Animal Experience, Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s newest exhibit is based on the new Apple TV+ series, “Jane,” and inspired by the work of Jane Goodall. In the series, a young girl named Jane Garcia and her friends work to protect endangered creatures. Jane’s Endangered Animal Experience focuses on the plight of the North American honey bee and its importance to the environment. Kids can fly in a replica of Jane’s high-tech pod vehicle, collect pollen and climb onto a custom-built model of a bee. The experience includes a 30-minute media presentation in the Earth Theater at 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily. Entry is free with museum admission.
2. May 3-October: Tri-Anglers Lunchtime Fishing, North Shore River Walk
Catch sunny skies and a warm breeze and watch river traffic from the North Shore. Venture Outdoors hosts the annual lunchtime fishing series every Wednesday. All the gear is provided, along with instructions on baiting your hook and casting your line. Wondering what kind of fish you pulled out? A knowledgeable staff member will identify that bass, carp, catfish or freshwater drum for you. This catch and release program, in operation for 22 years, is open to all ages. It’s a wonderful opportunity to give kids a chance to become seasoned anglers. Registration is free but required.
3. May 4-23: Remake Learning Days, multiple locations
Since its launch in 2016, Remake Learning Days has grown in scope locally as well as expanded to regions across the country. Kids can explore the joy of learning through 200 engaging, in-person activities hosted by schools, libraries, museums and tech companies. Build a microscope and learn about cancer research, code an art spinner, check out the robot petting zoo, sew a softie or take part in a family engineering night. Search through the offerings to find mostly free activities that inspire your kids. You will also find more than 100 virtual events that can be explored at home.
4. May 5: Cinco de Rhino Family Celebration, Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium
Celebrate the five species of rhinos at this family-friendly event at the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium. The species in residence here are Black Rhinos. Kids will learn about conservation efforts to preserve the rhinoceros through hands-on crafts and all those fun facts kids love, like a herd of rhinos is called a crash. Their grownups will want to return for the adults-only Cinco de Rhino Happy Hour that includes tacos, churros and drink tickets along with the fiesta atmosphere. The Cinco de Rhino Family Celebration is free with admission. The Cinco de Rhino Happy Hour is $70 and $55 for designated drivers.
5. May 5-14: “The 39 Steps,” New Hazlett Theater
Prime Stage Theatre presents Alfred Hitchcock’s suspenseful thriller that’s been turned into a hilarious, fast-paced play as four actors bring 150 characters to life. The mayhem and craziness keep the laughs coming with a fight on top of a train, an airplane chase, spies and romance. Director Scott P. Calhoon puts it this way: “Mystery, mayhem, murder … have never been absolutely so much fun!” Best for middle school kids to adults. Tickets are $19 for students and $39 for adults. A pay-what-you-can preview is offered on May 9.
6. May 6: Salamander Saturday, Carnegie Science Center
Salamander Saturday was started by the Foundation for the Conservation of Salamanders as an international day of awareness. Here in Pittsburgh, kids can learn about the salamander’s importance to the ecosystem and the dangers it faces through special programming at the Carnegie Science Center. Expect themed activities, storytime and a visit with animal ambassadors. Salamander Saturday events are free with admission.
7. May 6-7: Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon Weekend
We’ll leave long-distance endurance racing to the elite athletes. We find our Pittsburgh Marathon joy watching the younger set compete on May 6. The Sheetz Pittsburgh Toddler Trot ($15) begins its 40-meter dash with four heats beginning at 8:30 a.m. in Point State Park. Heats for the 1-mile Chick-fil-A Pittsburgh Kids Marathon ($25) begin at 9:30 a.m. on the North Shore. Another good race for active families is the UPMC Health Plan | UPMC Sports Medicine Pittsburgh 5K Run ($59) that begins at 8 a.m. on the North Shore. All participating kids receive a shirt, medal, post-race food and drinks, plus a celebration of their accomplishments at the Finish Line Festival in Point State Park. Registration ends on May 5.
8. May 13: A day of creative classes, Trust Arts Education Center
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has programmed an invigorating day of creative learning for all ages. Fam Jam!, for ages 3 and older, brings families together to sing, dance and create original music. Registration is $10. In Creating Choreography!, a class for kids in grades 5-8, young dancers will develop their own style of dance using Dua Lipa’s “Don’t Start Now” and Harry Styles’ “As It Was.” Registration is $25. Open Mic: Creative Expression for ALL! is offered for writers of all ages who care to share their raps, poetry or performances through workshopping their material and presenting it to the group. Registration is $15. All classes take place at the Trust Arts Education Center at 807 Liberty Ave.
9. May 13: Story Hike: “Flute’s Journey,” Frick Environmental Center
“Flute’s Journey: The Life of a Wood Thrush” is the perfect storybook to celebrate World Migratory Bird Day. Author Lynne Cherry tells the tale of Flute’s first perilous migration across thousands of miles from his Maryland nesting ground to his Costa Rica winter home and back again. A Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy naturalist educator will read the story, then lead kids on a short hike to discover birds in Frick Park. Registration is free but required.
10. May 19-21: EQT Children’s Theater Festival, Cultural District
Pittsburgh’s biggest party for kids is now in its 37th year. International children’s theater performances are at the heart of the festival, but there is so much more. Loads of free, hands-on activities, like the Rainbow Fish Storytime, Alloy School Craft Party and an Origami Station will pique imaginations. Look for street performers like the Chalking Dad’s Interactive 3D Chalk Art, Street Magic with Mr. Messado and the juggling, clownish antics of O’Ryan the O’Mazing. The ticketed theater productions target the littlest audience members through tweens. The seven shows, priced at $12, include “The Gruffalo,” “Origami Tales,” Buoyant Sea” and “Hiccup!” Explore the complete lineup of fun here.
11. May 20: Wild Kratts: Creature Power! opening day, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh
Based on the popular PBS Kids series, this new interactive exhibit allows kids to explore animal habitats from around the world, discover incredible creature powers and go on a mission to foil the villains’ nefarious plans. This 2,500-square-foot exhibition focuses on cultivating STEM skills in kids ages 3 to 9. Through an inquiry-based approach, kids explore age-appropriate science concepts central to the lives of animals. Opening weekend activities include live animal ambassadors and a touch table from Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium. The Wild Kratts: Creature Power! activities are free with museum admission.
12. May 20: Touch-A-Truck, Moon Park
If you have a little one whose weekly highlight is hearing the beep-beep-beep and roar of the garbage truck, this event is for you. At Moon Park’s Touch-A-Truck event, kids can get up close to all those big trucks they so admire, from earth-moving construction equipment to emergency vehicles. They will meet the people who operate the trucks and can ask them questions about their jobs. There will be photo ops galore. Touch-A-Truck runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with free admission. Planning to spend the day? Food trucks will be on hand for a snack break.
13. May 28: OpenStreetsPGH, North Shore to South Side
Bike Pittsburgh hosts the return of OpenStreetsPGH, scheduled for the last Sunday of May, June and July. The May route is planned from the North Shore to the South Side filling miles with family fun. You will follow the crowd Downtown and through the Armstrong Tunnel, over the 10th Street Bridge and onto East Carson Street. It’s a blast to walk, skate or bike on closed streets, bridges — and through a tunnel! Pause along the way to take part in activities. You’ll likely come across pop-up parklets, live entertainment and fitness classes that will keep your energy up. Watch for schedule updates coming soon.
May 6: Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village opening day
May 12: “Madagascar: A Musical Adventure,” Benedum Center for the Performing Arts
May 20: Super Science Saturday: Backyard Biology, Carnegie Museum of Natural History
May 20: Idlewild and SoakZone opening day
May 27: Story Saturday: “Home: A Tribute to the Many Possibilities of Home,” Carnegie Museum of Art