Photo courtesy of Sandcastle.

Sandcastle adding six-story slide this summer

It’s freezing outside, but things are heating up at Sandcastle in Homestead.

The waterpark is adding a new attraction for the 2022 season. Bombs Away is a 305-foot-long drop slide. Daredevils will step into an enclosed capsule and, without warning, the floor beneath their feet vanishes. They’ll fall six stories down a twisting turning shoot at speeds up to 26 feet per second.

Photo courtesy of Sandcastle.

“This drop is over the top, and riders will love looping around and around to the splashdown,” says Kennywood and Sandcastle General Manager Mark Pauls.

Sandcastle Water Park has been providing summer fun for 30 seasons with 15 world-class waterslides, the Mon-Tsunami Wave Pool, Mushroom Pool, Lazy River and more.

Doing good: Assemble personal care kits for neighbors in need

Global Links is hosting Family Volunteer Days for the holiday season.

Adults and children of all ages can help neighbors in need by collecting items for and assembling personal care kits. Families can build kits at home and participate virtually through a live Zoom event with Global Links staff on Saturday, Nov. 20, or build their kits at home at any time with access to virtual instructions and a video presentation.

An in-person Family Volunteer Day, open to fully vaccinated teens ages 12-18 and adults, will be held on Dec. 11 at Global Links in Green Tree.

After registering, volunteers will receive an email with a list of items to purchase, including soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss and moisturizer, along with a Zoom link or assembly instructions.

Global Links will distribute the kits to local partner organizations, including South Hills Interfaith Movement, POWER, North Hills Community Outreach, Propel Northside Community Wellness, Jewish Family and Community Services, Human Services Center, and several groups serving local immigrant, refugee and homeless neighbors.

Want to find other ways your kids can lend a hand? Check out this Kidsburgh guide to volunteering.

Snowy egret. Photo courtesy of the National Aviary.

The National Aviary accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums

This week the National Aviary received accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the gold standard for zoological institutions. The North Side facility, which is home to more than 500 animals, has maintained continuous accreditation since 1984.

In order to achieve accreditation, zoos undergo an evaluation process designed to ensure that animal welfare and wellbeing, veterinary care, conservation efforts, education programs, safety, financial stability.

The Aviary is one of 22 facilities in North America to receive the accreditation.

“The communities where these 22 zoos and aquariums are located should be proud their local aquarium, zoo or nature center is among the best zoological facilities in the world,” AZA President and CEO Dan Ashe says. “The process to receive AZA accreditation is rigorous and continues to include ever-increasing standards to ensure that the animals’ best interests are always first and foremost. We are excited and proud to have these top-notch zoos and aquariums as AZA members.”

Over at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium in Highland Park, new Director Jeremy Goodman is focused on helping the zoo achieve accreditation from the AZA. There are more than 2,000 animal exhibitors in the country that are licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Only about 200 of those facilities have AZA accreditation.

Commonplace Coffee baristas release their own blend

Commonplace Coffee recently released Oasis, the company’s first-ever barista-developed blend. Unlike the typical blend development process, which is headed up by the Commonplace’s roasting team and takes place at its headquarters, this product was developed at their Point Breeze cafe by shop manager Trey White and lead barista Micah Jasper.

Oasis features tasting notes of date, milk chocolate and cherry and is available for purchase at all Commonplace Coffee shops and online.

“Baristas are the members of our team who hear feedback and do hands-on work with the coffee every day,” White says. “Allowing baristas to develop a blend strengthens the connection between our roasters and guests.”

News in brief (Got a tip? Send us an email)

Kristy Locklin

Kristy Locklin is a North Hills-based writer. When she's not busy reporting, she enjoys watching horror movies and exploring Pittsburgh's craft beer scene.