Looking at this year’s lineup for the EQT’s Pittsburgh International Children’s Festival will make you want to be a kid again.

Sponsored by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust since 2008, the festival is back for its 28th year, but with a change of scenery. This  year it moves from its original Oakland venue to Downtown’s Cultural District.

“It was time to bring the Children’s Festival into the footprint of the Cultural District,” says executive director of the Pittsburgh International Children’s Theater, Pamela Lieberman, noting the venues available such as Bricolage Theater and the August Wilson Center for African-American Culture.

This year’s festival is once again packed with creative and educational events including seven international shows for ages two and up, presented by the Pittsburgh International Children’s Theater.

“It’s an opportunity to spend the whole day or come back through out the festival with your family and immerse yourself in the arts,” says Lieberman who adds that  only a handful of children’s festivals in the country are theater-based.

New to the festival is LilyPad Park equipped with mixed artificial and natural turf play areas, which are free to the public. The park also includes 30 free hands-on activities, roving artists, and an outdoor community stage at the corner of Eighth Street and Penn Avenue.

Festival go-ers can also look forward to a large outside sandbox for children and the Frog Stop Scavenger Hunt with clues to different sites scattered throughout the Cultural District. Some clues will feature an architectural connection and help keep the kids to stay engaged while walking from theater to theater.

But the festival isn’t just for kids. The new art-installation, Miracoco, is an inflatable structure using natural light to create vibrant hues, creating a whole new world as you step inside.

Food trucks and other food vendors will also be on site.

For those not too familiar with the Cultural District, walking and talking frogs—or volunteers dressed up as such—will help families locate theaters. Crossing guards and maps will provide additional help.

‘We have been in Oakland for six years,” says Lieberman. “This will be completely different and I’m excited to share it with the families.”

Learn about the shows here and purchase tickets before they sell out.

Festival Shows:

by Nadine Animato Theater Dance Company (Israel), A live-action soccer game transforms the theater into a stadium. Audiences will be chanting, laughing and cheering along to a game played without a ball.

Best for ages 4+

August Wilson Center Theater, 980 Liberty Avenue

by Theatre Tout À Trac (Canada), Born as a puppet and brought to life by a wish, the rebellious, cheeky and careless Pinocchio discovers the meaning of growing up through a thousand trials.

Best for ages 5 to10

Byham Theater, 101 Sixth Street

Animals by
El Retablo (Spain)
An array of animals come to life, made of recycled materials and everyday objects.

Best for ages 3 to 8

Trust Arts Education Center, 805-807 Liberty Avenue

Hands Up
by Lejo (Netherlands), A cast of thousands in Lejo’s hands. Perhaps you’ll encounter the pianist, the octopus or a full choir. World-famous, Lejo’s characters have all sorts of adventures, proving that less can be more.

Best for everyone ages 3 to adult

Trust Arts Education Center, 805-807 Liberty Avenue

Miracoco* by Architects of Air (United Kingdom),
This colossal, inflatable structure uses natural light to create a world immersed in vibrant hues of color. Visitors experience a sense of wonder and tranquility while exploring its mesmerizing domes and tunnels. *This luminarium is sensory-friendly.

Best for ages all ages but children must be accompanied by an adult.

8th St. at Penn Avenue

Tales of Folklore and Fantasy
by Temujin the Storyteller (USA)
Gathering the crowd with the sounds of an African talking drum, Temujin welcomes you to travel the world on a storytelling journey that will have you laughing and learning along the way.

Best for ages 5+

August Wilson Center Theater, 980 Liberty Avenue

Little Steps*
by Teater My (Denmark)
Mommy and Daddy. Granny and Granddad.  A snail and a tree by the side of the road. Preschool filled with friends. A bicycle, a bedtime story. An umbrella and the hope for rain. Little Steps is the story of a small child in a big world.

Best for ages 2–5

Trust Arts Education Center, 805-807 Liberty Avenue

Midnight Radio Jr. – Underwater Voyage
by Bricolage Production Company (USA)
Midnight Radio Jr. is an unforgettable live comedy/variety show in the style of a 1940s radio broadcast  ̶  just for kids ages 6 ̶ 12 and their grown ups!

Best for ages 5 to 12 (but all ages welcome)

Bricolage Theater, 937 Liberty Avenue

Amanda King is a freelance multimedia journalist whose work can be seen on MSNBC.COM and a number of local publications, from the Post-Gazette to the Beaver County Times. A former journalist for the Bucks County Courier Times, she reported on NJ Gov. Chris Christie. She received her BA in Broadcast Journalism from Point Park University and is working on her first short film about 'The Modern Day Nanny', which examines how technology and education affect this traditional career. She loves telling stories with a social & educational impact.