Preserving through Pandemic: Pittsburgh’s Cultural District

PITTSBURGH — With the highly anticipated return to normal activities, the reality of what it has taken for us to get from March 2020 to August 2021 is really setting in. Through it all, I’ve placed a confidence in my faith and the science that has helped us as we’re preserving through pandemic.

For the Willis house, that has meant getting used to wearing masks in most settings. We’re “half vacinated” – three of the six of us are eligible and the others are ready! The biggest change is that we have had to adjust our usually fully packed schedule and haven’t been as “cultural” as we’re used to.

The ‘lil Burghers enjoying a July evening at Mellon Square, Pittsburgh

One of the things I’ve realized that we really miss are making it to in person performances. (The last one we were able to attend as a family was Monster Jam in 2020!)

Pittsburgh Cultural Trust: 9/17 – 11/30

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has announced what they are doing to keep guests to their indoor performances as safe as they can and yet move forward through November 30, 2021.

According to a press release from Pittsburgh Cultural Trust on August 19:

Masks will also be required inside venues should levels of community COVID-19 transmission in Allegheny County reach ‘substantial’ or ‘high’ as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (status available at: Some events are subject to exception from this rule and will require audience members to remain masked regardless of community spread. These shows will be noted as such at all points of ticket purchase, alerting buyers of the mask mandate. Ticket buyers will also be contacted by guest services to confirm attendance requirements prior to the event. Real-time vaccination and masking requirements, and any updates, will continue to be available on each organization’s website (listed in boilerplate information).

The vaccine and masking policies begin with the return of indoor performances on September 17, 2021 and are currently set to run at least through November 30, 2021. Health and safety policies will continue to be regularly evaluated and adjusted based on community health data, and public health and government guidance.

Guests will be required to be fully vaccinated with the Moderna, Pfizer, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine and must show proof of vaccination at their time of entry into the theater with their valid ticket and driver’s license or government issued identification. “Fully vaccinated” means that on the date of the performance, a guest has received their second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or their single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, at least 14 days prior. 

All individuals entering a Cultural District venue must be vaccinated with exceptions for children under the age of 12 and people with a medical condition or closely held religious belief that prevents vaccination. Guests who fall into one of these exception categories must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of the performance start time, or a negative COVID-19 antigen test taken within 24 hours of the performance start time. COVID-19 tests must be administered by an official testing center. Self-administered tests will not be accepted.

This family is happy for the work the Roadmap to Reopening committee has done here in our city. While these measures might not be the most comfortable, it’s a way we can show how Pittsburgh is preserving through the pandemic.

Click here to read more about how Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is handling the current status of COVID-19.

The Pittsburgh Potty (That Wasn’t)

This is the tale of the Pittsburgh Potty that wasn’t. It is a story I keep meaning to write because it is memorable, but I keep thinking no one would want to hear about our plumbing issues. But the thing is, we all have toilets and I’m sure stories about them, this being one of the more tame ones. So on we go, with the story of our Kittanning home and the potty that helped me get the bathroom of my dreams. 

What is a Pittsburgh Potty? 

Let’s just say any home repairs or remodels involving plumbing in Pittsburgh takes innovative solutions to handle our uniquely set up, historical homes! For those of you who are not ‘Burghers, it would be best to start out with telling you what a Pittsburgh Potty is and how they came about. 

Pittsburgh Potty

Many Pittsburgh area homes have basements…unfinished ones at that. In those basements, many homes have a toilet. Many times that toilet is standing all alone in an odd spot. In my grandparents’ home in Wilmerding, I remember that it was right in the middle of the floor, but at some point my Pap had put walls up and a shower curtain (I think, or at least that is what I want to remember). In our home in Tarentum, it sat on a pedestal of cement, a true gem of a throne where if you used it (we did not because it was disgusting), you were wide in the open to the hair salon station that also graced that basement (not a Pittsburgh thing). And nearby to our current home, my parents’ Ford City house had one along one of the basement walls – right out in the open, too. 

Oh, and often there was no sink nearby to wash your hands. If you were lucky, there might be a laundry tub (or hair washing sink), but more often than not, it was do your business and go about life…I guess. Ah, the days before hand sanitizer?!?! 

Plumbing in Pittsburgh, THERE?

Now that we know the what, why were they built? I can’t imagine that anyone would really want to do their business all out in the open like these toilets made possible. (Though funny enough, I recently stayed in a timeshare room where the toilet was wide open to the soaking tub, so there’s that.) 

There are several stories – and I’m sure your Pittsburgh area Realtors can share some really fun ones – but the most logical one I have heard about why they are found in the basement is that it was to avoid having to clean up backed up sewage lines on the main living floors. These are often homes that were built pre-World War II, so you can only imagine where plumbing techniques have changed since then. Oh, do we get this

Our Closet Potty

The home we live in was built in the 1940s and without a basement, but with a Pittsburgh-ish Potty. I’d imagine the “room” it was in was at one point a large, open utility room that eventually was closed off for a little bit of privacy and to hide the boiler and such. In the case of our experience, the toilet was in a closet. Not unlike the Pittsburgh tradition, there is no sink to be found. 

When we first moved in, this was the sole toilet on our downstairs level, so the kids were potty training in it, the grands would use it, and it was right next to what used to be my office. Needless to say, that toilet got traffic. 

In the summer of 2019, we found out that that toilet of ours never should have been. We literally flushed money down it in getting plumbers to help us solve the problem to find out that it was backed up with at least five years of “solid waste” that had started leaking into our laundry room. (Sorry to those of you who visited at this time and may have experienced the stench that was…at the same time our 20+ year old HVAC blew.) Awful. Just awful. 

The reason being, it was just a toilet sitting on a normal old drain pipe, which means that pipe expected things like toothbrush spit and laundry gray water to be flushed down it. Not our 10-year-old’s favorite emoji. You get it. 

Not our toilet and not a Pittsburgh Potty but one with some privacy.

The Happy Ending for our Pittsburgh Potty

Thankfully, plumbing in Pittsburgh has come a long way and we were able to cement up that nasty situation and get the bathroom of my dreams, but you’ll have to keep an eye out on my lifestyle blog to find out exactly how that ended up. 

In short, we do have a toilet on our main floor once again, but this time it is a grinder and not in a closet but in a spa-like third bathroom. Thank goodness that things have come a long way since then and our only struggle is how to get the new roll of toilet paper when it runs out. At least for now. 

My only regret? I think the closet toilet is the only “before” photo we’re missing from our recent home renovations!

Tell us something unique about your house – we love houses with character and hearing the stories behind them!

Kids Virtual 10 | EQT 10 Miler

It’s time to announce another Pittsburgh running event with an option for lil Burghers – the 2020 EQT 10 Miler’s Kids Virtual 10! Our mom will be running the adult version (the EQT 10 Miler) on November 8 – be sure yinz tell the parents about that (or send them to her blog for more info).

Kids Virtual 10

EQT 10 Miler | Kids Virtual 10

Here is what you need to know:

  • Race Type: Challenge! Kids will complete 10 fitness activities at home or wherever they chose
  • Medal: YES
  • Swag – YES! a mini Pittsburgh Box celebrating Pittsburgh fun!
  • Register here!
  • Cost: $15

Why Register

Pittsburgh’s running community loves supporting kids who want to get out and be active. We are four of those kiddos! This challenge is new and a first for P3R to offer. With 10 activities to complete for this challenge, the Kids Virtual 10 should present some fun options to get families out and moving this fall.

Who will you complete your challenges with this year? What challenges do you think will be part of the 10 to complete the challenge?

Check out other 2020 P3R events here – some with promotional codes to save on registration! Looking for a road race for your ‘lil Burghers? There’s still time to get in on the Liberty Mile or the Junior Great Race in 2020!

Below are details for kids AND parents to register. Good luck, runners!

Live EQT 10 Miler
Virtual EQT 10 Miler
Kids EQT 10 Miler
* Code WILLIS10 does NOT save 10% on the Kids Virtual 10 *

Kids of STEEL Challenge

The Kids of STEEL team has some exciting news for Pittsburgh kiddos who love to run. Similar to the RUNwithP3R Challenge, your child can earn an extra medal by completing the Kids of STEEL Challenge in 2020!

What is the Kids of STEEL Challenge?

By running three designated races (each a one mile distance), the 2020 Kids of STEEL Challenge will help keep Pittsburgh kids running this summer and fall. The three races to complete are:

  1. Pittsburgh Kids Marathon ✅ (would need to have ran this in May 2020)
  2. Fleet Feet Liberty Mile 🔲 more details here
  3. Dollar Bank Junior Great Race 🔲 more details here
source: Kidsofsteel on Facebook

Kids will get this fourth medal in addition to the other three they earned running those races! There are over 4,000 kids who ran a virtual race in May that are eligible for this challenge – will you be one of the ‘lil Burghers who takes this challenge on?

Facts about Kids of STEEL

Our friends at P3R, the engine behind Pittsburgh’s running events, shared the following with us about Kids of STEEL:

  • 2020 Kids of STEEL Challenge Medal inspires kids and their families to stay moving together throughout the whole year. 
  • Over 8,000 Kids in the Kids of STEEL program in 2020.
  • Nearly 4,000 ran a virtual race in May.
  • The challenge to complete all 3 races (Chick-fil-A Pittsburgh Kids Marathon + Fleet Feet Liberty Mile + Dollar Bank Junior Great Race) is great motivation to keep moving and build healthy habits, and more importantly, stick to them all year.
  • The Chick-fil-A Pittsburgh Kids Marathon is the most popular of the youth races and is sometimes their first race experience. We want them to build off of this foundation of running with P3R!

PS: Kids – be sure to check out this FREE youth training guide from Kids Of Steel AND follow them on Instagram (@kidsofsteelpgh) for running workouts!

2020 Fleet Feet Liberty Mile

Do you know what is “short, fast and fun for the whole family”? This summer (by August 7), record your fastest one mile run with the Fleet Feet Liberty Mile! It is a race any ‘Burgher can take on anywhere at any time!

With so many road races going virtual in 2020, families have the chance to move together all year long and P3R, the engine behind Pittsburgh’s greatest races, is committed to continue inspiring any and all to run in these unprecedented times.


The Fleet Feet Liberty Mile has been a race on mom’s radar for a few years – it is a personal challenge to log a “PB” – a personal best – at this distance. When the race was an in-person event, it ran down Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh – a fast and flat part of our beloved Pittsburgh Marathon course. The excitement of a race like this was high, but it happened on Friday evenings and always seemed to be the same time she’d be away for a work conference. This year, we will all be able to run it “solo together” – logging our best miles locally!

What is the benefit of registering (and paying $15) to run this virtual race? You will still get (for a $5 shipping fee) your shirt and medal. (2020 is the first year this race is offering a medal!) You’ll be part of continuing Pittsburgh’s traditions of running…and maybe start a tradition of your own!

The Fleet Feet Liberty Mile is open to ALL AGES. You can register here and record your times by August 7, 2020. Happy running!

PS: Kids – be sure to check out this FREE youth training guide from Kids Of Steel AND follow them on Instagram (@kidsofsteelpgh) for running workouts!

Challenger Sports International Soccer Camp 2020

Review Disclaimer: We have a partnership with US Family Guide – they provide opportunities such as Challenger Sports International Soccer Camp in exchange for reviews on this blog and our social media. All opinions are 100% our own.

Pittsburgh, it is time to welcome Challenger Sports International Soccer Camp back to our city as a summer day camp option for your ‘lil Burghers! Our son Evan is a three year alumni of the program and will be back at one of the fields this summer…and he highly recommends this for any kid who loves soccer or wants to learn more about the sport.

Challenger Sports International Soccer Camp 2020

This program, which brings coaches from around the world (Evan’s had coaches from the UK, Spain, and Brazil) is a nationwide program for ages 2 to 18. Coaches stay with host families and bring their skills to further the love of soccer in our communities. We’ve been part of their “family” for three years but I still am amazed at what they offer kids through this program:

Challenger Sports, the largest soccer camp company in North America is coming to a community near you, and bringing over 30 years of coaching experience. Our international staff will work with your players to teach a fun, technical and tactical curriculum that’s filled with training sessions from five of the world’s leading soccer nations. Challenger’s International Soccer Camp offers instructional camp programs for all age and ability levels! The TinyTykes program, ages 2-5, provides fundamental soccer activities, games, and stories; designed to enhance technical skills along with physical and social development. The Half-Day Camp, ages 5-16, is the most popular program and will provide 3 hours of skill development, games, challenges and competitions each day. The Full-Day Camp, ages 8-18, is a 6 hour program filled with developmental practices, games, competitions and challenges. Register now for Challenger’s International Soccer camp and get a free international soccer ball, t-shirt, poster, player evaluation and access to TopYa!’s Juggling Club sampler! Register 30 days before camp and qualify for a free International Game Jersey!

Source: Challenger Sports / USFamilyGuide
source: US Family Guide

Register Today | Lots of Freebies!

We took a look at the camps offered in the Pittsburgh area and are excited to see a number of options throughout the whole summer. If Evan could go every day, he would. We live about an hour from each camp and usually have to rely on the Grands to get him to/from camp. Thankfully the camp has an easy (and secure) drop-off/pick-up process that works for our family + it gives them a chance to see their soccer dude play his favorite sport. ​​​​​​​We try to get the whole family there on the last day for the ​​​​​​​last “World Cup” game – but our soccer star doesn’t always love our cheers! 😉

Registering early is one of our favorite things to do because there are lots of freebies for those who get it done now:

  • International Soccer Ball
  • T-Shirt
  • Poster
  • Player Evaluation
  • Access to TopYa!s Juggling Club Sampler
  • International Game Jersey – must register 30 days in advance!

Interested in joining in the fun this summer? Search for the International Soccer Camp closest to you and then register. US Family Guide has shared with me that if you register 30 days before camp, your child will qualify for a free International Game Jersey!

Has your child participated in a Challenger Sports summer camp? What did you think? What questions do you have if you haven’t done this camp before? Think about who you can share this opportunity with – or even consider gifting a week of camp to a child in your life.

Personal testimony – when Evan goes to camp, it is so worth the $200 the full day costs. He gets home, eats a bunch of food, packs his own lunch for the next day, then sleeps for hours out cold from the activity! ​​​​​​​Share this post on Pinterest so a mama or daddy who needs a good rest can check this out!

Monster Jam Triple Threat [Coming Event]

Our family has attended several events that Feld Entertainment has brought to Pittsburgh. In 2020, one of those events will be Monster Jam Triple Threat. The information below was supplied to us to share with our readers.

This post about Monster Jam Triple Threat contains affiliate links. When you shop our links, there is no additional cost to you. All opinions are 100% our own.

Monster Jam Triple Threat

If you’ve been a fan of ‘lil Burghers over the past few years, you know just how much our middle daughter Ava LOVES attending Monster Jam. Her first event was when she was just a toddler and ever since, when asked what she wants to be when she grows up her answer is…A MONSTER TRUCK.

So it’s not a surprise that we’re planning to attend Monster Jam Triple Threat when they come to Pittsburgh at PPG Paints Arena from February 7-9, 2020. There will be four shows throughout the weekend and ticket prices start at $15. For Saturday and Sunday shows, there is even a Pit Party where your family can check out the trucks up close! (Pit Party Passes are an extra fee.)

Ready to score your tickets? Head over here!

Scooby Doo! – Source: Feld Entertainment

Right now, we’re hoping to attend the opening night performance, but to get there, we’re part of a CONTEST with Social Toaster to share the news about the event and need to work our way there. If you’d like to enter the contest, too, sign up here!

Meeting Zombie after the 2019 Monster Jam in Pittsburgh

What we love about Monster Jam

As I mentioned, Ava loves attending and so do our other three kids. We’ve been going as a family since 2016 and they look forward to:

  • Cheering on their favorite drivers – old favorites like Zombie and Scooby Doo have a place in the ‘lil Burghers’ hearts!
  • The dust. It can get really dusty in PPG Paints Arena during these events but the kids love watching the dust fly and feeling “dusty” on the way home.
  • The thrills of the skills challenge. We especially love when they jump!

As a mom, I have some logistics I always take care of in advance of our attendance. Three of us have asthma so we take our inhalers before and with us (see the dust point above). We also bring protective earphones for the kids because it does get noisy. These earphones are great for kids + they come with a carrying case and as of 1/15/2020 there is a 15% off coupon for them, too!

We hope we’ll see you at Monster Jam! Here’s some more information in case you’ve never been and remember you can win tickets here or buy them here right now.

About Monster Jam

Born out of our love affair with bigger, faster and louder, Monster Jam is the most accessible family-friendly sport in the world today. Unlike most sports, we put men and women on the same track, truly inviting anyone who aspires to be a Monster Jam driver to dream as big as the trucks that have made our sport famous.

Unexpected, unscripted and unforgettable, Monster Jam takes center stage in the world’s most iconic venues, sporting meticulously manicured dirt tracks created with the sole purpose of pushing these perfectly engineered, ever-evolving trucks to the limit.

These world-class drivers, some generational rivals, are athletes at the core and experts in four-wheeled, controlled agression. And just when you think we’re done racing, jumping, flipping and doing things with trucks you’ve never seen before, the brand extends in to the home through must-watch content and merchandise that keeps the fun alive year-round.

The larger-than-life sport that always leaves you entertained. This. Is. Monster Jam.

Source: Feld Entertainment

About Feld Entertainment

Feld Entertainment® is the worldwide leader in producing and presenting live family entertainment experiences that bring people together and uplift the human spirit. Properties include Monster Jam, Monster Energy Supercross, Disney On Ice, Disney Live!, Marvel Universe LIVE!, Sesame Street Live!, DreamWorks Trolls The Experience and Jurassic World Live Tour (coming Fall 2019). Across the brand portfolio, Feld Entertainment has entertained millions of families in more than 75 countries and on six continents. Visit for more information.

Road Trip Adventures [Coming Event]

Our family has attended several events that Feld Entertainment has brought to Pittsburgh. In 2020, one of those events will be Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures. The information below was supplied to us to share with our readers.


Source: Feld Entertainment

PITTSBURGH, PA (January 4, 2020)— Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures will whisk families away on an immersive getaway chock-full of magical participatory moments. Featuring new and classic tales, this a multi-generational experience visits Pittsburghfrom February 27 – March 1at PPG Paints Arena.  Tickets are on sale at

The show invites audiences to hit the road with Mickey Mouse and his pals for a high-octane ride in Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures. Exciting twists and turns await as Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and guests of all ages embark on an interactive and memory-rich adventure to iconic Disney destinations. See the world from the rooftops of London with Mary Poppins and Jack and his band of dancing lamplighters. Travel to the sun-soaked Motunui and help Moana restore the heart of Te Fiti. Set off on a safari and snap unforgettable photos of wild cheetahs and monkeys when guests traverse through the Pride Lands with Simba, Timon and Pumbaa.

Source: Feld Entertainment

Discover a whole new world and be swept up in Aladdin’s princely parade filled with spectacular stunts, magical moments with Genie, and a brand-new song from Jasmine that will render the audience “Speechless.”

Source: Feld Entertainment

Mosey on over to a larger-than-life comedic carnival and team up with Woody and Bo Peep as they search for their new friend Forky. Fans will hit a high note with Mickey and pals while singing along to beloved Disney tunes as they welcome Merida, Belle, Ariel, Mulan and Tiana to the ice. Families should be prepared for a getaway jam-packed with unexpected hijinks and surprise, up- close character interaction as Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures makes a pitstop right in the Burgh!

Tickets for Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures start at $15. All seats are reserved, and tickets are available at or at the arena box office. Stay current on the latest developments through social media:


Twitter: @DisneyOnIce #DisneyOnIce


Instagram: @DisneyOnIce

About Feld Entertainment

Feld Entertainment® is the worldwide leader in producing and presenting live family entertainment experiences that bring people together and uplift the human spirit. Properties include Monster Jam, Monster Energy Supercross, Disney On Ice, Disney Live!, Marvel Universe LIVE!, Sesame Street Live!, DreamWorks Trolls The Experience and Jurassic World Live Tour (coming Fall 2019). Across the brand portfolio, Feld Entertainment has entertained millions of families in more than 75 countries and on six continents. Visit for more information.

7 Rainy Day Must Do’s for Pittsburgh Families

While Pittsburgh might not be the rainiest city in the US, we sure do get a lot of rainy days (about 42% of our weather includes a rainy forecast). On these gray, dreary days, your kiddos are probably begging you for electronics and you’re out here searching for something to do. Welcome to it – our list of seven rainy day must do’s for Pittsburgh families!

Why Seven Rainy Day Must Do’s for Pittsburgh Families?

We live in a city with six football championship rings, always reaching for that magical number seven which would give us the title of the team with the most wins, so seven just seems like a good Pittsburgh number to use! If you’re just visiting the city and found this post while searching for things to do, note that we really love our sports around this city – you’ll see it everywhere you go.

Need some logo gear to wear on your rainy day Pittsburgh experience? Shop for Pittsburgh Steelers Gear and be prepared!

rainy day must do's for Pittsburgh families

1 – National Aviary

We are so lucky to have these unique feature in our city. Our kids continue to ask for a family membership here because every experience with the birds is unique, educational, and passes time. They offer traveling exhibits (over the summer of 2019 we checked out their Living Dinosaurs), featured favorites like the penguins, and great photo opportunities.

National Aviary is open daily from 10 am – 5pm. Our primarily indoor facility is ADA compliant, stroller-friendly, and easy to navigate. We offer on-site parking (on a first-come, first served basis), a café with open seating, and two gift shops. Visit to learn more or call 412-323-7235.

Source: National Aviary

2 – Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

Another family favorite. Learning is so much fun here and you truly can spend a whole day here. Children’s Museum offers art, interactive exhibits, traveling exhibits, sensory-friendly spaces, shows, and so much more.

Evan at one of our first family visits to the Children’s Museum

We recommend ending the day with the Waterplay exhibit on the 3rd floor because it is entirely possible to get soaked even though you’re there to escape the rainy weather.

Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh is a place that delights and inspires children, where they can take off on fantastic flights of imagination daily, and return to earth to splash in a river, hammer a nail and ink a silkscreen. With 80,000 square feet of space, the Museum welcomes more than 307, 000 visitors annually and provides tons of fun and loads of “real stuff” experiences for play and learning. Found out more:

Source: Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

3 – Snapology

Is your living room floor covered in bricks and blocks, you know, the ones you step on then scream but at the same time love watching your kids build with? You can take that building outside the house for the day and check out Pittsburgh’s Original Makerspace, Snapology in Bethel Park.

At Snapology we believe that children are meant to learn through play. When children are engaged in interactive, hands-on learning activities, their creativity flourishes and they show an increased interest in school.  We help your child grow up with a thirst for knowledge. How do we do it? Snapology engages children ages 1-14 using LEGO® bricks, K’Nex and technology. While the kids are having fun with familiar toys, laptops and iPads, we sneak in the learning. Shh, don’t tell them it’s educational!

Source: Snapology

Enjoying these rainy day must do’s for Pittsburgh families? Be sure to tweet or share this post to let others know!

4 – Your Local YMCA

We are partial to our local YMCA because it is right down the street but I’m sure there is a YMCA near you where you can have an indoor play day as a family at the pool or gym. Ours often offers weekend programs for families with help from local community organizations. There is even Friday night Kids’ Club – time for you to drop off your elementary kiddos and take in a quick dinner with the spouse!

5 – Sky Zone

We first found out about the the indoor trampoline park phenomenom in 2013 and while we know there are plenty of indoor trampoline parks to visit in Pittsburgh, Sky Zone was the first to come across our radar. There are two Pittsburgh area locations and both have fun for the entire family – even the ones with no desire to jump all day.

Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park is creator of the world’s first all-trampoline, walled playing court providing the ultimate 3-D play experience for teens, parents and kids to jump, leap and defy gravity on the patented all-trampoline walled playing court. For more information, please visit

Souce: Sky Zone

6 – Zone28

This entertainment complex located just 20 minutes from the city (in Harmarville, off Route 28) has 33 bowling lanes, escape rooms, a game room, and more. We recently went here for a birthday party and had such a blast. The food is good and there really is fun for all ages!

Read more about this ultimate indoor playground, Zone28!

7 – Phipps Conservatory

We can’t think of a more colorful place to spend a gray day than Phipps! Exhibits of flowers will turn any rainy day frown into a smile, even if you can see or hear the rain falling on the roof of this huge glasshouse in the middle of the educational center of our city. When you visit Pittsburgh’s Phipps Conservatory with your kiddos, you’re sure to have a blast. There’s fun and learning to be had throughout and programs are offered year-round outside of general admission.

Check out the fun we had there in the summer!

About Phipps: Founded in 1893, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, PA is a globally recognized green leader with a mission to inspire and educate all with the beauty and importance of plants; to advance sustainability and promote human and environmental well-being through action and research; and to celebrate its historic glasshouse. Learn more at

Source: Phipps Conservatory

+ More…

So there have to be more than seven rainy day must do’s for Pittsburgh families, right? Share with us your favorites – and if we’ve never been, we’d love a chance to check them out – any day of the year!

Dinosaur Adventure Pittsburgh – Review

This post contains information provided to us by US Family Guide about the Dinosaur Adventure Pittsburgh showing. In exchange, my family received tickets to the event. All opinions are 100% my own.

Our Experience at Dinosaur Adventure Pittsburgh

We already told you that Dinosaur Adventure is in Pittsburgh for three days – December 27-29 – but now it’s time to share the fun we had!

First, let’s talk about logistics of the event space. I have to say that I love events that happen at the Monroeville Convention Center. Parking is FREE and there are plenty of bathrooms within “kid emergency” distance. These are important things when you’re hauling four kids around of about an hour from Armstrong County!

We took the kids to the show the first evening and spent about two hours having fun exploring the realistic dinosaurs and riding the rides (we had wristbands but did not do the ticketed activity – panning and mining). From the moment we entered through an inflatable dinosaur rib cage until we exited back out of it, the kids were laughing and enjoying. It might have been the only two fight-free hours of Christmas break so far!

Take a look at all the fun the kids had + some of the great photo opportunities. I knew I needed to take some photos during the event but I really just enjoyed keeping my phone down watching the kids dig for fossils, check out facts, and ride the dinosaurs (there were three different dinosaur ride-ons, including motorcycle-like dinos that had me wondering why the 4-year olds were better drivers than the Bigs, T-Rexes that were a story high, and Triceratops that were the size of ponies – so!much!fun!).

Isla was super shy except for when this baby dino came around!

This event reminded us of the dinosaur exhibit at the National Aviary this summer – did you catch either or both of these?

How fun are these eggs?
She was a little nervous about these, but the other three loved them!
Family Photo with a T-Rex

Making Fossils at Dinosaur Adventure

After checking out all of the dinosaurs, your kids are going to want a souvenir. Yes, like any event, there is a souvenir shop but we got to completely avoid it because they had it (strategically?) placed behind the concessions and exhibits in another room of the convention center. We had to have “the talk” about no toys/balloons/etc coming home with us because it was JUST Christmas but the kids didn’t really mind too much when they realized they got to make a fossil to take home for FREE.

But can I tell you that I was a little ready to bend when I saw the super cute helium dinosaurs that kids were “walking” around the hall?!?!?

The fossil making involves a cup + clay + an impression from a dinosaur toy + plaster. The hairnets shown below were not part of the requirement for arting, they were worn under helmets on rides (THANK YOU for that perk!).

Creating fossils to take home – FREE Activity!

PRO TIP: If you head over to the ride area fairly early in your visit, have your kids do the fossil activity. It takes about 5 minutes to put together and then another 30 minutes to dry. There is PLENTY to experience while it dries, but don’t save it ’til the last minute when everyone is hungry.

Ava and her T-Rex face fossil

Ready to check it out?

Dinosaur Adventure is an all-new, one of a kind exhibit featuring realistic, life-sized dinosaurs that come alive with their life-like movement and roars. Learn about the most popular dinosaurs -Tyrannosaurus, Triceratops, Diplodocus, Velociraptor, and explore recent finds with exciting discoveries!

As part of Dinosaur Adventure, children of all ages will enjoy a variety of activities: fossil crafting, Jurassic jeeps, themed obstacle courses, riding their favorite dinosaur, and more! The whole family will also be amused by our live entertainment featuring a walking dinosaur show, and a baby dinosaur meet & greet.

Information from US Family Guide

My Readers SAVE – $3 Off any Adult, Child Activity or VIP Ticket Use Code: FLASH3 when you buy tickets here.

Did you make it to Dinosaur Adventure Pittsburgh? What did you think? If you’re not in Pittsburgh or missed this traveling show, check out where they are headed to next!