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Pittsburgh Parenting Blog by Sewickley Academy

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Plan A Staycation in Pittsburgh

Plan A Staycation in PittsburghPlanning that getaway vacation can be arduous, not to mention expensive. The thought of finding hotels, booking rental cars or flights, packing everything you can think of that everyone might need, planning activities, and then budgeting for it all can be overwhelming.

Many families now opt for the less stressful option of staying near home and filling up a vacation week with no-travel or less-travel alternatives. Save some money (and reduce stress) by planning a fun family staycation right here in the Pittsburgh area.

Whether you need a day out, a weekend away, or a full week of adventures, Pittsburgh and the surrounding area offer many wonderful options for your family's staycation.  

Forbes State Forest

The family who enjoys outdoor adventure will love a day of exploring, or a few days of camping, in the Laurel Highlands, located about an hour from the city. Load up the crew and take them to Forbes State Forest.

This vast area of protected forest boasts numerous hiking trails along with camping, fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, and an observation tower at Mt. Davis - the highest point in Pennsylvania. Visit this page to see local restaurants and lodging options to help plan your trip.  Should you chose to go backpacking or camp overnight, the park offers camping information to help you plan before you go.

North Park

For a day of hiking not too far from home, consider North Park. Even the family pooch is welcome to enjoy a day out at this dog-friendly park.   

At North Park, you can easily fill a day with outdoor activities. A paved walking path goes around the lake with numerous other trails winding through the woods for hiking, running, or biking. If you take the dog, be sure to visit the dog park and let him cool off in the pool! Pack a picnic, some outdoor games, and be ready to take a lot of fun pictures!

You can also cool off and relax after your adventurous day at the North Park Boathouse, where you will find the Over the Bar Bicycle Cafe which offers great food and drinks. 


A classic amusement park right here in Pittsburgh, Kennywood offers six roller coasters including the historic Jack Rabbit coaster which has been around since 1921, and the thrilling Black Widow which gives riders a feeling of weightlessness. 

Two water rides will cool you down and the 4D theater will amaze the kids with 3D animation and real-world sensory effects. There are plenty of rides for the little ones in Kiddieland.

Passes can be purchased for just one day or for the entire season. You may also rent your own kabana for the day to have a place to sit, eat, and stay in the shade in between rides.

Carnegie Science Center

Four stories of exploration await at the Carnegie Science Center. Study the human body, interact with robotics exhibits, learn about natural habitats, experience what life is like as an astronaut, view the stars in the Buhl Planetarium, and attempt a challenging ropes course! The fourth floor of the center offers 3,000 square feet of interactive exhibits to engage the mind. 

Upon entering the Carnegie Science Center, you will see the Zeiss Model II Star Projector in the main Atrium. This unique, historic machine acts as a "time machine," allowing you to view the sky at any point in time, as far back as 1939.  

Don't miss the amazing Miniature Railroad and Village which boasts 105 animations and 23,000 "fans" on a miniature Forbes Field. 

The Carnegie Science Center offers many live shows and programs with a handy calendar online so you can plan your day. 

Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park

If water adventure is what you are seeking, consider driving to Erie for the day, or even an overnight trip, to visit Splash Lagoon. What a great way to burn off all that kid energy! This fantastic indoor water park is about a two-hour drive from the Pittsburgh area and offers all the fun attractions of an outdoor water park but in a comfortable, temperature-controlled environment. Plus, the park has an arcade and laser tag. 

The park sells day passes, cabana rentals, and overnight packages which include reasonable nearby lodging.

"The Islands" at the Pittsburgh Zoo  

In 2015, the Pittsburgh Zoo opened The Islands! This amazing exhibit is 22,000 square feet of endangered animals, ponds, waterfalls, and that tropical island feel. Along with the numerous species that inhabit the islands, you can actually put your feet in sand as you relax under a beach umbrella!

While at the zoo you will want to take a walk through the Jungle Odyssey exhibit where you can spot an ocelot or a pigmy hippo. Then, walk through a fishing village called Water's Edge and visit Kids Kingdom. Don't forget to explore the aquarium and catch the Penguin Parade! 

There are many amazing species of wildlife live at the Pittsburgh Zoo. Check out the zoo's website for a list of daily activities and for more information to help you plan your visit. 

Vacation fun does not have to be 1,000 miles from home. Adventure and memories are right here waiting for you and your family. And the best part is, no travel agent needed!  Have a wonderful staycation here in Pittsburgh! 

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Topics: Pittsburgh