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Family Vacation

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posts: 435
reviews: 12
Family Vacation

Looking to take the kids, ages 9 and 10, to the Zoo, Museum, Aviary, Science Center.. are these attractions located near each other? Others I'm missing or ones you would skip? Hotel Recommendations that would be conveniently located? What age is appropriate for Children's museum? Would love for parents who live in the area to give me the scoop :)

9 replies to this topic
posts: 317
reviews: 11
1. Re: Family Vacation

If you have the time to fit in all four, I would do so, though I don't have younger children, so can't speak for your age group and the Children's Museum. Someone else will have to fill you in on that.

No, they are not close to each other ... you conceivably could walk to the Aviary from the Science Center, but I wouldn't suggest it. I would suggest looking at GoogleMaps or GoogleEarth to give you an idea of the various locations. I assume you will have a car.......

Hotels will really depend upon your budget and what time of year you are staying. There is currently high demand for Pittsburgh hotels, so rates are not particulary cheap. Go into the booking sites - Expedia, hotels.com, Kayak, etc..... get an idea of cost for your dates using downtown Pittsburgh as a starting point, and come back here for some suggestions on hotels that fit your budget.

Pittsburgh, PA
Destination Expert
for Pittsburgh
posts: 885
reviews: 30
2. Re: Family Vacation

I'm a big fan of Phipps Conservatory--fun for all ages, as they say, but you'll know if your kids would find it interesting or not. Phipps is within walking distance of the Carnegie Museum in Oakland (which has the art and natural history museums).

posts: 435
reviews: 12
3. Re: Family Vacation

ok, I will check google maps again but weare looking for a hotel in a good location that definitely has a pool and breakfast included would be nice.. we are looking at end of August before school starts. We will have a car as we are driving down from the other part of the rust belt, Buffalo :)

I appreciate everyone's comments.

posts: 12
4. Re: Family Vacation

The Aviary and Children's Museum (babies to 8-10 years old) are very close to each other, on the North Shore. The Warhol Museum is also nearby, and offers child-friendly activities (grade-schoolers), although most of the exhibits are strictly for adults. The Science Center is also on the North Shore; I would consider it within walking distance of the Aviary (a bit less than a mile), but then I like to walk.

The Zoo is in Highland Park, in the East End near the Allegheny River. It's not really near anything else, but is a rather sprawling complex with an easily marked walkable path, plus the Children's Zoo. It's really a destination of its own, taking up most or all of a day.

Phipps Conservatory is lovely, but not what I'd put at the top of the child-friendly exhibits. OTOH, the nearby Carnegie Museum of Natural History offers a dinosaur exhibit that is one of the best in the world. If your kids are into dinosaurs, this is must-see. I also like the Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems. Some kids get seriously into it. And there are "touchable" artifacts in the museum, which has a lot of kid-friendly aspects.

Pittsburgh, PA
posts: 72
reviews: 23
5. Re: Family Vacation

I've had my sisters 4 children stay with me (Ages 5, 8, 10 and 13) The 5 year old is the only one that TRULY enjoys the childrens museum any more. I would suggest with your age groups that you stick more with the Science Center (The sports center and center are great - and you can spend ALL day here - if not more).

The Aviary is also great! They have 2 additional shows for $5. They also have lories feeding (costs $) and then once the feeding in the wetlands is complete they sell fish for $1 to feed to the pelicans. If you look at the aviary schedule - you can plan an afternoon there. It doesn't take all day.

Another thing I would suggest is the Just Ducky tours. It's only a little over an hour tour - but my niece and nephews quite enjoyed it. We did it on the same day as the aviary. They learned history about the city and even got to drive the boat :)

The zoo is great for ALL ages! Enjoy it!

I hope it helps. I hope you have a great trip!

Columbia, Maryland
posts: 618
reviews: 2
6. Re: Family Vacation

We stayed in Greentree which is just the other side of the tunnel. The Holiday Inn Express has an indoor pool and a free breakfast. It's convenient to downtown and the things you want to see. The Science Center and Aviary are great for kids that age.

I would also add that you might want to take one of the inclines to overlook Pittsburgh one night.

Also look into a Gateway Clipper SIghtseeing Cruise.

posts: 6
reviews: 42
7. Re: Family Vacation

I'll just chime in on hotels. I have lived on the Northside for 13 years and I'm raising two little kids so I know the area well. You could stay at any North Shore hotel (there are three) or anyplace downtown. Those locations are walkable to everyplace you mentioned (aside from zoo). Plus downtown has a few cool places, SW Randall Toy Store has a great selection of games, models, etc. if your kids are into that. Plenty of dining choices. Someone mentioned Just Ducky Tours which is a good option. Stay away from Station Square though, too touristy and nothing distinctively Pittsburgh about it.

Western Pennsylvania
posts: 22
reviews: 58
8. Re: Family Vacation

They are not close to each other. My kids now ages 11 and 16 always loved the Science Center, Heinz Museum of Sports and History is very nice. Children's museum - they stopped liking that by about age 7 or 8. You could ride the incline while you are there and visit station square. We love the Ducky ride at Station Square, it takes you all around town and into the water, it's fun and informative. There are many more museums and things to do those are just our favorites. If you are driving be aware they you will pay around $5 or more every time you park so if you find a couple of things close together to do that's better.

Western Pennsylvania
posts: 22
reviews: 58
9. Re: Family Vacation

I should have read the other posts before I last replied but I agree with the person who said to stay on the North Shore, the Residence Inn and Springhill suites both have pools and free hot breakfast. They also have a free shuttle (5 miles radius) if they aren't real busy they will take you a little further. You will have to drive to the zoo though. Good Luck. Do the Just Ducky Tours for sure.

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