Welcome to the dog days of summer, yinzers! The heat is on, and whether you’re a fan of 90+ degree days or not, there are more coming just around the corner. Now’s the time to think about how you can make the most of those last few weeks of summer while avoiding the heat, right?
Of course, this can be especially challenging for families with young kiddos. When the weekend rolls around, how do you keep your children entertained and occupied without baking in the sun or dueling for one of the few shady spots at the pool?
Not to worry, parents — we’ve got your back. Check out our list of some of the best ways to spend a summer afternoon indoors with your little ones:
Who doesn’t love an arts-and-crafts afternoon in the summer? The newly-renamed Mix Candle Co. in Lawrenceville is a perfect way for you and your little ones to work together to create a completely unique scented candle that you can enjoy when the weather cools down — or whenever!
The Scent Stylists at Mix Candle Co. will help your children experiment with available scents and make a list of what their little noses love, and then they’ll get to help mix up a custom blend to create their very own candle. The candles take 90 minutes to cool and set, so why not take the kids out for lunch on Butler Street even visit Arsenal Bowl for a frame or two?
Sure, the Carnegie Science Center on a hot summer day may seem like a no-brainer for families with kids, but hear us out: with so many amazing family-friendly museums in the city, the Science Center is hands-down the best bang for your buck.
Not only are there multiple floors of hands-on exhibits that children will love, but there are several add-on adventures that can keep your family entertained and delighted for an entire day, no matter what their interests are. Movie lovers adore the Rangos Giant Cinema, future scientists will love exploring the new Buhl Planetarium, and athletes large and small could spend hours learning about the science of sports at Highmark SportsWorks. You can spend an entire day at the Science Center and never get bored!
If you’ve got young bookworms in the house who have exhausted your collection of well-worn favorites, it might be time to restock your shelves with some engaging new reads from Spark Books. Located in Aspinwall, this children’s bookshop is stocked with books for children of all ages and believes that reading is imperative for all young minds, so whether your child could read through a whole library if you’d let them or is more of a hands-on learner, you’re sure to find a new favorite.
Currently, the small shop can only accommodate three individuals or one household at a time. However, you can call ahead and schedule a time to shop privately if you want to guarantee that your little ones have some time to browse the shop’s extensive collection of children’s books and pick out a new classic to take home.
If it’s too hot for your kids to ride their bikes inside, why not visit the world’s largest bicycle museum and bike shop instead? Since 2011, the Bicycle Heaven Museum has showcased some of the most well-known and beloved bicycles seen in classic TV shows and movies, including A Beautiful Mind, Super 8, Fathers & Daughters, Fences, and even Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure.
Bicycle Heaven also boasts a collection of nearly 6,000 vintage bicycles, including a colorful BMX display that children love, along with countless pieces of memorabilia and themed bikes. The museum accepts donations in lieu of charging admission rates, and they also rent out bikes if you have your heart set on trying a specific model for yourself.
Allegheny Commons Park
If the thought of pushing a stroller or hauling an overheated child around the zoo sounds intimidating in the sweltering heat, try the National Aviary instead. With over 500 birds and mammals that call the aviary home (living in walk-through habitats that are largely indoors), it’s easy to spend an afternoon discovering species from around the world living in harmony.
Parents should definitely check out the National Aviary’s animal encounters, which offer scheduled times for young visitors to meet some of the aviary’s residents one-on-one with a National Aviary expert. All encounters include general admission, so you can tour the entire aviary afterward to get the scoop on all the birds in residence.This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.