Summer Times

Favorite places for a summer visit

Summer brings a few more of those rare leisure hours, and as always, there are plenty of ways to spend them.

There are several major exhibits in town worth a visit, including "Pittsburgh's Lost Steamboat: Treasures of the Arabia" at the Senator John Heinz History Center, "RACE: Are We So Different?" at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and "XOXO: An Exhibit About Love & Forgiveness" at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh. And there's a full roster of special events and outdoor activities presented by local cultural organizations.


4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland, 412-622-3131.


“RACE: Are We So Different?” — Exploration of race in America with multimedia components, artifacts and photographs, developed by the American Anthropological Association in collaboration with the Science Museum of Minnesota (through Oct. 27); Michael Dyber: Master of Optical Illusion — Works by lapidary artist Michael Dyber (May 31-Aug. 31).


“RACE: Are We So Different?” Exploration Series: Performance Fourth Thursday Features — Local artists interpret fact, fiction and experience through spoken word and performances: Vanessa German (May 22), TBD (June 26), TBD (July 24) at 6 p.m. Film screening: “The New Black” — Documentary on how the African-American community is dealing with gay rights issues, Earth Theater; free, but registration is required: (5:30 p.m. June 12). Lecture: Why Did Skin Color Evolve and Why Does It (Continue to) Matter? — Talk by Nina Jablonski, distinguished professor of anthropology at Pennsylvania State University, whose research on the evolution of human skin pigmentation is featured in “RACE: Are We So Different?” (June 19 at 7 p.m.). Family-focused: Genetics Exploration — Hands-on activities exploring genetics (Aug. 9 from noon-4 p.m.). Super Science Series: Bug Out — See live insects under the microscope and learn about the insect world (June 21-22 from noon to 4 p.m.). Dippy’s Birthday Celebration — Celebrate 115th anniversary of the museum’s Diplodocus skeleton, plus displays of fossil remains and talks with museum educators (July 19 from noon to 4 p.m.).


One Allegheny Ave., North Side. 412-237-3400.


“BLUE!” — Interactive exhibit uses real and virtual blue blocks (opens June 14).


“Great White Shark” — Omnimax film explores the Great White Shark’s place in nature and in our imagination (opens June 13). Navy Weekend — Demonstrations of interactive underwater robots and more (June 6-7). Deep Blue Sea Weekend — Explore the ocean from coral reefs to the ocean floor (June 14-15). Snowball Day — Guests who saved snowballs from last winter can name their admission price (June 20). USS Requin Tech Tour (June 29, July 13, 27, Aug. 10, 31, Sept. 14). Blue Moon Weekend — 45th anniversary celebration of the Apollo moon landing (July 19-20). Blueprints Weekend — Explore the worlds of architecture and engineering (Aug. 9-10). Cafe Scientifique — Cutting-edge science for adults: “The Persistence of Memory” with Carnegie Mellon University’s Alison Barth (June 2); “The Age of Radiance” with author Craig Nelson (Aug. 4.; 21+ Nights: “The Science of Beer” (June 13); “The Science of Sound” with Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (Aug. 1).


Allegheny Center, North Side, 412-322-5058.


“XOXO: An Exhibit About Love & Forgiveness” — Interactive exhibit exploring love and forgiveness (through Sept. 21).


Hip Hop Yoga: Love Movements — Yoga instruction combined with music and storytelling, designed for all ages (June 7, July 5, Aug. 2 from 1 to 4 p.m.). Cook it! Cooking demonstrations using seasonal foods (June 13, 27; July 11, 24; Aug. 8, 22 from 12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m.). Kick-Off to Summer Free Community Day (June 21 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.). The Second Annual We Can! Day — Outdoor grilling station, Charlie Batch Campfire Storytime, Mellon Roll Relay Race and other activities designed to encourage physical recreation (June 28). Solar Concert Series — Free outdoor concert series (Wednesdays from July 2 through Aug. 27 at 12:15 p.m.). PPG Color Week — Color-themed activities in the Museum Studio (July 7-11). “THE GIFT” — World premiere performance by Zany Umbrella Circus is a companion to “XOXO: An Exhibit About Love & Forgiveness” (July 18-20, 25-27). Youth Maker Night — MAKESHOP activities for ages 10-15. Preregistration required: 412-322-5058, ext. 240 (July 18, Aug. 1 from 5 to 7 p.m.). Kindergarten, Here I Come! — Free event for children entering kindergarten (Aug. 9 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.). The Fancy Romancer’s Whisper Booth — Visitors can reflect on and appreciate love and relationships in their lives (Aug. 16, 17, 23, 24, 30, 31 from noon to 3 p.m.). Camp MAKESHOP — Electronics, sewing, woodworking and more in the Children’s Museum’s DIY maker space. Registration required: 412-322-5058, ext. 244. For ages 10-12 (Aug. 18-22 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.).


Fifth Ave., Uptown, 412-642-1800.

WWE Smackdown (June 24); Wedding Clickers Summer Bridal Show (July 27); “Walking with Dinosaurs: The Arena Spectacular” (July 30-Aug. 3); P&G Gymnastics Championships (Aug. 21-24).


Commonwealth Place, Downtown, 412-471-1764.


“Unconquered: History Meets Hollywood at Fort Pitt” — Exhibit illustrates the story behind the siege of Pittsburgh, with original movie props, photographs and costumes from Cecil B. DeMille’s “Unconquered,” along with 18th-century artifacts and documents (through Aug. 3).


“Living History at Fort Pitt: Artillery at the Forks” — How artillery affected 18th-century warfare, with firing of the museum’s replica cannon (June 21-22 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.). “Fourth at the Fort” — Life at Fort Pitt during the American Revolution (July 4 from 10 a.m.-7 p.m.). Celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Blockhouse — Presentations on how the Fort Pitt Blockhouse was built, blacksmithing techniques, musket demonstrations and firing of the reproduction 18th century-cannon (Aug. 9-10 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.)


Station Square, 412-355-7980.

DINNER CRUISES: Captain’s Dinner Dance Cruise (Saturdays through Nov.); Three Rivers Barbecue Cruise (select Tuesdays and Thursdays from June through Oct.); Pirate Voyage Dinner Cruise (selected Wednesdays and Fridays from June through Sept.); Lock and Dam Dinner Cruise (select Wednesdays from June through Oct.); TGIF Dinner Cruise (Select Fridays through Oct.); Oldies Dinner Dance Cruise: Johnny Angel & The Halos (June 13, Nov. 8); Pure Gold (July 11, Nov. 22); Jimmy Beaumont & The Skyliners (Aug. 8); Wine Tasting Cruises: Pacific Northwest (June 5); Northern Italy (July 10); New York (Aug. 14); Argentina (Sept. 25).

LUNCHEON CRUISES: Casino Luncheon Cruise — Live entertainment, tour and casino stop (select Mondays and Fridays); Picnic Luncheon Cruise (Saturdays from June through Sept.).

OTHER CRUISES: Good Ship Lollipop Cruise with Pirate Adventure Show (weekends through Aug.); Sunset Cocktail Cruise: Whiskeys of the World (June 26); Tequila Sunset (July 24); Pinnacle Vodka Find Your Flavor (Aug. 28); Baseball Tailboatin’ Cruise (call for dates); Princess Cruise (June 21, July 12, Aug. 9); Superheroes Cruise (June 28, July 26, Aug. 23); Sunday Ice Cream Social Cruise (Sundays from May 24 through Aug. 31).

SIGHTSEEING CRUISES: One-Hour Sightseeing Cruise (weekdays from June through Aug., select days in May, Sept. and Oct.); Evening Sightseeing Cruise (through Oct.).

COMEDY CRUISE: Jim Krenn Comedy Cruise (Aug. 1).

POLKA CRUISES: Lenny Gomulka & Chicago Push (May 31); Del Sinchak, The Casuals and Jack Tady (Sept. 1).

DANCE CRUISES: Moonlight Dance Cruise (Fridays from June 6 through Aug. 29); Blues & Barbecue Dance Cruise — With Jill West and Blues Attack (Sept. 5).

HOLIDAY CRUISES: Father’s Day Luncheon Cruise (June 15); Fourth of July Dinner Cruise (July 4).


Ligonier, 724-238-3666.

Open May 22-26, 31, June 1, June 6-Aug. 20, 23-24, 30-31, Sept. 1, 6-7, 13-14.


West Mifflin, 412-461-0500.

Open through Aug. 24, and Aug. 30-31, Sept. 1,6-7, 13-14.


Meadowcroft Road, Avella, 724-587-3412.


Atlatl Competition — Prehistoric spear-throwing competition (June 21 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Independence Day Celebration — Old-fashioned summer games, open hearth cooking demonstrations and pie-eating contest (July 4). Insider Tours of Meadowcroft Rockshelter — Tours led by archaeologist James Adovasio; reservations required: 724-587-3412 (June 28, Sept. 13, Oct. 11, Nov. 8).


Ridge Avenue and Arch Street, North Side, 412-323-7235.


“Soar!” — Outdoor show featuring black kites, falcons and hawks (Skydeck, daily at noon). “Taking Flight: An Aerial Adventure” — Outdoor free-flight show with macaws, Eurasian eagle, owls and others (Rose Garden, daily at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.). Penguin Painting Program — Guests can take home original creations made by African penguins, who can paint with their feet; preregistration required: 412-258-9445 (June 8, July 13, Aug. 10 at 3 p.m.). “Falconry — The Sport of Kings!” — History, practices and theories behind falconry; reservations required: 412-258-9439 (June 14 from 10 a.m.-noon). Father’s Day Brunch featuring Atria’s — Brunch and Aviary visit; preregistration required: 412-258-9445 (June 15 at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.). National Aviary at Night — Monthly evening hours at the Aviary (June 19; July 17; Aug. 21 from 5 to 9 p.m.). Positive Parroting — Classes on parrot care (guests are asked not to bring their birds with them; registration required: 412-258-9439): The Healthy Happy Parrot (June 28 from 10 a.m.-noon); Training Your Pet Bird (July 26 from 10 a.m.-noon); Pet Bird Enrichment (Aug. 30 from 10 a.m.-noon). Brunch at the National Aviary featuring Atria’s. Preregistration required: 412-258-9445 (July 6, Aug. 10, Sept. 21 at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.). Night in the Tropics — Annual fundraiser/party with entertainment, food and drinks; over-21; tickets via Showclix: (July 12; VIP reception 6 p.m., general admission 7 p.m.). Photo Safari — Participants can photograph birds before the aviary opens to the public; preregistration required: 412-258-9439: Wetlands (July 19 from 9-10 a.m.); Grasslands (Aug. 9 from 9-10 a.m.). Vulture Weekend — Vulture-themed activities, educational displays, keeper talks and animal encounters (Aug. 9-10 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.).


Schenley Park, 412-622-6914.


Butterfly Forest — Live butterflies return to the conservatory (through Sept. 1). Summer Flower Show — Railroad-themed displays, interactive features and unique plantings (through Oct. 5).


Discovery Garden Day — Hands-on activities in the Children’s Discovery Garden (May 24 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.). Farmers at Phipps — Farmers market on Phipps front lawn with organic and naturally grown foods from local farms (Wednesdays from June 4 through Oct. 29 from 2:30-6:30 p.m.). Party in the Tropics — Food, cocktails and dancing; ages 21+ (June 6, July 11, Aug. 1, Sept. 5 from 7-11 p.m.). Jazz in the Garden — Live jazz (June 12 from 7 to 10 p.m.). Tropical Forest India Mango Festival — Tastings, kids’ activities and more (July 12 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Red, Ripe and Roasted — Cooking demonstrations, tomato contest, farmers’ market and kids’ activities (Aug. 24 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.).


Highland Park, 412-665-3639.


Wild Wednesdays — Live entertainment and prizes (Wednesdays from June 11 through Aug. 13 at noon). Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium Gala (June 13 — zoo closes at 3 p.m.). Eat’n Park Family Week — Themed days, activities, animal encounters and more (June 14-22 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.). Teddy Bear Clinic — Visitors can bring used or new bears to donate to Pittsburgh Emergency Services Department (June 17 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.). Father’s Day at the Zoo — Dads admitted free when accompanied by their children (June 15). Macy’s Baby Day — Spotlight is on the zoo’s baby gorilla, tiger cub and rhino (July 12 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.). Summer Safari — Annual evening fundraiser (July 25 — zoo closes at 3 p.m.). UPMC Kids Zoofari — Free carousel rides, animal enrichment (Aug. 16-29 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.).


1000 Sandcastle Drive, West Homestead, 412-462-6666.

Open May 24-26, 31, June 1, June7-Aug. 17, 23-24, 30-31, Sept. 1.


1212 Smallman St., Strip District, 412-454-6000.


“Pittsburgh’s Lost Steamboat: Treasures of the Arabia” — Traveling exhibition features artifacts recovered from the Steamboat Arabia, which sank in the Missouri River in 1853 (through Jan. 4).


Hop into History — Programs for ages 2-5 led by museum educators (May 28, June 18, July 16, Aug. 20 at 10:30 a.m.). Saturday Speaker Series: Father Mollinger, Pittsburgh’s Healing Priest — Presentation on the life of Father Mollinger, who lived in Allegheny City in the late 19th century; RSVP: 412-454-6412 (June 7 at 11 a.m.). Third Annual Hometown–Homegrown — Local vendors and food demonstrations (June 21 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.). Preserving Your Italian Heritage: Parte Seconda — Lecture, museum tour and how to handle and store family keepsakes; RSVP: 412-454-6426 (June 28 from 10 a.m.-noon). Treasure Hunt featuring Wigle Whiskey — After-hours scavenger hunt, tour of “Pittsburgh’s Lost Steamboat” exhibit, re-enactors and live music (July 31 at 6 p.m.). Pittsburgh’s Hidden Treasures — Annual appraisal event. Visitors can bring books, china, Civil War materials, toys and more for appraisal (Aug. 17 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.). From Slavery to Freedom Film Series: W.E.B. Du Bois — Screening of “W.E.B. Du Bois: A Biography in Four Voices,” Homewood Library Auditorium, Homewood (Aug. 20 at 5:30 p.m.).


Next to Carnegie Library, Oakland.


Schenley Plaza Farmers Market (Fridays May 30-Oct. 24 from 3-6 p.m.). Lunch Time Yoga (Mondays June 2-Sept. 29 at noon). Saturday Morning Yoga (Saturdays June 7- Sept. 27 at 10 a.m.). Sunday Morning Tai Chi (Sundays June 8-Sept. 28 at 10 a.m.). WYEP Summer Music Festival (June 28 from 1 to 11 p.m.). WYEP Final Friday Concert (July 25, Aug. 29, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m.). Mazeroski Day (Oct. 13 at 1 p.m.).

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