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With state parks, a first-class aquarium, a popular funicular railway, and a hands-on science center, Pittsburgh is a family-friendly city. Recommended activities depend on the weather – but, rain or shine, families can find something to inspire and entertain them in Pittsburgh.

Things to do in Pittsburgh

Ascend Mount Washington

The Duquesne Incline, a historic funicular railway that’s been transporting passengers to the top of Mount Washington for over 130 years, was recently named the “third most romantic spot in America” by the Microsoft Network (criteria included public access and physical beauty). But whether or not you’re on a romantic getaway, boarding the vintage cable cars and taking in the 400-foot-high panoramic views over the river valley and downtown’s Golden Triangle are essential activities for out-of-towners. Open 5:30am-12:45am Mon-Sat; 7am-12:45am on Sundays and major holidays.

1220 Grandview Ave., PA, 412-381-1665, www.incline.cc
Tags: romance | family | great value | views | things to do

Carnegie Science Center

Technically, the Science Center is one of the four Carnegie Museums in Pittsburgh – but this ultra-contemporary facility is worthy of its own listing. Complete with an Omnimax theatre, a five-tank, coral reef ecosystem, a miniature railroad, and a historic, WWII submarine – the USS Requin (available for touring in summer), the center offers countless hands-on educational activities for kids and adults alike. Look for RoboWorld in spring 2009 – the futuristic exhibit on all things robotic reportedly cost $3.4 million. Open 10am-5pm Sun-Fri; 10am-7pm Sat.

1 Allegheny Ave., PA, 412-237-3400, www.carnegiesciencecenter.org
Tags: family | trendy | things to do | museum

Picnic in Point State Park

A large-scale renovation, which includes paving roads and planting trees throughout 2008, is turning the already lovely Point State Park into an even more desirable destination for a lazy afternoon. The 36-acre property is a National Historic Landmark (the ruins of Fort Pitt and Fort Duquesne from the French and Indian War were discovered here) that’s strategically located at the convergence of Pittsburgh’s three rivers – Monongahela, Ohio, and Allegheny. The surrounding parkland, appropriately called Three Rivers Park, is currently developing an additional 13 miles of trails for hiking and biking – unfortunately, it won’t be complete until 2020. Open dawn to 11pm daily.

101 Commonwealth Place, PA, 412-471-0235, www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateParks/parks/point.aspx
Tags: family | hiking | biking | historic | great value | things to do | outdoors

Stroll Through the Gardens at Phipps Conservatory

An exquisitely maintained series of exotic gardens surround the gorgeous, glassed-in Phipps Conservatory in Schenley Park. Children enjoy the butterfly habitat, fish ponds, waterfalls, and seasonal miniature train display, while adults appreciate artistic details like the Dale Chihuly glass sculptures in the elegant Palm Court room and the Tropical Fruit and Spice room. The 456-acre park that surrounds the conservatory also contains an ice-skating rink and a swimming pool. Open Friday 9:30am-10pm; every other day from 9:30am-5pm.

700 Frank Curto Dr., PA, 412-622-6914, www.phipps.conservatory.org
Tags: family | great value | things to do

Visit the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium

This contemporary, 77-acre zoo and aquarium complex provides educational entertainment for the whole family - the well-equipped "Kids Kingdom" has been ranked by Child magazine as one of the top children's zoos in the US. Highlights include the endangered snow leopard, a herd of African elephants, potbellied sea horses, and polar bears.

1 Wild Place, PA, 412-665-3640, www.pittsburghzoo.com
Tags: family | great value | things to do | wildlife

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