A few weeks ago my family had the opportunity to visit Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and we had a blast seeing all the sites in the city. Actually, I think we could have easily stretched our long weekend into a full week and not had time to squeeze in all the family-friendly activities. Some of the most fun we had was visiting The Carnegie Science Center.
The Carnegie Science Center is huge with four floors filled to the brim with interactive exhibits designed to get kids excited about learning. My kids are ages 7 and 3 years-old and one thing I loved about the Center is that there are exhibits that are appropriate for kids of all ages. My husband and I split up with the kids so each of them could spend time exploring the things that piqued their interest.
On the first floor my daughter had fun in the Space Place, training to be an astronaut! Once she got up so high she wasn’t so sure space travel was her thing! But what a cool experience on this Zero-G wall.
The Body Tech area was really cool and the kids got to simulate all these procedures doctors do with gamma rays, lasers, and x-rays. Last year on Thanksgiving I wound up in the hospital with a kidney stone so I was kind of excited to see an exhibit where you could use a pinball-type table to shoot a ball at a stone and break it up, like a doctor would do with a laser. Some of this Body Tech area was a little advanced for my 7 year-old, but that one clicked for her! There she is above learning about ultrasounds and lasers. So cool!
On the second floor of the Center you’ll find the Planetarium, which we didn’t have time to visit but looks awesome. I always loved field trips to Planetariums when I was a kid. My son really enjoyed the Miniature Railroad and Village on this floor. You can walk around the perimeter of a huge, awesome display of trains with tracks that go through all kinds of neat places. The more you look, the more you see! We had just been on the Duquesne Incline that morning so we thought it was pretty cool to find it here!
Finally on the second floor we had a ton of fun with the Roboworld exhibit. There are more than two dozen exhibits that show you how robots think and work. One of my favorite exhibits to play with with my daughter was this heat-sensing robot. It could detect heat and displayed it on the screen in red, and cold areas are blue and green. So apparently I have a hot head and a cold nose! There are great explanations on all of the exhibits to tell why the technology would be used. This one explained that it can be used to find people in a building where maybe smoke or darkness prevents you from seeing them.
We made our way up to the third floor to see the SeaScape exhibit, which is a really cool display of aquariums that feature over 400 species of plants and animals. We had fun with this exhibit that demonstrates how waves are formed! Also on the third floor is the Kitchen Theater. We didn’t stop in there but I’d love to check it out on our next visit. My kids love to cook with me and this is a hands-on demonstration of the science involved in making our food.
I think we spent most of our time on the fourth floor, and by then my husband and I were happy to hang out around the perimeter of the room while the kids played in the Exploration Station. There were tons of fun things on this floor that the kids enjoyed doing. They played with water channels, balls, brushed teeth, played a giant game of Operation, and lots more! This floor was TONS of fun for all of us and probably the most interactive for the kids.
Also included in the price of admission to The Carnegie Science Center is a visit to their Highmark Sports Works, which is a separate building right across the parking lot. It looks fantastic with lots of exhibits that teach kids about physical health, the work required to burn calories, and the benefits of an active lifestyle. Unfortunately my little guys were tuckered out after the hours we spent in the main Center so we had to pass on this. We’ll definitely get there next time, though!
We did make time to hit up one last exhibit which is outside: The USS Requin Submarine. This was SO cool! All four of us loved the tour. I’ve never been in a real submarine before so it was quite an experience, and this one was actually in service from 1945 to 1971 and spent most of that time in the Mediterranean Sea. It is quite something to see the close quarters the sailors lived in for months underwater. I don’t think I could do it! My daughter had fun playing around in the control room, moving levers and pushing buttons. And the employee on the sub was able to answer all of our questions. It was probably the highlight of my time at the Center. Really cool stuff!
You can learn more on The Carnegie Science Center’s website, or by following them on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. There is so much to see, it’s not possible for me to cover it all here in one post! No matter what the ages of your kids there’s an exhibit for them. There are tons of interactive displays that will engage moms and dads, too! We all had a great time. Next time you’re in Pittsburgh be sure to add The Carnegie Science Center to your must-do list!
Check out all of our Pittsburgh adventures:
- Lego KidsFest in Pittsburgh December 2012
- Visit Pittsburgh: A Thriving City Full of Hospitality & Family-Friendly Attractions
- Visit Pittsburgh: The Duquesne Incline & One Amazing View
- Visit Pittsburgh: The Carnegie Science Center Is Hands-On Fun & Learning!
- Visit Pittsburgh: Close (and Awesome!) Encounters at The National Aviary
I was provided with complimentary and/or discounted accommodations and admission to attractions in exchange for this review. The opinions in this post are 100% mine. You can read my full disclosure policy here.