Winter Family Bucket List

Raise your hand (not really, ’cause I can’t see it) if you had snowsuits and sleds ready for your kids last year and were disappointed that we barely got any snow! Me!

Whether we get more snow this year or not, here are some great family activities to add to your winter bucket list. Some are around the Pittsburgh area, and others you can do anywhere!

  • Go ice skating at the UPMC rink at PPG Place. Cost is about $10-12 admission, based on age, plus $5-6 for skate rental, if needed. The ice skating rink is open through the end of January. Check here for dates and times. In this same area downtown, you might also want to check out the Holiday Kidsplay and Selfie Garden and the Peoples Gas Holiday Market in Market Square. Both run through the end of December, check the websites for more details and information.
  • Enjoy snow tubing at Boyce Park (Plum). For those who are 42″ and above, enjoy a thrilling time of snow tubing! Cost is $17-21, depending on age and residency. Check here for more details. 
  • Make hot chocolate and start reading a new chapter series together. Reading while the snow is falling outside is one of my favorite activities! My 2-5-years old kids are loving The Adventures of Sophie Mouse books we’re currently reading! They will sit and beg me to read more chapters for as long as I let them! You could also listen to an audio book together. 
  • Play outside in the (let’s hope) snow!! I remember as a kid when it snowed A LOT; we used to make igloos. We’d build up a mound of snow and then pour water on it, wait until it froze, and then carve out the inside to make an igloo. I remember those adventures fondly, and your kids will too. Whether it’s sled riding, building a snowman, or having a snowball fight, there’s something magically fun about snow!
  • Go see the Penguins on Parade at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. Every Saturday and Sunday (weather permitting*) in December through February, the zoo brings the penguins out for a parade! It only happens if the temperature is below 45 degrees, so you’ve got to bundle up! When it’s cold enough, the penguins come outside the aquarium at 11:30am and spend about 20 minutes waddling around exploring and you get to watch and interact with them! You can then explore the rest of the aquarium and zoo with your regular admission ($13-18/person, free for members). Check here for more information!

  • Go on a hike! Yes, hiking and enjoying nature isn’t just for the warm seasons. A quick hike will allow you to see different wildlife, plants, and more that you may not be able to see in the summer. Plus, I often crave fresh air during the cold, winter months that we spend mostly inside and a little exercise is never a bad thing! Here are a few short trails in the Pittsburgh are: 
    • Fall Run Park – Glenshaw
    • Rachel Carson Trail or Lake Loop Trail- North Park
    • Robb Hollow Park- South Hills
    • Tranquil Trail- Frick Park
    • Panther Hollow Trails- Schenley Park
    • Boyce Park Log Cabin Trail- Plum
    • Montour Trail- Moon
  • Do a fun craft. This is a simple craft I posted about last Valentine’s Day, but it can easily be altered for any holiday or season. Some holiday/winter shape ideas are a Christmas tree, star, candle, snowflake, or a mitten. Here is the craft.
  • Explore a museum. Our city has no shortage of great museums and indoor places for kids, and a really frigid day is a great time to head indoors. Some places have deals and special exhibits for the winter, so check out their websites for more information!
    • The Heinz History Center is offering free admission for kids for the entire month of December! Adult admission is $20. 
    • The Carnegie Science Center has a holiday laser show through January 1st and admission to the center itself never disappoints! Admission is $15-25, 2 and under are free.
    • The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh has an interactive exhibit until January 7th, then it will change to something else. They also have quite a few regular exhibits and a whole indoor water floor! Admission is $17-19/person, under 2 are free.
    • Phipps Conservatory has their Holiday Magic winter flower garden and outdoor light show going on through January 7th. This is a great indoor and outdoor experience and is fun for all ages! My kids especially loved the interactive train display! Pricing is $14-28/person depending on age and when you go.
    • The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in Washington has a Santa Trolley event going on through December. Their regular admission also includes a Lionel toy train layout and a seasonal LEGO display. They are only open on Fridays-Sundays until the spring. Check here for more information. Admission is $11-13 and children under 3 are free.
Playing in the water area at the Children’s Museum
  • Go to the library. Many of the above places offer membership options. If there is one that your family really enjoys, the memberships pay for themselves in just a couple of visits. However, for something less expensive, there are also a ton of libraries around the city that offer free kids activities, classes, and many of them also have play areas and kids reading areas.  We live within walking distance to the Shaler North Hills Library, and it’s been awesome! They have a holiday market, kids crafts, and sometimes have a food truck parked outside! Their kids area is great with cozy reading spaces and lots of fun toys. Check out your local library for more details!

What’s your favorite winter activity to do with the whole family. Comment and let us know if we missed any great events or activities and we’ll add them to the list!

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