We started out our second day with a trip up the Duquesne Incline. This is a 134 year old funicular railway serving a neighborhood of Pittsburgh. It’s still in operation for public transportation but it’s also open to ride for tourists. It’s a cheap thrill ($4.50 round trip for adults, free for young kids, $2.20 for children under 6).
Despite the fun of the ride and the fabulous skyline views, you can also take a little free tour of the machinery. This basically just means walking through the machine room but since it’s operational, it’s very cool to see up close how the funicular works.
(Sea Eagle, African Penguins, Grey Parrot, Some kind of Finch)
David is a bird-lover so we next we headed to The National Aviary. This would be a fabulous place for anyone who loves birds to visit. The birds are in big rooms by ecosystem with the ability for free flight. We were able to see a feeding of the birds in one room which allowed for even closer views. We also went to a free-flight bird show that featured many of the biggest flashiest birds. That was clearly David’s favorite part. An added bonus for us was that we also were able to have free admission here with our National Zoo membership.
In the same neighborhood as the Aviary was the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum. I had heard that this was an excellent children’s museum and I was quite pleased to find that unlike many other children’s museums this was much more than just a collection of rooms with various themes and toys to fit that theme (the grocery room with play food, the dress up room, etc). I was very excited to see the Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood exhibit. I didn’t realize that Fred Rogers was from Pittsburgh but I was a huge fan of the show as a child. This is Henrietta (Meow, Meow, Meow), one of my favorite of his puppets. I have to admit that David and Ruth had no idea what this exhibit was about other than it had some neat things in it. But it was fun for me.
There was a waterplay area with boats and buckets and a design your own fountain section. There was a very large art studio area that the artist of the family (David) loved. He painted and got to do some papermaking. There were also recycled material sculpture, clay and silk-screening stations.
There was about half the museum we didn’t even get to see as at this point we’d been out for about 8 hours (even if it was only 3 pm) and needed to head back to the hotel for a nap. But it looked like a lot more to explore and a place I’d definitely recommend going if you are going to be in Pittsburgh with kids.
For dinner we headed to Station Square, which is one of those now ubiquitous urban areas that were once industrial and have been made over into a shopping/dining area. We ended up choosing The Hard Rock Cafe for dinner, a little out of the norm for us, but it worked perfectly as it had outdoor seating right by this fountain. There was a fountain show every 20 minutes and these two could get up and wander around a bit while I sat and watched. After dinner we walked along the river some and then shared a shaved ice snow cone for dessert. A nice end to a long day.