The Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History offer interesting exhibits sure to please both parent and child. The Museum of Art has a distinguished collection of contemporary art that includes film and video works. The Museum of Natural History has exhibits like T. Rex vs. T. Rex that will excite all ages.
We arrived late in the afternoon and only had a little over 2 hours to explore before closing so we pretty much stayed to the Natural History side of the museum. I was very impressed with how many hands on things they offer kids to keep them engaged and learning.
One of the first exhibits is geology. The Stratavator is something I recommend stepping into when visiting geology exhibit. You will virtually descend thousands of feet below ground and learn facts at each stop on the way down. A fun way to get a look at what is going on beneath us. There are presentations at select times throughout the day and I learned from the gentleman presenting gems how to remove oil stains from clothing using talcum powder! My kids loved watching the paleontologist lab where they prepare fossils.
The Dinosaur exhibit is another big hit. You will find yourself surrounded by life size dinos of all shapes and sizes. Here, you will find the Bonehunters Quarry which is a hit with kids of all ages. Kids actually get to "dig" for fossils.
Base camp is also located on this floor and is full of hands on fun including a flashlight tour in a "hidden" hallway. There are exploration and learning stations throughout which we enjoyed stopping at.
The family gallery is another hands on exhibit where the kids can really immerse themselves. Whether they curl up in the corner on a beanbag chair with a book, examine xrays, or create their own collection for display, there is something kids of all ages will enjoy here.
The Discovery Room on the lower level was meant for kids. Here, everything is DO touch! There are live animals to observe, fossils to touch, and so much more. Be sure to save time for the kids to explore in here during your visit.
I highly recommend putting this on your list to visit when you are exploring Pittsburgh. Our entire family enjoyed it and the kids had fun while learning new things.
Disclosure: Our family received complimentary admission as part of a press tour of the area. All opinions are my own.
I love going here with my toddler. We go at least once a month. We have been visiting since he was four months old. When he was little he really enjoyed the modern art portions of the museum since so many of the pictures are very high contrast. We would walk around and name shapes and colors while looking at the modern art pictures. Now at 20 months he really enjoys the geology section. He can run around there and name the colors of all the rocks he sees and play by the mirrored walls. There is also a huge dinosaur exhibit with fun touch screens for the kids. Tucked in the back there is even a faux archaeology dig. My son loves to "dig" for dinosaur bones. It is highly interactive and educational fun.
The Natural History Museum was designed for kids and adults both. Besides their kids activity room which is filled with feel, do, discover activities this museum also has a dino dig where kids put on goggles and try to uncover bones. The exhibits are amazing, dinos in their own habitat with lots of interactive displays, a rock room, geology, and strats-o-vator are must sees. They even have a mummy. We spent hours in just the natural history part of the museum. There are three choices for lunch: bring you own and eat outside, a kids friendly cafe (sandwiches, hotdogs) and a more adult themed cafe (which also serves chicken fingers). An absolute must if you are going anywhere close to Pittsburg.
The Carnegie Museum of Natural History has one of the world’s finest dinosaur collections, a hall of gems and minerals, Egyptian artifacts (including mummies), and Polar World.
The Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems includes some of the finest specimens of their kinds, plus a dazzling display of fluorescent minerals. Polar World explores the culture of the Inuit, including their keenly observed carvings. There are also Egyptian artifacts; African and North American wildlife; colorful displays of insects, butterflies, birds; and so much more.
The Discovery Room, for all ages, is open selected hours. There are also special programs for children, including Camp Earth, a summer-camp program.
Founded in 1895 by Andrew Carnegie, the Carnegie Museum of Art was planned as a collection of “the old masters of tomorrow.” At that time, that meant artists like Winslow Homer, James McNeill Whistler, and Camille Pisarro. Today the museum is known for its collections of American, French Impressionist, and post-Impressionist works. It also includes European and American decorative arts, Asian and African art, and the Hall of Architecture, housing a collection of plaster casts of architectural monuments, considered one of the world’s three finest collections of this type.
Schoolchildren will get a kick out of the Hall of Sculpture, patterned after a real Greek temple. Family, youth, and children’s programs are available. There’s a free audio tour, including a kid-friendly version hosted by Art Cat, the museum’s mascot for children’s programs.
Since the museum of natural history and the museum of art are attached, one admission gets you into both, and there are often joint programs such as tours of both facilities. Also adjacent you’ll find the Carnegie Music Hall and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. There are two restaurants and a brown-bag lunchroom at the facility, as well as a six-level parking garage.
But I've loved this museum all my life. I grew up here, and now so do my sons. Every school field trip, every father daughter outing...it's very nostalgic for me. Every trip home we go. The dinosaur exhibits are bar-none fantastic! It's Pittsburgh, not NYC so it's often not too crowded. There are sights for all ages. There is a smaller discovery room with a staff that aids in hands on discovery for kids. The art is varied and extensive. Skip the food here and head over to Pamela's on Forbes for lunch :0)