Water fun, kids, and Pittsburgh go together like red, white, and blue – or black, gold, and white if you’re as Pittsburgh sports fan! The beautiful city has three major rivers, indoor and outdoor water play spaces, and fountains that were made for catching cooling mist on hot, summer days. If your family is planning a visit to Pittsburgh for the first time or the hundredth time, finding fun and safe water activities and spots to cool off is a breeze. Check out these, our favorite places for water activities in Pittsburgh.
Point State Park
Have you ever stood on the spot where two rivers converge to make a third? Point State Park (or The Point, as the locals call it) is my family’s favorite place in the city to visit to check out Pittsburgh’s water features! Head down to the Point State Park Water Fountain at the very tip of the park and stand on the spot where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers converge to form the Ohio River, stand downwind on breezy days to catch the mist from the fountain that shoots water up to 150 feet in the air (especially nice on hot, summer days), or simply bring a couple of chairs or a blanket, pack a picnic lunch, and watch the water and bridge traffic pass you by. Point State Park is also the historical site of Fort Pitt and kids will love walking the dedicated outline of the fort and visiting the Fort Pitt Museum and Block House where they’ll learn all about Pittsburgh’s role in the French and Indian War.
Just Ducky Tours
Quack! Quack! Quack! Warm up those voices, duck style, for a super fun land and water tour of Pittsburgh. The brightly-colored, amphibious vehicles have a rich American military history compliments of their World War II role and have been renovated and whimsically painted to show Pittsburgh visitors the best of the city’s land and water features. While on land, tour guides are happy to point out stunning architecture and famous sculpture- and even let us in on the secret of how to score free tuition at Carnegie Mellon University! Hint: a love of traditional Scottish instruments is a must. Once the tour heads into the river, the tour guides allow volunteers to drive the DUKW’s in all three major Pittsburgh rivers and kids will especially love the opportunity to feel like a boat captain. Tip: Just Ducky Tours departs from Station Square. Make sure to save some time either before or after your tour to check out Bessemer Court and the rest of the shopping and dining in Station Square.
Sandcastle Water Park
Sandcastle is THE spot where Pittsburghers head when the hot, summer weather hits to cool off! Sandcastle Water Park offers its guests thrilling body slides like the The Lightning Express where riders can hit speeds of up to 25 miles per hour. Dragon’s Den is an exhilarating ride into the home of a giant red dragon. A two-person tube slide ride, passengers head down into the pitch darkness, only to spill out into the den filled with swirling water and mist. Tip: the more intense the thrill ride, the higher the height restriction. Make sure to check the minimum height requirements before queueing up.
Not a thrill seeker or have wee ones that don’t meet the height requirement? No worries! The Tad Pool was created especially for wee ones with a maximum pool depth of two feet and Wet Willie’s Water Works, a fun, water playground, has 20,000 gallons of water to play, splash, and get soaked in, on, and around.
Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh
This museum was made for kids! Originally the Buhl Planetarium and Allegheny Post Office, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh merged both buildings together to create over 80,000 square feet of creative space jam-packed with learning exhibits and kids’ style fun- including an entire floor dedicated to water play. The top floor of the museum is all about learning why playing with water is so much fun and parents can watch those creative wheels spin while the kids are checking out over 20 exhibits including a Magnetic Water Wall, shaved ice tables, and a Rain Meander. Tip: don’t forget the kids’ swimsuits- they will get wet!
Bessemer Court Fountain Show at Station Square
Looking for a fun and FREE way to enjoy the Pittsburgh outdoors and let the kids play? Bessemer Court at Station Square is the place to visit. The giant fountain inside the court offers a musical fountain show three times an hour with choreographed, multi-colored jets of water that shoot up to 40 feet in the air. From late-April to the Friday before Thanksgiving, the fountain show performs 10 themed displays including a Pittsburgh Sports Show, and homage to one of Pittsburgh’s most popular singers, Christina Aguilera, and even a Disney-themed sing along. Tip: On hot Pittsburgh days, don’t forget to bring swimsuits. The kids will love the mist from the fountain and the opportunity to get wet!