10 Things to Know Before You Go to the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh

By Emily Papa, Macaroni KID Publisher March 11, 2024

Ask my kids where their favorite indoor play space is, and the answer is going to be the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh. With 5 levels of fun, plus the backyard play space, you can spend hours here. This is a great place for my sensory-seeking kids to get tons of educational input through play. We'll share our tips and tricks to help you and your family get the most out of one of our favorite Pittsburgh play places. Here are 10 things to know before you go to the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh:

1. Be Prepared to Park

It's pretty easy to find the Children's Museum located at 10 Children's Way in Pittsburgh's North Side, just keep your eyes on the sky and look for 3 flying fish. I find it easiest to park in the museum lots ($5 for members/$7 non-members) and suggest downloading the "Way to Park" app on your phone and preloading your license plate information so you're not struggling to do it with kids eager to get inside. If you plan to park on the street, download the Flowbird app to pay for parking by the hour. 

2. Pack a Lunch and Snacks

The Children's Museum opens daily at 10 am and I like to be there first thing in the morning (usually because it's really easy to spend the entire day here). A HUGE perk about the Children's Museum place is the Big Red Room Café which not only serves affordable, fun, and nutritious food but also hosts picnic-style tables for families to gather their own packed food for lunch or snacks. #winning If you don't want to carry a cooler around with you, there are lockers and a coatroom adjacent to the Art Studio. 

3. Save on Admission

Children's Museum of Pittsburgh members can always purchase guest admissions at 20% off, but the museum will occasionally offer special discounts such as free admission days, AAA membership discounts, military discounts, and more. Our favorite discount to tell parents about is the Museums for All discount if anyone in your home receives SNAP benefits or has an EBT card. Read more about Museums for All and other discounts and deals for kids in Pittsburgh you might want to know about here and check out any additional admission discounts at the Children's Museum here

4. Start with the Art

We like to start in the Art Studio, where the kids can create their own masterpieces that they will take home. This often involves paint and other mixed media, and almost always needs time to settle or dry. Starting our day in the Studio allows us to leave any projects on the racks to dry while we are exploring the rest of the museum. Plus, we always drop our coats and water bottles in the coatroom so we don't have to lug them around the museum.

My kids just love painting at the Children's Museum! Don't forget to put a name on their art so you can easily find it after you put it on the drying rack!

I love it when the kids are challenged to make mixed media out of recycled content. 

5. Dress the Part

After my kiddos are done with the art, they typically run straight to the limb bender, or what I lovingly call the ant hill wall (it reminds me of an old school science project watching the ants move around from behind a piece of plexiglass). As much as I loved dressing my little girl up for days out, I quickly realized that a dress was not the best attire for this activity. Dress your kiddo in loose, easy-to-move-in clothing for the majority of the museum. There is also a water floor, so it's wise to pack a bathing suit and a towel or at least a change of dry clothing. 

Your kids will definitely wear out some energy in the limb bender at the Children's Museum.

6. Let Your Kids Explore at their Own Pace

We could easily come down here and spend all day just in the wall, but at some point, I call them out, so we can move through the Makeshop, Attic, Garage, and rest of the 1st floor exhibits. On a good day, my daughter won't make me walk through the Gravity Room. While I let them play freely in each room. I will gently remind them that there is still more to see in case they want to move on. Many times I will start in the Art Studio, then walk to the last exhibit, working my way back towards the Makeshop. That way, the kids can see what they have left to accomplish in the museum in front of them. 

No, the camera is not crooked, this is the gravity room at the Children's Museum!

Giggles and smiles all day with each exhibit at the Children's Museum. 

This is not a no-touch museum! Everything here encourages children to engage all their senses!

7. Infant - Toddler Mama Need to Know

While my kids have always enjoyed the Children's Museum in its entirety, did you know there is an entire floor dedicated to our littlest littles? The Nursery (on the second floor) is a permanent exhibit that is perfect for your infant and toddler to explore and try new things in a safe environment. Parents love the Resource Area and the weekly classes where both mom and baby can make new friends.  And you know this place is built for kids when you know that if you run out of diapers or wipes during your visit, the front desk is happy to help you out!

8. Accessibility 

The Children's Museum is stroller-friendly with ramps and elevators. There are changing stations and toddler potty seats in most bathrooms, a nursing station, and quiet areas. If you head over to Museum Lab, you must use the side entrance to find the ramp and elevator.

9. Save the Best for Last

Pro-tip here - along with bringing a change of water clothes. I suggest doing the water floor last. If you have little fish, they will want to spend all day in here so saving it for the end of the visit means you don't have to worry about squeezing in anything else. 

This indoor water play place is the perfect splash of fun for kids!

10. Older Kids Don't Grow Out of the Children's Museum, they Grow Into MuseumLab

After 10 years of taking my kids to the Children's Museum, we finally ventured next door to MuseumLab, and I can't believe it took us so long to get there! Check out what makes MuseumLab perfect for older kids HERE

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Macaroni KID South Hills (@macaronikidsouthhills)

Have you been to the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh? Any tips you think we should add? Let us know HERE or email Emily at, and we'll check them out!