Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Children's Museum of Pittsburgh

In 2010, Parents magazine ranked the top 100 cities to raise children. Pittsburgh came in at #4 on that list, only beaten by Scottsdale, AZ, Fort Wayne, IN, and Lincoln, NE. At that time, we had just moved from Pittsburgh to Detroit (ranked #96). Pittsburgh was given this high ranking in part due to the Children's Museum and many other recreational activities that the city has to offer, along with affordability, safety, and education. I've gone to the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh as both a child and a teacher. This was my first opportunity to go as a parent with my son. I was really excited to see it through Brady's eyes.

Pittsburgh may be the fourth best city in which to raise children, but it's COLD!!! We've been very spoiled in our year in the South and during Christmas week was the first time Brady had to wear a winter jacket. We probably wouldn't have even bothered to buy him one if we were staying in South Carolina, but since we're heading to Germany in two weeks, he'll need one over there. He wasn't really too happy about the hat and mittens.

The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh is located on the North Shore near the stadiums. We drove in from my parents' house and the first exhibit was all about tools. Brady really liked the part pictured above where they had washers and they would spiral down the grooved pole. Since there were a lot of lose screws and bolts laying around, we didn't feel comfortable enough that Brady wouldn't put one in his mouth, so we wanted to move onto another room. Brady was very upset because he was having fun and we were forcing him to leave. He didn't understand that there were more rooms full of fun things that would be a lot safer. The next room was "The Garage" and was one of the rooms where the exhibits stay the same.

I love this picture! Only 5 more years until Brady competes in his first Pinewood Derby as a Tiger Cub. Both my brothers and Andy and his brothers were in Cub Scouts. My brothers won their fair share of Pinewood Derbies and I'm sure Dubby will be more than happy to share a few of his success secrets with Brady.

In this area of The Garage, you could built a paper rocket and then use an air launcher to launch it. Brady had a blast watching other kids blast their rockets while Andy made one for him to shoot. We took our rocket home and he played with it for days.

They had a Smart Car that kids could play in and of course that was right up Brady's alley.

The next room is another room that has changing exhibits and the one that was currently there was all about wax. How it's used to form things and things that are made of wax. They had some tools out that you could use to shape a block of wax.

Next, Andy and Brady used the cranks to position and drill into a block of wax.

We moved onto the second floor which is the "nursery." It had a lot more activities that were on Brady's level and he went straight for the train table. We'll have to get him one of his own someday.

Probably the coolest thing I saw all day was the life-size Light Bright. A regular Light Bright would have pieces that were too small for Brady's age, but this one had sticks that he could wrap his whole hand around. It didn't take long for him to figure out that he had to place the colored rods into the holes and then it would light up. He could have spent all day there and I wish I could buy one of these for our house. I would be entertained for hours!

The third floor is exclusively for water play. As soon as you get off the elevator, they have a wall of raincoats and "boots" (crocs). We knew Brady was going to get soaked, so we took off his pants and since there were no crocs his size, we let him go barefoot. Fortunately, we had an extra set of clothing because his shirt got soaked anyway (thanks to daddy accidentally redirecting a fountain into the top of his raincoat).

We had to keep a really close eye on Brady because he tried several times to get into the water tanks (silly water baby). In the picture above, he's holding a duck watering can and we had to stop him from pouring it over his head like in swim class.

We had a great week and a half in Pittsburgh and are certainly glad that we had to leave when we did, because less than 24 hours after our departure, it started to snow like crazy. The funniest thing that happened while we were home, involved Brady and his sleeping situation. He sleeps in his pack n play at my parents house. We put him up for a nap one afternoon and about 45 minutes later, we heard the pitter patter of little feet in the hallway. Before we had time to register the noise, Brady ran into the room, smiling. He climbed out of his pack n play and got down the stairs without a sound. We were fortunate that the first sound we heard was a thump thump thump of him tumbling down the stairs. We've never lived in a house with stairs, so we have no idea how he got down without falling. Later on in the week, I went up to check if he was sleeping and he was on one of the twin beds, climbing down. After that, when we took him upstairs, I would tell him he needed to stay in his crib and not go near the stairs. That kid is part monkey, I swear!

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