Unique Story Times in Pittsburgh

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Before having a kid, I had no idea that story time offers so much more than just sitting and listening to stories.  Most story time programs sing songs and do dances to get the kids moving. And several offer crafts or other fun activities at the end.  With so many different story times available in the Pittsburgh area, you’re sure to find something out there to match your children’s age and interest almost every day of the week.  The best part is that many are free, and they offer both parents and kids an opportunity to get out and connect with other families during the week.  There are also a few options on Saturday or even Sunday for all my working mom (and dad) friends looking for something different to do with their kids on the weekend.

Tip: You’ll notice that many story times have recommended ages.  Unless there’s a firm requirement, I’ve often taken my son to story times when he’s younger.  That said, I’ve also left if I noticed he was too restless and possibly disturbing other kids’ ability to pay attention.  Like most of parenting, it’s all about trail and error and feeling out your kid for that day!

Munchkin Mondays at the Carnegie Science Center

Mondays at the Carnegie Science Center are all about the littlest scientists. Story time is typically held in the Buhl Planetarium, which gives kids a change to view the stars, moon and changing colors of the ceiling while listening to science-themed stories. There are also various activities and demonstrations for little kids throughout the museum that change weekly. Tip: Be sure to spend time on the 4th floor Little Learner’s Clubhouse while you’re there. It has the best activities for toddlers and there’s also a submarine reading nook if you’re looking for some quiet reading time.

  • Location: Carnegie Science Center, located at 1 Allegheny Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15212
  • Day/Time(s): Mondays at 10am
  • Recommended Age: 2-6 years old (although children of any age are welcome)
  • Registration: Not required, however, you can express interest or confirm attendance on Carnegie Science Center’s Facebook page
  • Cost: Included with general admission

Soergel Orchards’ Story Time

Story time at Soergel Orchards is really interactive from the minute it starts, and it includes a number of songs/ dances to get kids moving and engaged. This story followed by activities and a craft, all of which are typically themed for the week. Tip: If weather permits, spend some time playing outside on Soergel’s grounds after story time and be sure to visit the animals. The cafe also has great options for kids if you want to have lunch afterwards, and there’s a train running around the ceiling of the store.

  • Location: The Macintosh room at Soergel Orchards, 2573 Brandt School Road, Wexford, PA 15090
  • Day/Time(s): Mondays from 10:30-11:00am (check Soergel’s events page for more information)
  • Recommended Age: Children of all ages are welcome
  • Registration: Not required
  • Cost: FREE

Story Time at the Pittsburgh Zoo

Story time at the Zoo means everything is animal themed from the stories to the songs and dances. The best part about the Zoo’s story time is that kids have a chance to meet animals up close throughout story time. Whilte you’re there be sure to spend time at Children’s Zoo, which, along with the rest of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, is open all year round and is great for families with little kids. Be sure to also check out the various programs offered for kids at the Pittsburgh Zoo here.

  • Location: Education Complex at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, located at 7370 Baker Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15206
  • Day/Time(s): Dates vary; typically the first Monday of the month from 10-10:30am
  • Recommended Age:   Infants to 5 years old (Note: the Zoo asks that only children under 5 and their parent/guardian(s) attend given the nature of the classes)
  • Registration: Registration is required here. (Click on “other dates” at the top to view other story time dates.)
  • Cost: $10 per child and adult for non-members; members are $5 each

L.L. Bean Tent Tales for Tykes

L.L. Bean holds a nature and animal-themed story time for the littlest nature lovers in the discovery alcove under the stairs. In addition to a story, there is typically a craft as well as other learning activities that go with the week’s theme.

  • Location: Ross Park Mall, 1000 Ross Park Mall Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15237
  • Day/Time(s): Tuesdays from 10:30- 11:30am
  • Recommended Age:  3-6 years old  (Note: This is one that I definitely recommend sticking to the age recommendation since story time is held in a smaller space and it’s geared toward kids that are old enough to be able to really focus on learning the content.)
  • Registration: Registration is required. Go here to select the date you want to attend and enter your information.
  • Cost: FREE

Story Time Wednesdays at Phipps

The story time at Phipps probably has one of the prettiest settings of any of the Pittsburgh story times available, as it takes place in the Tropical Rainforest exhibit. In addition to reading stories that are often themed around plants and other topics children can learn more about at Phipps, each story time also offers some type of craft or activity. Tip: Once your child attends 6 story time sessions, he or she will receive a children’s book for free.

  • Location: Tropical Rainforest at thePhipps Conservatory, located at 1 Schenly Park Drive, Pittsburgh, PA (Note: Story time is typically held outdoors in the warmer months)
  • Day/Time(s): Wednesdays at 10:30am and 1pm
  • Recommended Age: Children of all ages are welcome
  • Registration: Not required, however, families attending story time need to obtain a pass at the welcome center upon arrival. Story time is limited to 30 participants and is available on a first come, first serve basis. See here for more info.
  • Cost: Included with admission

Riverstone Bookstore

This locally owned, independent bookstore is our personal favorite for unique, themed story times and they offer several thought the week. On Saturdays, Miss Amy usually reads a story followed by songs and crafts. They also have special holiday themed story times, including Polar Express and Elf story time events that were recently held in December, in addition to yoga story times dedicated to toddlers.

  • Location: McCandless Crossing, 8850 Covenant Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15237
  • Day/Time(s): A weekly story time is held on Saturdays at 10:00am, and toddler yoga story time is typically held on alternating Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Periodically, Riverstone also offers a Sunday story time (one of the only ones in the area!) at 11:00am in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Jewish Library. See Riverstone’s events page or Facebook for additional information on story times.
  • Recommended Age: Saturday story times are recommended for kids ages 4-6, but younger children are also able to attend.
  • Registration: Not required
  • Cost: FREE

Fit4Mom North Hill’s Stroller Exercise Classes

If you read my post on exercising with your baby or toddler, you already know that Fit4Mom is more than just a workout. While Fit4Mom stroller workouts technically aren’t a story time, they offer many activities to keep the kiddos entertained throughout class in addition to being a great way to exercise while connecting with other moms. (Although let’s be honest, looking at their moms do crazy moves is usually enough.) At our local North Hills Fit4Mom, the instructors typically read a book to the kids throughout the class as the moms stop to complete various exercises. On Fridays, there’s also a special playgroup after class, and the workout and stories are often themed.

  • Location: The Block of Northway or North Park, depending on the time of year.
  • Day/Time(s): Classes are held on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 9:15am
  • Recommended Age: Any age as long as they can be in a stroller.
  • Registration: Required by signing up at https://northhills.fit4mom.com
  • Cost: First Fit4Mom class is free. Individual classes are $15, however, the cost per class is less if you purchase a package.

Chick-fil-A Mommy & Me Mornings

While not every Chick-fil-A offers these events, the restaurant on McNight Road does an amazing job at pulling together “Mommy and Me” events twice a month. Mommy and Me Mornings include a story, activities and/or crafts, songs and typically some type of refreshments for the kiddos. Moms get free coffee for attending and the kids can play in the awesome play area after the activities. And of course, you can always eat there while attending the event!

  • Location: McNight Road Chick-fil-A, 7451 McKnight Rd,
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15237
  • Day/Time(s): The 1st and 3rd Friday of every month at 9:30am (see their events page on Facebook for more info)
  • Recommended Age: Children of all ages are welcome
  • Registration: Not required but you can express interest on Facebook
  • Cost: FREE

Young Sprouts at the Children’s Museum

The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh is one of our favorite museums for little kids and it has several programs for early learners. This Thursday morning program at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh includes activities and songs as well as stories. (Most of which are typically nature themed.) In addition to Young Sprouts, several other Early Childhood Learning activities that can be found on their website here.

  • Location: The Nursery at the Children’s Museum, located at 10 Children’s Way, Allegheny Square, Pittsburgh, PA 15212
  • Day/Time(s): Thursdays from 10:30-11:30am (see calendar of events here)
  • Recommended Age: Children under 5
  • Registration: Not required
  • Cost: Included with admission

Barnes & Noble Toddler Story Time

The Barnes and Noble at the Waterworks was a favorite of ours when we lived in the area and they have one of the best children’s sections. The story time activities are typically themed based on a specific book and main character each week. Tip: If you want to stay after for lunch, the cafes offer a coupon for grilled cheese and milk or juice in the cafe for only $4.

  • Locations: Various Barnes & Nobles through Pittsburgh (Cranberry, Greensburg, Monroeville, South Hills Village, Waterfront & Waterworks)
  • Day/Time(s): Saturdays at 11:00am (Note: The Waterworks location also has an 11:30am story time in addition to 11:00am and the Settler’s Ridge location holds a second story time on Thursdays at 11:00am) For more information, see Barnes and Noble’s event page here.
  • Recommended Age: Tailored to toddlers, but children of all ages are welcome
  • Registration: Not required
  • Cost: FREE

Allegheny County & Carnegie Public Library Story Times

While you may be thinking that library story times aren’t necessarily unique (and you’re partially correct, since they’re a “go-to” for most parents) I’ve been so impressed with the story time programs at our local library, Northern Tier Library, in Gibsonia that I can’t go without mentioning them. Story times vary by library, but ours usually starts with open play, followed by several songs and dances as well as a couple stories throughout. It ends with bubbles and parachute play that the kiddos go crazy for and then a craft that goes with the story theme for the day. Tip: Most library story times have open play for up to 30 minutes before they start, which is a great way for your kids to interact with others and get access to toys they don’t have at home.

Search here for your closest Allegheny County Library and story time options or here for Carnegie Library options. Most libraries have multiple story times available for different age groups and they’re all FREE. Be sure to check the websites beforehand, as many prefer that you preregister.

Please share if you have any favorite story time programs in the Pittsburgh area that I haven’t mentioned above! And if you haven’t already, be sure to check out our page on children’s book inspiration if you’re looking for new book ideas to inspire travel and adventures.

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