Wet & Wild Summer Guide

By May 14, 2019 No Comments

Kennywood Park (Current photo by Jake Mysliwczyk)

By Haley Frederick
Pittsburgh Current Managing Editor

We want you to have a wet and wild summer, Pittsburgh. Use this guide to break out of your usual summertime routines and into some new adventures. We want you to get outside on the water or up in a hot air balloon. Check out our wet-o-meter and wild-o-meter ratings for each activity to get an idea of just how wet and wild things can get.


Go for a Swim at a Citiparks Pool   (5/5 on the wet-o-meter)

In most communities around Pittsburgh, you’re never too far away from one of the city’s swimming pools. The outdoor pools open for the season on June 12. You can spend the day lounging poolside and dipping your toes—or you can jump right into the deep end. Day passes are available for $3 for those aged 3-15, or $5 for those 16 and older. Annual pool tags are also available for swimmers who plan to hit the water early and often. Find out more at or call 412-323-7928.

Cruise Down the River on the Gateway Clipper (2/5)

If you’re the kind of person who wants to be on the water without actually getting wet, a river cruise is for you. The Gateway Clipper’s Three Rivers Sightseeing Cruise  takes passengers from the Monongahela to the Allehgeny and Ohio, all while you learn about the history and lore that surround Pittsburgh’s waterways. Cruises run throughout the day and take an hour. We recommend trying to catch a sunset onboard. Tickets are $22 for adults and $12 for children. Go to or call 412-355-7980.

Photo by: Jake Mysliwczyk

Beat the Heat at a Spray Park (4/5)

The city’s eight spray parks are the perfect water adventure for tiny tots who are too young to swim, people who are differently abled or anyone who’s tired of the pool, but not quite up for a trip to a full-on water park. The spray parks will open up for weekends only starting May 25 before they open up for the whole week on June 12. Visit to find the park nearest to you, or call 412-323-7928.

Volunteer to do a River Cleanup (3/5)

Help to keep our rivers beautiful by joining an environmental organization like Allegheny Cleanways on one of their riverfront cleanups. You can stay on land or board their boat, the Rachel Carson, to remove the litter that is accumulated around one of Allegheny County’s rivers. To see the schedule of cleanup dates and locations and sign up to volunteer, go to or call them at 412-381-1301.

Photo courtesy of: Hannah Samuels Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator at Allegheny Cleanways

Rent a Kayak (4/5)

Kayak Pittsburgh offers kayak rentals at three locations: North Park, North Shore and Aspinwall Riverfront Park. Even if you’ve never been in one before, kayaking is an easy activity to master, and a great way to spend time with friends and family on the water. You can rent a solo kayak for $16 on weekdays and $19 on weekends, or a tandem for $23.50 on weekdays and $26.50 on weekends. has more information or call 412-255-0564.

Photo by: Jake Mysliwczyk

Chase Waterfalls at Ohiopyle (3/5)

Ohiopyle State Park’s Cucumber Falls is so pretty that you won’t even mind the drive. You may want to wear your hiking shoes, but this natural landmark isn’t too hard to get to. Park your car at Cucumber Falls Trail Head off Chalk Hill Road and follow the walking path to the cascading falls. And, of course, you’ll want to bring your camera. Plan your trip at or call 724-238-5661.

Photo by: Jake Mysliwczyk

Float Down the River on a Tiki Bar (3/5)

Cruise down the river on a Hawaiian-style tiki hut while sipping on your favorite drink. Cruisin’ Tikis Pittsburgh provides the tiki boat, the captain and the cooler—you provide the booze. You can book the six-seater boat for a two hour cruise for $400. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or just looking for a good time, it’s an experience you’re sure to remember. Book your tiki cruise at or call 833-744-8454.

Spend the Day at Sandcastle (4/5)

Sandcastle is Pittsburgh’s waterfront water park. Opening for the season on May 25, Sandcastle has 15 waterslides, the Mon Tsunami Wave Pool, the scenic Mushroom Pool, a lazy river and two children’s areas. Admission is $32.99 for adults and $22.99 for children under 48 inches. Sandcastle also offers season passes and special discount days. Find them at or call 412-462-6666.

Try Out Paddle Boarding (4/5)

SUP 3 Rivers brings urban adventures to Pittsburgh in the form of stand up paddle boarding. Paddle boarding is a level up from kayaking, so you’ll want to start out with an instructor if you’re new to the activity. SUP offers tours for novices and those who are more advanced, as well as a fitness tour designed to burn calories. A one and a half hour rental  with an instructor costs $35, second timers pay $20 per hour and $60 full-day rentals are an option for experienced paddlers. Go to or call 412-425-7676.

Photo by: Jake Mysliwczyk

Scuba Through Shipwrecks at Lake Erie (5/5)

Lake Erie has some the fiercest weather of all the Great Lakes, and it has the shipwrecks to prove it. And thanks to Diver’s World, you can scuba dive to explore them. Their are shallower wrecks suitable for new divers and deeper wrecks for those with proper training and experience. To find out more about the scuba adventures available or sign up for a class, visit or call 814-459-3195.

Photo courtesy of: Jeremy Bennister, photographed is diver Randy Knoll inspecting the port rail of the Indiana Wreck in Lake Erie.


Take in the Wildlife at the Zoo and Aquarium (2/5 on the wild-o-meter)

If you haven’t been to the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium before, this is the ultimate summer day plan. If you have been to the zoo, there are still plenty of reasons to go back. Try one of their Wild Encounters this time to get up close to an animal. Or check out one of their special events like World Oceans Day on June 8, or the PPG Festival of Color on June 22. Admission to the zoo is $17.95 for adults and $15.95 for children. Find out about events and discounts at or call 412-665-3640.

Photo by: Jake Mysliwczyk

Throw Some Axes (4/5)

Everybody wants a chance to feel like some sort of badass outlaw. Axe throwing has to be one of the best ways to get there. Ace Axe Throwing, located in the old bank building in Homestead, reassures their patrons that though it may seem daunting, pretty much everyone can handle throwing an axe at a wooden target. Bring a group and throw axes for an hour for $20 a person, or $30 for two hours. Book your experience at or call 412-368-8579.

Go Flower Picking (2/5)

Starting around the beginning of June, you can drive out to Simmons Farm in McMurray and walk through fields of flowers, cutting your own to bring a fresh bouquet home. Strawberry and peach picking are also available during the summertime at Simmons Farm, but not until later in the season. Check or call 724-41-7540 to find out what’s ready to pick.

Photo by: Jake Mysliwczyk

Enjoy the Amusements of Kennywood (3/5)

Kennywood is a classic. You can go for the Thunderbolt or the Phantom, hop on the water rides or take the kids to Thomas Town. And football fans should flock to the park this summer once the new Steelers Country opens. Featuring a new coaster called the Steel Curtain, this section of the park will have football skills games and tailgate food. Tickets on are $49.99 for adults and $33.99 for kids under 46’’. Call Kennywood at 412-461-0500.

Photo by: Jake Mysliwczyk

Take to the Treetops (3/5)

Opening this year on May 24, Go Ape! In North Park gives you the opportunity to go on an aerial adventure through the trees. The high-ropes course includes suspended obstacles, swings and zip lines. You must be at least 10 years old to participate. Tickets cost $39 for those 15 and younger, and $59 for those 16 and older. Find out more at or call 1-800-971-8271.

Jump Out of a Plane (5/5)

Why not knock an item off your bucket list this summer? Go skydiving in Erie or Youngstown with Skydive Pennsylvania. First time jumpers will want to go tandem with a member of their experienced team, which you can do for $239 all-included. Book your jump today at or call  800-909-JUMP.

Photo courtesy of: Instructor John Ellison from Skydive PA

Explore PA’s Largest Cave (3/5)

Whether you love to go spelunking or you’ve never heard the word before, Laurel Caverns is worth a visit. It’s home to Pennsylvania’s largest cave with over three miles of passages. Upper caving is accessible for kids 9 and over with their families, while the lower caving trail is more rigorous, taking you 45 stories down in elevation. Lower caving is $25, while upper is $30. Learn about the equipment required at or call 800-515 4150.

Photo by: Jake Mysliwczyk

Check Out the National Aviary (2/5)

Pittsburgh is home to the National Aviary, where their mission is to save birds and protect habitats. The aviary is home to more than 500 birds of more than 150 unique species. On May 25, they introduce a new exhibit called Living Dinosaurs for this summer only. Adults get into the aviary for $17 and children for $16. Find out more at or call 412-323-7235.

Balloon Through the Sky (5/5)

Float through the clouds in a hot air balloon. Meet Tim Meteney by the Beaver County Airport and he’ll take you up into the sky for an awe-inspiring trip. The best times of day for flight weather (and gorgeousness) are dawn and sunset. To find out more about the experience go to or call 724-336-2300.

Go Horseback Riding(4/5)

Rolling Hills Ranch in Bridgeville is a great place to get some animal interaction. You can do trail riding that will make you feel like you’re out in the “old west” for $30, or enjoy a moonlight ride that includes catered BBQ and a campfire for $70. Visit to get all of the details and then call 412-221-9926 to make a reservation.

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