I grew up in NW PA. We lived about 2 hours north of Pittsburgh, somewhat near the NY and OH borders in a little town called Tionesta. It was pretty much a sleepy town…except during hunting and fishing seasons. You see, Tionesta is an outdoor destination among sportsmen. The number of hunting camps out number the permanent residences 10-to-1. A large portion of the folks who descended upon the town were from Pittsburgh and many were not respectful of our peace and quiet. They didn’t really ever understand that we could not have cared less how things were done in Pittsburgh. I always sort of laughed that Pittsburgh was down hill and down stream from Tionesta so we always sent them “our best”. Needless to say, I always considered Pittsburgh a smoldering pile as a kid.
My wife is a school counselor, but also licensed as a community counselor. Being licensed and official and all that, she is required to get a certain number of continuing education units to maintain her certification. The National Counseling Association held its annual meeting in Pittsburgh this year so we had an opportunity to travel uphill and upstream from Charleston to Pittsburgh so she could participate. Emily was in meetings all day last weekend, but she brought me to be her arm candy in the evenings. During the days, the kids and I had to find things to do in Pittsburgh.
One of the icons in Pittsburgh is Point State Park. PSP is located at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers where they join to form the Ohio River. Basically, it is a scenic overlook between the rivers and it has a really cool fountain. So, our hotel was in the down-town area (or, as they say in Pittsburgh-pronounced Picksburgh – we stayed in the dahn tahn area). It seemed like a short walk from our hotel to PSP when I looked at the map. The kids and I grabbed some donuts from the convenience store and started our trek.
It turned out that our walk was a good bit farther than I expected. The kids were troopers though and we started toward PSP only to find it closed and nasty from the recent high water. Just across the river though, we spied the new baseball and football venues so we decided to walk over and see what we could see. On the way, the kids encountered their first homeless person and had all sorts of questions. We talked as we walked and, before we knew it, we arrived at the Carnegie Science Museum. We have a membership at the Clay Center in Charleston, WV which gives us access to many museums through out the country, including the Carnegie Science Museum. It seemed like an offer I couldn’t refuse!
We crawled all over exhibits and saw a robot shooting hoops (with a pretty good average). We explored the USS Requin, a WWII-era submarine (can you believe it, Pittsburgh has a submarine in one of the rivers?!), and learned about cells oceans and volcanoes and flight. In one afternoon, the Carnegie Science Museum showed me a different Pittsburgh than I had known. The kids and I had a delightful time and can’t wait to go back to Pittsburgh to see what else the city has for us to explore!