Ring in spring semester with Pittsburgh cultural attractions


TPN file photo

Phipps Conservatory has remained open to the public with online timed tickets.

By Diana Velasquez, Senior Staff Writer

For students in Pittsburgh this spring semester, boredom can come easily with monotonous Zoom classes to go through every day.

Though it’s difficult these days to gather with friends or attend the cultural events that everyone is used to, there are still some things in Pittsburgh to be doing. Outdoor activities are limited and may be subject to further cancellation, but there are more than enough virtual events from which to choose. Here are eight different activities going on in Pittsburgh this semester to keep students sane — within the safe 6-foot distance.

Pittsburgh Public Theater: Virtual Series

An auditorium is the last place that anyone should be right now, but for those theater nerds missing a good show, the Pittsburgh Public Theater has not forgotten you. This season they’re presenting a “Classics N’at” series beginning in January and ending in May. It features plays like “Romeo and Juliet” and “Black Ballerina,” all for a minimum donation fee of $10.

Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s TikTok Account

Probably the best thing to come out of quarantine is the Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s TikTok account, which has managed to snag almost 315,000 followers and 4 million likes on the iconic app. Their star seems to be their mollusk curator, Tim Pearce, whom the Pitt News featured in a silhouette last year, and who appears in every third or fourth video to tell yet another snail joke.

Pittsburgh Zoo Animal Cams

An oldie but a goodie — the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium has not one, but two animal cams to peruse at your leisure. One is for the penguin exhibit and another is for the cheetahs. The zoo’s penguins have often been the subject of headlines, with their annual Penguins on Parade event in December, but the zoo has made them accessible to people online, as well. For anyone feeling nostalgic, the zoo cams are a great window into the animal exhibits that Pittsburgh natives have come to love.

City of Asylum: Virtual Poetry Workshop Series

The City of Asylum, a non-profit organization on the North Side dedicated to uniting the greater writer community, has remained one of the most consistent purveyors of online content since the start of the pandemic. Their next series, “Between Poetry and Performance,” begins in late February and is another great program for writers, especially spoken word poets, looking to enhance their presence on the stage. This series has six parts and lasts until the end of March. 

Orchid Show at Phipps

Phipps Conservatory has remained open to the public throughout the pandemic and continues to host visitors to its gardens and shows, with timed ticket enforcement. For those folks who will be in Pittsburgh sooner rather than later, Phipps’ “Orchid and Tropical Bonsai Show: A Splash of Brilliance” will open Jan. 23. Considering that Phipps has an entire room dedicated to these delicate flowers, they’ll be sure to have a special showcase.

Drive-In Movie Theater in Moon Township

It’s been over a year now since many of us have been in a movie theater, and understandably so. But for those lucky few who have access to a car, there is a drive-in movie theater not that far outside the City. In Moon Township, where the Pittsburgh International Airport is located, the “Dependable Drive-In” movie theater has nightly showings, ranging from “Wonder Woman 1984” to Pixar’s newest flick, “Soul.”

Behind-the-Scenes Content at the National Aviary

The National Aviary is a lesser known attraction in Pittsburgh, located just a few blocks away from PNC Park in the North Side. Their colorful menagerie of birds for your viewing pleasure are just as entertaining as the zoo’s collection of feathered friends. Timed tickets for the aviary start at $17.95 for adult general admission, and similar to the Pittsburgh Zoo, the Aviary has provided a behind-the-scenes experience with their birdkeepers for those interested. These include scenes from the veterinary hospital and a conversation with children’s book author Rosemary Mosco.

Hiking at Frick Park

Frick Park, only a 30-minute bus ride from Oakland, has served as a constant source of reprieve for outdoor enthusiasts during the pandemic. With 151 acres of hiking and mountain-biking trails, Frick Park provides miles of quiet, forested landscape for anyone looking for some fresh air this coming spring. And though social distancing measures are in place, Frick Park, as of now, remains open for all visitors.

A previous version of this story stated that the National Aviary was closed due to COVID-19. The aviary reopened to visitors Jan. 6. The article has been updated to reflect this change.