8 Fun Things to Do in Western Pennsylvania This Spring
The weather has finally taken a turn for the better! I’ve been hearing birds, and I’ve been seeing yellow daffodils everywhere I look. Yes, it’s finally springtime in Western Pennsylvania. If, like me, you’re looking to get out of your house to celebrate this welcome weather change, you’re in luck because I have some wonderful local suggestions for you!
If you love hiking and nature…
Consider exploring scenic and historic McConnell’s Mill State Park! Located just 13 miles north of our center, it is the location of a historic gristmill dating back to 1868. Enjoy scenic views of the powerful Slippery Rock Creek while hiking trails of varying levels of difficulty. Visit O’Donnell’s Sports Supplies on your way for some quality bait, and fish along the banks of the creek, where you’ll find plenty of trout and bass. Maybe you’ll even want to climb one of the many rocks and boulders that began to form over 300 million years ago! Or, you could take a simple picnic to enjoy at one of the many shady rest areas. No matter how you choose to enjoy this park, I know you’ll have a wonderful time!
If that’s not quite your speed, may I suggest staying local for a stroll along the Connoquenessing Valley Heritage Trail? This wonderful gem of a hike feels like Zelie’s best kept secret. Hop on the trail head, located right near the Subway in Creekside Plaza, for over 10 miles of walkable trail. If, like me, 10 miles seems a bit far, just turn back around after a mile or so and see if you can count the natural wonders you didn’t notice the first time you passed by!
One of my favorite things about living in western Pennsylvania is all of our natural waterways. Another place to experience it is Fall Run Park in Glenshaw. Hop on the easy to moderate 3 mile trail loop to see a 25 foot tall natural waterfall! This is a particularly fun trail for those with adventurous furry friends! Dogs on leashes can often be found splashing around in the many creeks and streams that run along this path.
If you love history and culture…
Did you know that locals are less likely to visit their own historical places than tourists? Thankfully, you won’t have to go very far to find many areas of cultural and historical significance. In fact, staying involved in local history can be more personally meaningful, as you may discover something new about your town or ancestors. Schedule a tour with the Zelienople Historical Society to explore the historic Passavant and Buhl houses, each constructed before the Civil War. Having a stay-in kind of day? Check out their virtual tours for some educational opportunities at home!
If you’re more of a hands-on learner, I strongly recommend scheduling a demonstration at the Harmony Weaver’s Cabin! Learn historic weaving techniques from an expert member of the Harmony Weavers Guild. The best part? You get to take home your very own rug crafted by you! During special events, you may even get to meet a few members of the flock that provides the wool for these projects.
If you’re an animal lover…
You’ve probably been to The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, but have you been recently? There are three new lion cubs that won’t stay babies forever, so I highly recommend going to see these precious cubs soon! During your visit, consider a zoo membership! My husband and I have a dual membership, and it pays for itself after only three visits, plus you’re supporting many important conservation projects that are sponsored by our local zoo!
New to our area is Keystone Safari! This is a ridiculously fun activity, and the per-car price for the drive-through experience makes it particularly family friendly. See and feed over 25 different species of animal, including my favorite highland cattle, while driving through this quite long loop. If you’ve never fed a bison from the window of your car, you have to try it. My insider tip? Make this trip earlier in the day. In the afternoon, the animals have already pretty much eaten their fill and won’t be as interested in you.
Did you know that the aviary in Pittsburgh is The National Aviary? I think that it’s so special that we have a national-level animal exhibit in our city. This is one of my absolute favorite destinations in our area. Very few of the birds seen here are actually in cages, with most of the exhibits being open-air, meaning that you’ll have fantastic birds flying all around you during your visit. The aviary is broken up into sections based on the natural habitat for the birds. There are wetlands, grasslands, a tropical rainforest, and more! Check out the daily schedule before your visit, so you can plan to see some events and feedings! Some are free and some are a small fee. I have fed the lorikeets and the toucans, and both were amazing!
As you can see, our part of Western PA has many fun springtime attractions. I encourage you to get out there and enjoy all of what our world has to offer! Did I miss one of your favorite places to go? Let me know in the comments! I love going new places and trying new things.