Spring into action with these seasonal events

Spring is in the air in Pittsburgh this week, so we decided it’s time to check out what’s happening in the area. As plants begin blooming, animals begin waking from hibernation and returning from migration, us humans are getting moving too. Here’s what’s going on in Steel City this spring.

Spring events in Pittsburgh
Spring and Easter are just around the corner, and there’s plenty to do all around Pittsburgh as the weather warms up.

Trax Farms

Starting on Monday, the Trax Farms store will be open 9 a.m.-8 p.m. If you’re looking for the perfect wine for your St. Patrick’s day, check out Trax Farms’ Green Apple. For the kids, the annual breakfast and lunch with the Easter Bunny kicks off next weekend and continues through Easter. Tickets for Easter events are $8 and are on sale now. The store will be closed on March 27 for Easter Sunday. On April 23, there will be an Arts and Crafts Show. Also arriving in early April: perennials, shrubs, and trees.

Soergel Orchards

Soergel Orchards has green apple wine for St. Patrick’s day as well. For any aspiring gardeners, there’s a $5 class at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 24 all about cultivating a lush lawn. Their Bunny Festival is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Saturday, March 26th. Unfortunately their meals with the Easter Bunny are sold out. The festival, however, is free to attend and it features an Easter egg hunt, a scavenger hunt, crafts, and other activities. Plus, you can order your Easter baked goods from their Bakery now. They even offer peanut free and gluten free options.

Kennywood

The 2016 season of Pittsburgh’s amusement park kicks off on Saturday, May 7. Although that’s still a while off, now is the time to look into season tickets. The Ride and Slide pass for $134.99 gives you season access to Kennywood as well as Sandcastle (which opens Saturday, May 28). The $129399 Premium Pass is limited to Kennywood, but it comes with some pretty sweet perks. You can use it to get into the park 15 minutes before it opens, you get 5 parking vouchers, a souvenir cup, 1 VIP coaster tour, and more. Now, if you don’t need all that, a regular season pass is $89.99, and you’ll get a discount when you renew it next year (this year, renewals are $5 less than buying a new season pass). If you’re 55 or older, you can get a Senior Pass for just $54.99. Is a season pass worth it? Well, if you go to the park at least 3 times with your regular season pass, you’ll have saved money. The Park’s diner, Johnny Rockets serves up some seriously good burgers. Plus, Noah’s Ark just got a renovation, so that classic is all shiny and new again this season.

Market Square Farmers Market

Once more farmers markets start announcing their 2016 seasons, we’ll be posting a roundup of all of them. For now, we can confirm that the Market Square Farmers Market is coming back on May 12, along with the Lunchtime Concert Series. It runs through October 27. Keep an eye out for the list of this year’s vendors, set to be announced later this month. This will be the 12th season of the market, and with 30 vendors hawking their fares each week last summer, you can bet this year will be just as, er, fruitful.

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Fun things to do in Pittsburgh this holiday

It’s that time of year again where families come to town to celebrate the holidays, the kids are home on winter break, and everyone needs to get out of the house and do something fun. Here are some ideas for things that’ll get everyone in the holiday spirit.

Winter fun in Pittsburgh
We might not have snow on the ground yet, but the holiday season is in full swing here in Pittsburgh.

Kennywood’s Holiday Lights is in full swing, with millions of lights decorating the park. The park is open 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Though it will be closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the park will be open the following Saturday and Sunday. The 4-D Theater in the park is showing The Polar Express: A 4-D Experience, there’s a petting zoo in Kiddie Land featuring all the usual critters plus two camels, and a few kid-friendly rides are open. Tickets are still available for Dinner with Santa on the 19th and 20th of December at 4 p.m. The most affordable park admission tickets are on sale at participating Giant Eagle stores.

If you’re looking for a less traditional version of the ubiquitous photo with Santa, visit the National Aviary  on any Saturday from now until Christmas for a pic with the big guy and his penguin helpers. Parents can enjoy a night without the kids while the kids enjoy a night with Fleury the Snowy Owl at the Aviary from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on December 19th. Plus, the seasonal show Wings in Winter is playing through January 3rd.

The People’s Gas Holiday Market is back at Market Square downtown. It’s the place to go for unique gifts, and it’s open through December 23rd, perfect for last-minute shoppers. The market opens at 11 a.m. daily, but closing hours vary. Santa is in the house starting at noon daily. Plus, enjoy the BNY Mellon Season of Lights show every half hour after sundown. One of the best parts of the Market is the food: haluski, sausages, and hot beverages. It’s free to walk around the market, and it’s close to the Gateway T stop so no driving downtown required.

Phipps Conservatory Winter Flower Show and Light Garden offers fun for all ages. The Light Garden is open 5 p.m.-11 p.m. and includes candlelit walkways and live music. For the kids, Santa visits between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, plus on December 21st through the 23rd. Pictures with Santa are free with admission to Phipps. Phipps has some cool post-Christmas events coming up as well, so be sure to ask about them when you visit.

Now that winter is here, the penguins of the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium are going on parade again at 11:30 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday. There are also winter camps, a New Year’s Eve event, and other exciting things happening, so keep an eye on their website for news and events for all ages.

Goblins! Ghosts! Ghouls! Haunted houses in the Pittsburgh area

BOO!

No, that wasn’t very scary, but read on if you dare for places where you can get some serious frights in the Pittsburgh area this Halloween season.

Phantom Fright Nights

Happy Halloween
Visit the haunted houses of the Pittsburgh area if you dare.
Source: By Cindy (Flickr) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Kennywood’s 13th annual Phantom Fright Nights kicked off on Sept. 26th and run 7 p.m.-1 a.m. every Friday and Saturday through Nov. 1. Bonus: Fright Nights will also be open 7-11 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 12.

Tickets are available at the gate for $32.99, for a discount of $3 online, and for a discount of $5 at Giant Eagle stores. If you’re serious about your scares, you can get a Phantom’s Fright Pass, granting you unlimited visits for the 2014 Fright Nights.

On Oct. 12 and 31 and Nov. 1 tickets are half price for season pass holders and college students.

If you’d like your scares to be preceded by a ghoulish feast, you might want to attend the Phantom’s Pre-Scare Dinner at 5:45 p.m. on Oct. 10 and 11. But be warned: the menu includes “Succulent Rat Ribs, Haunted Bell Tower Squab, Graveyard Stuffed Cabbage,” and more.

Hundred Acres Manor

Located in South Park, Hundred Acres Manor is close to several Prudential Realty Communities. If you’ve ever dreamed of shooting zombies with paintball guns, their new attraction this year lets you do just that. Plus, there’s going to be a Halloween party this year (check their website for updates). On top of it all, this place is touted as one of the best haunted houses in the entire United States.

Considering the high accolades, the price of admission isn’t the least bit scary. It’s $10 per “victim” for Zombie Paintball on its own, but you can add it to general admission for the Manor itself: general admission $18, $25 if you add Zombie Paintball. There are also various VIP tickets available online: for $20 you can skip the general admission line at the Manor any day except Fridays and Saturdays ($27 if you add Zombie Paintball), for $25 you can skip the general admission line any day ($30 if you add Zombie Paintball), and for $35 you get to skip the line, take advantage of preferred parking, and you get a T-shirt ($40 if you add Zombie Paintball).

On Wicked Wednesday College Nights, presenting your student ID at the door gets you into the Manor for just $10. Students also get $3 off general admission on Thursdays and Sundays. On Military Mayhem Thursdays, presenting your military ID makes general admission just $10. On Wednesdays and Sundays, there’s a $3 military discount.

There’s also a few places in the Pittsburgh area that sell tickets for a discount of $3-$5.

The Scarehouse

Looking for frightening fun just north of the city? Check out the Scarehouse in Etna, PA. This one is so terrifying, Guillermo del Toro said he could live there. The spookiest part? The Scarehouse has two levels: the regular haunted house, and the basement. The basement is a place you may only enter after signing a waiver. Why? Because the actors down there are allowed to touch you.