Many thanks to guest blogger, Scott...
Three weeks ago, my family and I drove out to Pittsburgh to see some of the Mister Rogers attractions. I received the idea to visit Pittsburgh from David Newell, who appeared at my church as Mr. McFeely during the summer. While driving around with him for two days, he suggested that Pittsburgh would be a good family vacation destination. And so we took him up on the suggestion and planned a Pittsburgh trip.
Our young children (2yrs and 3yrs) are huge MRN fans. Since our trip coincided with our younger son’s 2nd birthday, we spent his actual birthday at the Monroeville Mall Play area, documented on the Neighborhood Archive Blog. I learned about the playground from Tim’s blog—thanks Tim for reporting it! We enjoyed a Mrs. Field’s Cookie Birthday Cake at the Mall. Sarah, a Mrs. Field’s employee, did a great job putting the Neighborhood Trolley on the cookie.
We stayed in Pittsburgh for 3 full days. During that time, we visited the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum, which features an interactive MRN exhibit. We also visited the Heinz History Museum, a fascinating museum which even included a newly completed life-sized wax statue of Fred. Our boys really enjoyed looking (and climbing) on the Fred Rogers statue on Pittsburgh’s North Shore. Last but not least, we were even able to visit WQED.
Pittsburgh is definitely a Mister Rogers’ town. It’s hard to go anywhere without seeing his picture. For example, for lunch one day we ate at Primanti Brothers, a famous Pittsburgh sandwich restaurant. Guess whose cartoon picture we saw on the wall, with lots of other famous Pittsburgh citizens?
Since our boys love trolleys, on the way out of town, we stopped by the PA Trolley Museum in Washington, PA. Mister Rogers visited this museum in episode 1531. Jack, our tour guide, pointed to us the exact trolley Mister Rogers drove on the episode.
There were a few more MRN theme attracts that we weren’t able to see. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to see the MRN planetarium exhibit (at Carnegie Science Center) since the show times/dates didn’t coincide with the dates we were in town. The miniature railroad, also at Carnegie, was closed for remodeling. There is supposed to be a miniature version of Mister Rogers’ House on the layout. Of course, Idlewood Park was closed for the season. Idlewood has a MRN themed ride. I called the Fred Rogers Center in Latrobe, and the employee there was very honest with me and said that there wasn’t much available for the public to see, so it probably wasn’t worth the 45 minute trip.
Pittsburgh is a great family town. If you’re interested in taking a trip out East, I’d recommend spending a few days visiting the MRN and other attractions. You won’t be disappointed.