At North Versailles Bowling Center, bowlers hurl spheroids down well-waxed lanes crowned with a stunning diorama of the nighttime Pittsburgh skyline, taking timeouts to enjoy frosty beverages and cheesy pizzas from the nearby snack bar. Friday and Saturday nights are celebrated with glowing lights and music played by a virtual DJ, and ball hurlers attempt to celebrate the memory of Sir Isaac Newton by temporarily suspending the laws of physics with each roll. When they aren?t racking up strikes on the lanes or browsing Columbia, Storm, and Brunswick gear in the pro shop, visitors watch Pittsburgh sports teams on the lounge's five HDTVs or challenge each other to friendly rounds of billiards or trivia.
What is there to do at Grand Vue Park? The answer to that question changes constantly. In warmer weather, its more than 650 acres present wooded trails for walking and biking, plus three ways to golf?mini golf, disc golf, and a full three-par course. Depending on the month, all of these activities come with a side of bird watching; different species flock to four feeding stations throughout the park.
Oftentimes birds aren't the only ones creating music, since outdoor festivals occasionally take over the grounds and most drummers love the taste of birdseed. Yet, perhaps the grandest spectacle takes place at the treetops, where eight dual zipline routes zoom through canopies that take on a rainbow of colors during fall. Once the transition to winter completes, it's the perfect time to skate around the ice rink.
More than 50 years ago, Mr. John E. Connelly set his sights on cleaning up Pittsburgh's polluted three rivers and returning them to their former glory as the Steel City's heart and soul. As then-treasurer of the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority, John was in a prime position to complete his ambition. With the belief that he could get the public engaged and committed to a cleanup, he decided to give the local people access to the rivers via boat tours, knowing the city's characteristic architecture as viewed from the rivers would engender a genuine appreciation for the region's waterways and environment.
After getting his nephew, Captain Jack Goessling, on board, John purchased a 100-passenger fishing boat they would christen the Gateway Clipper, which would later launch from Monongahela Wharf for the first of its many pleasure cruises. Today, with Gateway Clipper Fleet, his dream of engaging locals and visitors in the city's history and waterways thrives with a fleet that has grown to five boats capable of accommodating 2,500 guests. Through the years, the fleet has ferried more than 25 million passengers, treating them to dinner cruises, sightseeing tours, and entertainment jaunts along the clean, blue waters of Pittsburgh's three rivers.
Rising six floors above the historic Strip District, the Senator John Heinz History Center's handsome, red brick exterior houses 275,000 square feet of exhibits devoted to Western Pennsylvania history. Long-term exhibits include From Slavery to Freedom, which traces the quest for equality from the anti-slavery movement to the modern struggles for Civil Rights. Pittsburgh: A History of Innovation highlights the men and women behind the 250-year history of the region, whereas the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum delves into the history and lore of local athletics, from the Steelers? Immaculate Reception to Bill Mazeroski's title-clinching home run in game seven of the 1960 World Series. The museum also hosts nationally renowned traveling exhibits; click to see a list of current exhibits.
Perched in the Steel City's Cultural District downtown and staffed by passionate volunteers, the nonprofit ToonSeum pays homage to the art of the cartoon with rotating exhibits, kids' classes, and hands-on entertainment for all ages. Exhibitions have ranged from collections of original work to special displays honoring artists such as Pennsylvania native, Keith Haring. Contributing to the museum's ongoing educational mission, local cartoonists often donate their own time to teach fun-filled workshops or share the bleak realities of living with a talking cat.
The Nesbit family has run its namesake bowling alley for more than 65 years, welcoming generations of customers into its friendly environment. Eight lanes of lightly stained wood welcome casual bowlers or committed summer league competition, and the lane's gray alleys accommodate bumpers for novice bowlers or bumper-car drivers gone off course.
The Nesbits also use their business to bring people together for community fundraising events, as well as their annual, hotly contested Nesbit's Lanes Open. The 30-year-old tourney puts combatants through a treacherous gauntlet of qualifiers, match play, and finals as they vie for a cash prize.