About 12 miles south of downtown Pittsburgh, young students examine insect larva among the remains of a decomposing log, wade through a creek as they search for salamanders, and test water percolation in forest soils. At The Outdoor Classroom, situated in a 475-acre park, students participate in outdoor field trips where they gain opportunities to connect with the natural world—a new experience for many of these preschoolers and third- to seventh-grade students. The field-trip curricula, such as introductions to ecosystems or examinations of relationships in natural communities, are designed to reinforce the national curricula modules followed by many school districts. In addition to field-trip opportunities, The Outdoor Classroom also sponsors summer day camps and community education programs about topics that reinforce the connection between people and southwestern Pennsylvania's environment, such as backyard gardening.
Dedicated to promoting local and national concerts, Pittsburgh-based Drusky Entertainment presents Ribs on the River 3, a three-day festival and cookout. Along with a different line-up of 10 or more professional tune-makers each day, each night features a special headliner; Kiss's original spaceman Ace Frehley headlines Friday night, bluesman Kenny Wayne Shepherd tops the bill on Saturday, and rock icon Leon Russell melts any remaining intact faces on Sunday. Guests can keep fingers sticky to avoid dropping a beverage or concert program courtesy of renowned barbecue vendors including Florida Skin and Bones, Butch's Smack Your Lips BBQ, and Sgt. Oink's, who serve up saucy, slow-cooked eats throughout the show.
The culinary craftsmen at Dukes Station II tame appetites with a menu of classic American fare. Populate mouth-caves with a crispy basket of shrimp ($4.95) or a helping of jalapeño poppers ($4.95) for a hotter beginning than a phoenix’s 21st rebirthday. A lineup of more than 30 phalange-fillers includes the cheeseburger ($5.95); a half-rack of ribs ($12.95) meets the Constitution-mandated requirement to pronounce something as “finger-licking good” in order to be able to vote. Landlubbing entrees such as spaghetti and meatballs ($7.25) alternate with seafaring treats such as luscious crab cakes ($9.95), and individually sized pizzas come festooned in traditional cheese toppings ($3.95) or with a zesty taco flair ($4.50). Miniature masticators can indulge in kids’ menu items or steal peppermints from a neighbor’s pocket.
The puff pros at Jernigan's, voted one of 2010's top 20 bars in Pittsburgh Magazine, open their walk-in humidor to smokers of all stripes, serving fine spirits and classy cuisine in an intimate atmosphere reminiscent of the collegial camaraderie of an Irish pub. Stogie devotees can chew on a classic Padron Anniversario, aged four years, or parse words with a Hemingway Series cigar filled with earthy flavors, a spicy finish, and terse stories of its youth spent hunting squirrels in rural Illinois.
Established in 1832, J.J. Gillespie Gallery furnishes its walls with a wide range of art from American and international artists. In an attached workshop, a master framer meticulously preserves keepsakes inside custom wood or metal frames. The gallery also hosts an onsite art expert, who can appraise oil-based works or clean and restore them to their former luster.
Named "Best Deli" by Pittsburgh City Paper and "Best in City" by Pittsburgh Magazine, Carson Street Deli owns up to its accolades with a menu full of fresh, locally sourced ingredients. New York-style sandwiches ($6–$8) throw plenty of elbows alongside more mild-mannered sides ($1–$3.50), salads ($4–$7), and conversational lunch-goers (free after administering a low-five handslap). Ramp up meat locker training efforts with help from the Balboa—piles of sopressata, imported Di Lusso Genoa salami, prosciutto, spicy capicola and hard salami on a French baguette ($8)—or the slightly spicier diversion, Montezuma's revenge, which melds grilled buffalo chicken breast, green and red peppers, onions, melted cheeses and hot sauce into a warm pita ($7). Vegetarians appease appetites with buffalo mozzarella layered within the handheld veggie Roma ($6).