Windber Recreation Park – Summer Staycation Series in Western PA

So far we’ve previewed the Pittsburgh Children’s Film Festival, took a visit to the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, attended Challenger Sport Soccer Camp, and we’ve been enjoying the local recreation park.

Windber Recreation park known as Windber rec or simply “the rec” has a lot to offer for a leisurely low cost day. With tons to do on any day of the week and even more to do with special events like Wings and Waves, Windber Wine in the Park, and much more.

The park offers picnic tables and charcoal grills that can be used for a spur-of-the-moment picnic. There are also plenty of pavilions that can be rented for parties, reunions, and other events. From small pavilions to the enclosed dance hall with kitchen. Pavilion rental information is here.

As far as things to keep you entertained there is a nature trail, skate park, playground, volleyball nets, basketball court, tennis courts, and a fenced dog park. Many local enjoy walking or jogging the park for exercise. There are restroom facilities throughout the park. One of the big draws in the summer is the public pool that features a twisty slide and two shot gun slides. There are also changing facilities, showers, restrooms, and a concession stand available in the swimming area. Note: you can not bring coolers larger than 14″ inches into the pool area. We like to pack a small cooler bag with a drink and light snack when we swim. They do have lifeguards on duty.

Special events like the Wings and Waves in a popular event that brings in local eateries to offer a selection of wings to try and you vote on your favorites. Each Thursday 3 new eateries offer 3 different flavors of wings each. Buy a ticket to try a dozen wings of any flavor you’d like then enjoy an evening swim.

For local residents, getting a pool pass is well worth it especially when the days get hot. If you purchase one the end of April or early May you can get it at a discount. To visit for the pool for a day it’s $6 for adults and $5 for children. We invested in a pool pass this year and it has paid off for us. We are visiting 2 to 3 days a week at least as weather permits.

You could easily make a day out of the Windber Recreation park. Walk the nature trail, let the kids play at the playground, have lunch at one of the picnic tables, then go swimming. Or maybe play some basketball or tennis.

The Windber Recreation Park is the guaranteed low budget fun in the Johnstown, PA area.


Lycoming County Penn State Extention Offering Mediterranean Cooking Classes

With so many diets and ways to eat out there with so much information it can be hard to tell what’s best for you and even what the diet is really all about. Keto, Atkins, Mediterranean, South Beach, I mean I can honestly say I don’t know much about the Mediterranean diet. Cooking classes from experts can be a great way to not only learn some new dishes but to get education on the ways of eating that interest you.

The Mediterranean way of eating is considered one of the healthiest diets worldwide and focuses on plant-rich cuisine, with less focus on meats and sweets. Lycoming county Penn State Extention in Montoursville, PA is offering Mediterranean cooking classes.

“Let’s Cook Mediterranean” will take place from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on August 5 at Penn State Extension Lycoming County Office, 542 County Farm Rd., Suite 206. In this hands-on cooking class, participants will create an authentic Mediterranean meal that’s healthy and delicious. To register, visit extension.psu.edu/lets-cook-mediterranean or call 877-345-0691.

The “Let’s Cook with Penn State Extension” classes address nutrition, healthy shopping, time saving tips and more, so cooks of all skill levels can navigate around the kitchen with confidence. I’m sorry, did they say time saving tips? This keeps sounding better and better.

If the Mediterranean cooking class doesn’t interest you, there are more to choose from. There are multiple “Let’s Cook” classes, focusing on a range of subjects, including special diets, weight management, and cooking for one or two, to name a few. All have been developed using science-based best practices. To see all the cooking classes currently offered, visit extension.psu.edu/lets-cook.


National Aviary in Pittsburgh: Summer Staycation Series in Western PA

This year, our family of 6 decided to do a “Summer Staycation”. We only go away for vacation every other year at this time. When we do our staycations we love discovering, or rediscovering things in western Pennsylvania. There is so much to do in western PA so narrowing it down can be hard. I realized we had never taken the kids to the National Aviary in Pittsburgh.

I remember going to the aviary on a field trip with the school when I was in elementary school. I remember enjoying my time there. It’s something different that you just can’t find everywhere.

For a family of 6 we actually found it was slightly cheaper just to go ahead and get a 1 year membership. When you get a membership you can visit as many times as you like, you get free parking, and a 10% discount in the gift shop.

Sea Eagles in the background (yes they’re real)

We went on a Tuesday. It wasn’t very crowded at all. We got there around 11 am and there was a surprising amount of parking available. There were different themed areas like the Grasslands, the Wetlands, Condor court and more. It was an immersive experience. Some birds could roam around freely in each room.

Birds running freely in the Wetlands

Birds would fly past you. There was lots of greenery. Very lush and natural looking open habitats.

The Wetlands with Cranes and Scarlett Ibis. There were also flamingos and many other birds.

There are lots of extra experiences you can do if you choose. One I highly recommend is the Lorikeet feeding. For only $3 a person you can get in line to feed the Lorikeet. You’re given a cup of nectar and allowed in the room to feed the Lorikeets. These birds will land right on you and drink from the cup. I had one climb up my arm onto my shoulder and then onto my head. But the birds are small and very gentle. My 6 year old was a little nervous at first but she loved it. She even asked if she could do it again.

Me feeding a Lorikeet and my son in the red shirt.
My 6 yr old participating in the Lorikeet feedings. She loved it.

Another affordable experience that ended up being my husband’s favorite was the SOAR! Birds of Prey presentation. For $5 per person you can go to the sky deck on top of the building. Trainers give a presentation on different birds of prey. Our presentation included a falcon, vultures, and black kites. The birds are well trained. They swoop in and catch treats, perch on the trainers arm, and more. You are not able to touch the birds but you get pretty close.

Vultures taking treats from the trainer.

If your budget’s a little bigger you can get in on experiences like the Sloth Experience, Armadillo experience, Penguin feedings, and more. There is also a theater on premises that shows different films and presentations.

There are two small gift shops and a food court available as well. If you’re not doing any of the added experiences you only need about 2 hours to see all the birds. If you are doing the experiences add at least 30 minutes for each experience. We got there around 11 am and left about 2:30.

If you want there is also the beautiful Allegheny Commons park surrounding the Aviary with a playground area, picnic tables, ponds with bridges, and lots of shady spots for a hot day. We let the kids stretch their legs at the playground and explored the park a little before heading out.

The National Aviary is located on the North Shore and is close to the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and not too far from the Carnegie Science Center, It’s also only a 15 minutes drive from Phipps Conservatory.


2019 Pittsburgh Children’s Film Festival Preview: Get Your Tickets Now

Discover the odd, colorful, and delightful world of children’s cinema this summer at the 2019 Pittsburgh Children’s International Film Festival. Join us July 26 – August 1 for week-long line up of children’s films that range from blockbuster hits to fun and quirky international flicks.

The festival will feature several Pittsburgh premiers, as well as the best short films from the 2019 New York International Children’s Film Festival. Complimentary special events, guest appearances, and hands-on activities are planned throughout the week.

The festival will be hosted at Row House Cinema in Lawrenceville, which will play movies at a lower volume to protect young ears and provide kid friendly snacks at select screenings. In the spirit of the festival, children are welcome to move around the theater, chat, and just be kids.

We had the opportunity to visit Rowhouse Cinemas in Lawrenceville to get a sneak peak of the 2019 Pittsburgh Children’s festival. This was our first time visiting Row House Cinemas.

Right in the middle of Lawrenceville sits this super cute single screen theater. As we walked in , framed movie posters are displayed on the wall. we were greeted by friendly staff. The familiar smell of popcorn in the air. A unique feature is the shop, Bierport, to your right where you can purchase craft sodas and beers that can be brought into the theater if you wish. The theater itself offers all natural popcorn with real butter. During the film festival kids’ snack packs will be available with popcorn and juice boxes.

We got to screen The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales a French/Belgian animated comedy. There were three short films included each one was cute and entertaining. The kids talked about which one was their favorite after. Definitely something different to see. You’ll be able to see this film and other during the Children’s Film Festival this summer!


SAVE THE DATE July 26-August 1 – International Children’s Festival – Save the Date!! Discover the odd, colorful, and delightful world of children’s cinema this summer at the 2019 Pittsburgh Children’s International Film Festival.
https://www.usfamilycoupons.com/coupon.php?regionid=75&bid=13899&dealid=3813

Come back to visit LuvSavingMoney.com as I update our “Summer Staycation” series in Pennsylvania

I received a free preview of the event as part of the US Family Guide. Any opinions expressed are my own.


2019 Pittsburgh Children’s International Film Festival

Discover the odd, colorful, and delightful world of children’s cinema this summer at the 2019 Pittsburgh Children’s International Film Festival. Join us July 26 – August 1 for week-long line up of children’s films that range from blockbuster hits to fun and quirky international flicks.

The festival will feature several Pittsburgh premiers, as well as the best short films from the 2019 New York International Children’s Film Festival. Complimentary special events, guest appearances, and hands-on activities are planned throughout the week.

The festival will be hosted at Row House Cinema in Lawrenceville, which will play movies at a lower volume to protect young ears and provide kid friendly snacks at select screenings. In the spirit of the festival, children are welcome to move around the theater, chat, and just be kids.


SAVE THE DATE July 26-August 1 – International Children’s Festival – Save the Date!! Discover the odd, colorful, and delightful world of children’s cinema this summer at the 2019 Pittsburgh Children’s International Film Festival.
https://www.usfamilycoupons.com/coupon.php?regionid=75&bid=13899&dealid=3813