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.


Tips for Preventing Motion Sickness on Road Trips

I get car sick some times. It’s a lot better for me when I drive. Unfortunately my daughter now also gets car sick. I also have a niece that gets car sick. Having Dramamine handy in my car (both adult’s and children’s) has become a staple for us. A road trip just isn’t enjoyable if you’re nauseated or have to stop all the time due to motion sickness.

We’ve found ways to prevent motion sickness and what to do if motion sickness strikes unexpectedly on a road trips. There are certain things that never worked for me like the motion sickness bracelets. There are other things that really seem to help. Check out my guest post on Humes Chrysler Jeep Dodge website on Tips for Preventing Motion Sickness.

I’d love to know your tips. Do you have a special technique that works? Maybe a drink that works better for your nausea? Share them here.


Things You Need On A Family Road Trip

I recently wrote an article for Northpointe Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge in Seneca, PA for their website.

As a family of 6 keeping everyone happy, entertained, and as comfortable as possible is a big priority for any road trip. Whether it’s a 2 hour drive to Pittsburgh or a 10 our drive to Topsail Island we follow the same rules.

I made a home made “find-it” game we keep in our car. It’s been in there for years and the kids still play with it. I don’t think I’ll ever stop buying baby wipes either. They come in handy for everything from sticky hands to clean up if someone gets sick.

If you want to check it out I’d appreciate it. Read “10 Things You Need In Your Car On A Family Road Trip” I don’t think comments are enabled on that post so let me know here if there’s anything I’m forgetting. I want to know what your must-have items are on a road trip.


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.


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