The Science of Wanderlust

By Maria

Ever catch yourself staring out the window, perhaps at 2:15 on a Tuesday, only to realize you’re not really looking at the trees and traffic outside? Perhaps you’re really looking at the ruins of an old Irish castle, hauntingly beautiful in its age and surrounded by rolling green hills. Or perhaps you’re exploring the streets of a small Hungarian village—not understanding a single word around, but overjoyed by the new experience of cobblestone under your feet and the inviting smells from bakeries and little restaurants. Or maybe you’re lounging in a chair under a palm tree, toes in the sand, and watching the brilliant turquoise of ocean water gently roll up the beach and back.

If any of this rings a proverbial bell, you, my friend, might have wanderlust. Especially if this desire to travel and explore is intense, and you’re willing to work with whatever budget you have, the tourism industry would define you as a wanderluster. Continue reading

Budding Urban Naturalists

By Rob

During the past few weeks I’ve gotten to go on a few outdoor adventures with my wife.  She’s truly the perfect adventure partner, always up for getting dirty or sweaty, equally enjoying chasing some bird down a trail to snap a picture or making a coffee stop.  And she knows quite a bit about what we’re looking at while outdoors (Maria: he’s being sweet).


Coffee…the most important part of going outdoors

I’ve always found many positive things in the outdoors, solace when getting over a heart-ache, adventure while orienteering, quiet conversations while fishing with my family, and the chance to push my physical limits when biking and running.  A new aspect I’ve recently started adding is that of an aspiring naturalist.

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Top Ten Citizen Science Projects That You Can Join In

cit·i·zen sci·ence


noun: citizen science

  1. the collection and analysis of data relating to the natural world by members of the general public, typically as part of a collaborative project with professional scientists.

When I was a kid, I had a burning desire to see how much electricity was in a bolt of lightning. I didn’t understand watts, volts, amps, or Ohms yet. All I wanted to know was if those bright streaks that crashed to the ground were strong enough to power a light bulb. Continue reading

Top Ten *Free* Summertime Learning Adventures in Pittsburgh

Stay tuned for Part II of the honeymoon story 😉 And while my brain may still be a bit locked in beach/honeymoon mode, overall I remain on a quest to find educational and super fun things for folks and families to do over the summer. Very important key to this, though, is budget. All the costs of summer time fun can add up quickly, but one of the many things I love about Pittsburgh is the awesome variety of things to do for free. Free! My favorite word.

So if you’re still looking for some fun ways to stimulate creativity and engagement, while not breaking the bank, below are the top ten places that offer free family learning adventures you can explore this summer. Just as a side note when you’re exploring the event pages, for a number of the facilities listed below, free programs are mixed with cost programs. Nothing outrageous, just something to keep in mind. Also, some of these activities are great not just for families but for singles, couples, groups, Uncle Louie, whomever!

  • Allegheny County Parks ~ Hometown Hoops minicamps and swimming classes (free swimming classes only held at Boyce Park, South Park, and Settlers Cabin Park)
  • Carnegie Libraries ~ Story times, Teen Times, Craft Time, Gamer Time (??), and Author events
  •  Allegheny Observatory (The stars, people! The stars!) ~ Free, but reservations required, ages 8 and up
  • Assemble Pittsburgh ~ M3 programs free over the summer—arts, materials, and building for 1st-8th grade