Carnegie Museum of Natural History

For more information, contact: Leigh Kish
Carnegie Museum of Natural History
412.622.3361 (0), 412.526.8587 (C)

January 12, 2012


Announcing 2012 Spring Programs for Kids & Families at Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania…Exciting programs for kids and families at Carnegie Museum of Natural History are a great way to explore nature when it is cold and snowy outside—January to April. There are Overnight Adventures for night owls, and Mornings at the Museum or Breakfast with Dinosaurs for early risers. Young children will want to party in their PJs at the Pajama Nights. People of all ages are sure to love the adventures on Earth Day or the joy of discovery in Exploration Base Camp. 

These spring programs are projects of the Center for Lifelong Science Learning.


Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection
Through March 4, 2012

This world-famous exhibition and the accompanying book reveal an intriguing story of American diplomacy and foreign policy as told through more than 200 of Secretary Albright’s pins. Read My Pins demonstrates the power of jewelry to communicate through a style and language all its own. This exhibition has been organized by the Museum of Arts and Design in New York. Generous support for this exhibition was provided by Bren Simon and for the exhibition catalogue by St. John Knits. Read My Pins is locally sponsored by First Niagara, Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, and Louis Anthony Jewelers.

M is for Museum
Through August 30, 2012

A must-see for families! Kids and grown-ups, guided by the ABCs, discover the wonders of one of America’s best natural history museums! It’s an exciting journey into the behind-the-scenes world of amazing museum objects and the scientists who care for and study them. Be a detective in “A is for Artifact.” Try on Butterfly wings in “B is for Beautiful.” Make your own Collection in “C is for Collect.” Identify animals in “I is for Identify.” Pretend you’re a scientific specimen in “J is for Jar.” M is for Museum is only at Carnegie Museum of Natural History. All that’s missing is YOU! Designed for visitors 5 to 13 years old—but enjoyable for all ages—M is for Museum features multimedia and hands-on activities that help curious young audiences discover how museums protect, explore, and explain the cultures of the world and nature in all its wonder.

Special Events 

Mornings at the Museum
9–10 a.m.

Members: $10 per adult/child pair. Additional guests $5 each (up to two per adult/child pair)
Non-Members: $26 per adult/child pair. Additional guests $11 each (up to two per adult/child pair)
Fee includes same-day museum admission
Contact Program Registration at 412.622.3288 or

Families with children ages 5 to 13, bring your children to the museum and explore the new M is for Museum exhibition one letter at a time! New early-morning hours feature a different letter each day for in-depth investigations through hands-on experiments and creative activities.                 

G is for Gigantic
January 14
Enjoy a morning of sizable family fun! Trace your outline on big paper to see how you measure up to an albatross, a giraffe, or a dinosaur. Go on a measurement scavenger hunt to find the smallest and biggest specimens on display, from micromoths to enormous eggs. Use microscopes and micropipettes to measure in miniature. Register by January 13. 

A is for Artifact
February 18 

How do archaeologists and anthropologists investigate science and cultures? Find out as you join a replica archaeology dig, identify the natural materials in real artifacts, and write your name in hieroglyphics. Create your own artifacts as you investigate craft techniques of ancient cultures. Register by February 17. 

L is for Look
March 10
Learn how museum scientists collect and identify invertebrates—animals without backbones, such as snails and insects. Sift through samples collected at Powdermill Nature Reserve, the museum’s environmental research center. Look for living things in leaf litter and stream water in the museum’s laboratory classroom, then use microscopes and identification keys to examine your discoveries. Learn to look for details while drawing scientific specimens. Register by March 9. 

J is for Jar
April 28
Our collection contains jars of preserved natural specimens such as reptiles, insects, and birds. You can use jars for your own collection and for studying living things! Recycle jars for real, hands-on science experiments that include making your own mini-ecosystem, crafting a temporary bug house, and analyzing backyard biodiversity by setting up a pitfall trap. One jar per participant is provided. Bring more jars from home if you want to take home several projects. Register by April 27.  

Egg-cellent Egg Hunt
April 7
10:30 a.m.–3 p.m.
Free with museum admission; no registration required

Celebrate spring by learning about egg-laying animals from prehistoric and modern times! With scavenger hunt maps in hand, children 12 and under visit hands-on exploration stations where touchable natural history specimens await. Interact with museum nature experts, answer intriguing egg-related riddles, and earn stamps and small prizes. It is a fun and exciting way to celebrate spring even if the weather is still cold and rainy outside. Scavenger hunt map and prizes available to the first 1,000 children.

Earth Day
April 22
Noon–4 p.m.
Free with museum admission; no registration required

Join us for an incredible adventure examining the world around you! On this special day, enjoy hands-on activities for all ages that introduce you to the museum collection and show you how our scientists’ research helps us understand and preserve the world’s amazing animals, plants, and cultures. Touch real museum specimens. Peek behind-the-scenes at the museum collection. Learn how cultures through time have interacted with the natural world. Use all of this new information to discover things you may have never noticed before in our displays!

Breakfast with Dinosaurs
March 24 or April 7
8–10 a.m.; breakfast served 8–8:40 a.m.
Members: $65 per adult/child pair; $10 per additional guest (up to two per adult/child pair)
Non-Members: $80 per adult/child pair; $15 per additional guest (up to two per adult/child pair)
Contact Program Registration at 412.622.3288 or

Spend a leisurely weekend morning doing something truly amazing with your children. Eat a hearty breakfast including French toast, yogurt, fresh fruit, and cereal while keeping an eye on your favorite Mesozoic herbivores and carnivores in Dinosaurs in Their Time! At 8:40 a.m., the tables are cleared for very special hands-on activities developed especially for Breakfast with Dinosaurs families. Investigate dinosaur tracks and touch real fossil specimens, then enjoy a private guided tour of Dinosaurs in Their Time. Same-day admission is included in the ticket price. It is a family fun experience your dinosaur-loving child will never forget. Seating is limited, so sign up today! All ages welcome. Children under 6 months free. High chairs and boosters are not provided, but you are welcome to bring your own booster seat.

Free Family Activities 

Bonehunters Quarry
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, 1–4:30 p.m. *
Thursday, 1–7 p.m. *
Saturday, 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Sunday, noon–4:30 p.m.
* May also be open weekdays from 10 a.m.–1 p.m. when not reserved by groups.

Experience the thrill of hands-on excavation!
Using real tools just like paleontologists do in the field, scrape away simulated earth and rock to reveal realistic fossil casts. Museum educators interpret the experience and help identify the finds. Children 10 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

Discovery Room
For all ages; children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult.
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, 1–4:30 p.m.*
Thursday, 1–7 p.m.*
Saturday, 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Sunday, 1–4:30 p.m.
* May also be open weekdays from 10 a.m.–1 p.m. when not reserved by groups.

Calling all nature lovers to the Discovery Room!
Investigate our world through hands-on activities, real and replica specimens and artifacts, and other exciting adventures that enhance nature and science learning for children and adults. When the Discovery Room is reserved by groups, family expedition kits packed with hands-on materials for kids and grown-ups may be checked out at the information desk, first floor, Grand Staircase.

Family Expedition Kits
Check out a kit of hands-on materials that enhance your exploration of selected museum exhibitions. Kits cover exciting natural history topics such as Birds of the Night, Search for Ancient Egyptian Treasure, and Joey’s Journeys: Climate Quest. Family expedition kits are available in the Discovery Room or from any information desk when the Discovery Room is reserved by groups. Family expedition kits are ideal for repeat visitors! Quantities are limited.

Exploration Base Camp
During museum hours
Check the TODAY sheet for special activities and guest speakers.

Carnegie Museum of Natural History has long made a collection of more than 10,000 authentic objects available to educators for use in their classrooms or groups. This amazing collection has recently been moved out of a basement storeroom and onto the first floor as a fully accessible exhibition. Families and school groups can now take a minute—or an hour—to study the construction of a Hopi basket, compare color patterns on bird eggs, test the hardness of various minerals, and use a wide selection of bird and mammal taxidermy mounts as drawing models. Visitors discover what many teachers already know—that actual objects provide powerful learning experiences. This unique space is also the site for activities related to current research of our museum scientists, seasonal changes in western Pennsylvania, and science topics straight from the headlines.

Discover Carts & Exploration Stations
Saturday, noon–4 p.m.
Sunday, 1– 4 p.m.
Check TODAY sheet for locations.

Share your scientific curiosity with museum educators and teen volunteers stationed throughout our galleries. Hands-on investigations for all ages illuminate science topics and help you to explore the natural world using real and replica specimens and artifacts.

Friday, 7 p.m.–Saturday, 9:30 a.m.
$40 per person, including chaperones; payment required 4 weeks in advance
Saturday museum admission is included
Recommended that children be at least 6 years old
One adult chaperone required for every 5 children
Contact Group Visits at 412.622.3289 or

Families, school and homeschool groups, scout troops, and youth groups—bring your sleeping bags for a “camping” experience inside the museum. Sleep tight in the company of a rhinoceros! Enjoy snacks, hands-on projects, museum tours, guest appearances, and games. Overnights include a continental breakfast. Take the opportunity to explore the other exhibition areas with your free admission the next day!

All in One Night
February 3—SOLD OUT!
April 13
Explore the museum at night as you are guided through a hands-on, behind-the-scenes look at our amazing collections. Examine amazing artifacts, play games from around the world, go on an animal hunt, and more.

CSI: Carnegie Science Investigator
January 27
Join the CSI team as an overnight detective and help us solve a mystery in the halls of the museum. Crack the case by collecting evidence and using your sleuthing skills.

February 11 (Saturday–Sunday program)
March 16
Travel back in time to spend the evening in the Age of Dinosaurs! Learn more about our Mesozoic marvels as you take part in a variety of hands-on games, tours, and creative projects. No bones about it…this is your best opportunity to explore Dinosaurs in Their Time up close.

Night of the Living Carnegie
March 30
Join us for a fright…we mean night …you will never forget. Tour the museum after hours and see the spooky things that come out after dark. Get a behind-the-scenes look at collections that are not normally on display.

Nighttime on the Nile
February 24
Spend a night along the Nile exploring one of the most successful civilizations in history! Investigate the mysteries of ancient Egypt, explore the inside of a temple, and make a scarab amulet.

Slumber Safari
April 20
Take an evening safari to different regions of the African continent: rainforest, savanna, and desert. Learn about the people and customs of African countries and go home with special treasures.

Pajama Nights
Saturday, 5:30–8:30 p.m.
$25 per person, including chaperones; payment required at time of registration
Recommended for children 2–8
One adult chaperone required for every child
Contact Group Visits at 412.622.3289 or 

Party in your PJs next to a grizzly! Wear your pajamas and try out our Overnight Adventures without actually staying overnight.  

Dino-rific Pajama Party
February 18
April 14
This paleontological adventure includes a variety of exciting dinosaur-themed activities.

Pajama Safari
January 21
March 23
Ever wonder what it would be like to go on safari in your pajamas? Explore the homes of a variety of African animals and enjoy safari-themed activities.

Homeschoolers: Spring Class Series
6 sessions: January 31, February 14, 28, March 13, 27, and April 10
12:30 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
Early registration by January 21: $85 Members/$100 non-Members
Registration by January 27: $100 Members/$115 non-Members
Contact Group Visits at 412.622.3289 or to register. 

These classes are not just for homeschoolers anymore! Science comes alive for kids ages 4–13 in our class series designed for homeschoolers, pre-schoolers, and anyone home on a Tuesday afternoon with kids ages 4–13. 

Natural Wonder
Ages 4–5
Explore fascinating natural patterns and use natural objects to create your own designs. Explore the science behind color and texture as you experiment with natural materials like bright red beets, hexagonal honeycombs, and spiral snail shells.

Peculiar Paleontology
Ages 6–7
Investigate prehistoric life to the extreme! From gigantic titanosaurs bigger than your house to a micromonkey that could perch on your thumb, get an inside look at exciting discoveries made right here at our museum. Re-create an amazing ancient world by telling stories and making masks of your favorite beasts.

It’s About Time
Ages 8–10
Explore a different mystery from the past every time this class meets. From life before the dinosaurs to the present day, analyze fossils and artifacts that document how life on Earth has changed over time. Document your discoveries in a scientific journal and create artifacts that illustrate your own history.

Energy Exploration
Ages 11–13
Investigate different forms of energy, from fossil fuels to photosynthesis. Experiment with solar and wind power. Develop an energy conservation plan based on the impact you want to have in your world.

Powdermill Nature Reserve
The environmental research center of Carnegie Museum of Natural History 

Powdermill Nature Reserve is located in Rector, PA, 55 miles southeast of Pittsburgh amidst the rolling Laurel Highlands—home to wildflowers, trees, songbirds, salamanders, and many other wild creatures. The classroom and exhibition areas in the nature center as well as the trails outside provide meeting and program spaces for field trips and workshops. Our environmental research programs make Powdermill a world headquarters for studying the biodiversity of the mid-Appalachian region.

Free Family Nature Hour
Saturday, 1 p.m.
Free; no registration required

Powdermill Nature Reserve offers indoor and outdoor activities year-round for nature lovers of all ages! Join our naturalists every weekend for free outings.

Scientific Lecture Series
Sunday, 1 p.m.
Free; no registration required

Enjoy a scientific lecture series given by naturalists, scientists, and researchers from Powdermill Nature Reserve and Carnegie Museum of Natural History as well as special guest speakers. Talks are geared toward adults and last between 30 and 60 minutes in the Parker Room of the Nature Center. Check website for updated schedule.

Animal Tracks for All Ages
January 15, 29
Winter is a great time to explore the tracks and trails left behind by our winter animals. This family-appropriate lecture uncovers the often overlooked animal prints found in the snow and mud. Discover the similarities and differences of some common Pennsylvania animals found at Powdermill and in your own backyard.

The Nature of Winter
January 22
Learn how animals and plants have adapted to life in the cold.

NEW! Family Overnights at Powdermill
March 16: Winter's End
April 20: Spring Life at Powdermill
Friday, 6:30 p.m.–Saturday, 9 a.m.
$40 per person, including chaperones; payment required 4 weeks in advance
Recommended that children be at least 5 years old
One adult chaperone required for every 5 children
Contact Group Visits at 412.622.3289 or to register.
Limited to 40 participants

Explore the nocturnal habitats of Powdermill Nature Reserve! Discover the amazing nightlife of local insects, birds, amphibians, and mammals. Most activities take place outdoors, so please dress for the season and wear comfortable walking shoes. Flashlights are appropriate, but not required.

These overnights take place in Rector, PA, 55 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. 

  • Sounds of the night: Discover the amazing night sounds of local insects, birds, amphibians, and mammals. Learn to identify animals by their unique calls and understand why they make their strange noises. Try to locate some of the seasonal wildlife, such as owls in fall and peeper frogs in spring.
  • Campfire stop: Enjoy an evening snack of hot dogs, s'mores, popcorn, and beverages around the fire and catch a story or two about nature after dark.
  • Night hike: Navigate the trails without the use of a flashlight. Learn how nocturnal animals have evolved to survive when the sun goes down. Set up motion cameras in the evening and check them in the morning to see what animals use the trails at night.
  • Seasonal activities: Decorate Powdermill's trails with edible ornaments you create to help the wildlife get through the end of winter. Explore vernal pools—springtime woodland puddles used by a variety of wildlife.

Center for Lifelong Science Learning 

The Center for Lifelong Science Learning brings together museum staff and partners from area universities, community organizations, and national experts devoted to science education to conduct and explore research into informal science learning—the many ways people learn about science in settings outside school classrooms, such as museums and community organizations. The Center links these theories and practice so that the research findings are applied in the development of new educational programs and exhibitions for all ages. This research is catalyzing changes in our museum, including more immersive experiences, exciting hands-on interactions, and expanded access to collections for museum visitors. The Center for Lifelong Science Learning was launched in November 2010 and is under the direction of Mary Ann Steiner.


Carnegie Museum of Natural History, one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, is among the top natural history museums in the country. It maintains, preserves, and interprets an extraordinary collection of 22 million objects and scientific specimens used to broaden understanding of evolution, conservation, and biodiversity. Carnegie Museum of Natural History generates new scientific knowledge, advances science literacy, and inspires visitors of all ages to become passionate about science, nature, and world cultures. More information is available by calling 412.622.3131 or by visiting the website,