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Virtual experiences and activities provided by our Pittsburgh community partners

A mom hanging out with her two sons at home, watching funny videos online in the kitchen.

During this difficult time numerous cultural institutions are closed to the public. However, many of UPMC Health Plan’s partner organizations have come up with novel ways to continue engaging with their audiences.

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium has activities and programming options to entertain you and your entire family.

Did you ever wonder what it is like to raise a clouded leopard cub or how a cuttlefish can change colors in the blink of an eye? Find out by going behind the scenes with the One Wild Place podcast. Get a hands-on perspective from those working directly with wildlife and conservation.

There is plenty for children of all ages. Kids can pop in on the penguins or check out the cheetahs on their own webcams that you can control. Go on a website scavenger hunt and learn about the zoo’s history at the Kid’s Corner, or check out the zoo’s educational videos on a variety of topics.

Heinz History Center

Devoted to the history and heritage of western Pennsylvania, the Heinz History Center is Pennsylvania’s largest history museum and a proud affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.

The museum’s History at Home section offers an extensive catalog of topics and activities containing fascinating information about our region.

Explore the museum’s collections or travel back in time to virtually visit some of the museum’s memorable exhibitions, such as Destination Moon or Toys of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. You can also celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment with Women Forging the Way—an initiative focused on elevating women’s history in 2020 and beyond.

Brush up on your knowledge of significant people, places, and events on the KDKA Radio Time Capsule podcasts, or check out the events calendar to register for a wide variety of virtual programs.

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Let Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens take you on a virtual journey through nature’s beauty with an online tour. Phipps is also sharing an hour of stunning photography in motion accompanied by field recordings of western Pennsylvania to help you relax, recharge, stay calm, and relieve your stress. 

Take a trip back in time with photos of past exhibits dating back 125 years, or share your own memories for others to enjoy.

Kids 12 and under are invited to make their own troll for a chance to appear in the Summer Flower Show. Kids will also want to check out Virtual Story Time every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. or 1 p.m. Let’s Move Pittsburgh and Phipps’ science education department are regularly posting at-home activity suggestions, recipes, and more to their blogs.

Some of Phipps’ most popular education courses are available to attend from the comfort of your own home. The conservatory’s monthly Biophilia: Pittsburgh and Environmental Film Series events have also gone virtual.

You can post photos of your gardens, houseplants, or backyard nature adventures with the hashtag #phippsinyourhome for a chance to be featured on Phipps social media channels.

Subscribe to the “tree free” email list for a way to be in the know about all of the exciting things happening at Phipps.

National Aviary

While you can’t come to the National Aviary right now, the aviary is bringing the birds to you. The National Aviary is America’s only independent, indoor, nonprofit zoo dedicated exclusively to birds.  

You can follow along each week for at-home educational content, chances to interact with some of the aviary’s experts, fun behind-the-scenes videos, and more. Learning doesn’t stop on the weekends either. Check out its social channels for new #birdfacts.

CyBIRD Learning is an online platform to help families and classrooms around the world learn more from the National Aviary’s experts and experience birds in a whole new way: through your screen. CyBIRD Learning offers opportunities for distance learning for all ages, with multiple options for teachers, parents, and caregivers to choose from.

Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh is a place that inspires joy, curiosity, and creativity for children and families. Its Museum at Home program offers resources to keep kids’ creativity, learning, and imagination going strong. In fact, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh was recently named by USA Today one of the 10 best children’s museums to offer online programs. 

Check out Let’s Try Activities for a new online series of creative activities kids can try at home (with adult supervision, of course). Try collage to turn magazines and junk mail into works of art, or learn finger crochet to make potholders, scarves, coasters, doll textiles, and even rugs using just yarn and your fingers. 

With spring already here, Let’s Go Outside is another new series that explores the many beautiful plants, animals, and seasonal changes found in our own backyards. Kids can learn about robins, worms, and even planting peas

New projects are posted often, so keep checking back. The Children’s Museum also encourages you to share what you’re making and observing on its social media channels, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  

Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

While we can’t be together in its venues right now, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is striving to keep you connected to the arts. Check out new digital programming that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home!

Creative Connections are virtual learning tools designed by Trust Arts Education teaching artists for learners of all ages. Each lesson is only a few minutes long and uses materials that most people already have on hand. Featuring visual arts, movement, music, and more, you can connect with the arts from wherever you are!

Harris Theater @ Home is a virtual cinema accessible through the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust website. You can purchase tickets to films currently unavailable for public rental or sale, and the film distributor will share a portion of your ticket payment with the Harris Theater!

Liberty Magic @ Home is a live, virtual close-up magic experience hosted by Liberty Magic’s very own venue manager, Zoe Ruth. Tune in every Friday night at 7:30 p.m. on YouTube or Facebook. You never know who might appear.

The Frick Pittsburgh

While its campus is closed, The Frick Pittsburgh has been developing new ways of fulfilling its mission online, including a four-part video series on life at Eagle Rock, the Frick summer home in Massachusetts built in the early 20th century and razed in 1969. Eagle Rock was a grand Georgian-style retreat, with stables, gardens, a saltwater pool, and space for the family’s expanding art collection. Part one of this series overviews the construction, architecture, and design of Eagle Rock. Part two features stories about the domestic servants who worked to make each event at the home special. 

The Frick Pittsburgh is committed to providing engaging, insightful, and family-friendly experiences online, including virtual exhibitions and tours, expanded access to digital collections, behind-the-scenes blog posts, and children’s activities. Access all of this and more at TheFrickPittsburgh.org/virtual

The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh

To continue engaging with their community during this time, the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh launched Carnegie Museums From Home. Check in daily for a collection of online experiences that inspire creativity and curiosity during this challenging time.

City of Asylum

UPMC Health Plan is proud to support City of Asylum’s The Show Must Go On(line) Pittsburgh– our region’s first shared programming channel. It is a collaborative daily webcast that unites and streams programs by Pittsburgh’s arts organizations. By bringing these creative forces together, The Show Must Go On(line) provides free access to high quality, regularly scheduled programs to connect artists and audiences and continue to build community around the arts.

City of Asylum has long been a home for presenting organizations large and small and artists of diverse artistic genres. This shared platform moves that home online, and allows us to continue fulfilling our mission to celebrate creative freedom of expression.