Despite recent alarming reports that 2012 was the warmest year in our nation's history, it's still winter out there, folks! Below we've compiled a selection of local happenings through March that should provide entertainment, edification and exercise.
Make 2013 the year you hit the annual Ligonier Ice Festival and watch artisans turn giant blocks of ice into sculpture. It's a sure-fire way to feel better about the frozen water we have to deal with this time of year. Jan. 26 and 27. Diamond area, Ligonier. www.ligonier.com
Cold weather doesn't mean you have to stay inside, and the folks at Venture Outdoors have dozens of activities lined up to prove it. From all-season hikes (some with food and booze included) and strolls to more timely pursuits like snowshoeing and winter bird-watching, there's bound to be a good reason for you to get outside. See www.ventureoutdoors.org for complete list and for reservations.
Ice skating is fun — and good exercise. Downtown's Rink at PPG Place is open until March 10 (www.ppgplace.com); and both North Park and South Park have skating facilities open through mid-March (www.alleghenycounty.us). In the city, Schenley Park Rink offers family nights, discounts with college ID, and a couples-only skate on Valentine's Day (www.citiparks.net).
If a dog ate a bowl of alphabet soup, could it talk? And what would it say? Find out in Martha Speaks, a new family musical adapted from Susan Meddaugh's books and the PBS TV series. The hour-long play is presented by Pittsburgh International Children's Theater. Feb. 10-17. Byham Theater, Downtown, and several area schools. 412-456-6666 or www.pgharts.org
Two of Pittsburgh's favorite youngsters are turning 1 — and you're invited to the party. Stop by the National Aviary to celebrate Happy First Birthday Penguins, with celebrants Tribby and Kaden. Games, penguins on parade, "Happy Birthday" singing, and cake and ice cream. Feb. 23 and 24. North Side. 412-323-7235 or www.aviary.org
Those Disney characters are never more lovable than when they're skittering around on skates. Catch the latest show, Disney on Ice: Treasure Trove, and watch your faves from Lion King, Peter Pan, Snow White and more lace up at the Consol Energy Center. Feb. 27-March 3. www.consolenergycenter.com
Hey kids, look who's back: the Easter Bunny! And before the big day, he's making time to hold some scheduled brunches and lunches at the Pittsburgh Zoo. Be sure to ask about his diet — he gives that candy away because he knows it's better to eat carrots. March 23, 24 and 30. Highland Park. 412-365-2532 or www.pittsburghzoo.org