Lakeside and Treetops

By: Chrissy Ludwikowski

As the days become shorter (and the work days seemingly longer), it can be hard for families to make time to be together, and one’s mind doesn’t normally put colder days hand-in-hand with outdoor activities. Fortunately, we live in a city that has opportunities available year-round to invoke our sense of adventure, even during our daily grind (and don’t worry, these adventures will get your blood pumping to keep you mighty warm)!

Thanks to Venture Outdoors and Kayak Pittsburgh, my family has adopted a love for everything that the outdoors has to offer, so much so that outdoor recreation has become my career! In college, my summers were filled with lakeside views and PFD fittings as a Kayak Pittsburgh North Park attendant and supervisor, right alongside my brothers and sister; family is strongly rooted in the Kayak Pittsburgh staff and community!North Park Boathouse

Upon graduation, with a degree in nutrition and nowhere to put it, I traded in lakes and rivers for treetops at Go Ape North Park, just down the road from my boathouse home. Never heard of it? Go Ape is a 2-3-hour self-guided treetop adventure course where you are challenged, surprised, and excited by dangling obstacles, treetop swings (like Tarzan on his vine-rope!), and ziplines! Though they focus on diverse types of recreation, Go Ape and Venture Outdoors share similar values: to inspire people to get outside and live life adventurously. No one should have to go far to find a great activity to do with friends and family, and Pittsburgh is lucky to have organizations that can make outdoor adventures accessible to everyone.

Go Ape

Making time for outdoor adventure is especially important when we’re stuck in the workaday world. It’s what enlivens our days, breaks up repetition with excitement, and surrounds our lives and our communities with meaning. Venture Outdoors, Kayak Pittsburgh, and Go Ape are all here to not only shake up our cubicle-filled lives, but also, just maybe, instill in us a new sense of family and community.

__Go ApeGo Ape

This November, challenge, surprise, and excite your workaday life, your friends, and even your family by trading in Black Friday crowds for fun! There’s no better way to stay warm this holiday season than trying something new at a Go Ape ziplining course or at the Venture Outdoors’ Holiday Pie Hike on the 24th (what’s better than an adventure with pie!?). The holidays are for spending time with loved ones; be the family favorite this year and take your crew outdoors!

*Venture Outdoors members receive 15% off at Go Ape North Park!

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  • Restorative Practices in an Outdoor Setting

    April 24, 2018

    By: Beth Zabiegalski   

    As an organization, Venture Outdoors does some really awesome and exciting things with local youth in after-school and summer programs, getting them outside for the first time or teaching them something new to do in nature. Most of our outings are a couple hours or less, but when we build meaningful relationships with our students, we create formative outdoor experiences with memories that last more than just that afternoon. 

    Last month, I had the opportunity to attend a two-day Restorative Practices Training through Venture Outdoors’ partnership with Pittsburgh Public Schools. I’ll admit I had next to no idea what to expect,

     » Read more about: Restorative Practices in an Outdoor Setting  »

  • Spring Inside

    April 17, 2018

    A Day a Phipps 
    By: Sara Cardamone 

    Now that Spring is finally here, so is the rain! In Pittsburgh, sometimes it can be hard to find ways to be in nature when it is rainy and muddy. However, there are tons of fun alternatives if you look hard enough! Since I’m a student at Pitt, I pass Phipps Conservatory all the time but I always felt like I never had enough time to stop in. Fast forward to now, the first big rainy day of Spring was upon us and I was struggling to find a calming activity to take my mind off of school and then it hit me.

     » Read more about: Spring Inside  »

  • My Mirror is the Outdoors

    April 10, 2018

    By Stephanie Capilongo

    “Go Outside… amidst the simple beauty of nature… and know that as long as places like this exist, there will be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be.” -Anne Frank.

    The outdoors, it appears, is complicated. But it’s not. It can free your mind and give you a new appreciation for beauty. It brings things and people together, whether it’s your best friend, significant other or your cat. The people you go with mean everything. And no matter who you are or what you do, you can find joy.

     » Read more about: My Mirror is the Outdoors  »

  • When Youth Find their Voices

    April 3, 2018

    By: Lo Hutelmyer, Ryan Singleton and Ty’Shay Thorton

    To an educator, few things are more rewarding than witnessing a student discover his or her own passion. More rewarding still is when they show their first glimpses of leadership by taking charge to teach others about their passion.

    For those of you who may know me, it’s sometimes a challenge for me to stay quiet. But when I had the opportunity to watch Ty’Shay and Ryan present at last month’s conference, I was speechless. Ty’Shay and Ryan, 7th graders from Manchester Academic Charter School, have been participating regularly on Venture Outdoors trips for two years.

     » Read more about: When Youth Find their Voices  »

  • Mount Ararat Community Activity Center takes on GASP!

    March 27, 2018

    By: La’Nell Pennington, Trip Leader SpecialistGASP

    Last October, youth group members at Mount Ararat Community Activity Center in East Liberty participated in an after-school workshop with Pittsburgh’s own Group Against Smog and Pollution. (GASP).

    What is air pollution? We started out by asking the children if they knew what air pollution was. All the kids raised their hands excited to give answers. After a short hike to the Larimer Community Garden, we took turns giving examples of different types of air pollution and where it comes from. The children identified pollution sources such as cars,

     » Read more about: Mount Ararat Community Activity Center takes on GASP!  »

Kayak Pittsburgh

Sunset Paddle

Thank you for another great season!
We’ll see you on the water in 2018!


Featured Outing

Geocaching - CD

Cultural District Geocaching
Thursday, April 26
6:30 – 8:30 PM

Join us for a fun intro to the world of geocaching in the Cultural District. We will learn the basics of using a GPS (Global Positioning System) device to navigate between waypoints throughout downtown.