Summer Fun/”Things That Are Now Open” (CP’s Tues. 6/25/13)

It’s June and here’s a look at some events attractions now open for the season. As a tribute to Rick Sebak, award-winning producer/director for WQED TV-13 Pittsburgh (and PBS) and creator of “Things That Aren’t There Any More” and Stuff That’s Gone,” I’m titling these Cool Picks “Things That Are Now Open.”

1) “Kennywood’s open.” No, we don’t mean the local slang usage, we mean the actual amusement park (I’ve inserted Rick Sebak’s occasional narrative laugh here, hee hee). The park’s latest attraction, Black Widow, is a high spinning/swing ride that gives riders a nice vantage point of the park. For roller coaster enthusiasts, there’s  Thunderbolt, Racer, Jack Rabbit, Phantom’s Revenge, Exterminator, and Sky Rocket. If it’s a hot day and you feel like getting a little wet, check out the Log Jammer, Pittsburg(h) Plunge, and Raging Rapids. Kennywood also features thrill rides, classic rides, dark rides (snuggle up with that special someone, hee hee), Kiddie Land, daily entertainment AND its famous Potato Patch French Fries. 10:30 a.m – 10 p.m. daily. 4800 Kennywood Blvd., West Mifflin.

2) Sandcastle’s now open and featuring the new”maximum thrill” Dragon’s Den tube ride, where you slide around the rim for awhile and then enter the belly of the beast for a dark mist-filled trip. There’s also Lightning Express speed slide  where you zoom down a 60 foot high open water slide.  What a concept! A water-amusement ride, , where you combine fear of heights with fear of the water (hee hee). A real two-fer. Luckily, Sandcastle has good people who look out for us “regular Joes”  and make it a fun and safe experience.  If it gets too scary, there’s always their Lazy River leisurely raft ride and Wet Willie’s Water Works, and the Tad Pool for kids Mon-Tsunami is the cleverly named, wave pool attraction. Sandcastle is open daily through Labor Day, Sunday through Friday from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Saturdays until 7 p.m. 1000 Sandcastle Dr., Homestead.

3) County Pools are now open for your swimming pleasure. You can ride a wave at the Boyce Park, Settlers Cabin and South Park wave pools. If you want to swim in an older, grander pool try North Park pool.  For divers, Settler’s Cabin Pool has several springboards of various heights and a multi-level diving platform. Pools open daily, 11:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. (weather permitting).

4) The Baja Bar and Grill’s outdoor deck and Tiki bar are now open for outdoor dining, drinking and on some nights live bands and DJ’s. 1366 Old Freeport Rd., Fox Chapel. Other restaurants with outdoor patios include: Silky’s Crow’s Nest (19 River Heights Dr., Sharpsburg) and Redfin Blues (100 Waterfront Dr., Washington’s Landing);  Station Square has an outdoor concourse that adjoin several restaurants. For old Munich/new Pittsburgh fun, check out the Hofbräuhaus (2705 South Water St., South Side Works) for “a bier and a brat,” really living ( hee hee)!

5) If you’ve been out having fun (or are looking for a reason to get out), remember to stop by the local joints for some Rick Sebak favorites: breakfast, diners, hot dogs, farmer’s markets, flea markets, sandwiches and ice cream.