Summer Fun with Venture Outdoors; Cool Off at North Park Pool (Mon., 7/22/19)

Summer in Pittsburgh offers plenty of flow with which to go.

Summer in Pittsburgh offers plenty of flow with which to go.

1) Venture Outdoors? That’s the outfit that runs the kayak rental on the North Shore and North Park, right? Well, yes—but this unique Pittsburgh nonprofit offers a great deal more. Every week, Venture Outdoors’ staff and volunteers lead an amazing array of outdoor activities for the public, on water and dry land. Bicycling events range from long rides to gentle outings for beginners. The schedule includes rock climbing occasionally, and fishing frequently. If walking is your speed, the selection is vast: Venture Outdoors has nature hikes, urban neighborhood hikes, and even a banjo night walk. The group also conducts a variety of excursions and learning sessions in kayaking, paddleboarding, etc. July is a month loaded with events throughout the Pittsburgh area, so it’s a great time to get acquainted with Venture Outdoors. Check the website, and we’ll see you somewhere under the sun or stars. (MV)

2) The Pittsburgh area has many beautiful public parks. Let’s zoom in on a couple of great features at just one. North Park is the largest in the Allegheny County park system, and so popular that some parts get quite crowded on weekends. Yet it has under-appreciated assets—notably the North Park Swimming Pool. Opened in 1937, this is one of the largest public pools anywhere, 50 meters wide and 105 long. And it’s not a wave pool, so you can swim 50-meter laps crosswise, bring children to make their own waves (how creative!) in the shallow end, and bask in the gorgeous traditional setting. Also somewhat out of sight, except to those in the know, is the network of multi-use trails in North Park. Over 40 miles of trails wind through the hills and woods, very suitable for biking, running, or hiking. They include a Braille Trail with special markings added. Consult the online maps at Trail Pittsburgh… or just park someplace in the park and find a trailhead. Pool is open 11:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. daily, weather permitting; trails are always open. North Park’s main entry is 303 Pearce Mill Rd, Allison Park. (MV)