11 Must-Do Carnegie Science Center Holiday Events for 2021

Carnegie Science Center Miniature Train Display

This year, Carnegie Science Center holiday events for 2021 range from classic movie screenings to adults-only fun nights. And while the nights are getting shorter and the days chillier, there’s no shortage of things to do. Here’s my top picks for the 2021 winter holidays at CSC!

carnegie science center holiday events 2021 miniature railroad Fallingwater
Fallingwater, one of the gorgeous miniature displays at Carnegie Science Center.

See the Latest Addition to the Miniature Railroad & Village® 

Each year in October, the Miniature Railroad & Village® closes down for cleaning and renovation, only top open with a brand new addition. Always paying homage to a Pittsburgh attraction icon, last year we had the pleasure of seeing Kaufmann’s Department Store and clock.

This season,  the railroad reopens on Thursday, November 18th with a brand new model, Gus & YiaYia’s Ice Ball Cart. If you’re not familiar with it, you’ll find the actual food cart in Allegheny Commons Park serving the famous chilly treats during warmer weather. 

Cost – Free with paid admission


Team Up for 18+ Night

In honor of Friendsgiving, CSC is having a Team Design Challenge on Friday, November 19th. From 6-10pm, guests will team up with others to put a friendly spin on engineering. With live music, food & drinks available for purchase, and kiddos out of the way, each crew will have a series of design challenges. 

Price: $18 for members, $20 for nonmembers

And while you’re there, you can check out Pompeii: The Exhibition. Timed tickets are available for purchase during 18+ Nights. 


Have A Spacey Weekend 

Visiting space is becoming more attainable these days, but until you get a chance you can head to CSC  for Space Out! Astronomy Weekend. Activities include:

  • Join Quasi the Robot for a high-octane odyssey to the canyons of Mars, the rings of Saturn, and the icy plains of Pluto
  • Make and take a Star Clock to track the constellations in your own backyard
  • Engage with members of the Amateur Astronomer Association of Pittsburgh and the upcoming Moonshot Museum
  • Travel from Pompeii to Pluto for a tour of magnificent mountains in our brand-new show, Space Volcanoes!
  • Explore the stars and constellations, then blast into orbit to explore the planets visible in the current night sky
  • Embark on a SolarQuest in the Works Theater to explore our Sun and space weather events through live physics and chemistry demonstrations with our STEM Outreach Team
  • Design, build, and test your spacecraft to see if it has the right stuff
  • Learn how stars form from gas and dust in space
  • Discover how astronomers use spectroscopy to explore the chemistry of stars

Dates: Sat.–Sun., Nov. 20–21 from 10 am–4 pm 

Price: Free with paid admission


See a Trippy Laser Show

carnegie science center holiday events 2021 Buhl planetarium

 While past popular laser shows at CSC have revolved around music from the 60’s and up, this year Laser Holiday Magic takes center stage. Starting the weekend after Thanksgiving through the end of the year, there’s a daily showing filled with popular holiday musical selections and gorgeous colored lasers. 

 Dates: Fri., Nov. 26–Fri., Dec. 31, Mon.–Fri., 1:30 pm; Sat.–Sun., 4 pm

Price: ($2 for Members, $8 for Nonmembers, $5 as an add-on to general admission


Stay in your Jammies, Polar Style

You know those fun, holiday days where you never get out of your pajamas? Carnegie Science Center is offering PJ Polar Parties on Saturday, December 4 and 11, 2021. 

Arrive early for a hot chocolate Bar and snack and some make (and then take home) activities. Then with a full belly, grab a seat for The Polar Express. Afterwards, you and the kiddos can explore all four floors of CSC and have exclusive time in the Miniature Railroad & Village® and the opportunity for photos with Santa Claus.

Registration will be opening soon and spots will go fast. 


Larger Than Life Holiday Movie Classic

If you think watching The Polar Express at home is magical, wait until you check it out on The Rangos Giant Cinema Screen. The Polar Express 3D will be shown daily at 5:30pm beginning on Thanksgiving weekend and daily right before Christmas. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased up to four weeks ahead of time

Dates: Fridays–Saturdays – Nov. 26, 27

                                                     Dec. 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18,

                                                     Additional screenings  Dec. 20–23

Price: $9.95, $7.95 for members. 


Enjoy the Longest Night of the Year 

On December 17th, enjoy a party under the stars with 18+ Night: Solstice Party. From 6-10pm, the theme is all about the sun going down and enjoying it with friends. There’s a special solstice show in the Buhl Planetarium, interactive learning experiences, hot food, cold drinks, and live music from local artists. 

And when the actual solstice happens on December 21st, you’ll know all of the cool facts about it to score some cool points with friends. 

Price: $18 for Members, $20 Nonmembers


Full-Day Camping Fun

Right after Christmas, and just in time to stave off boredom, CSC is hosting two full-day science camps:

 – Holiday Camps – Mon.–Thurs., Dec. 27–30
Campers can hunt for treasures from the past, put their astronaut skills to the test, and learn why the weather outside is frightful. It’s a full-day camp for ages 6-12 and a space-filled adventure for astronaut fans.


Do the Locomotion (Weekend)

During the weekend of  January 15–16, head to CSC from 10 am–5 pm for a weekend of locomotive fun! There will be loads of guest train displays and local miniature train hobbyists available to chat and answer questions. 

Price: free with admission

 Starting Right Now


Rocky Mountain Express –  From spectacular IMAX aerial cinematography of the Canadian Rockies to archival photographs and maps, be immersed in this remarkable story from the early age of steam-powered transportation.

Daily Shows in The Rangos Giant Cinema

Price: $7, $6 for members

Volcanoes: The Fires of Creation –  Learn from National Geographic photographer Carsten Peter what it’s like to rappel into the very heart of an active vent. See footage from the 2018 Kilauea eruption and learn more about the geographic impacts of living at the base of an active volcano.

Daily Shows in The Rangos Giant Cinema

Price: $7, $6 for members

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