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Making Winter Bearable

Discoveries Inside Pittsburgh's Museums

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Winter's gray days got you down? Perhaps an afternoon spent with colorful chattering macaws would put the bounce back in your step. How about a visit to a home-turned-museum that boasts 11 bars? Or the perusal of an experimental aluminum bikini?

These are just a few of the experiences and treasures available to you at Pittsburgh-area museums and collections. We've sent our intrepid staff to burrow through venues large and small. Their reports herald the unusual, the overlooked, the tucked-away -- the very essence of what makes discovering a new museum, or noodling around the corners of a familiar one, so pleasurable.

So far, this season has been a dud for outdoor sports, so suit up for a journey of indoor discovery. (Those still pining for the arctic can linger near the zoo's polar bears, or drop by the Polar World exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.) If you decide to go, be sure to call ahead for visitors' hours: In winter, even the museums change their waking habits.

The Carnegie Museum of Art
The Andy Warhol Museum
National Aviary
Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Sen. John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center
The George Westinghouse Museum
The James L. Kelso Bible Lands Museum
American Jewish Museum
International Academy of Jazz Hall of Fame
Photo Antiquities
Bayernhof Museum
St. Anthony's Chapel

Don't miss these other area museums and exhibits: Discoveries Inside Pittsburgh's Museums

Bost Building Exhibit and Visitor Center. Run by the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area, this museum works to preserve the history and artifacts of the region's industrial past. The Bost Building served as temporary headquarters for the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers during the Homestead strike. 621 E. Eighth Ave., Homestead. Free. 412-464-4020 or www.riversofsteel.com

Bulgarian Macedonian National Educational and Cultural Center. This social hall offers a look into the lives of Eastern European immigrants, many of whom lived in the adjacent community. On display: artwork, folk dress, photography, jewelry and costumes, much of it from the old countries. The hall also offers an extensive archive of films, music, books and even personal correspondence. 449-451 W. Eighth Ave., West Homestead. Free. 412-461-6188 or www.bmnecc.org

Carnegie Museum of Natural History. From bugs to bears, dinosaurs to diamonds, Native American histories to artifacts of ancient Egypt, this museum offers permanent and special exhibits of life and natural wonder in all forms. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. $10 ($7 seniors; $6 students and children 3-18). 412-622-3131 or www.carnegiemnh.org

Carnegie Science Center. A family-oriented museum designed to make science fun and interactive. Adjacent attractions include the Buhl Digital Dome, UPMC SportsWorks and the USS Requin submarine. 1 Allegheny Ave., North Side. $14 ($10 seniors and children 3-12). 412-237-3400 or www.carnegiesciencecenter.org

Fort Pitt Museum. Discover why the strategically located Point inspired battles among the Native Americans, English, French and early colonists, as well as the site's usefulness to burgeoning commerce. Point State Park, Downtown. $5 ($4 seniors; $2 children 6-17). 412-281-9285 or www.fortpittmuseum.com

The Frick Art & Historical Center. Tour the home of industrialist Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919). Adjoining exhibits include an art museum, gardens and a car and carriage museum. 7227 Reynolds St., Point Breeze. $12 ($10 seniors/students). 412-371-0600 or www.frickart.org

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