My Favorite Neighbor

Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Magazine

If you haven’t read a few of my older blog entries, then you might not know this, but I am from the Pittsburgh area.

The land of the best football team ever, The Pittsburgh Steelers; older church ladies that pinch pierogies; the record holder for most bridges; and everyone’s favorite ketchup, Heinz.

But one of our treasures that we are very proud of is Fred Rogers.

If you are child of the 1970s or later you will know him as the friendly face that would ask you to be his neighbor while zipping his sweater (which were all made by his mother) and putting on his Keds to start the show.

For me, Mister Rogers was more than a local icon, he was a friend.

Yesterday was his birthday and it really made me sit back and think more about this man that had a hand in the development of so many young people.

Every time I would sit down to watch his show, even to this day, I feel like I am home and I am a kid again.

He knew the perfect way to talk to kids without being patronizing and how to make everyday subjects and outings seem like an adventure. (To this day I still remember the video on how crayons were made.)

When I did my internship at WQED radio, which also houses the television station and Pittsburgh Magazine, I was given a tour which included the TV studio where the show was shot. There are still areas where the gumdrop-like flooring shone through in an almost homage to the man. Even in my 20s I was so excited to be stepping into the Neighborhood of Make Believe.

Now as a mom myself, I was really excited to see that the spirit of Mister Rogers lives well within “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.” While my childhood favorites Henrietta Pussycat and X the Owl are there, it is a whole new cast of characters that take center stage and allow this newest generation the opportunity to identify with these new characters.

I am forever grateful to Fred Rogers and the legacy that he has left behind and the continued work that his foundation and PBS have done to provide quality, educational programming for a new generation.

Now, this is where I am going to step on soapbox just for a second to say how important it is that public broadcasting stays around for not just this current generation of future leaders but for the ones after them, and after them and so on. And this is why budget cuts to this sector can be of major detriment.

While a lot of kids will have access to cable channels like Sprout, and pay for video services like Netflix, it is the underprivileged kids that will suffer. For many, the only channels they get are the major networks and PBS. Big Bird, Cookie Monster and Elmo are who they rely on to teach them how to read and how to add, while Daniel and crew teach them how to be a good person.

I am not telling you to contact your political representatives to share your displeasure or even tell you to make a huge donation, but just to watch these programs with your kids. To help them cultivate an early love of learning, one that will continue for the rest of their life.

Mister Rogers would have wanted it that way.

Calling All Daniel Tiger Fans

Living near the city of Pittsburgh has so many advantages.

The city is like something that you will not find elsewhere.

Well, with a view like this, how could you not fall in love?

Our view from our cousin’s wedding at the Le Mont at Mount Washington.


Another one of Pittsburgh’s greatest treasures was the man Fred Rogers, also known as Mister Rogers who many of us would visit in his neighborhood each week.

At Idlewild, that I mentioned in a previous post, guests can enjoy a ride on Trolley into the Neighborhood of Make-believe.

Starting this June The Pittsburgh Children’s Museum unveiled a new exhibit centered around Daniel Tiger and his neighborhood and neighbors.

Lily outside of the Tiger Family’s beach house.

After watching Daniel Tiger myself I have to say they did a really good job recreating the neighborhood and offered the kids a lot of different ways to interact in the neighborhood.

You can visit The Clock Factory and work at Dad Tiger’s workbench and learn how the clock works. Pay a visit to Music Man Stan’s and play various musical instruments. There is also a thank you tree that you can write on a leaf what you are thankful for and tie it to the tree. And have some quiet time at the schoolhouse to read some of your Mousekatot’s favorite Daniel Tiger books. There is also the opportunity to dress up as neighborhood helpers and put on some special cars to zip around the neighborhood.

Lily’s favorite activity was to take the wooden envelopes out of the mailbox, but them in her mail cart and then deposit them back into the mailbox. We spent a long time doing this.

However, the absolute highlight for Lily was getting to meet Daniel Tiger in person.

When we bought our ticket we were asked if we wanted a ticket to meet Daniel Tiger. We said yes and were given a green ticket that said our time to meet with him was between 11 a.m. and 11:25 a.m. (Almost like a FastPass!) This was nice having a scheduled time because it meant we didn’t have to wait in a super long line.

Lily really enjoyed this part and was so excited to give him a big hug and a high five. We even got her to cheese it up for the camera with Daniel.

The exhibit will be at the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum until January 2017 so you have plenty of time to visit Daniel and his gang. If you have a toddler who is crazy for Daniel I can’t recommend enough about visiting the museum. Plus, there are tons of fun and interactive exhibits in the rest of the museum that you would want to check out,

Is your Mousekatot a Daniel Tiger fan? Leave your comments below.