The Pittsburgh Steelers are returning to Saint Vincent College and bringing their legions of fans with them. Training camp opens July 27 and runs through Aug. 17 with 15 practices open and free to the public – although a mobile ticket must be used to attend – along with the Friday Night Lights practice at Latrobe Memorial Stadium on Aug. 4. Tickets for that event are $5 each.
Whether you’re in the Laurel Highlands to get your favorite superstar’s autograph or scout the Black and Gold’s next breakout player, you’ll want touch down with some of our other fan favorites. We’ve put together eight great things to do and places to see during training camp.
The Game Plan: Score big savings with an online ticket purchase for Idlewild, which has been named the nation’s “Best Children’s Park” according to Amusement Today magazine and the “Best Park for Families” by the National Amusement Park Historical Association.
The Drive: 15 minutes from Saint Vincent
The Payoff: Kids of all ages will be cheering this choice in Ligonier. The younger ones love Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Story Book Forest, and the Little Squirts kiddie pool. Teens and adults can take a ride on the Wild Mouse roller coaster or make a splash on a serpentine slide.
The Game Plan: Latrobe is the hometown of Fred Rogers, the iconic host of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” one of the most beloved children’s shows in television history. From the Fred Rogers Archive at Saint Vincent’s Fred Rogers Institute to the Latrobe Area Historical Society and Latrobe Art Center, there are plenty of tributes to him in this neighborhood.
The Drive: 4 minutes to James H Rogers Park, home of the Mister Rogers statue
The Payoff: Be sure to grab a picture with the Mister Rogers statue and, while you’re at it, walk a short distance to the Banana Split monument on Ligonier Street.
The Game Plan: Go for the $35 guided architectural tour, which not only grants you access to the grounds but also gives you an inside look at this architectural marvel built over a waterfall. Be sure to book tickets ahead of time and know that Fallingwater, which is located in Mill Run, is closed on Wednesdays.
The Drive: 50 minutes from Saint Vincent
The Payoff: One of only two UNESCO World Heritage sites in Pennsylvania, Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural masterpiece was just ranked as America’s most loved building by Buildworld. This is a bucket-list trip for visitors from around the globe.
The Game Plan: Go for two with after-practice stops at Laurel Highlands Pour Tour Partners Four Seasons Brewing Co. and Unity Brewing in Latrobe. Pick up a Pour Tour passport, make a purchase and get a sticker that moves you closer to great Pour Tour prizes.
The Drive: Four Seasons is less than a mile from Saint Vincent and Unity is only about a 4-minute drive from campus. Always use a designated driver and drink responsibly.
The Payoff: In addition to great craft beverages, each has tasty menu options. Four Seasons features amazing wood-fired pizzas from Marino’s American Eatery while Unity’s sweet and savory salmon bowl will have you talking about your experience deep into playoff season.
The Game Plan: Football AND beach time? Sounds like a great day to us. Get your toes in the sand and take a dip in the 78-acre Keystone Lake near Derry.
The Drive: 13 minutes from Saint Vincent
The Payoff: The lake is the highlight of 1,200-acre Keystone State Park, which offers opportunities for fishing, boating and camping, but don’t overlook the eight miles of hiking trails and picnic options available.
The Game Plan: Pay tribute to the heroes who thwarted an attack on the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 11, 2001. At the crash site near Shanksville, you can experience the Tower of Voices, a 93-foot-tall musical instrument holding 40 wind chimes representing the passengers and crew members killed aboard Flight 93. Tour the Visitor Center to understand the Flight 93 story within the context of the larger terrorist attack.
The Drive: 41 minutes from Saint Vincent
The Payoff: For those of us who lived through 9/11, the memorial is a powerful reminder of that day and its place in American history. It’s also a chance for younger generations to learn how the actions of the brave men and women aboard Flight 93 helped prevent even more tragedy.
The Game Plan: Journey back to the eighteenth century and discover Fort Ligonier - a reconstructed and restored French and Indian War fort, with artillery batteries, cannons, wagons and buildings rebuilt on the original site.
The Drive: 14 minutes from Saint Vincent
The Payoff: Walk on the same ground that a young George Washington did and see how Fort Ligonier made Pittsburgh possible.
The Game Plan: See what Pennsylvania’s largest ski resort, located in Champion, has to offer in the way of summer fun with alpine slides, scenic chairlift rides, disc golf, swimming, paddleboats/paddleboards and more.
The Drive: 43 minutes from Saint Vincent
The Payoff: Summer on the mountain is just cooler with an All-Day Adventure Pass. Purchase online in advance for big savings on more than a dozen family-friendly activities.