Scranton is the county seat of Lackawanna County in northeastern Pennsylvania. Scranton is a small city that is big on history. At one time, it was the head of the anthracite coal mining industry in Pennsylvania and attracted immigrants from all over Europe. Today, Scranton, PA offers visitors the chance to explore history in their many museums and historic homes.
We recommend that you call the attractions and restaurants ahead of your visit to confirm current opening times.
1.Everhart Museum, Scranton, Pennsylvania
© Everhart Museum
The Everhart Museum was named for prominent Scranton physician Dr. Isaiah Fawkes Everhart. Dr. Everhart gifted the city with what is now the Everhart Museum in 1907. Today, the museum contains exhibits featuring art, science, and natural history. The museum offers special hands-on education events for K-12 students as well as summer camps and adult education classes.
In September the museum hosts the annual Farm to Table meal, featuring locally grown, fresh ingredients. The Everhart Museum is open daily except Wednesdays, February through December, and is closed in the month of January for maintenance.
1901 Mulberry St., Scranton, PA 18510, Phone: 570-346-7186
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2.Things to Do in Scranton, Pennsylvania: Electric City Trolley Museum
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In the late 1880's, Scranton became known as “The Electric City” because of its passenger trolley line, the first in the state of Pennsylvania. Today, the Electric City Trolley Museum seeks to preserve the history of the rail line in the city.
Exhibits include model trolleys and railways, headlights, railway lights, mine train equipment, a restored trolley car, and an interactive trolley exhibit for children. The museum also features a working trolley car that travels a line that starts at the museum and passes several historical sites. The museum is open 7 days a week, excluding major holidays.
300 Cliff Street, Scranton, PA 18503, Phone: 570-963-6590
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3.Things to Do Near Me: Erie Lackawanna Dining Car Preservation Society
© Erie Lackawanna Dining Car Preservation Society
For nearly 100 years, the Erie Lackawanna Railroad was known for serving fresh, gourmet meals to passengers travelling on its railway dining cars. Today, the mission of the Erie Lackawanna Dining Car Preservation Society is to preserve the history of these cars and of railway travel.
The society has restored three dining cars, one sleeper car, and two Dieseliner coaches. Tours of the cars can be arranged by contacting the society directly. In addition, they offer train rides with meals at special events throughout the year. The events calendar can be found on the society's website.
201 South Blakeley Street #333, Dunmore, PA 18512, Phone: 570-209-5851
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4.Things to Do in Scranton, PA: Catlin House
© Catlin House
Built in 1912, Catlin House is a Tudor-style mansion that was originally the home of George H. Catlin, an early Scranton businessman. The home contains 16 rooms that have been beautifully preserved and furnished with period-specific décor and antiques.
Beautiful wood paneling, a wooden staircase, and stained glass windows are just a few of the details of the home. Guided tours of the Catlin House are offered on certain days. The mansion is also the headquarters of the Lackawanna Historical Society and contains a research library and lecture room.
232 Monroe Ave, Scranton, PA 18510, Phone: 570-344-3841
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5.Things to Do in Scranton, Pennsylvania: Houdini Museum
© Houdini Museum
The Houdini Museum pays tribute to Harry Houdini, one of the most famous magicians and illusionists the world has ever known. The museum contains pictures, posters, and artifacts from Houdini's life and his stage career.
Visitors are treated to a tour of the museum, a film, and a live magic show with world-renowned magicians Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brooks. The entire museum experience lasts 2 ½ to 3 hours and a limited number of seats are available for each show. Reservations are strongly recommended and can be obtained by calling the museum directly. Next read: Water parks in PA.
1433 N Main Ave., Scranton, PA 18508, Phone: 570-342-5555
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6.Places to Visit: Lackawanna County Coal Mine, Scranton, Pennsylvania
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Coal mining has paid an integral part in the economy of Pennsylvania for decades. Visitors to Lackawanna County can experience what mining underground is like by taking a tour of the Lackawanna County Coal Mine, where they descend by elevator 300 feet underground and walk past three veins of coal.
Tour guides explain the history of coal mining as well as the equipment and mining methods used throughout the years. The coal mine tour is offered daily from April 1st through November 30th, excluding major holidays. The tour lasts approximately one hour. Walking shoes and a jacket are recommended.
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7.Kids Activities Near Me: Lackawanna River Heritage Trail
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Explore miles of beautiful woodland scenery along the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail. The trail extends for 70 miles through both rural and urban areas and is divided into sections of varying lengths. There are many points of interest along the trail and in the towns through which it passes.
Much of the trail is paved, making it excellent for walking, running, or cycling. Special events such as runs and walks, group bicycle rides, races, and trail clean-up days are held throughout the year by various area groups. At its northern end, the Heritage Trail connects with the Delaware & Hudson Rail Trail.
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8.Things to Do Near Me: Montage Mountain, Scranton, Pennsylvania
© Montage Mountain
Montage Mountain is the place to be for outdoor family fun in northern Pennsylvania. In the winter, Montage Mountain offers skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing.
There are also ski lessons for both children and adults. In the summer, the park offers zipline rides and a large water park with slides, a canal for floating, a large wave pool, and poolside cabanas. Guests can grab a quick bite to eat at the concession stand, or stay for a longer meal at the Slocum Hollow Bar & Restaurant. Park hours vary by season and can be found on the park's website.
100 Montage Mountain Road, Scranton, PA 18507, Phone: 570-969-7669
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9.Things to Do in Scranton, PA: Nay Aug Park
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Nay Aug Park is an escape to nature within the city of Scranton. The largest park in the city, Navy Aug contains beautifully landscaped walking trails and picnic areas as well as two playgrounds for children. The trails pass features such as rocky gorges, streams, and waterfalls.
In the summer, guests can beat the heat in the park's two Olympic-sized pools and large water slides. Children will love the park's large treehouse with long walkways stretching 150 feet into the air.
1901 Mulberry St., Scranton, PA 18510, Phone: 570-348-4186
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10.What to Do Near Me: Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum
© Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum
In the 1800s many immigrants came to Pennsylvania to build a new life in the anthracite coal mining industry. The Anthracite Heritage Museum seeks to tell the story of these immigrants and their families, work, and traditions.
The museum's exhibits include a replica of a typical coal miner's home, a replica saloon, and many photographs of workers and their families. There is also a nearby exhibit consisting of four large iron furnaces. These massive stone structures were used for smelting the iron that was produced by the Lackawanna Iron and Steel Company. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday and is closed major holidays.
22 Bald Mountain Road, Scranton, PA 18504, Phone: 570-963-4804
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11.Kids Activities Near Me: Lake Scranton Walking Path, Scranton, Pennsylvania
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Lake Scranton is a 16,000-acre reservoir that serves as the water supply for the city of Scranton. The lake is surrounded by the 3.5-mile-long Lake Scranton Walking Path. The path is completely paved, providing an easy walk or run with beautiful views of the lake and nearby East Mountain. Pets, bicycles, and motor vehicles are not allowed on the trail.
Route 307, Scranton, PA 18505
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12.Places to Visit: Steamtown National Historic Site, Scranton, PA
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Steamtown National Historic Site is a museum dedicated to preserving the history of steam locomotives. These locomotives were once very important for transporting both coal and passengers through Pennsylvania.
Steamtown's museum exhibits include a restored steam locomotive, photographs, and memorabilia from the heyday of the railroad, exhibits depicting the life of a rail hand, and a roundhouse where technicians can perform repairs and upkeep on the trains. There is also a theatre where guests can see a brief film about the history of the railroad. The site is open daily except for major holidays. Hours vary by season.
350 Cliff St, Scranton, PA 18503, Phone: 570-340-5200
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13.Electric City Aquarium and Reptile Den
© Electric City Aquarium and Reptile Den
Explore animals from the ocean and from land at the incredible 20,000 square foot facility of the Electric City Aquarium and Reptile Den. Known for its dedication to conservation and education, Electric City teaches all visitors about the importance of the world’s creatures and how to best protect them through interactive exhibits and displays. At the aquarium, visitors can get up-close looks at sharks, stingrays, octopuses, eels, and all kinds of fish species. The vibrant colors of the aquarium are sure to catch your attention as the marine life swims in all directions. Meanwhile, the Reptile Den welcomes guests to learn about the world’s interesting egg-laying vertebrates. Come toe-to-toe with amphibians like lizards, crocodiles, tortoises, and snakes. Whether you take a self-guided tour or a guide-led tour, it’s bound to be a fun experience.
300 Lackawanna Avenue, Scranton, Pennsylvania 18503; Phone: 570-909-9631
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14.Lahey Family Fun Park
© Lahey Family Fun Park
Welcoming families from near and far all year round is the Lahey Family Fun Park. The park is designed to entertain the entire family whether the kids are younger or older and is also known for having the best Mini-Golf Course in the area. There’s more to Lahey Family Fun Park than just its miniature golf course though, as it offers go-karting for older kids and a sprawling arcade for the little ones. Additionally, the park also has batting cages and bumper boats, so visitors can be sure that no time will go to waste.
500 Morgan Highway, Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania 18411; Phone: 570-586-5699
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Opened to the public in the 1970s, McDade Park is a popular destination in Lackawanna County known for its many indoor and outdoor attractions as well as its history as a reclaimed coal mining area. Today, the park welcomes thousands of people to its grounds with amenities like its Olympic-sized swimming pool, a bath house, multipurpose fields, and a boundless playground. It’s also home to attractions like the Anthracite Heritage Museum, the Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour, and the Cancer Memorial Garden and Arboretum. For guests who want to make the most of the park’s recreational offerings, McDade Park is home to nearly 2 miles of cross country running and hiking trails. It also has numerous sporting fields and even allows equipment rentals.
1 Bald Mountain Road, Scranton, Pennsylvania 18504; Phone: 516-361-2174
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16.Scranton Iron Furnaces
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The Scranton Iron Furnaces are a relic of the country’s iron industry’s beginnings. Composed of four behemoth stone blast furnaces, this historic landmark was once a part of the Lackawanna Iron and Steel Company which operated sometime around the mid-1800s. Visitors to the Scranton Iron Furnaces today can get a tour of the site and learn about its significance in the United States’ industrial revolution. While many different groups offer tours, the Scranton Iron Furnaces are open to self-guided tours and visitors all year from dawn to dusk thanks to its location within a historic park. Tours via the Historic Trolley ride may be booked at Scranton’s Visitor Center from April through October.
159 Cedar Avenue, Scranton, Pennsylvania 18505; Phone: 570-963-4804
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17.Scranton Cultural Center
© Scranton Cultural Center
What was once a Masonic Temple and Scottish Rite Cathedral has grown into one of Northeast Pennsylvania’s most celebrated hubs for entertainment, culture, and performing arts – the Scranton Cultural Center. The building is one of the most glorious architectural features of the town and has grown into a 180,000 square foot facility featuring 2 theaters, several meeting rooms, a grand ballroom, and dozens of other rooms for multipurpose use. Those who want to experience the historic side of the cultural center can participate in free public tours on certain days to learn about the building’s key elements. Knowledgeable tour guides will also share information about the history of the Masons.
420 N. Washington Avenue, Scranton, Pennsylvania 18503; Phone: 570-346-7369
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17 Best Things to Do in Scranton, Pennsylvania
- Everhart Museum, Scranton, Pennsylvania, Photo: Everhart Museum
- Things to Do in Scranton, Pennsylvania: Electric City Trolley Museum, Photo: Courtesy of Ritu Jethani - Fotolia.com
- Things to Do Near Me: Erie Lackawanna Dining Car Preservation Society, Photo: Erie Lackawanna Dining Car Preservation Society
- Things to Do in Scranton, PA: Catlin House, Photo: Catlin House
- Things to Do in Scranton, Pennsylvania: Houdini Museum, Photo: Houdini Museum
- Places to Visit: Lackawanna County Coal Mine, Scranton, Pennsylvania, Photo: Courtesy of aqua photo - Fotolia.com
- Kids Activities Near Me: Lackawanna River Heritage Trail, Photo: Courtesy of Virynja - Fotolia.com
- Things to Do Near Me: Montage Mountain, Scranton, Pennsylvania, Photo: Montage Mountain
- Things to Do in Scranton, PA: Nay Aug Park, Photo: Courtesy of Rexford Jordan - Fotolia.com
- What to Do Near Me: Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum, Photo: Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum
- Kids Activities Near Me: Lake Scranton Walking Path, Scranton, Pennsylvania, Photo: Courtesy of foto naturali - Fotolia.com
- Places to Visit: Steamtown National Historic Site, Scranton, PA, Photo: Courtesy of Ritu Jethani - Fotolia.com
- Electric City Aquarium and Reptile Den, Photo: Electric City Aquarium and Reptile Den
- Lahey Family Fun Park, Photo: Lahey Family Fun Park
- McDade Park, Photo: pressmaster/stock.adobe.com
- Scranton Iron Furnaces, Photo: Sherman Cahal/stock.adobe.com
- Scranton Cultural Center, Photo: Scranton Cultural Center
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Ritu Jethani - Fotolia.com
Attraction Spotlight: Steamtown National Historic Site, Scranton, PA
Located in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Steamtown National Historic Site preserves the Scranton railroad yard of the former Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad, showcasing original historic DL&W railroad buildings and equipment and offering seasonal train excursions. The origins of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad date back to 1832, with the incorporation of the Liggett's Gap Railroad, which was renamed the Lackawanna and Western Railroad in 1851.
The L&W Railroad initially ran from Scranton to Great Bend, Pennsylvania, located near the border of Pennsylvania and New York. In 1853, the planned Delaware and Cobb's Gap Railroad was incorporated into the L&W Railroad, creating the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad, which expanded the original line into Delaware and New Jersey. Subsequent expansions throughout the late 19th century brought the line prominence throughout the mid-Atlantic region, and in 1907, Beaux-Arts-style terminals for the line were constructed in Hoboken and Scranton.
Though the line was a major transporter of anthracite coal, dairy products, lumber, and other goods throughout the early 20th century, a decline in economic activity in the region following World War II is credited as the beginning of the railroad’s decline. A series of natural disasters in the 1950s, including Hurricane Diane and the Knox Mine Disaster, eventually led to the line’s merger into its principal competitor, the Erie Railroad, creating the Erie Lackawanna Railroad.
Efforts to preserve the former DL&W Railroad as a historic site date back to the early 1960s, spearheaded by seafood processor and railroad enthusiast F. Nelson Blount. Throughout his early life, Blount amassed a large collection of vintage steam locomotives, including 25 preserved engines from railroads across North America. In 1964, Blount created the Steamtown Foundation for the Preservation of Steam and Railroad Americana for the purposes of operating a historic site called Steamtown USA, which ran steam railroad excursions throughout New Hampshire and Vermont. Following Blount’s death in 1967, the Steamtown attraction was operated by the Steamtown Foundation nonprofit organization and relocated to Scranton.
After the attraction folded in 1983 after filing for bankruptcy and selling most of its locomotives, a campaign by Pennsylvania Representative Joseph M. McDade brought the site to the attention of the National Park Service. Though acquisition of the site by the NPS was controversial due to questions about the attraction’s historic value, the Steamtown site was renovated and reopened to the public as a National Historic Site in 1986.
Today, the Steamtown National Historic Site encompasses 62 acres of the former DL&W Scranton yards, The museum showcases renovated, reconstructed, and replicated artifacts from the original DL&W facilities, organized around the facility’s recreated turntable and roundhouse and offering a variety of indoor and outdoor exhibits and activities. The site and all of its buildings and components are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Steamtown’s Visitor Center serves as an entrance point for its indoor museum exhibits, offering daily showings of an 18-minute orientation film, “Steel and Steam,” within its surround-sound theater. A variety of indoor museum exhibits are also offered, including the Life on the Railroad exhibit, which showcases the history of American railroad porters and workers throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and exhibits on the evolution of railroad technologies. A Changing Exhibits Gallery on the museum’s second floor features rotating special exhibits related to American railroad history, and a bookstore, operated by Eastern National, offers railroad-themed books and souvenirs.
A large collection of locomotives, freight cars, and passenger cars are showcased as part of the museum’s outdoor exhibits, with many serving as walk-on exhibits for visitor exploration. Notable locomotives and cars on display include the Grand Trunk Western #6039, the Rahway Valley #15, the Baldwin Locomotive Works 26, and the Boston and Maine 3713. A locomotive cutaway exhibit showcases the internal technology of steam power, and a recreated station ticket window recreates the DL&W passenger experience of the late 19th century.
Ongoing Programs and Education
Seasonal train rides are offered at Steamtown, including 30-minute Scranton Limited tour excursions led by park rangers showcasing the site and its history and collections. Longer Nay Aug Gorge Limited rides are also offered on select Sundays throughout the park’s main season, and a special Holiday Express train ride is also offered during the winter holiday months. 45-minute walking tours depart regularly from the park’s Visitor Center, and a variety of living history demonstrations are showcased throughout the park, including historic reenactments by park employees in period-appropriate costumes. Educational programming is offered for elementary and secondary school field trip groups, incorporating Pennsylvania curriculum standards on a variety of topics related to science, history, and social studies. Scouting workshops, a Junior Ranger program, and a summer RailCamp are also offered.
Lackawanna Ave at Cliff St, Scranton, PA 18503, Phone: 570-340-5200
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