Pennsylvania, the Keystone State, houses an array of educational and entertaining attractions for the entire family to enjoy. From aviation experiences to dinosaur history and majestic unicorns, Pennsylvania stands out as the place to pursue happiness in all forms. These kid-focused attractions and excursions present a combination of learning through play in this beautiful region. During a trip to Pennsylvania, children and their families can enjoy a visit to the sweetest place on earth, the Hershey's factory, or embark on a historical journey back in time to discover how ice was created at the Sculpted Iceworks Factory Tour. Hours/availability may have changed.
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Everhart Museum of Natural History, Science, and Art was established in 1908 and still stands today as Northeastern Pennsylvania's largest public museum. Founder, Dr. Everhart, was intrigued by ornithology which reflects in the vast portion of the museum devoted to birds of the Northeastern Pennsylvania region. The museum collections present an exploration of America's artistic history through a collaboration of galleries and exhibits. Visitors can go back in time through the collections of mammals, rocks, fossils, minerals, plant specimens, shells, and coral. Art enthusiasts can admire a collection of paintings, sculptures, textiles, drawings, and photographs from a range of cultures and eras.
1901 Mulberry Street, Scranton, PA, Phone: 570-346-7186
2.American Helicopter Museum and Education Center
A trip to the American Helicopter Museum and Education Center presents children with the chance to hop inside a real-life helicopter and experience what it is like to fly an American aircraft by operating a realistic flight simulator inside. The research center features over 20,000 rotary-wing aircraft pieces of worldwide aviation history. Children of all ages learn about the evolution of rotorcraft in Philadelphia through a variety of exhibitions and video productions, introducing them to the many wonders that helicopters bring to the nation. Aviation History Magazine has ranked this museum as the "Best Scientific Outing for Kids."
1220 American Boulevard, West Chester, PA, Phone: 610-436-9600
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3.America on Wheels
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Cars, trucks, motorcycles, and bicycles are among the many forms of transport which have shaped American history. America on Wheels dedicates numerous exhibitions and galleries in honor of these motorized vehicles for the public to view. A new addition to this motor museum sees the opening of a kids’ car restoration center where mini motorists can get under the hood of a fabricated car to explore the ins and outs of the engines. They can also discover the fascinating history of these amazing automobiles and how they are made, making it a memorable day out for the entire family.
5 North Front Street, Allentown, PA, Phone: 610-432-4200
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4.Carnegie Science Center
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A place where learning and playing go hand-in-hand, Carnegie Science Center offers a combination of science and technology to inspire little ones to unleash their scientific side. The Little Learner Clubhouse features an assortment of interactive exhibits created to encourage kids’ interest in science, making learning exciting. Children can enjoy a hands-on experience by exploring the clubhouse, learning tree, water table, tomato stand, book cove, baby garden, and button wall. Aspiring scientists will be in their element on this day out. This museum shines bright on service which shows from their National Award for Museum Service.
1 Allegheny Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, Phone: 412-237-3400
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5.Herr's Snack Factory Tours
Going back to 1946 when Herr's Snacks were simply a home-crafted recipe, the company now welcomes guests today to explore their factory for a glimpse into how they make these savory snacks. Personal tours start off with a fun and informative clip at Chipper's Theater for an insight into the history of Herr's. From there, families go on a tour of the factory with points of interest around the production journey of Herr's potato chips, pretzels, tortilla chips, cheese curls, and popcorn. Guests can leave with a tasty complimentary gift from the factory, and an unforgettable souvenir from the gift store.
271 Old Baltimore Pike, Nottingham, PA, Phone: 800-284-7488
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6.Lincoln Train Museum
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Originally built in 1969, Gettysburg's Lincoln Train Museum was redesigned in 2013 by Sheriff James F. Kralik, who showed a deep interest in American history icons. Exhibitions today display insights into American history and the heroes involved during the Civil War, the US Military, World Wars, and a timeline of railway history – all surrounding President Lincoln. Only a few steps from the museum, visitors can discover the exact location where Abraham Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address. All age groups can enjoy this attraction with a choice of pre-created itineraries for the perfect day full of adventures.
425 Steinwehr Avenue, Gettysburg, PA, Phone: 717-334-5678
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7.Carnegie Museum of Natural History
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One of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, this Carnegie Museum of Natural History remains on top. With a tremendous collection of antiques, items, and scientific specimens, this tourist attraction educates children on all things evolutionary and conservation-based. The museum itself arouses scientific curiosity in children and inspires an interest in both nature and world cultures. Known for its extensive dinosaur collection, Carnegie Museum holds the world's largest collection of Jurassic dinosaurs and the world's first-ever species of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Children are encouraged to read, explore, and discover at this fascinating historical hotspot.
4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, Phone: 412-622-3131
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8.Explore & More Children's Museum
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Explore & More Children’s Museum was created to encourage and educate the youth of Pennsylvania on history, geography, culture, agriculture, architecture, athletics, industry, and innovation through a form of play. The 43,000 square foot Museum features four interactive floors for children to explore with hundreds of activities that guarantee fun for kids of all ages. Natural explorers can follow their curiosity and gain knowledge from any of the seven educational play zones. A unique experience at any of the three educational studios tells the story of Buffalo and its importance in American history.
130 Main Street, Buffalo, NY, Phone: 716-655-5131
9.Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery
A visit to the delightful Pennsylvania Dutch country offers insight into the oldest pretzel baking family in America. Lititz is home to Julius Strugis's Pretzel Bakery where visitors can roam around the original bakery and get a behind-the-scenes experience on how these twisted treats are made. Visitors are invited to get hands-on as the staff shares their pretzel twisting techniques. Children can put their skills to the test by making their own playdough pretzel. Of course, a trip to Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery wouldn't be complete without a visit to the bakery gift store for memorable souvenirs and delicious goodies.
219 East Main Street, Lititz, PA, Phone: 717-626-4354
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10.A Is For Amish Buggy Rides
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Visitors can take a tour along Lancaster County in an authentic Amish buggy to discover the scenic Amish countryside. Drivers of an Amish, Mennonite, and Brethren background share their knowledge on the Amish lifestyle while pointing out Amish sights along the way. Tourists can customize their voyages by choosing from a variety of hotspots including an actual Amish dairy farm, a miniature horse stable, a woodworking studio, and a craft store. Children can have a go at feeding goats and chickens at the petting farm, running around the playground, or enjoying some lunch at the picnic spot.
312 Paradise Lane, Ronks, PA, Phone: 717-725-8664
11.Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland
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For animal kingdom enthusiasts, Clyde Peeling's Reptiland is a must-see while in Pennsylvania. This outstanding zoo accommodates a mixture of exotic reptiles and amphibians from all over the world and creates the most realistic natural habitat for them. From slithering snakes to enormous alligators, this day-out is enjoyable for the whole family. Visitors can explore both the indoor and outdoor exhibits to see how these incredible creatures live. Additional experiences include a Souvenir Photo Opportunity, Meet and Feed the Gentle Giants, Behind-the-Scenes Tour, Route 15 Road Trip, and the exciting “Dinosaurs Come to Life”' exhibit, for those seeking an adventure.
18628 US-15, Allenwood, PA, Phone: 570-538-1869
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12.Tioga Central Railroad
Pennsylvania's most scenic excursion railroad runs from the north to Wellsboro, Pennsylvania from June to October. Those on board can admire beautiful views of the Tioga County countryside on this authentic railway journey as they relax and enjoy the ride. The Sunset Express offers an option of three different rail carts for customers to choose how they wish to experience their trip. A pit stop at the stunning Lake Hammond where guests can take a short trek makes the trip truly spectacular with the most magical sights. The railroad serves an inclusive sunset dinner on return, finishing off the delightful journey.
35 Charleston Street, Wellsboro, PA, Phone: 570-724-0990
13.Castle Halloween Museum
For those seeking a spooktacular experience, Castle Halloween Museum in Pennsylvania holds a mysterious collection of sculptures and adornments from the Queen of Halloween herself, Pamela E. Apkarian-Russell. Exhibitions showcase a historical pursuit of Halloween-themed artifacts, customs, and objects dating back to the 1890s. Over 35,000 items are spread over two floors for the public to explore the history of Halloween and observe how inspiration has elevated with time. Guided tours take place around the museum providing tourists with insight into diverse eerie eras. This marks an excellent day out for Halloween lovers to experience all year round chills.
2028 Broad Avenue, Altoona, PA, Phone: 814-940-1031
14.Elmwood Park Zoo
Elmwood Park Zoo offers a remarkable educational adventure for children of all ages to dive into all things wildlife. Children and adults alike explore environmental conservation movements in a fun and engaging way. With a unique feeding experience, guests can get up close and personal with the US national mammal, the American Bison, as well as giraffes – the tallest mammal in the world. Children can take a ride on the Butterfly Train which follows the transitions of a caterpillar becoming an enchanting butterfly before heading to the animal-themed carousel. No trip to Elmwood Park Zoo is complete without animal-themed face paint and a visit to the souvenir store.
1661 Harding Boulevard, Norristown, PA, Phone: 800-652-4143
15.expERIEnce Children's Museum
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A museum developed entirely for children, expERIEnce provides an interactive learning experience for curious minds to explore. Featuring over 50 exhibits, each of the four floors promotes creativity, exploration, imagination, and discovery for the youth. Children are educated in math, science, art, culture, literacy, and health in a creative and engaging way, which stimulates their imagination while sharing knowledge around these valuable topics. Baby explorers can enjoy an entire floor designed with soft mats, soft blocks, an interactive felt board, activity panels, and a sensory wall to motivate early year development through touch and feel activities.
420 French Street, Erie, PA, Phone: 814-453-3743
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16.Hands-on House Children’s Museum
Hands-on House Children's Museum believes that children learn best through playing and engagement which is why they have created an entire museum devoted to educating adolescents through exhibitions, programs, and interactive activities. With realistic presentations throughout the museum, children can get a taste of a day in the life of adults, in particular, a farmer, by exploring daily tasks such as apple picking and sorting. Kids are encouraged to unleash their creative side in The Clubhouse through self-guided exploration which involves sensory bins and a range of themed activities which changes every month.
721 Landis Valley Road, Lancaster, PA, Phone: 717-569-5437
17.Hershey’s Chocolate World
Guests can activate all senses at the sweetest place on earth. Hershey's Chocolate World takes visitors on a tasty journey of how cocoa beans are transformed into the world-famous chocolate bar, Hershey's. Children are invited to create their very own Hersey's chocolate bar choosing their own ingredients and then wrapping it in personalized packaging. The 4D Chocolate Movie is a digital experience like no other where families get to meet Hershey's animated characters with an array of advanced social effects creating a lifelike experience. A new addition to Hershey's Chocolate World features 'Hershey's Unwrapped', a theatrical tasting experience for the whole family.
101 Chocolate World Way, Hershey, PA, Phone: 717-534-4900
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18.Lake Tobias Wildlife Park
Residents and tourists of Pennsylvania can visit Lake Tobias Wildlife Park for a fun day out the entire family can enjoy. Originally founded by J.R. Tobias as a hobby, the wildlife park has now become a popular tourist attraction in Central Pennsylvania. With a selection of engaging experiences including a Safari Tour, Reptile Building, Petting Zoo, and a range of educational exhibitions. Guests are sure to enjoy a trip here. From lions, tigers, and bears to some of the world’s most unique birds, the wildlife collection does not disappoint.
760 Tobias Road, Halifax, PA, Phone: 717-362-9126
19.Land of Little Horses
Land of Little Horses welcomes animal-lovers for a visit to their grounds where miniature horses, ponies, camels, alpacas, sheep, goats, peacocks, and pigs all call home. A splendid schedule of shows is presented throughout the day with fun activities for all the family to get involved. These little ponies have even appeared on “America’s Got Talent” and at Nickelodeon Studios – their claim to fame. Children can get active at the playing grounds or explore the Nature Trail to become mini explorers. Majestic visitors will be happy to hear there is a magical unicorn on site for a photo opportunity that will last a lifetime.
125 Glenwood Drive, Gettysburg, PA, Phone: 717-334-7259
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20.Lewisburg Children's Museum
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Lewisburg Children's Museum was introduced to enhance children's learning through educational exhibitions and interactive activities. Visitors can get involved in enriching hands-on activities including melody music classes, creative art workshops, language classes, and science-based games. With a variety of sensory exhibits and fruitful activities, the youth of Philadelphia can let their imaginations run wild at this fun day out. The 9,000-square-foot museum hosts 15 exhibits throughout nine different themed rooms, which all encourage learning, imagination, and play for kids aged 12 and under. Guests should keep an eye out for special events throughout the year.
815 Market St #14, Lewisburg, PA 17837, Phone: 570-768-4914
Linvilla Orchards is a family-run farm devoted to agriculture and education entertainment. Each new season brings new adventures and visions for Linvilla Orchards. Children can experience farm life by hopping on a tractor for a hayride through the fields and orchards to pick their own fresh fruit and vegetables, which they can take home with them. A train-track runs through Linvilla Orchard for the whole family to explore the grounds and beautiful scenery. Little ones can turn into their favorite animal with talented face painters on-site, or even go fishing at Orchard Lake. Either way, everyone enjoys a fun-filled day.
137 West Knowlton Road, Media, PA, Phone: 610-876-7116
22.Lehigh Valley Zoo
Located in the heart of the Trexler Nature Preserve, Lehigh Valley Zoo houses over 325 animals from over 125 species. As wildlife conservation advocates, the zoo both contributes to and participates in programs that represent and encourage conservation. A trip to Lehigh Valley Zoo offers a Reptile and Amphibian Discovery Center, a daily African Penguin feeding showing, and observation of a Mexican Gray Wolf feeding. Guests are invited to get up close and personal with specific animals who have an ambassador representing them to share interesting facts about the animal. The zoo was voted “Best Family-Friendly Outing in 2009” by Best of the Lehigh Valley.
5150 Game Preserve Road, Schnecksville, PA, Phone: 610-799-4171
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1859 marks the year of the Philadelphia Zoo opening, making it the first public zoo in America. Covering 42 acres and housing almost 1,300 animals, this zoo aims to provide a safe environment for these rare and endangered animals to live. Children can explore the grounds to experience the beautiful sights of all the different animals in their natural habitats. A visit to the petting zoo allows guests to feed pigs, chickens, and goats. Those wishing to relax and enjoy the scenery can take a paddle boat trip around the lake, or go for a leisurely stroll around the many interactive and educational exhibitions.
3400 West Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, PA, Phone: 215-243-1100
24.Sculpted Ice Works Factory Tour
Established in 1999, Sculpted Ice Works is operated by a team of skilled design and carving experts who are all members of the National Ice Carving Association. Families are invited to attend the factory for a guided tour to venture back in time and discover how ice was initially made before refrigeration. The factory provides stunning ice sculptures for the people of Philadelphia including wedding functions and other special events. Guided tours explore all areas of the factory, so the public can witness these special pieces in production. This entertaining and educational day out offers the whole family something to enjoy.
311 Purdytown Turnpike, Lakeville, PA, Phone: 570-226-6246
23 Fun Things to Do in Pennsylvania with Kids of All Ages
- Everhart Museum, Photo: Tonino Corso/stock.adobe.com
- American Helicopter Museum and Education Center, Photo: canaryluc/stock.adobe.com
- America on Wheels, Photo: Pavlo Vakhrushev/stock.adobe.com
- Carnegie Science Center, Photo: Zack Frank/stock.adobe.com
- Herr's Snack Factory Tours, Photo: EriksFoTo/stock.adobe.com
- Lincoln Train Museum, Photo: Steve Mann/stock.adobe.com
- Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Photo: davide bonaldo/stock.adobe.com
- Explore & More Children's Museum, Photo: Arkady Chubykin/stock.adobe.com
- Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery, Photo: koldunova/stock.adobe.com
- A Is For Amish Buggy Rides, Photo: Jorge Moro/stock.adobe.com
- Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland, Photo: Nikolay N. Antonov/stock.adobe.com
- Tioga Central Railroad, Photo: digitalreflect/stock.adobe.com
- Castle Halloween Museum, Photo: Corinne/stock.adobe.com
- Elmwood Park Zoo, Photo: EBFoto/stock.adobe.com
- expERIEnce Children's Museum, Photo: Africa Studio/stock.adobe.com
- Hands-on House Children’s Museum, Photo: Tobilander/stock.adobe.com
- Hershey’s Chocolate World, Photo: Evgeny/stock.adobe.com
- Lake Tobias Wildlife Park, Photo: Leandro/stock.adobe.com
- Land of Little Horses, Photo: elena/stock.adobe.com
- Lewisburg Children's Museum, Photo: Cheryl Casey/stock.adobe.com
- Linvilla Orchards, Photo: bubutu/stock.adobe.com
- Lehigh Valley Zoo, Photo: Stephen/stock.adobe.com
- Philadelphia Zoo, Photo: Chris/stock.adobe.com
- Sculpted Ice Works Factory Tour, Photo: ponsulak/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Sergey Novikov/stock.adobe.com
Attraction Spotlight: Lake Tobias Wildlife Park
Located in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, Lake Tobias Wildlife Park offers guided safari tours through a 150-acre wildlife preserve, showcasing animals from six continents in recreated natural habitats. Lake Tobias Wildlife Park was the vision of J.R. Tobias, who held a lifelong interest in rare and non-native wildlife and agriculture.
Though he had initially planned to study biology and agriculture in college, he joined the Marine corps in 1943 and served in World War II before starting an excavation business, relegating his interest in animals to a hobby pursuit. Following his military service, Tobias conceived of the idea of creating a drive-through wildlife habitat using school buses as “safari” tour vehicles. Throughout the 1960s, he converted his family’s home property in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania into a wildlife park facility, constructing a number of man-made stream-fed lakes throughout the 150-acre property. Lake Tobias Wildlife Park opened to the public as a wildlife safari attraction in 1965.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the park endured a number of operational hardships, including a 1989 tornado that destroyed several park structures and a 1992 bovine tuberculosis outbreak that led to a major animal restocking. The park rebounded in the 21st century, however, with a number of major expansions, including the renovation of black bear and tiger habitats in 2006 and the installation of a facility for African lions and baboons in 2008, the latter of which received the Mid-Atlantic BX Craftsmanship Award. In 2011, the park opened a new Reptile and Exotics section, and in 2017, the J.R. Tobias Museum and Education Center was opened. Additional exhibits are planned as part of major renovations, including the construction of a giraffe exhibit.
Permanent Attractions and Tours
Today, Lake Tobias Wildlife Park is operated as a family-owned wildlife safari park, owned and managed by Tobias’ six children and grandson. More than 170,000 annual visitors attend the park’s exhibits and safari tours, with park revenue funding all facility activities and programming. A variety of exotic mammals, reptiles, and birds are showcased throughout the park’s 150-acre space, showcasing animals within recreated natural habitats along a guided tour route. As an open-air safari park, Lake Tobias Wildlife Park serves as a family wildlife educational facility, offering interactive experiences with the natural world for visitors of all ages.
Park safari tours are offered on a continual basis throughout the day, operated approximately every 10 to 15 minutes. Tours embark from the park’s Safari Station, which offers amenities such as a snack shop, restrooms, and a large loading area. All safari tours are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are led by park tour guides, taking visitors through the 150-acre park’s exhibits and natural wildlife areas in an open-air cruiser. More than 500 animals are showcased throughout the safari route, including North American bison, African watusi, Asian water buffalo, and European fallow deer. Throughout the tour, visitors may experience the park’s animals up close, with some animals coming near enough to the cruiser for direct interaction.
In addition to safari tours, Lake Tobias Wildlife Park offers a variety of zoo exhibits, showcasing hundreds of species of rare and exotic wildlife. Visitors may explore the park’s exhibits at their leisure, with at least one hour of allotted exploration time recommended. A number of large native and non-native mammals are showcased, including African lions, Bengal tigers, kangaroos, zebras, camels, baboons, and black bears. Wild bird habitat areas showcase ostriches, rheas, East African crowned cranes, and peacocks, while several exhibits highlight endangered species such as tamarins and marmosets.
The park’s Reptile and Exotics Facility, opened in 2011, features large custom habitats for a variety of animals, including alligators, snakes, tortoises, sloths, lemurs, and tropical birds. Daily educational presentations at the facility allow for interactive opportunities with animals, including touch opportunities. A Children’s Petting Zoo facility is also offered, allowing young visitors to have up-close touch opportunities with domestic farm animals and exotic animals, including African pygmy goats, alpacas, and camels. Carrot and feeding pellet cups are sold at a booth within the petting zoo, and coin-operated dispensers throughout the facility also provide feeding treats. According to USDA regulations, no outside feeding materials are permitted within the petting zoo for animal safety and health.
A variety of food items are available throughout the park for purchase at concession stands, and several gift shops sell animal-themed souvenirs. Alligator feedings are offered daily at the park’s alligator exhibit, held around 4:00pm or whenever alligators are warm enough for feeding. The park’s Baby Animal Crew offers care for young animals born at the park who have been rejected by their parents or need additional care for illnesses or nursing difficulties. Opportunities for visitors to interact with young animals are provided, along with question-and-answer sessions with Baby Animal Crew staff. A variety of public special events are held at the facility throughout the year, including a Founder’s Day event, a Boo at the Zoo Halloween event, and a Wild Days Weekend celebration.
760 Tobias Road, Halifax, PA 17032, Phone: 717-362-9126
More Things to Do in Pennsylvania
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