Tag Archives: Choo Choo Barn

Top Family Attractions in Lancaster, PA

Memories are just waiting to be made at Lancaster, PA’s many family-friendly attractions. You’ll find amusement park thrills, hands-on learning, fun on the farm, and activities for the active families to fill your next trip to Lancaster.

Once the date has been set for your next family vacation, begin your brainstorming with these ideas, sure to please the entire family:

Lancaster County Classics

Dutch Wonderland
For the perfect first amusement park experience for your little one, head over the Dutch Wonderland – a safe, clean park featuring rides and attractions that are both kid and family-friendly, including two roller coasters for that extra special “first coaster ride.”

Tip for your Trip: Purchase tickets online before your visit. Their website offers discounts on select days and discounts for buying tickets online, rather than at the gate.

Turkey Hill Experience
Get the scoop on the art of ice cream making at Turkey Hill Experience where your family can learn more about Lancaster’s tasty Turkey Hill ice cream and iced tea. Bring your ice cream dreams to life in their Taste Lab where you can make (and eat) your own ice cream flavor.

Tip for your Trip: Be sure to bring your sweet tooth! Ice cream and tea are available for your sampling pleasure.

Choo Choo Barn
Locomotives galore can be found at Choo Choo Barn, where the sights and sounds of Lancaster are combined into a huge model train display. Follow the trains as they chug past a miniature barn raising, local attractions, and hand-built animated figures.

Tip for your Trip: Make a day of the Strasburg train attractions. All are just a short drive from each other and your little train lovers will dig the locomotive filled day.

Strasburg Rail Road
All aboard the Strasburg Rail Road – America’s oldest operating railroad. Train lovers will enjoy the ride on the steam locomotives as it chugs through the Amish countryside. Back at the station, kids can hop aboard the Cranky Cars, Pint-sized Pufferbelly and the Pump Car for extra train-themed fun.

Tip for your Trip: Keep an eye out for their special events like Day Out with Thomastm or their Christmas Train events. These special train rides add even more excitement to your visit.

Farmland Fun

Amish Farm and House
Heritage and history are brought to life at the Amish Farm and House, where your family can learn more about the Old Order Amish community here in Lancaster, PA. Kids can try out a real Amish scooter during the farm tour or take in the sights during the Amish Countryside bus tour.

Tip for your Trip: People typically spend about an hour and a half touring the farm, so plan naps and lunch accordingly to make the most of the experience.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm
Find 50 farm fun activities, including adorable baby animals and a “can’t-miss” corn maze at Cherry Crest Adventure Farm. Admission includes a plethora of activities that provide a family-friendly farm experience.

Tip for your Trip: How about a picnic on the farm? Guests are welcome to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy during their visit.

A is for Amish Buggy Rides
Try a new form of transportation with an Amish buggy ride with A is for Amish Buggy Rides for an unforgettable experience. Memories are waiting to be made as you trot down the backroads.

Tips for your Trip: Check out the petting zoo, playground and silo tower while you wait for your ride or for more to do afterwards.

Amish Village
An Amish adventure awaits at Amish Village, where your family can experience an authentic farmhouse tour and learn about Amish life today. After the tour, wander the 12-acre village grounds for more discovery.

Tip for your Trip: Ask plenty of questions! There’s a lot to learn and stories to be told on this tour.

Hands-on Discovery

Lancaster Science Factory
How do you make science fun? That’s just what they’re doing at Lancaster Science Factory, where kids can experience how science works with hands-on exhibits, experiments, and mini-labs.

Tip for your Trip: Participation is key to learning here! All exhibits are meant to be touched and tried to encourage discovery.

Hands-on House, Children’s Museum
Playing and learning go hand-in-hand at Hands-on House, an interactive museum created with children ages 2-10 in mind. Perfect for the rainy day, your kids can explore the grocery store, discover life on the farm, and even build a “whatcha-ma-giggle” in the machine shop. If the sun is shining, enjoy their outdoor playground.

Tip for your Trip: Museum admission is valid for the day, so if fatigue or hunger sets in, you can leave and come back as you please.

North Museum of Nature & Science
Where can you tour the night sky after learning about dinosaurs and fossils? North Museum of Nature & Science! This awesome, kid-friendly science museum features a live animal room, dinosaur exhibit, STEAM art gallery, collections of preserved animals, flowers and rocks, and a planetarium.

Tip for your Trip: For those looking to check out the stars, the Planetarium shows run 7 days a week during the summer, but are only open Saturdays and Sundays during the fall, winter and spring.

Tiny Town
Discover this indoor, interactive play center made up of tiny houses where children can let their imaginations soar. This town is built for children 7 and under to play as firefighters, doctors, hairstylist and more.

Tip for your Trip: Tiny Town was also created with parents in mind, complete with a coffee bar and free wifi.

Active Attractions

Sky Zone Trampoline Park
When your family is full of energy, jump on over to Sky Zone for some high-flying, flipping fun. Beyond their free jump trampolines, their dodgeball court, foam zone, basketball hoops for dunking, and Sky Climb will keep you kids active for hours.

Tip for your Trip: If you have toddlers in tow, consider stopping by for Toddler Time (Tuesday – Saturday mornings) where kids five and under can bounce and jump – no big kids allowed!

Spooky Nook Sports
For the sports-loving family, head over to America’s largest sports complex for the ultimate active experience. Your kids will love the challenge of the Clip ‘N Climb, arcade, and rock climbing area, while mom and dad will love the fitness center.

Tip for your Trip: When hunger takes hold, stop by food court, smoothie bar, or in-house restaurant, Forklift & Palate. No need to leave for a great meal.

Go ‘N Bananas
Your kids will go bananas for this indoor, family entertainment center filled with fun for the family. Go ‘N Bananas features laser tag, mini bowling, ropes course, spinning bumper cars and so much more.

Tip for your Trip: For families with little ones and older kids, Go ‘N Bananas has activities for all ages.

Village Greens Mini Golf
Craving a round of mini-golf? Take the course at Village Greens Mini Golf with two spacious beautifully landscaped courses. After your game, stop by for a tasty treat at the snack shop.

Tip for your Trip: Extend your stay in Strasburg with the Strasburg Passport. Village Greens and other popular attractions on this list (Strasburg Rail Road, Amish Village and Choo Choo Barn) all participate in this money saving option.

In Nearby Hershey/Harrisburg

Hersheypark
Sweet chocolate and amusement park thrills make for an exciting day at Hersheypark, about 40 minutes away from Lancaster County. Teens will love the 13 thrilling roller coaster while little ones can take a ride on the many kid-friendly attractions. The whole family will love the tasty candy-themed treats.

Tip for your Trip: Don’t forget your swimsuits. Hersheypark’s Boardwalk area features waterslides, a wave pool, water playground and lazy river for the sunny summer days.

Hershey Story, The Museum on Chocolate Avenue
Dive into the chocolaty history of Hershey, PA at the Hershey Story Museum. With exhibits and activities just for kids, plus their tasty Chocolate Lab, your family will love learning about this sweet treat.

Tip for your Trip: This attraction is great for history buffs, and is close by to other great Hershey attractions if you want to experience a few in one day.

Adventure Sports in Hershey
Go-karts, mini-golf, bumper boats and more! Adventure Sports in Hershey offers active family-fun in nearby Hershey, PA. Be prepared for a little friendly competition and LOTS of happy memories.

Tip for your Trip: You only pay for the activities you would like to do, as they don’t have an admission fee. So your family can play as many or as few rounds at you would like!

Whitaker Center in Harrisburg
Learning is made fun at Whitaker Center in nearby Harrisburg. Hands-on exhibits on the human body, weather, and more plus a Digital Cinema makes for a day of fun, especially for your little scientists.

Tip for your Trip: The Whitaker Center offers a variety of 3D science movies to enjoy. Before you visit, check out the showtimes to ensure you catch the one that matches your interests.

 

Looking for even more activities for the family? Our list of Outdoor Adventures with Kids is your go-to-guide to ways to experience the great outdoors in Lancaster, PA.

Spend Your Thanksgiving Break in Lancaster

In an area that is filled with a tight-knit community of locals and business owners, Lancaster during the holidays lights up with excitement and warmth. It’s the truth, when residents are happy they radiate that happiness creating a magnetic draw to visitors. With this being said, explore Lancaster and feel the magic and energy through the streets and through these events!

When should you start getting into the holiday spirit? The day right after Thanksgiving, of course! No, seriously, when the weather gets cold you must find a way to stay warm with spirit!

On November 27, break your norm of Black Friday Shopping (who wants to wait in all the lines anyways?) Relax, enjoy your time off and go on a family outing! At 6:30 p.m., bundle up and join us at the Mayor’s Tree Lighting and Tuba Christmas. Want a traditional way to view the holiday window displays? Hop on a Horse Drawn Wagon Ride from 7:30 p.m. until 10 p.m.

On November 28, this is where the new norm is put into place. Small Business Saturday! All over Lancaster, business owners open their doors to help you find unique, memorable presents for everyone on your shopping list. When shopping local, you essentially build relationships with the shop owners, so it makes future interactions more personable and helpful. The beauty of shopping local is you have a VERY slim chance of purchasing the same item for someone that they might already have. Give gifts that are genuine and one of a kind!

On November 29, have your eyes light up gazing at Christmas displays. Find the hidden Santa’s on the layout at Choo Choo Barn from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Walk through a Dutch Winter Wonderland from 3 p.m. until 8 p.m. Warm up at the National Christmas Center and explore the 14 exhibits they have to offer.

Spend time this Thanksgiving breaking your norm and checking out the unique and festive events Lancaster has to offer.

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The author of this post, Julie Press, is currently the Marketing Intern at Discover Lancaster. She encompasses the Lancaster brand. Growing up in a farm house in Adamstown, she identifies with the rustic, homegrown feel Lancaster brings. Now relocated only minutes away from Lancaster City, she feels a strong connection to the City’s creativity, culture, and innovation. Julie studies Public Relations at Millersville University.

Kid-friendly Strasburg day trip

My 4-year old daughter Sophia, 4-year old nephew Ethan, and sister Sherry, joined me on a trip to The Shops at Traintown in Strasburg. We started our day at The Choo Choo Barn – Traintown U.S.A. where we experienced one of America’s largest and most engaging custom model train displays, then had a scrumptious lunch at Isaac’s Famous Grilled Sandwiches, and ended the day by eating homemade ice cream while watching fudge being made at Uncle Leroy’s Ice Cream and Candy Kitchen.

Have you been to The Choo Choo Barn? It’s fascinating! It features more than 1,700 square feet of special model train displays with more than 150 hand-built animated figures & vehicles, and 22 operating trains. The layout represents many Lancaster sights and sounds, such as an Amish barn raising, Dutch Wonderland, and the Strasburg Rail Road. Sophia and Ethan were mesmerized by all the moving parts, small details, and fun surprises (the lights in the room turn off and the stars come out – you’ll have to visit to understand what I mean). For older kids, the Choo Choo Barn provides a check list of items to find throughout the display – kind of like “Where’s Waldo” if you remember those books. The Choo Choo Barn also has a great gift shop. The kids spent about 15 minutes looking around, deciding what their souvenirs would be. The prices were reasonable, so letting the kiddos choose a memento was an easy decision.

We were starving by the time we finished at The Choo Choo Barn, so we walked a few doors down to Isaac’s Famous Grilled Sandwiches – a Lancaster favorite. In addition to being a bird-themed restaurant (click on this link to find out more), it is also train-themed – how cool is that? This uber kid-friendly restaurant is perfect for the whole family, and the food is delicious! Being a vegetarian, it can be challenging to find variety when eating out, but Isaac’s is the exception. I got the Black-Eyed Susan (grilled black bean burger with ranch dressing, cheese, fresh tomatoes and lettuce in a soft cheddar wrap) and it was great! Don’t look at the dessert menu unless you’re still hungry; their amazing and decadent desserts WILL lore you in every time.

To end our day, we walked a short distance to Uncle Leroy’s Ice Cream and Candy Kitchen. We each indulged in a scoop of ice cream. I had Almond Joy – delish! While we ate, we roamed around the store and tried all the FREE SAMPLES of fudge and brittles. Everything we tasted was so fresh and the flavors were creative and unique. Before long, the onsite magic started: the boiling sugar concoction in the large cauldron-like pot was poured on to a table topped with a large marble slab. We watched the whole process of fudge being made, from start to finish. It took about 30 minutes. The best part? We got to taste the fudge straight from the marble slab. THE. BEST. EV-ER. I highly recommend the fudge and brittles at Uncle Leroy’s – he knows that he’s doing!

The day was fun, educational, insightful and totally suitable for youngsters. Next time you’re in Strasburg, be sure to visit Shops at Traintown.

isaacs

uncleleroys

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