Tag Archives: Dutch Wonderland

October in Lancaster Travel Guide: Halloween & Harvest

The days are getting shorter, the leaves are beginning to fall, and we couldn’t be more excited. We’re starting to see pumpkins and fall wreaths made of burlap pop up in our towns, and the farmers getting ready to harvest out in the fields. Our children are animatedly choosing their Halloween costumes and talking about the fall treats we’ll bake. However you plan to celebrate fall, October is the perfect month full of activities and events that you’ll enjoy whether your preference is Halloween or harvest.

Check out our October Travel Guide below:

Halloween

  1. Howl at the Moon
    Pack your blanket, hotdogs, and marshmallows for the bonfire, and learn about the wolves that live in Lititz during the Full Moon Tour at the Wolf Sanctuary of PA.
  2. Lancaster’s Haunted History 
    This is no hocus-pocus – you’ll hear authentic ghost stories told at the actual sites of the hauntings. These walking ghost tours take place nightly in October.
  3. Enjoy Spook-tacular Family Fun
    Put on your costumes, pack up the mini-van and head on over to Dutch Wonderland’s Happy Hauntings where you’ll see Duke the Dragon in his Halloween best. Don’t forget to trick-or-treat with the dinosaurs!
  4. Take an Eerie Three-Wheeled Tour
    Take a hauntingly fun tour of the back roads by scooter withStrasburg Scooter’s Spooky Scoot. Available October 13-14, 20-21, & 27-28. Rider’s tip: pack warm gloves and a scarf.
  5. Award-winning, Spine-tingling Chills
    When it comes to terrifying thrills, visit USA Today’s Best Extreme Haunted Attraction Field of Screams is the place to be. You can also visit the haunted hayride, attractions, and houses at Jason’s Woods.

Harvest

  1. Annual Harvest Breakfast
    Kick off the harvest season at Lancaster Central Market with everyone’s favorite Harvest Breakfast, featuring farm-to-table food, live entertainment, and family fun.
  2. Pick the Perfect Pumpkin
    Head to one of our many fields to pick the perfect carving pumpkin, and enjoy apple cider and hayrides. If you’re not in to carving pumpkins, perhaps you can head to an apple orchard and bring home some fresh apples to douse in caramel for the perfect fall snack.
  3. Fall ArtWalk
    Immerse yourself in Downtown Lancaster’s art scene at Fall ArtWalk. This self-guided tour takes place Saturday and Sunday, October 7-8.
  4. Head Outdoors with a drive, a Hike or Bike Ride.
    Grab your favorite pumpkin flavored hot beverage from one of our local coffee shops, and then head out to get lost on our winding backroads and experience the beauty of fall.
  5. Fall Fairs & Festivals
    Explore traditional fall on the farm with Fall Farm Days at Amish Farm & House or Harvest Days at Landis Valley Museum. Try some local brews with Stoudt’s Oktoberfest events, or if you’d rather go back in time, dress up in your best medieval garb and visit the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. And don’t miss our full list of our County Fairs and Farm Shows.

Top 25 Things To Do this Spring

It’s time to shake off cabin fever and explore all that Lancaster, PA has to offer during the spring. Whether you prefer the great outdoors, al fresco dining, or themed festivals, there’s something for everyone this season.

Check out our list of 25 things to create your spring itinerary:

1] Take a hike or go for a bike ride

2] Bid on bargains at a Mud Sale
Mud Sales are annual auctions held by communities featuring antiques quilts, locally-made crafts and more.

3] Celebrate Easter with family over brunch, dinner, Easter egg hunts, and events

4] Bounce out cabin fever at Sky Zone Lancaster

5] Discover the creative energy of the city during First Friday
Art galleries and boutiques extend their hours for browsing during this monthly event.

6] Take in the tranquil countryside from aboard the Strasburg Rail Road

7] Search for unique treasures and bargains at Lancaster’s eclectic antique shops
Spring Antiques Extravaganza is held in the Antiques Capital region, April 27-30.

8] Head to Lititz for the annual Pretzel Fest
Held on Saturday, May 6.

9] Experience the art scene in Downtown Lancaster with Spring ArtWalk
This self-guided tour takes place Saturday, May 6 and Sunday, May 7.

10] Get a head start on your spring gardening at the Herb & Garden Faire at Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum.
Held on Saturday, May 12 and Sunday, May 13.

Credit: Dutch Wonderland

11] Fill your day with family fun at Dutch Wonderland Family Amusement Park.
Open weekends beginning on April 29-30.

12] Enjoy fruity festivities at Kitchen Kettle Village’s Rhubarb Festival.
Tickle your taste buds Friday, May 19 and Saturday, May 20.

13] Celebrate Spring at Rock Ford Plantation’s May Fair Celebration
Takes place on Sunday, May 21.

14] Catch a Broadway-caliber musical, drama, dinner theater performance or jaw-dropping concert.

15] Explore learning with a twist at a kid-friendly museum.

16] Flock to Lancaster for great birding.

17] Relax with a picnic in the park.

18] Find fun for the thrill seekers at Hersheypark’s Springtime in the Park.
Held on April 8-9 and 14-16.

19] Ride as the Amish do with an authentic buggy ride.

20] Grab a paddle for adventures on the river.

21] Stop by Central Market for local goodies.
Open Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

22] Tour the back roads and covered bridges.

23] Stop to smell the roses at Hershey Garden.

24] Refresh your wardrobe with a trip to the outlets.

25] Saddle up for a horseback ride along the trails at Ironstone Ranch.

To find even more exciting events and happenings, visit our events calendar.

Ten Things to do in Lancaster County this October

From spooky to sweet, fall fun is in full swing this October in Lancaster, PA. Fall foliage is also at it’s peak, making this season an especially beautiful one across the sprawling farmlands and by the river. Get ready for some festive fun and start planning with our round-up of to-dos.

Fall on the Farm

Farmers are hard at work as crops become ready for harvest. Experience the activities of this season at two of Lancaster’s heritage attractions.

Harvest Days at Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum showcase fall with demonstrations, exhibits, live music and horse-drawn wagon rides, October 8-9. Watch as a harvest gem, the humble apple, gets transformed into apple butter, and treat yourself to a cider float with fresh-churned ice cream.

In addition to their classic 1805 Amish farmhouse, Amish Farm and House offers family-fun harvest activities including pumpkin painting, a corn maze, hay wagon rides, and more during their Fall Farm Days. From October 7 through 10, families can learn about Amish life while they enjoy demonstrations, from woodcarving to applesauce making.

Treats over Tricks

Those who prefer treats to tricks will love these events around the county and beyond. Get your costumes ready, it’s time for trick-or-treat fun.

Trick-or-Treat through vintage vehicles at the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum’s Trunk-or-Treat event, October 22. Children 12 and under will receive treats at stops around the museum, and guests of all ages can enjoy a Halloween-themed video in the indoor Drive-in theater.

Treats will be plentiful at Turkey Hill Experience during their Trick-or-Treat event, October 22-23 and 29-30. There will be 13 stops around the Experience – 6 are free while others do require paid admission. While you’re there, discover all the ice cream and tea-themed fun Turkey Hill Experience has to offer.

Dutch Wonderland transforms into a spook-tacular, family-friendly wonderland for three weekends, October 15-16, 22-23, and 29-30. Happy Hauntings is a safe, non-scary event featuring themed ride, games, and even the opportunity to trick-or-treat with over 20 lifelike dinosaurs on Exploration Island.

Spine-Chilling To-Dos

For a tour of the spooky side of Lancaster County, hop on a scooter with Strasburg Scooters! Their Spooky Scoot tour will give you the chance to buzz around the back roads and experience folklore and hair-raising stops.

If you’re looking for a tour of a spookier sort, discover the mysteries and tales from the past on a candlelight walking tour of Downtown with The Ghost Tour of Lancaster. Ghost Tours are also available in Strasburg for more haunted history.

Select Thursdays and Fridays in October, Rock Ford Plantation dives into the eerie story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, with Spooky Hollow: The Legend Comes to Rock Ford. Guests can follow the characters of the classic play as they move from room to room in the historic mansion that will be transformed into the story’s autumn ball setting.

Unique Happenings

Victorian meets industrial at Strasburg Rail Road® with their Steampunk unLimited event, October 14-16. The three-day festival features entertainment, fashion, vendors, sideshows, food and more, all celebrating the steampunk culture. While you’re there, enjoy the restored Victorian rail cars and historic charm of America’s oldest short line railroad.

For the art lovers, Fall ArtWalk will take place in Downtown Lancaster October 8 through 9. Explore Lancaster’s gallery scene with this self-guided walking tour, featuring meet-the-artist events, special activities, demonstrations and more.

 

Ten Things to Do in Lancaster County in July

Summer is officially here! Whether you’re in Lancaster for a weekend getaway or family vacation, or you’re a local looking for something new to experience, there’s a lot going on this month across the county.

An Evening of Live Music:

July evenings are best spent at one of the many outdoor concerts throughout the county. Friday, July 8 and 22, Oregon Dairy hosts Summer Music on the Deck, their free music series that begins at 7:00 PM. Concert-goers can enjoy delicious ice cream from the Milkhouse Ice Cream Shoppe while listening to relaxing tunes.

Saturday evenings, music fills the lawns of Nissley Vineyards for their Music in the Vineyards series. Music-lovers can enjoy a picnic supper and the wine produced at the vineyards during the concert. Concerts run every Saturday from July 23 to August 20.

Cool Off on the Creek:

Cool off on a hot July day as you float down the Pequea Creek. Sickman’s Mill Creek Tubing offers two mile tubing tours where you can relax in a canvas tube and take in nature’s beauty.

Howl at the Moon:

Lancaster County is home to the Wolf Sanctuary of Pennsylvania, where the Speedwell Wolves live and thrive. Each month, the sanctuary hosts their Full Moon Tour, held on the Saturday closest to the full moon. July’s event will be held on the 16th beginning at 7:30 PM. Visit the wolf packs at your own pace, relax by the bonfire and maybe even howl at the moon.

Find Fresh Produce:                                                                    

Farm fresh produce is plentiful in Lancaster County during the summer months. A variety of crops including tomatoes and corn can be found at local farmers markets and roadside stands across the county. If you’re visiting on a Tuesday, Friday or Saturday, stop by Lancaster Central Market in Downtown Lancaster for lunch, baked goods, local produce and so much more. Held on Saturdays in Lititz, the Lititz Farmers Market is an open air market held on North Water Street. This small town market features a variety of goods in a festive, community atmosphere.

Kid-Friendly Favorites:

With school out for the summer, it’s time for kid-approved family fun. Lancaster County is home to lots of kid-friendly things to do and see including Dutch Wonderland and Cherry Crest Adventure Farm. Dutch Wonderland is a safe, family-focused amusement park, designed with kids in mind. The park features rides like the train, small rides for younger children and their iconic roller coaster in addition to their water playground, Duke’s Lagoon.

For farm-centric family fun, head over to Cherry Crest Adventure Farm. Kids of all ages will enjoy activities including a petting zoo, corn maze, a hay chute slide and so so much more. Cherry Crest Adventure Farm is open Tuesday through Saturday.

It’s Show Time:

Two childhood favorites are coming to local live theaters this summer. Mary Poppins comes to life at the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre this month, with familiar and uplifting tunes. Enjoy this enchanting story along with one of Dutch Apple’s buffet and dinner options.

Gretna Theatre, right outside Lancaster County in Mt. Grenta, PA, is bringing the epic musical adventure, Disney’s Tarzan, to life. High-flying adventure is in store at this summer theatre, July 14 through 24.

And that’s just the short list! For a complete list of the events happening in Lancaster County in July and beyond, visit our online events calendar. Happy travels!

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.

Dinosaurs in Lancaster County?

Every year my family takes several trips to Dutch Wonderland, but this year we were doubly excited to make our first trip – we were going to see dinosaurs!

Dutch Wonderland is a 48-acre amusement park tailored for families with children under the age of 10. The park is themed around a princess named Brooke, the Knight of Safety, Merlin the Magician, and Duke the friendly Dragon. Built in 1963 the park has 34 rides including two roller coasters.

We normally ride the Wonderland Express train when we first arrive, but the thing my family couldn’t wait to do this year was visit the new Exploration Island. My children, ages 4 and 6, wanted to head there first, so we made our way to the back of the park. We couldn’t believe the changes Dutch Wonderland had made to the island which used to be a decorative garden area until last year when construction began.

They ran for the Dino Dig area which has three large sand pits with buried “fossils” for the kids to uncover. Shovels and brushes were there for them to play with as well as some digging machines my son fell in love with. Two of the areas were covered with shade which made nice spots for the littlest kids to play.

Nearby we could hear some prehistoric sounds, so we dropped our shovels and made our way to the Prehistoric Path. Here we met over a dozen dinosaurs that moved and made sounds as we passed them. The dinosaurs had signs which explained their official names and a little about them. There was even a dinosaur you could control yourself and a dino egg to climb in!

We tried out the Sunoco Turnpike at its new home on Exploration Island as well. Even my 4 year old was able to drive the car (with a little help, of course). We enjoyed the lengthened route around the island which went by the dinosaurs and along the water where the Gondola Cruise boats travel.

We spent a good hour on Exploration Island, but then went in search of something cold to drink. Dutch Wonderland offers refillable toddler cups which are a great size for smaller hands. We keep these cups all year long to use on car trips. They are a great value since they also come with reduced price refills – or you can get water refills in them for free.

Some of our favorite rides at Dutch Wonderland include: the Monorail where we love to sit up front with the driver or in the very last car, the River Boat which is now themed like a Jungle Cruiser and is a great place for the little ones to settle down if they are overexcited, and the Dragon’s Lair which takes you on a ride in a log through the lake near Duke’s home. There is a special surprise waiting there in the cave so be looking for it!

If you have never been to Dutch Wonderland before you will be surprised by the many things to do in addition to rides. There is Duke’s Lagoon water park open during the summer, many games with great prizes, panning for gems, pony rides, tiny buildings to explore, rabbits, chicks, a shooting gallery, and a silo slide. Oh, and don’t forget to milk Bossy the cow and get your picture taken with the giant pretzel!

On top of all those activities the park features many entertainment options. There are strolling musicians, Storytime with Princess Brooke, the music-filled Decades of Dutch Wonderland, and the not-to-be-missed Adventures of the Frog Prince in the Aqua Stadium. Not too many places offer high dive shows, so it is very likely your kids will be amazed by the antics of the divers – just be prepared to get wet if you are in the splash zone!

Dutch Wonderland is also a place to get lots of great treats to eat like Dole Whips, Potato Patch fries with cheese and bacon, Nathan’s hotdogs, Dippin’ Dots, and lots more. There is even a full service restaurant called Merlin’s which includes gluten free items on their menu.

We spent a full day at Dutch Wonderland and can’t wait to go back in the fall for Happy Hauntings when the park is all decked out for some not-so-scary fun and trick-or-treating. We’ll go one last time around the holidays for Winter Wonderland when we can meet Santa and do some Christmas shopping.

If your family includes smaller children and you’d like to visit an amusement park, I suggest you give Dutch Wonderland a try since everything is child-size and tons of fun.

dutch-wonderland(2)

A kingdom for kids… and parents

Kids love amusement parks – everything from the rides and water attractions, to the food and live entertainment.  While most children of all ages thrive on the activity and craziness, many parents do not.  For those parents, I have two words for you:  Dutch Wonderland.

Dutch Wonderland is a 43-acre amusement park located right off Lincoln Highway East in Lancaster, not far from some of the most beautiful farmland in the county.  Boasting over 30 fun-filled rides, a wonderful water-play area, and fabulous live shows, the park is geared toward families with children up to age 12.  This year, the park celebrates its 50th anniversary.

In addition to the wide variety of rides, the entire park can be described as “clean and green.”   It is quite beautiful really, with gorgeous flower beds, plentiful areas for sitting, numerous trees to provide ample shade, and clean walkways.  Because of the layout of the park, and the fact they target younger children, you rarely experience long lines like you might at typical amusement parks.  In addition, there are lots of food and drink offerings, all reasonably priced.

Since my kids are teenagers, I thought I’d enlist the help of my good friend, 6-year-old Bailey, to tell me about her recent experience at Dutch Wonderland.

Bailey, what was your favorite ride at Dutch Wonderland?

“Turtle Twirl, because it went around in circles and I love it so much. It made me giggle a lot!”

How about your favorite food?
“The cookies and cream Dippin’ Dots.”  (Yummy….my kids always loved them, too!)

What was your favorite thing about the park?
“I rode the big roller coaster with my hands up after the third time!”  (Bailey’s mom told me they were able to ride each ride 3-4 times because of either no, or minimal, lines!)

How did you like Duke’s Lagoon waterpark?
“I loved it! I got to go down the slides. They were so awesome. I went down the big, black one that was dark. I didn’t think it was scary, but Mommy screamed. I liked going down the orange slide, too, in the play area and shooting water at people.”

As you can tell, Bailey had a great time at Dutch Wonderland, and I am certain you and your family will as well.  For more information, please visit www.dutchwonderland.com.

Dutch WINTER Wonderland

My wife and I always set aside an evening during the holidays to take the boys over to Dutch Winter Wonderland.  Dutch Wonderland is such a special place for young children during the summer it’s easy to overlook they have special hours during the fall for Happy Hauntings, and then again over the holidays as well.

The main attraction for us is always the Royal Light Show.  DW literally has tens of thousands of lights strung up throughout the hub of the park all synched to a stirring holiday soundtrack.  Make sure to take the sky ride, or take a drive with the antique cars to either get a birdseye view of the show, or drive right through the heart of it.

Of course, many of our favorite rides are open in addition to the holiday specific attractions.  My 2-year-old is a fan of Duke’s Dozers (miniature bulldozers), the Off-Road Rally (nice and tame Monster Trucks!), and of course taking a tour of the light be-decked park on their miniature train, the Wonderland Special!  The older boys (6 and 9 respectively) ride the Twister, hit up the bumper cars, and take a swing on the Space Shuttle (a space-themed Viking ship type ride).

If you have any budding young female royalty in your family, you might want to check out Storytime with the Princess.

With so much to see and do and at a great price, Dutch Winter Wonderland is another budding holiday tradition for the Evans family right here in Lancaster County.

Halloween in Lancaster County

I know tons of people who’s favorite holiday of the year is Halloween – it’s fun to get dressed up in costumes, and take your kids out to get tons of free candy – or to go trick-or-treating yourself!

Well, fall is in the air, and that means a lot of things, but one in particular – Halloween is coming! So I’d like to share with you a few traditions that our family has taken on and some great things to do at Halloween in Lancaster County! Here are my top 3:

1. Hersheypark in the Dark is a must for the Halloween season. Are you a person who loves amusement rides but hates the lines? Well, then this is for you. Not all the rides are open, but there’s plenty and the lines are generally shorter than they are in the summertime! Also, when you go, with your park admission, you can get into Creatures of the Night & ZooAmerica! Visit their website for more details!

2. Dutch Wonderland has Happy Hauntings. It’s a family-friendly event where kids are encouraged to dress up in their costumes and enjoy themed rides & attractions, trick-or-treating, magic shows, and much more! See their website for more details!

3. Cherry Crest Adventure Farm has a Pumpkin Madness Festival. Throwing, launching, hurling, rolling, and dropping are all part of the festivities. Bring your own pumpkins or use some of their left over stash. See their website for more.

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