Tag Archives: Family fun

Lancaster’s Labor Day Weekend Guide- 2017

For many folks, Labor Day Weekend is the unofficially end of the summer. However, there is still plenty to do in Lancaster before you pack your white pants away and dive into the school year… From Friday, September 1 through Monday September 4, look forward to everything from fine wine and original art to family bike rides and live music.

Special Events:

September 1–3
Long’s Park Art Festival
This year is the 39th Annual Long’s Park Art Festival in beautiful Long’s Park. Over 200 artists from 30 states will be exhibiting their art including photography, painting, jewelry, sculpture, digital, fiber, metal, and wood art, as well as furniture. A bistro area in the park will be serving up local food, wine and craft beer.

September 1
First Friday in Lancaster
There’s nothing like a First Friday in Lancaster! Join in Lancaster’s highly popular arts extravaganza from 5 to 9 pm. Discover innovative exhibitions, performances and perhaps a few surprises as you downtown Lancaster.

Local Labor Day Sales:

September 1-4
Tanger Outlets- Lancaster Grand Opening
The Tanger Outlets have added 25 new stores that will be opening Labor Day weekend. This event will feature not only great shopping, but also food trucks, face painting, giveaways, and more. 

August 31 – September 4
Labor Day Sidewalk/ Tent Sales at Rockvale Outlets Lancaster
Visit Rockvale Outlets for great deals from a variety of name-brand stores. The tent sale will close one hour before the center.

Family Fun:

September 1-4
Duke’s Lagoon
End the summer with a splash! Duke’s Lagoon at Dutch Wonderland closes for the season after Labor Day weekend, so don your swimsuit one last time and head on over while you can.

September 1, September 2
Music and Fireworks at the Lancaster Barnstormers
Friday night the Lancaster Barnstormers take on the Somerset Patriots at 6:30 PM in Clipper Stadium followed by a post-game concert by “Credence Clearwater.” On Saturday night both teams face-off again at 6:30 PM, followed by a spectacular fireworks display.

September 2
Lititz Bikeworks’ Taste of Lititz Bicycle Tour- Family Style
This bike ride combines salty and sweet with a bit of history, departing at 2 PM and running until 6 PM. It is kindly suggested that riders make reservations one week in advance. Tours are limited to 10 riders, ages 12 and up. Includes bike, helmet, water, pretzel/chocolate tastings.

September 3
Nikki’s Sunday Picnic Scooter Tour
Enjoy a leisurely 50cc scooter ride through the back roads of Amish country. Ride past Amish farms and schoolhouses, and possibly pass a few buggies along the way to a scenic location, featuring a historic covered bridge to enjoy a locally prepared picnic basket lunch. Ride departs at 11 AM.

Sip and Savor:

September 1
September Wine by the Vine
Visit the Vineyard at Grandview from 6-8:30 PM for wine, music by John Grisbacher, and food from JoBoy’s Brew Pub served on the deck.

September 2
Nissley Lawn Concert: The Flyboys
The Music in the Vineyards is an open-air lawn concert held at the Nissley Winery. Bring a picnic and some lawn chairs or a blanket, and enjoy an evening of local music and wine. Must be 21 to attend, bring photo I.D.

September 1-4
Get your grill on!

Everyone loves a good cook-out for Labor Day, try serving some of our locally produced meats and vegetables at your party. Fresh foods can be picked up at Central Market on Friday September 1 from 6 AM – 4 PM, and Saturday September 2 from 6 AM – 2 PM, or at many of the various farm stands around the county.

Fly High at Sky Zone Trampoline Park

Whether you are five or 55, Sky Zone is the perfect place to unwind and have fun jumping on trampolines that line the floor and walls. Every Friday night, Sky Zone hosts a GlowZone Night. During this two-hour time period, guests of all ages jump in the dark with glow lights.

My friends and I decided to forget about the stress of college and experience the GlowZone. When we arrived at Sky zone in Lancaster, we went through a quick and smooth process to fill out a waiver, sign-in and receive a complementary neon t-shirt to wear throughout the evening. The building was filled with immense energy as everyone waited in anticipation to begin jumping on the trampolines. At 7 p.m., the DJ began playing music and the count down began to turn the lights off. As soon as the lights went off, everyone was free to jump around and be illuminated by the glow lights. The trampoline area is divided into four different sections, dodge ball, foam pit, a basketball slam-dunk area and free jump. All of these areas had trampoline elements incorporated within them. Although there were so many activities to do, we spent most of our evening jumping into the foam pit.

My friends and I had just as much fun as the younger kids running around. Sky Zone does a great job of ensuring all ages are able to comfortably participate, including having separate jumping areas for different age groups. Thanks to Sky Zone, we were able to feel…and act…like kids again!

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.

 

Sickman’s Mill Creek Tubing

Looking for a great way to spend the lazy, hazy days of summer? Head over to the southwestern side of the county and jump in the Pequea Creek! Open Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, Sickman’s Mill is a laid back way to spend any summer afternoon, perfect for children and adults alike.

Prior to arrival you can print and fill out a waiver form from the website, but other than that the day does not involve much planning- you simply go-with-the-flow. Upon arrival guests are provided canvas covered tubes (first come-first serve) and sent on their way. Once you are in the cool, refreshing water simply kick back and enjoy the scenery and the company of your crew. If you like, you may tether your tubes together with ropes provided by Sickman’s Mill or go solo.

The Pequea Creek alternates between sections of calm water and small rapid, providing the perfect ratio of relaxation and adventure. Depending on the water level and time of year, your trip duration can range from fifty minutes to an hour and a half (the creek gets slower as the summer progresses, however, the water can be a bit warmer). At the end of your float a shuttle van will pick you up and return you to the mill. Easy as that!

Local’s Tips:
– Call ahead or look online to check the water-level, weather conditions, and hours/events for each day.

– Be sure to wear sunscreen and bug spray- the creek winds through wooded areas in both the shade and sun.

– Wear water shoes, old sneakers, or strap-on sandals. The creek bed is very rocky and you may need to walk through a few areas is the water level is low.

– If you are bringing smaller children, it is recommended they be at least 6 years old for tubing and 12 years or older for kayaking. There are some life-vests available, however, you are welcome to bring your own along.

– The creek banks by the Mill are grassy and shaded, making for a great picnic spot. Pack your own lunch, or grab something to eat at the snack shack before or after your float.

 For More Information:
www.sickmansmill.com

10+ Things to Do in Lancaster County in August

There’s still plenty of time to enjoy the splendors of summer in Lancaster County. Plan some last minute fun with the kids before school starts or enjoy a weekend girlfriend’s getaway.

Kid-Friendly Festivities:

Happy Birthday to Kitchen Kettle Village’s beloved gingerbread man mascot, Yummie! Join Yummie and his friends for a family fun birthday party, featuring a petting zoo, pony rides, pedal cart rides and samplings of Kitchen Kettle’s tasty jams, pickles and more. This event is best suited for children 10 and under. Before the festivities begin, party-goers can enjoy a breakfast buffet filled with Lancaster County favorites. Tickets are required for the pre-party breakfast, and can be purchased online.

Thomas is coming back to town – Thomas the Tank Engine™ that is! August 27th through September 4th, Strasburg Rail Road® will host their Day Out with Thomas™ event, featuring a train ride with Thomas, storytelling and more. Thomas won’t be traveling alone, as his friend Percy will be joining in the festivities too. Tickets can be purchased for the August and November Day Out with Thomas™ events online.

For the Art-lovers:

If you’re a fan of arts and crafts, you’ll love the art show line up this month in Lancaster County.

Shank’s Mare Outfitters hosts their annual Art & Outdoor show on August 6, featuring local artists who will be displaying and selling their works along the Susquehanna River. Local non-profit outdoor, historic, and cultural organizations will also be displaying information on their activities and programs. Show-goers can enjoy activities throughout the day.

Drawing 700 crafters from throughout the United States and Canada, the Rotary Club of Lititz Craft Show will be held along East Main Street, Broad Street and in Lititz Springs Park on August 13.

A weekend of art comes to Mt. Gretna, August 20 and 21, and features a plethora of artists, exhibitors, live music and delicious food options. Stroll the show grounds as you take in art of all kinds and activities for all ages.

Educational Family Fun:

From history to the arts and science, there are plenty of fun ways to learn in Lancaster County.

Little history buffs will love the Stories-on-the-Porch series at Rock Ford Plantation, August 3, 10 and 17. Geared towards children 3 to 7, this free program features a Rock Ford volunteer in 18th century period dress reading a story on the porch of the mansion. Following the story, children will enjoy a game or craft and light snack.

The First Friday in August brings art to the North Museum of Nature & Science with their new exhibition. The STEAM Art Gallery features creations by local artists whose work is inspired science and nature. Kids can connect with STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) and the exhibition with a scavenger hunt activity. On August 5, guests can experience the museum after hours, interact with the artists and enjoy light refreshments during the First Friday Exhibition Opening.

Brews Galore:

Beer lovers will love the ale-centric festivals scheduled in Lancaster this month.

Columbia celebrates brews with Rivertown Hops on August 6 along Locust Street. With over 40 brewers, live music and food vendors, Rivertown Hops promises an afternoon of beer sampling and tasty food.

Lancaster City celebrates ales, ciders, stouts and more during the annual Lancaster Craft Beer Fest on August 27 in Binn’s Park. Last year’s festival featured 64 breweries (both local and natioanlly know), food vendors and live music, combining for an afternoon of fun in Downtown Lancaster.

Going Once, Going Twice:

Mud Sales and auctions are back with three consignment sales in August.

To benefit the work of the Mennonite Central Committee, the Gap Relief Sale will be held on August 13 at the Solanco Fairgrounds. This annual community auction features quilts and a variety of items, plus delicious food available for purchase.

On August 20, the Intercourse Fire Company Consignment Auction will be held at the Intercourse Fire Company. The following weekend, the Bareville Fire Company Consignment Auction will be held in Leola at the Bareville Fire Company.

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

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!

Willow Valley Celebrate 50th Anniversary

Many guests that come to Lancaster County have fond memories of visiting Willow Valley as part of their trip. Opening in 1966, Willow Valley Inn included thirty guest rooms and a family restaurant with 100 seats. Today, Willow Valley is blessed in having expanded to farmers markets, a bakery, additional hotels, a golf course, a supermarket, senior living communities, and real estate development company. It started as a small, hospitable part of the community, and has grown into a tradition of excellence.

On Saturday, June 26, I took my family to celebrate the past fifty years, and say cheers to the next fifty. We arrived and the kids could tell immediately that it would be a fun event, because from the road before we even pulled into the parking lot, we could see the bouncy houses set up. True to the sense of community that Willow Valley instills, the local volunteer fire department was parking cars, so we were able to donate to them.

Of course the first thing we did was line up for the bouncy houses – there was a castle that both my 3 and 4 year old enjoyed. The second one only my 4 year old did. It was a race to climb to the top of the tall slide – he handled the climb like a champ. Let’s just say we waited in that line quite a few times.

Next we stopped by the ticket booth to get some tickets for face painting, balloon animals, pony rides, and other activities. And, can you guess what we did next? Yup… jumped in the bouncy castle again. We grabbed food at two of the food trucks (I chose the Urban Olive – featuring Mediterranean cuisine, and the kids and my husband chose the Dough Heads Waffles, which I must admit I snagged a few bites of – so delicious!).

As the evening wore on, I knew there would be campfires and fireworks, but we really wanted to visit one of our close family friends who is a resident at Willow Valley’s Retirement Community. I also knew that all that jumping and excitement would probably mean that our kids wouldn’t make it until then before falling asleep.

We made the short drive from the event to Pat’s apartment. She is like a grandmother to our kids, so of course everyone was excited all over again. My husband and I joked that Pat’s apartment is better than our house – she has a beautifully landscaped rear patio courtyard, where she was sitting and reading when we arrived. It is so quiet and peaceful (when there aren’t 3 and 4-year-olds running around) back there.

Willow_3

Pat mentioned that the next time we come, we need to give her advance notice so that she can rent out the bowling alley, where we can spend the evening bowling and eating the delicious burgers at the clubhouse. We talked about the kids and what we’d been doing, that we’re starting to teach our kids how to swim – and she mentioned that there is a pool in the basement of her building, and we could come anytime to swim with her. We joked again with her that she’s not really retired, she’s just living at an all-inclusive resort.

The kids (and Pat) started winding down, so we headed home. It was definitely a fun day that the kids are still talking about – they are hoping to “go again next year” (I’ll have to recommend that they make this an annual event rather than every 50 years!). If they do, we may just have to keep the kids up late and enjoy the fireworks. Happy 50th, Willow Valley!

When in Amish Country…

Driving along the country roads in Lancaster County, you are bound to see and share the road with plenty of horse and buggies, but have you ever thought about what it’s like to travel in one? Growing up in Lancaster County, I’ve wondered what this alternative form of transportation is like. I finally got the chance to find out with a buggy ride at Aaron & Jessica’s Buggy Rides, located just outside of Bird-in-Hand.

My daughter, who has been fascinated with horse and buggies since she could look out the car windows, came along on this adventure with me. The weather the morning of our ride was absolutely perfect, with abundant blue sky and even a refreshing breeze. Aaron & Jessica’s was quite easy to find, as it’s located right off of Old Philadelphia Pike, neighboring Plain & Fancy Farm Restaurant and Amish Experience Theater (a convenient stop for after your buggy ride to learn more information on the Amish or a home-style meal).

We met our driver, Ben, as we climbed up into the buggy and took a seat on the benches that are along the windows of the buggy. It was certainly cozy, but with the open windows it was quite comfortable.

As we hit the open road, Ben told us more about his family and Amish background, and introduced our horse, Al, who walked and trotted along the country road. As we passed fruit trees and fields of alfalfa wheat and corn, Ben talked more about the farming customs here in Lancaster County. He was happy to answer questions that we had along the way, and was enjoyable to talk to. My daughter was taking in the sites, looking out the windows as we rode down the driveway towards the farm we were stopping at.

Upon pulling up to the farm, we were greeted by a young Amish girl who told us about the homemade cookies, honey mustard pretzels, root beer and fresh squeezed lemonade they had available for sale that day. To satisfy our sweet tooth, we chose a bag of fresh chocolate chip cookies and a root beer. The cookies looked delicious, and we couldn’t wait to take a bite.

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While on the farm, Ben told us about Amish farms, houses and little more about family life. Even though I have lived here the majority of my life, I learned so much about the Amish community from Ben, and was so thankful he was willing to share his stories.

We headed back to the roads, chatting, learning and enjoying a cookie along the way. The farm looked beautiful from the road, especially with the clear skies and green fields. At 8 to 10 miles per hour, traveling by horse and buggy is significantly slower than traveling by car, but it was far less bumpy than I anticipated. Nature provided us with refreshing “air-conditioning” as Al trotted along the road.

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The buggy ride was a unique experience, and a must do if you’re looking to learn more about life on the farm. We went on a 30-minute ride which was an ideal amount of time for a young child, but Aaron & Jessica’s does offer longer rides that include a tour of the farm. Reservations aren’t required for regular rides, but they must be made for private tours.

Learn more about Aaron & Jessica’s Buggy Rides and stop by for a buggy ride next time you’re in Lancaster!

A Refreshing Flight through the Trees

Lancaster County is full of unexpected attractions to experience and things to see. Beyond the farmland are rolling hills, an ideal home for a woodland retreat such as Refreshing Mountain Retreat & Adventure Center.

I traveled off of the roads I was familiar with, igniting my sense of adventure. Upon arriving and getting out of the car, I was greeted with fresh mountain air that was slightly cool after a passing spring shower. Let the adventure begin!

There is really so much to do at Refreshing Mountain. For those who are daring and not afraid of an off-the-ground adventure, they have two zip lining courses – the Challenge Adventure course and Aerial Excursion Course. I opted for the Challenge Adventure course because that course features five zip lines PLUS nine rope course elements. They certainly don’t use the word “challenge” lightly – the rope course elements tested my balance, strength and mental stamina but in the end, I’m glad I set fear aside and tried them. From swinging from one platform to another on a foot propelled swing to a challenge they call “the monkey vine,” I think I can safely say this is the closest thing to tightrope walking that I will ever do. After conquering half the challenge elements, it was time to fly through the trees.

If you’d rather spend more time zipping from tree to tree, the Aerial Excursion Course features seven zip lines, double the length of the Challenge Adventure course, along with three sky bridges.

With a harness, helmet, and knowledgeable guides, I felt safe even 60 feet off the ground. The zip lining tour guides were kind and not only ready to teach, but also to answer questions as we went along. They gave clear instructions which helped me feel confident and safe.

For those who’d rather stick to adventure of the ground, there are plenty of things to experience including a hands-on reptile exhibit, playground, swimming pool, pedal cars and more. New for this year, Refreshing Mountain is offering three different Adventure Packages which give families or groups the option to do a variety of activities. Each package features three to four activities that highlight different aspects of nature and adventure.

The Explorer Package includes the Climbing Tower, Pedal Cars, Paintball Targets & Archery.

The Discovery Package includes the Hands-on Reptile Exhibit, GPS Nature Hunt, Sling Shots & Archery.

The Horse Rides & Farm Animal Experience includes the opportunity to pet, groom and learn safety around horses, a hand-led horse ride and time with other farm animals.

My experience was both exhilarating and refreshing as I got to try something new while enjoying nature’s beauty. The thrill of flying through the trees is best experienced by discovering it for yourself! Learn more about Refreshing Mountain Retreat & Adventure Center and book your excursion today.

Hands-on Fun to Cure Cabin Fever

When it’s not quite warm enough to play outside, but cabin fever is setting in, Hands-on House, Children’s Museum is the solution!

We ventured out on a dreary Sunday and set off for Hands-on House, located off of Oregon Pike in Lancaster. I had been there as a child and volunteered there years ago, but this was my first time visiting as a parent. With as curious as my daughter is, I was excited to see how she would respond to the learning-through-playing activities featured in the museum.

The first area, “Right in Your Own Backyard” explores the sights and sounds found in nature, primarily ones found in Pennsylvania. At first, my daughter who is almost 4, didn’t exactly know what to do. After we showed her she could climb up into the tree house or catch and measure fish, she began branching out and led the way to the next activity.

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Left: Catching fish in “Your Own Backyard” Top Right: Creating at masterpiece at “Art-rageous” Bottom Right: Gathering our produce in “Corner Grocery”

She led us to the next exhibit “E-I-E-I Know,” where she was drawn to the wall of corn that we could pick and distribute to market stands, restaurants and farm animals. This activity, along with many throughout the museum, required reading, and parents are highly encouraged to get involved. Along with the words, many activities incorporate images which help to develop pre-reading skills. This activity also involved lots of counting as we filled each corn order. What makes this children’s museum different from others is how the exhibit designer draws inspiration from Lancaster County, “E-I-E-I Know” being the perfect example. Children can learn about farm life in Lancaster County and how goods like milk and eggs get from the farm, to the grocery store, and to our fridge.

Speaking of grocery stores, the “Corner Grocery” area was a hit, and appeared to be a favorite of other visitors as well. Children can pick a grocery list, featuring both words and pictures, and find the items including produce, seafood, meat, dairy, dry goods and bakery items. Much like a real grocery store, after all the items on the list have been gathered, it’s time to check out at one of the two check-out stations with computers where children can scan the bar codes to ring up their groceries.

Our last stop in the museum was “Marty’s Machine Shop.” This exhibit gave us a look into how factories and assembly lines work, and was by far the highlight of my little one’s day. Oddly enough, this was also a favorite of my sister and me when we visited as children! The process begins with the creation of a “Whatcha-ma-giggle” which is shown step by step with pictures and words. The “Whatcha-ma-giggle” passes through quality control before heading off to be packaged. The last station dives into reusing versus recycling. While that concept was a little mature for my daughter, it was a clever way to take the items from the end of the assembly line back to the beginning while teaching sorting and picture recognition.

We wrapped up our visit with their Pop-in for Play program, “Art-rageous,” which was the perfect activity for my artsy child. The Pop-in program was included with admission and could be done at any time during the 2-hour program period, hence the pop-in. Using construction paper shapes and glue, children were able to put together an “art-rageous” creation. An example was provided but it was really up to the children to design their own art project. My daughter was so proud of the art that she had created. She could not wait to show everyone what she had made.

After discovering our inner artist, we were definitely ready for dinner and a nap. Don’t miss the exhibits we didn’t get a chance to explore during our visit; “Face Painting Porch,” the “Post Office” and “Mostly Make Believe.”

Hands-on House is geared towards children aged 2 to 10, and is stroller-friendly for families with infants. Admission is $9.50 for children and adults. Family memberships, starting at $99 per year, are available for families planning to visit more than one or twice.

Photo courtesy of Hands-on House, Children's Museum

Photo courtesy of Hands-on House, Children’s Museum

Tips:
– Check out their hours prior to your visit. Public hours vary day by day and by what time of year you are coming.

– Be sure to eat before you go! Hands-on House does not allow food or drink inside the building and energy is definitely needed for all the playing and exploring involved.

– Wear comfortable shoes. Since parents are highly encouraged to play and learn with their children, seating areas are limited.

– Visit rain or shine! The “Play Garden” is open year-round, weather permitting, for fresh-air fun.

-The Pop-in for Play programs are an added bonus as they are included with your admission. Be sure to check out the schedule before visiting.

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