Tag Archives: HersheyPark

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.

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.

Summer fun kicks off at Hersheypark

One sure sign of spring in Central Pennsylvania is the opening of Hersheypark for their annual Springtime in the Park. During this two weekend summer-preview event, my family always finds time to visit the park.

Our tram ride from the parking lot gave us a good view of the new Ticketing Services building across from the Chocolate World attraction. Guests must purchase their Hersheypark tickets before arriving at the main gate. Ticketing Services can also assist guests with reprints of online tickets if they have lost the originals or do not have a printer at home. We found that not having to wait for people to pay for tickets at the front gate made everything smoother and faster. What a wonderful improvement!

There is nothing quite like the first view of the Hersheypark carrousel to get you in the mood for fun. This classic Philadelphia Toboggan Company carousel was made in 1919 and installed in the park in 1945. It features a 1926 Wurlitzer organ that plays traditional carousel music as well as special songs for patriotic holidays, Halloween, and Christmas. It is always our first and last ride of the day.

New to Hersheypark this year are three family rides: the Cocoa Cruiser roller coaster, the Sweet Swing family swing ride and a classic Teacup ride. Only the Sweet Swing was open when we visited, but by the time the park opens for the summer I’m sure we’ll be able to ride all three. My kids are really looking forward to riding the Cocoa Cruiser since the Trailblazer is still a little too scary for them.

Even though the park was busy we were able to ride the Monorail, the Dry Gulch Railroad, and many of the children’s favorite kiddie rides. We also had our favorite Turkey Hill soft serve ice cream from the Crossroads Creamery and delicious fries from Tower Fries.

After enjoying our ice cream we went to ZooAmerica to visit with the bears, otters and other North American wildlife. Admission to the zoo is free with your park ticket and it is a great place to let the kids unwind after all the excitement of the amusement park. Be sure to bring some quarters to feed the ducks. They walk right up to you as you feed them and the kids love it.

By the time we finished at ZooAmerica my little ones were tired of walking, so we left the park and stopped at Hershey’s Chocolate World to ride the free factory tour. Chocolate World is under renovation right now, but we still loved seeing the scenes from the factory and getting our free chocolate sample at the end.

What a great way to spend an early spring day. Can’t wait to go back in the summer!

A day of Hersheypark thrills

Dutch Wonderland, a premier amusement park located within the heart of Lancaster County, is geared toward families with kids up through 12 years of age.  Since my children are now teenagers and self-proclaimed thrill seekers, a visit to nearby Hersheypark – with its 11 exciting roller coasters and expansive waterpark – was in order.

Hersheypark is only a 20-30 minute drive from Lancaster County and is great fun for families of all ages.  In addition to the roller coasters and waterpark, it boasts numerous rides for younger children, live entertainment, games, gift shops and more.  Their one-price admission gets you access to everything for the entire day.

My kids love going to Hersheypark – in fact they’d probably go every day if they could.  The rides are diverse and thrilling, the games are fun, and the waterpark is refreshing.  From a parent’s perspective, there are plenty of shaded areas, lots of beautiful hanging plants, and an extremely clean environment.

Speaking of clean, when I was part of the Hersheypark management team years ago, the General Manager was passionate about maintaining the cleanliness of the park.  Whenever we managers were in the park, which under his leadership was quite often, it was our duty to make sure things were running smoothly and that any trash was picked up promptly.  There were many 90 degree days I spent wearing high heels and a suit, picking up sporadic pieces of trash in the park.

So for fun, I told my oldest daughter Maddie I was going to look for trash during our visit and count the number of pieces I saw.  There’s always SOME trash at amusement parks, right?  So any guesses as to how many pieces I saw?  ONE.  Yes, in an amusement park of over 120 acres, I only saw one piece of trash the entire day.

For for a fun and thrilling day with the kids, in a safe and clean environment, Hersheypark is the place to go.

As part of the Lancaster County tourism team, I feel we are extremely fortunate to have two world-class theme parks in such close proximity to each other, one suitable for families with children up through 12 years of age, and the other for more thrill seekers.

Hersheypark is open weekends through the end of September, then opens for seasonal hours & events around Halloween and the holidays.  At only 20-30 minutes away, it’s the perfect day trip during your stay in Lancaster.  For more information, please visit www.hersheypark.com.

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