Tag Archives: Wolf Sanctuary of PA

Top Outdoor Things to Do with Kids in Lancaster, PA

The best spots for kids and families to play, learn, and discover

Lancaster, PA is full of great opportunities to head outside with your kids. So slather on the sunscreen and scoot outside for some good old-fashioned family fun. The destinations below are designed to offer great experiences and new discoveries for the entire family.

Top things to do with kids in Lancaster County, PA

[1] Cherry Crest Adventure Farm
With more than 50 farm fun activities for the whole family included in your admission, and lunch and dinner options on site, Cherry Crest is the perfect destination for a day out with the family. From the famous Amazing Maize Maze and wagon rides to pedal karts and baby chicks, there is something for every age in your family.

[2] Eastland Alpacas
Take some time to tour the 30 acre farm at Eastland Alpacas, and enjoy petting and feeding these gentle, adorable alpacas. The farm is typically open from 10 AM to 4 PM, but feel free to call ahead to ensure that you will get the full experience. In addition to visiting with the alpacas, check out the on-site store stocked with various items that are all made from alpaca fiber.

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[3] Indian Echo Caverns
No matter the season, did you know that caves stay an average temperature year round? Indian Echo Cavern is 52 degrees inside, rain or shine. Year round, 7 days a week, you can explore the cavern, and enjoy a petting zoo and playground. Plan about 45 minutes for the full tour, and pack your lunch as not to interrupt the little explorers!

[4] Wolf Sanctuary of PA
In a natural woodland in northern Lancaster County, you will find the home of the Speedwell Wolves. Your kids will love the guided tour where they’ll get to view wolves in their natural habitat and learn about their behavior.

[5] Amish Attractions
Experience Lancaster’s heritage at one of our three indoor/outdoor Amish attractions! From exploring the farm and interacting with the animals at the Amish Farm & House, to having the unique experience of “learning a lesson” in an Amish one-room school house at the Amish Experience, or climbing aboard a buggy and running through a covered bridge at the Amish Village, you’re sure to enjoy learning and fun at one of these great attractions.

[6] Nookside Stables / Ironstone Ranch
What better way to experience Lancaster County’s farmland than horseback riding! At Nookside Stables, you’ll learn about the horse and enjoy navigating an obstacle course on your house as you enjoy the picturesque views of surrounding Amish farms. Beginners are welcome, ages 10+ for the horseback adventure; Children 10 and under can enjoy pony rides, playground and wagon rides. For a trail ride experience, head to Ironstone Ranch, where you’ll find gentle, well-mannered horses and experienced guides who will navigate you through 275 acres of trails. Please make advance reservations.

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[7] ZooAmerica & Hershey Gardens
Hershey’s ZooAmerica is home to more than 200 animals, all native to North America. You’ll find everything from reptiles to porcupines to otters and mountain lions. Admission is free with your ticket to Hersheypark, or there is also a separate, year-round entrance specific to the zoo. You’ll also want to stop at beautiful Hershey Gardens, featuring 23-acres of breathtaking flowers, shurbs, and trees in addition to a butterfly atrium and hands-on children’s garden.

[8] Gretna Lake & Beach
Looking to spend the whole day outdoors while vacationing in Lancaster? Look no further than Mt. Gretna Lake & Beach, where you’ll find eight-acres including a beach, recreation lawn and picnic grove, in addition to the Jigger Shop, serving delicious ice-cream and treats and an open-air theatre.

[9] Intercourse Bike Works / Strasburg Scooters
For older children, you may want to tour Lancaster County on two wheels rather than four! Stop by one of Intercourse Bike Works locations to pick up your bike, and find the tour that’s right for you – from and Amish Dinner Tour to Covered Bridges on Electric Bikes, (or if you’re taking an excursion sans kiddos, the Bikes, Barns and Beers tour), there’s sure to be something for you. If you’re brave, and would rather try a scooter ride, or scoot coupe, head over to Strasburg Scooters, where you’ll enjoy a guided scooter tour on the back roads of Amish Country. You’ll pass exceptional views of the countryside, including Amish farms and schoolhouses, in addition to covered bridges and incredible backroads. You’ll truly be enjoy the fresh air with either of these options! NOTE: Please see websites for age guidelines.

[10] Chiques Rock Outfitters / Shanks Mare
If you’re looking to just take a hike, or kayak along the river, you’ll want to check out this list of Lancaster County Parks & Preserves. Didn’t pack your kayak? That’s okay, we’ve got you covered. Chiques Rock Outfitters and Shanks Mare both have kayaks and canoes for rent, and will help you enjoy your time on the river. Both also have other outdoor items for rent – like bikes, camping and climbing gear.

[11] Zip Line at Refreshing Mountain Retreat & Adventure Center
You won’t want to miss the chance to zip line through the canopy at Refreshing Mountain Retreat & Adventure Center – you’ll have your options from the Flying V Ziplines (2 ziplines, great test run for those who aren’t sure they want to do the whole course), the Challenge Adventure Tour (5 zip lines, 9 challenge elements) or the Aerial Excursion Tour (7 zip lines, 3 sky bridges, 40’ rappel ending). You’ll also find horse rides, farm animal experience, and NEW for 2018, a Challenge of 22 obstacles, suspended 6-25 feet in the air.

[12] AvalancheXpress Snow Tubing
Traveling in the winter? You won’t want to miss a trip to AvalanchXpress at Heritage Hills Resort. There’s plenty to do, including 10 lanes of snow tubing, fire pits that are perfect for warming up and roasting marshmallows, an ice skating rink that’s open through the evening, and great food to warm your belly after a day of outdoor adventuring!

For even more fun, check out the Top Family Attractions in Lancaster, PA.

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.

Full Moon Tour at Wolf Sanctuary of PA

Are you looking for a unique way to spend an evening, completely different from your usual Saturday night? Try heading over to the Wolf Sanctuary of PA for a Full Moon Tour!

These tours happen once a month on the Saturday evening closest to the full moon and are open to anyone 16 years of age or older. Walk through the sanctuary at your own pace moving from pack to pack and learn loads of interesting facts about the wolfs in each family- you may even be lucky enough to hear a bark or howl from the wolves themselves (although you will learn, it is not actually the moon they howl at!). This event is perfect for anyone with a fascination in wildlife, nature, or conservation. All the volunteers at each station are very knowledgeable and will answer any question guests ask as best they can. They also know the story of each wolf and how it ended up at the sanctuary- the majority of them are rescues!

Be sure to stop by the bonfire in the center of the sanctuary to warm up, roast some hot dogs or marshmallows, and just relax taking in the awesome experience you are a part of. It is a great way to enjoy being outdoors in the presence of an awesome species!

Note: If you are interested in visiting but have children under 16 years of age you can still visit the Sanctuary for one of the daytime tours. Admission for the Full Moon Tours is $20 per person, and your payment goes towards the care of the wolves (food, vet bills, facility maintenance, etc.)

Local’s Tips:

– Order tickets in advance online, or arrive early- this event tends to draw a crowd
– Make sure everyone in your party is 16 years of age or older
– Bring a flashlight and wear sneakers or comfortable shoes, you do quite a bit of walking and the ground is uneven in spots.
– Bring your own hot dogs, s’mores, roasting sticks, and blankets or chairs for the bonfire
– Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask questions, you can learn a lot!

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!

The Wolf Sanctuary of PA

There I was—face to face with one of nature’s most fierce creatures, the wolf. I stood frozen, staring down 12 sets of eyes, each of us waiting to see what the other would do next. We stood, stuck in a human-canine staring match…well, until the person that feeds them walked up to the fence and the wolves forgot about me and went, tails wagging and all, to greet him.

Not what I expected from the sly looking creatures I see on the Discovery Channel using their slashing teeth and spine-tingling snarls to bring down elk.

“They love attention just like any other dog, but food aggression is where things get dangerous.” Darren, who works with the wolves, tells me. “We’re not a petting zoo.”

The non-petting zoo Darren is referring to is the Wolf Sanctuary of Pennsylvania at Speedwell Forge in Lititz. Frankly, the Sanctuary is better than any zoo I’ve ever been to. Forget the trips where you stood for hours, staring at a pile of trees hoping just one animal would peek its head out from behind the brush. Here, the fascinating animals behind the fence are just as curious to see you as you are to see them.

100_1615The Darlington family has owned and lived on Speedwell Forge for three generations and has been rescuing and housing wolves on their land for almost 30 years. After a wolf has been exposed to human contact, for example through illegal pet ownership, the wolf can no longer be released into the wild. Thus, in swoops the Darlington family where they bring the wolf to the Sanctuary to keep both wolf and human safe. The Sanctuary now houses over 40 wolves in over 22 acres of enclosed land.

This old dairy farm is also home to the Speedwell Forge Bed and Breakfast, a beautiful stone home built in 1760 and on the National Register of Historic Places. While at the B&B I couldn’t help but imagine myself on a relaxing weekend getaway, sipping hot tea in the cozy sitting room with a fire roaring in the hearth, or having a bite to eat on the back porch enveloped by the sounds and smells of nature, or waking up early to watch the majestic wolves as they go about their daily activities. If you can’t stop by for an overnight stay, a day trip to at least see the wolves is a must.

The sanctuary is completely self funded by money brought in through daily tours and special fundraising events, such as Full Moon Tours and Music and Art with the Wolves.

For more information on how you can help the Wolf Sanctuary of PA by visiting, volunteering, or donating, visit www.wolfsancpa.com.

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