Pennsylvania is a kid’s playground, but that doesn't mean adult can't have fun too! With chocolate-themed amusement parks and wild animals galore, both your kids and your own inner child will have a great time. Exploring Pennsylvania has never been this fun!
Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium is the quintessential experience for all children to learn about the wonders of the animal world. The sprawling zoo has an Asian forest, an African savannah, a tropical rainforest, and an entire kids kingdom. This area was created especially for children, and has camels, otters, kangaroos, sea lions, and many more animals for kids to enjoy.
Ringing in as the 8th oldest amusement park in the United States, Lakemont Park knows what it’s doing. This amusement park is the home of the world’s oldest roller coaster, called Leap-the-Dips, as well as over 30 other attractions. The park makes sure to have multiple activities for all ages, with certain rides geared toward young children while others are fun for the whole family. Entrance to the park includes a trip to the island water park as well.
More about Leap-the-Dips: "Opened in 1894 as a trolley park, Lakemont Park has overcome many obstacles to become the 8th oldest amusement park in the United States. One of Lakemont's most prized possessions is the world's oldest roller coaster, Leap-the-Dips. Built at the park in 1902 by the E. Joy Morris Company, the historic wooden roller coaster was restored and reopened on memorial Day 1999. It was named a National Historic Landmark in 1996." - Lakemont Park
Known as the “zoo in the woods” due to its wooded location, Claws ‘N’ Paws Wild Animal Park is another way to teach your kids about wildlife. Claws ‘N’ Paws is centered on interactive activities to get children up close and personal with the animals, so they definitely won’t be standing and watching from behind the bars of a cage. The zoo boasts parrot feeding times, wildlife encounter shows where you can touch an alligator, a petting zoo, and “turtle town.” They’ve even opened a Dinosaur Outpost, where kids can dig for fossils and ride a giant triceratops statue.
Known as the official Crayola visitor center, the Crayola Experience is a great place to let your children’s inner creativity loose. Here, children are encouraged to test out new Crayola products and create whatever their hearts desire. The building has four floors of activities, including a clay sculpting area, a “doodle in the dark” room, and even an area where you can melt crayons into the shape of your choice. General admission is 17 bucks per person, but, pro tip, the price goes down if you visit in the evening.
Ringing Rocks County Park is home to a geologic phenomenon that your kids will love. Certain types of rocks, called lithophonic rocks, create a resonating bell-like sound when struck with a metal object like a hammer. Ringing Rocks County Park is full of these beautiful, sonorous stones, and your kids will delight in striking them to hear their lovely sounds. Make sure to bring your own hammer so you can test this out yourself, and don’t forget to bring sunglasses or goggles for the little ones in case pieces of rock come off when you tap them.
Everyone will love the Herr’s Factory Tour... it’s not called the “Tastiest Tour in Town” for nothing, you know! Herr’s is an American manufacturer of delicious potato chips, and you will be able to see firsthand just what goes into the making of a great chip. The tour takes about an hour and will take you through the live factory to see chips being made on production lines. If that doesn’t sound great enough, the facility also hosts a snack bar, where you can sample the goodies you just saw being made.
Just east of Lancaster lies Dutch Wonderland, an amusement park specifically geared towards younger children. The park was built in 1963 by a potato farmer, and is now home to 34 rides, a water play area called “Duke’s Lagoon,: and seasonal holiday activities year-round. The park is especially known for its event around Halloween, called “Happy Hauntings,” as well as a Christmas extravaganza known as “Dutch Winter Wonderland.” A day pass includes admission to all the rides, the water park, as well as a variety of children’s shows put on throughout the day.
A mecca for chocolate lovers worldwide, Hershey’s Chocolate World cannot be missed on your trip across Pennsylvania. The Chocolate World features a plethora of sweet activities for all ages to enjoy. One of the most popular experiences is a tour of the factory, where you can see chocolate go from the humble cocoa bean to the brown-wrapped bars we all know so well. You can also create your own chocolate bar, attend a chocolate tasting, and eat Hershey’s products at the Hershey bakery. Our mouths are watering just thinking about it!
Located in Pennsylvania’s capital city, Whitaker Center was the first complex in the US to combine science and the arts. The Center hosts live concerts and features a giant IMAX screen, as well as a variety of science exhibitions that all kids will enjoy. The 4-story movie screen is constantly showing both 2D and 3D movies, and the science center is home to three floors of hands-on educational activities. Whitaker Center is a perfect place to have fun and learn in the process.
Whether you’re looking to entertain kids, or you just want to get back in touch with your inner child, Pennsylvania has tons of ways to make you feel like a kid again while entertaining young ones. With activities to boost creativity, teach your kids about science and culture, and, of course, amusement parks galore, your trip across Pennsylvania will leave the whole family smiling and laughing.
Life. Liberty. The pursuit of happiness. In Pennsylvania, these are not only American ideals; they are the very keystones of our way of life. Find your own piece of happiness, whether it’s in our iconic historic sites, our natural beauty, our bustling cities or our charming small towns.