You’ve been to Hersheypark, the Crayola Experience and Sesame Place. While they were fabulous, your family is ready to expand its weekend adventures in Pennsylvania.
Great news: There are tons more fun places to explore across the state. These hidden treasures range from zoos to water parks to even a place where ice forms in the summer.
Fill up the gas tank, pack a few snacks and head off on these seven awesome family day trips across PA – all within a few hours of Central PA.
1. Lehigh Valley Zoo
Porcupines, penguins and camels – oh my! This zoo offers more exotic creatures than you’ll find at many smaller zoos. It has also been raising money to bring in giraffes, which could arrive before summer’s end. Check out the website ahead of time to see what neat weekly activities are planned.
Approximate drive time from Harrisburg: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Learn more: https://www.lvzoo.org/
2. Dutch Springs Aqua Park
Kids adore water parks. Give them a new one to explore that includes a water see-saw, water mats to play on, an “iceberg” to climb and a giant inflatable slide. The park also has a two-story climbing wall if you get tired of swimming.
Approximate drive time from Harrisburg: 1 hour, 29 minutes
Learn more: http://dutchsprings.com/aqua.html
3. Briar Bush Nature Center
This nature center, which has been around for more than 100 years, includes more than a mile of trails to explore, the perfect length for a family with young kids whose enthusiasm may outlast their leg strength. After wandering the trails, hit up the museum to see live animals and touch tables, and close your trip out with a visit to the awesome natural playground.
Approximate drive time from Harrisburg: 1 hour, 46 minutes
Learn more: www.briarbush.org
4. Seven Tubs Nature Area
Another great hike for kids, this one is a bit more challenging, lasting 1.5 miles with a bit of a climb. Your children will be rewarded with a field of blueberries they can devour and gorgeous views of a waterfall. If your kids are particularly hearty, you can try to hike down to the base of the falls, but this isn’t recommended for kids under 8.
Approximate drive time from Harrisburg: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Learn more: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/pennsylvania/seven-tubs-nature-area
5. Little League World Series
If you live in PA, you have to make the trip to the LLWS in Williamsport at least once – and many families make it an annual trek. Admission is free, though you may have to pay to park nearby because the official lots fill up fast. Bring a big piece of cardboard so your kids can slide down the hill near the main stadium.
Approximate drive time from Harrisburg: 1 hour, 35 minutes
Learn more: http://www.llbws.org/visitors/complexmap.htm
6. Coudersport Ice Mine
It sounds like a joke, but it’s true. In this mine, ice forms in the summer, then melts in the winter. The mine is known as a “natural refrigerator.” While it only takes an hour or so to take in the site, you can round out your trip with a visit to a nearby mini golf and paddleboat place.
Approximate drive time from Harrisburg: 3 hours, 17 minutes
Learn more: https://www.facebook.com/gary.buchsen/
7. Treetop Zoofari at Elmwood Park Zoo
Yes, another zoo, but this one has a twist – it includes a family ropes course that reaches up to 50 feet above ground. You can go over the animals on a zipline as you also test your adventurousness. Undoubtedly your kids will get a kick out of seeing mom and dad go flying!
Approximate drive time from Harrisburg: 1 hour, 38 minutes
Learn more: http://www.elmwoodparkzoo.org/treetop-adventures.php