We have a rundown of attractions that promise hours of fun — and warmth.
Antique Automobile Club of America Museum
161 Museum Drive, Hershey
Admission: Adults $12.50, kids 4-12 $9.50, 3 and under free
The museum hosts a variety of antique cars displayed in scenes corresponding to their respective time periods. Through January 6, 2020, they’ll host “Cars & Christmas” and fill the museum with dozens of decorated trees and autos and will display model trains and Hess trucks.
The Cave Indoor Rock Climbing
400 Bridge St., New Cumberland
Admission: $12 for a day pass; equipment rentals extra; kids 10 and under Mondays-Fridays, $7
It’s our region’s newest bouldering gym, with varying levels of difficulty and a designated children’s climbing area.
30 Centre Square, Easton
Admission: Ages 3+ $21.99, $18.99 if purchased online, age 2 and under free
Boasting 25 exciting, hands-on attractions, the Crayola Experience is a fun way to learn about color, chemistry and technology along with lots of fun coloring for the whole family.
The Curious Little Playhouse
41 W. Market St., York
Admission: $9.50 per child, $8 per adult
Opened in April 2019, the play place has everything to stimulate a child’s imagination: a castle with a dragon, loft and slide; a puppet play station; a school house area; a mini diner; a dress-up area with oversized mirrors; a stage area; and more.
75 Utley Drive, Camp Hill
Admission: They have various monthly memberships available, but they also have a drop-in Open Gym on Fridays and Saturdays, $20 for 2 hours
For all the budding Ninja warriors out there, this gym’s for you. They have special classes and sessions in Ninja warrior training for ages 6 and up. They also have Parkour classes available.
Go ‘N Bananas
1170 Garfield Ave., Lancaster
Admission: prices vary by activity; please see website
There’s tons of action-packed fun here, with ball pits, ropes courses, a laser maze, bumper cars, a 7D interactive theater where you can experience a thrilling rides, and much more.
Herr’s Snack Factory Tour
271 Old Baltimore Pike, Nottingham
Admission: Adults $4; kids 4-17, $3; 3 and under free
Sample warm, freshly made Herr’s snacks on a guided tour at Herr’s Snack Factory. Learn what makes a good potato chip and how tortilla chips get their seasoning in this handicap accessible facility, which features a gift shop, Chipper’s Café, theatre and more.
Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery
219 E. Main St., Lititz
Admission: $3.75; ages 4-12, $2.75; ages 3 and younger are free
Housed in a building that’s 233 years old, Sturgis is America’s first commercial pretzel company. Tour the original bakery, get a hands-on lesson in pretzel twisting, and taste the results of more than 150 years of pretzel baking heritage.
Lancaster Science Factory
454 New Holland Avenue, Lancaster
Admission: Ages 3 and over $10.95, 2 and under free
This interactive museum features 75 exhibits and activities about STEM topics such as electricity and magnetism. The exhibits are aligned with Pennsylvania’s Academic Standards, giving student visitors a closer look at topics they are learning in school.
3608 Hartzdale Drive, Camp Hill
Admission: Ages 3-12, $12.99; ages 2 and younger, $6.99; adults are free
The play center has inflatables for a variety of interests: bounce house, slides, obstacle course and more.
The National Civil War Museum
One Lincoln Circle at Reservoir Park, Harrisburg
Admission: Adults $13, kids $11, 5 and under free; family pass for 2 adults and up to 3 kids, $48
The National Civil War Museum is the country’s only museum that portrays the entire story of the Civil War from an unbiased perspective. The museum boasts a collection of over 24,000 artifacts, manuscripts, documents, photographs and other printed matter.
Oakes Museum of Natural History
One College Avenue, Mechanicsburg
Admission: Adults $6.50, kids 4-18 $4, 3 and under free
Park of Messiah College, the Oakes Museum is a 10,000-square foot museum with a collection of more than 40,000 specimens including African and North American mammals, minerals, fossils and more. Be sure to check out their hours before visiting.
The Railroad Museum of Pa.
300 Gap Road, Ronks
Admission: $10 for adults, $8 for ages 3-11, free for ages 2 and younger
With more than 100 locomotives and cars from the mid-19th and 20th centuries, including the Pennsylvania Railroad Historical Collection, the museum houses one of the most significant collections of historic railroad artifacts in the world — and visitors can board many of them.
95 Gateway Drive, Harrisburg
1701 Hempstead Road, Lancaster
Admission: Prices start at $16 for a one-hour jump time.
These are trampolines on steroids — wall-to-wall trampolines for jumping fun. They also have skyslam and skyhoops, the skyladder (a rope ladder suspended over a soft landing) and the skyline (a tightrope type of device). They also have a Toddler Time for children ages walking to 5 years old.
Spooky Nook Sports
75 Champ Blvd., Manheim
Admission: Prices vary by activity; please see website
You don’t have to participate in youth sports classes or camps to head to The Nook; they have a Clip ‘N Climb area where kids can climb over various obstacles; and a climbing gym where some of the climbing walls are 30 feet high. There’s also an arcade with more than 60 games.
The State Museum of Pennsylvania
300 North St., Harrisburg
Admission: Adults $7, kids 1-11 $5, infants free
Watch the stars in the Planetarium sky, see dinosaurs, follow the history of Pennsylvania’s Native Americans and more at the official museum of the Commonwealth. The State Museum also offers Curiosity Connection, a hands-on museum experience for children ages 1-5.
533 Janet Avenue, Lancaster
Admission: Adults $8, kids 13 months and over $10, 12 months and under free
This hands-on, interactive indoor ‘village’ has something to interest every child. There are 11 luxury playhouses—including a salon, a gas station, a cafe and a fire station—as well as a coffee bar and café seating for parents to relax while their children are busy playing within view. Plus, through January 31 they’ll have a special Gingerbread Village with adorable gingerbread, ice cream, peppermint and lollypop decorations!
The Turkey Hill Experience
301 Linden St., Columbia
Admission: Tickets start at $10 for children ages 4-12, and $10.50 for ages 13 and older.
Learn how Turkey Hill ice cream is made, sit in a milk truck, milk mechanical cows, create your own ice cream flavor, and star in your own commercial. A bonus? Get samples of ice cream and iced tea.
U.S. Army Heritage Education Center
950 Soldiers Drive, Carlisle
In addition to the amazing outdoor exhibits, there are several fascinating exhibits indoors, including one showing America during the World War I era, another on America’s war on terror, and the immersive exhibit, “Courage, Commitment, and Fear: The American Soldier in the Vietnam War.
Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts
222 Market St., Harrisburg
Admission: Science center only: adults $16, kids 3-17 $12.50, 2 and under free; science center and film combo: adults $19.75, kids 3-17 $16.75, 2 and under free
Attractions at the Whitaker Center include the newly remodeled Harsco Science Center, the Select Medical Digital Cinema, the Sunoco Performance Theater, an art gallery and a gift shop. kids ages 12 and under can explore the sciences, perform experiments and learn more about the world.
Maryland Science Center
601 Light St., Baltimore, Maryland
Admission: $25.95 for adults, $19.95 for children ages 3-12
Exploring science has never been more fun. With three floors of exhibits and activities—including many for the very young—plus an IMAX theater and a planetarium, this science center offer hours of educational entertainment.
501 E. Pratt St., Baltimore, Maryland
Admission: $39.99 adults, $29.95 children ages 3-11
This stunning aquarium — one of the best in the country — is home to more than 20,000 animals representing 800 species of fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals. Kids will be thrilled by the sharks, jelly fish, and — from Australia — freshwater crocodiles, turtles, fishes, snakes, lizards and free-flying birds.
Port Discovery Children’s Museum
35 Market Place, Baltimore, Maryland
This past summer, the museum celebrated the grand opening of two new exhibits, The four-story SkyClimber and The Port, as well as improved Museum amenities and the re-opening of other exhibits.
Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia
Admission: $22 for ages 13 and older; $18 for ages 2-12. Note: Save $2 per ticket by purchasing online
They have a special “Dinosaurs Around the World Passport to Pangea” through January 20, 2020. But they have a lot more to engage and entertain your kids, from the Outside In, where children can touch live animals, to the tropical Butterfly Garden, and many other permanent exhibits.
The Franklin Institute
222 N. 20th St., Philadelphia
Admission: $23 for ages 12 and older; $19 for ages 3-11
It has 10 permanent exhibits including: Space Command, Changing Earth, The Train Factory, Electricity, the Heart, and its newest exhibit, Your Brain, featuring an 18-foot neural climb, a slide scanner that will show MRIs of the brain, a lie detector, virtual reality headsets, and your own nervous system on a jumbo screen.
Legoland Discovery Center
Plymouth Meeting Mall
500 W. Germantown Pike, Plymouth Meeting
Admission: Tickets purchased online, $19.95; at the door, $24.95
If your kids like Legos, this is a must-see destination as it has 10 Lego-themed play areas, rides, a Ninja laser maze, and a Lego 4-D cinema, and much more. Plus, on weekends through December 31, it will host the Holiday Bricktacular with a variety of special, holiday-themed events including an elves workshop, a LEGO sleigh and LEGO reindeer.
Please Touch Museum
4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia
A museum mixed with exhibits intended for both playing and learning, this isn’t your typical museum experience. Visitors can drive a SEPTA bus, launch rockets, ride a carousel and journey through a rainbow tunnel, among other activities.
Carnegie Museum of Natural History
4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh
Admission: Adults $19.95, children ages 3-18, $11.95
With its numerous dinosaur exhibits, rare gemstones, polar world and paleontologists working daily on site at this museum, it’s the perfect place to learn more about the earth and its past and present inhabitants.
Carnegie Science Center
One Allegheny Avenue, Pittsburgh
Admission: Adults $19.95, children ages 3-18, $11.95
Featuring four floors of interactive exhibits, the Carnegie Science Center is sure to keep even the youngest scientists entertained. There are hundreds of hands-on exhibits, including a ropes challenge, SpacePlace, and Roboworld, the world’s largest permanent robotics exhibit. For an additional fee, there is a Cold War-era submarine, Omnimax theater, and laser shows running throughout the day.
The Heinz History Center
1212 Smallman St., Pittsburgh
Admission: Adults, $18; children ages 6-17, $9; ages 5 and younger are free
Pennsylvania’s largest history museum and a Smithsonian Institution affiliate, The Heinz History Center comprises the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, Fort Pitt Museum, Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village, Detre Library and Archives, and the Museum Conservation Center. Among the exhibits: “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood,” featuring the largest collection of original items from the television set on public view.
Winter waterpark fun!
Camelback Lodge and Aquatopia Indoor Waterpark
193 Resort Drive, Tannersville
Admission: $59 per person, kids 2 and younger are free; free passes provided with all overnight stays. Purchase tickets online at least 24 hours in advance.
Named the Best Indoor Waterpark in the country in 2019 by USA Today, the 125,000-square-foot indoor waterpark has a transparent roof that provides natural sunlight year-round. The facility features seven pools, 13 water slides and a many water attractions, including Storm Chaser, North America’s longest uphill water coaster; The Great Ka-Na-Gawa Wavepool; an indoor/outdoor hot tub; and Kartrite’s Quest, the world’s first themed “next generation” multi-level aqua play structure equipped with 84 interactive water effects.