Lancaster County is a great place to take the kids.
A few weeks ago we spent an entire week at my parent’s house in Reading, PA. When my husband has business out of town and it is easier for him to fly out of the Philadelphia airport, we pack up the family and head to Reading. For those of you who don’t know where Reading is, it is located about an hour north west of Philadelphia and an hour south of Allentown, PA. It is a large city with a fast growing restaurant and micro-brew scene, but other than that not much to do with the kids. So we pack up the kids and head 30 minutes south to Lancaster County.
Yes, Lancaster is very well-known for Amish people, sprawling farmlands, and Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine, but it is also full of great restaurants, historic sites, and nice resorts. Not only are there a lot of great activities for adults, but there many places for the kids to have fun also. These are some of my favorite places to visit:
1. Dutch Wonderland – Dutch Wonderland has been around for 60 plus years and even though they have kept some of the same exhibits that I played with when I was a little kid, they have added so many rides for those aged 6 months to 6 years. They have interactive shows, a train ride through a gem mine, and my kids’ favorite: the good old fashion log flume. They have some of the best amusement park food that I have ever tasted, and it is easily located right off of Route 30. They also have their own campground, so if you want to pitch a tent or bring the RV, you can park there overnight.
2. Hands-On House Children’s Museum– The Hands-On House Children’s Museum is not same as the Please Touch Museum which is located in Philadelphia. This is a different museum where children can learn about bugs, making music with household items, face painting, and playing postman. They have their own little grocery store to teach children how to shop and then they can play check out with real machines that add up their order. They also have events throughout the week the kids can attend but it is best to check their schedule online.
3. Strasburg Railroad – This is more than just a train ride, this is an adventure! The station has activities for kids including hand pedaling their own train car, a kids train, or they can even operate an old pump car. They also have some fun stores where you can pick up some Thomas the Train toys are grab a bite to eat before your ride. So don’t worry if you just missed the train, there is plenty to do. You can also add admission to the Train Museum across the road to your train ticket. You will see the history of trains and some very old and interesting engines. Make sure to check their website for when Thomas the Train and his friends are there. This is a fun time but tickets sell out fast.
4. Toy Train Museum and Red Caboose Inn – The Toy Train Museum is very close to the Strasburg Railroad and houses hundreds of toy trains that were played with by many for hundreds of years. Some of the trains date back to the 1800’s and some are old time favorites with pictures of your favorite characters you used to watch on TV. They have a few working models which make the kids laugh and play as they wait for the trains to come out of the model sized mountain and whiz past the tiny town. Once you step out the toys of the Toy Train Museum you will see old train cars parked in a lot. If you take a closer look you will actually find out that it is the Red Caboose Motel, which has converted old train cars into hotel rooms. Each car is its own room equipped with bed and private bathroom. There is also a restaurant onsite with an amazing gift store of all things Lancaster county.
5. Kitchen Kettle Village – Kitchen Kettle Village is a great place for all generations as there are 40 shops and restaurants where you can purchase quality Lancaster county products and foods, and fun trinkets from all over the world. Want to try Pennsylvania Dutch relish, well head over to the The Jam and Relish Kitchen where you can taste all types of jams, relishes, and salsas – all homemade. Maybe the kids aren’t into shopping but the grandparents want to buy some more great finds, well take the kids on a horse-drawn carriage ride through Amish country and to see various farms. They can decorate a Gingerbread man to look like Yummie, the mascot for Kitchen Kettle Village, or get up close and personal with some farm animals at the barnyard.
There are so many things to do and see in Lancaster County Pennsylvania so the next time you are in the area it is worth a stop. Make sure to stock up on some Shoo-fly pie or whoopie pies.
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