Wide eyes, toothy grins, and memories that last a lifetime...these are the things great family vacations are made of. They are why parents put so much energy into planning outings and they are our specialty here in Lancaster County.
Of course, kids and adults alike are mesmerized by Amish culture and all the smells, sights and sounds that naturally exist here. But it’s taking these things and organizing them into fun family time that creates the memories you’ll cherish forever. These activities range from outdoor adventures to indoor educational experiences and everything in between.
One great way to create some serious family fun is to just yell “all aboard!” and head over to Strasburg Rail Road. As you arrive to town, listen out your window and chances are you’ll hear the hiss of an old steam locomotive. Once at the railroad, you can purchase tickets for a ride that feels like a trip back in time. Train lovers should be sure to visit the Choo Choo Barn, which boasts a 1,700 square foot layout featuring 22 operating model trains and over 150 hand-created animated figures and scenes.
Want to immerse yourself in Amish life? Then head over to the Amish Village for a glimpse into the lifestyle of the old order Amish. Tour the farmhouse and one-room schoolhouse, then stroll through the barn filled with friendly farm animals and the authentic village grounds. Next stop, the Amish Experience where guests visit the old order Fisher Homestead and school for a look at how the Amish of today live at home. In their theater you and your family can watch “Jacob’s Choice,” the story of one young man’s choice between family, faith and community versus the allure of life in the outside world. Both offer countryside bus tours to get a flavor of the area’s history, culture and beautiful vistas.
Another great way to experience Amish life up close is with a scooter tour offered by Strasburg Scooters. Enjoy a guided tour through the back roads of Lancaster County as you follow your guide on a ride full of surprise stops throughout the countryside. Their scoot coupes are perfect for the youngsters or those who would prefer navigating on 3 wheels.
Want to spend the day on a farm? A favorite among locals and tourists alike is Cherry Crest Adventure Farm, which features 15 acres filled with over 50 farm fun activities, including games, rides, food, slides, and its famous corn maze. Want to learn about life on a real family farm? Then a visit to Verdant View Farm is in order. Here you can milk a cow, feed a calf, and get eye to eye with rabbits, goats, chickens and calves.
If you’re interested in animals that are a bit more on the wild side, a must-see is the Wolf Sanctuary of PA. Misplaced, maltreated and confiscated wolves live in lush and ample enclosures, much like their natural habitat. Tour guides educate guests about the biology of wolves while sharing personal anecdotes about the wolves at the sanctuary.
Want to expand your mind? Take a trip over to the Lancaster Science Factory, a hands-on, interactive science and technology center with over 60 exhibits. If you’re hungry for a learning experience that satisfies your appetite, you’ll want to check out Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery. Enjoy the sights and smells of America’s first pretzel bakery while getting a lesson in pretzel twisting. Just as tasty is a trip to the Turkey Hill Experience, where you can taste a ton of inventive ice cream flavors and even create your own.
If all that tasting leaves you with energy to burn, you’ll have several other unique activities to choose from. Fly high on wall-towall trampolines, dive into the foam zone, test your climbing skills on Skyclimb or maybe try some ultimate trampoline dodgeball at SkyZone. Try your luck at a ropes course, laser tag, mini bowling, arcade games or their brand new 7D interactive theater that will blow your mind at Go ‘n Bananas. Or stop in at Tiny Town for some big fun for little people at this hands-on, interactive play center complete with 9 luxury playhouses that truly bring out your child’s curiosity and creativity. Moms and dads can enjoy the coffee bar and café seating too. Finally, enjoy some all-American fun with Lancaster’s very own minor league baseball team, the Barnstormers. Enjoy a game, the kid’s park, the arcade suite while the “big” kids can visit the craft beer deck. And, say hi to Cylo when you’re there.