Explore the best kid activities in Lancaster, PA

When you take your family to Lancaster, you'll find yourself close to a wide variety of activities to enjoy. Not only will you find plenty for adults and kids to do, but you can enjoy several attractions designed specifically for children. These attractions come in many different forms, so you can customize your itinerary to appeal to your family's unique interests. For example, you'll find plenty of museums and markets, but if your family is looking for a more active and outdoor-oriented adventure, you can easily pack your itinerary with parks and hiking trails instead. Whatever you're looking for, you'll find no shortage of kid activities in Lancaster, PA.

1. The Lancaster Science Factory

The Lancaster Science Factory is a fun museum that covers a variety of different topics including electricity, magnetism, engineering, and much more. You'll find more than 60 exhibits in total, and most are interactive, letting kids get hands-on experiences with fun activities. One of the more popular activities is building a miniature bridge and seeing if it holds up against an earthquake test. Additionally, you'll find that this museum offers discount admission for kids, and kids under 2 years of age are admitted for free.

2. National Christmas Center

If your family loves the holidays, you won't want to miss out on the National Christmas Center. This destination offers an incredible array of different activities and exhibits including one that focuses on how Christmas is celebrated around the world and another highlighting toymaking. Of course, your little ones can also meet Santa for a photo. Don't think you have to time your vacation around Christmas either, as this center celebrates Christmas all year long. Keep in mind that it's only open on weekends in March and April, but it's open daily the rest of the year.

3. Landis Valley Museum

The Landis Valley Museum allows you to travel back in time and explore what the area was like centuries ago for German immigrants. You'll find a plethora of old homes alongside a schoolhouse and a blacksmith. The guides at this living museum are all dressed in period-appropriate clothing and can offer valuable insight into the early Pennsylvania German culture. Plus, you and your kids are sure to enjoy a ride on horse-drawn wagons and a visit to the local farmsteads. If your child is 2 years of age or younger admission is free.

4. Central Market

The Central Market in Downtown Lancaster has been a staple of the area for almost 3 centuries now with numerous vendors to peruse. You'll find a wide variety of items on offer that the whole family can enjoy. Most of it is fresh food, but you'll also find crafts and other homemade goods to purchase. The old-fashioned candy stand and cookie vendors are especially popular with kids. You'll also find that a fair amount of the vendors are Amish offering food grown on their farms alongside ethnic food stands bringing in cuisines from around the world.

5. Turkey Hill Experience

The Turkey Hill Experience is one of the best destinations in town to visit if your family loves ice cream. This fun destination is an ice cream lover’s paradise with a tasting lab that lets you try a wide variety of different flavors. Additionally, you can make your own unique flavor of ice cream and try it yourself. Kids can also enjoy activities like milking a mechanical cow, making an ice cream commercial, and sitting in a retro-styled milk truck. Don't forget that Turkey Hill is known for their tea, so you'll find plenty of different tea flavors to try as well.

6. Kitchen Kettle Village

If you and your family are looking to visit a traditional Dutch village just outside of Lancaster, Kitchen Kettle Village is the perfect destination. It offers a satisfying break from the more active attractions in town letting you relax and take in the array of quaint eateries and shops. You'll find a working canning kitchen alongside shops offering intricately handcrafted souvenirs to take home. Plus, it's located next to the Lancaster farmlands, which are perfect for taking a scenic hike through the area. The entire village is notably walkable so it's easy to get around.

7. Cherry Crest Adventure Farm

At Cherry Crest Adventure Farm, you'll find a satisfying mixture of agriculture and entertainment for the whole family to enjoy. You'll find a petting zoo alongside wagon rides and giant slides. The star of the show, however, is the corn maze, which has been cleverly called the Amazing Maize Maze. Plus, the maze is outfitted with a new theme every year, so you'll never have the same experience twice on subsequent visits. You'll also be happy to find that kids under 3 get in entirely for free, and this farm is located along the Strasburg Railroad track.

8. The Amish Village

When your family explores the Amish Village, you can learn all about how Amish people live. You'll find an authentic replica of the average Amish Country town complete with homes, shops, farms, schools, and their iconic covered bridges. You and your kids can learn about their culture and customs and even see some of their fascinating cooking methods in action through demonstrations. You can visit a working farm and meet Amish people who are happy to talk with you. You can reach the farms via the Backroads Bus Tour, which is conveniently available in the village.

9. Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania

At the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, you and your family can learn all about the history of locomotives while exploring a massive collection of historical trains. Among the collection, you'll find iconic locomotives including the train car from Hello Dolly! That Barbara Streisand rode in. Kids will especially enjoy interacting with the miniature trains in the Stewart Junction section of the museum. They're all automated, so they'll be pressing buttons to make them move. Additionally, you'll find games kids can enjoy related to trains.

10. Dutch Wonderland

Nothing will make a trip to Lancaster with kids memorable quite like visiting a local theme park. At Dutch Wonderland, you'll find a variety of different rides and experiences designed primarily for kids to enjoy. In fact, you'll find several rides that are relatively tame and perfect for young kids to enjoy like Wiggle Racers and the Frog Hopper. This theme park has an animatronic dinosaur exhibit along with a water park called Duke's Lagoon. Like many other top-quality theme parks, this one also hosts live entertainment like shows, parades, and concerts, all of which are family-friendly.

11. Tiny Town

Tiny Town is a unique indoor play place that kids can enjoy complete with numerous hands-on attractions among 11 luxury playhouses. You'll find that these playhouses can take many different forms with one being a fire station, one being a garage, and one that's like a miniature hospital. When kids visit, they'll not only have fun but will also learn about various careers they might be interested in. You'll also find a lounge and cafe area with a full view of the playhouses allowing you to relax while watching your kids enjoy themselves.

12. National Toy Train Museum

When you and your family visit the National Toy Train Museum, you'll find one of the largest collections of toy trains available in the entire world. The collections span a large period of time with some of the oldest models dating back to the mid-19th century. Even the building itself is on theme, modeling itself after a railroad station you might find in Victorian Era California, despite actually being located in Lancaster County. Remember that while many of the trains on display here are stationary in protected cases, you'll find a fair share of toy trains in motion that are sure to impress.

13. Choo Choo Barn

Trains are a major aspect of the culture in Lancaster, and you can explore some of the largest collections of intricate model trains at the Choo Choo Barn. The model area features 1,700 square feet of space with 22 operating model trains making their way through the tracks. The surroundings are particularly well put together with over 150 hand-crafted vehicles and figures dotting the landscape in an effort to make it look as detailed and realistic as possible. There's a reason this destination is known as Traintown USA since you won't find a passion for model trains quite like this anywhere else.

14. American Music Theatre

The American Music Theatre is an iconic destination for those looking for unforgettable Lancaster, Pennsylvania, kid activities. Several different shows are performed here each year, covering a wide variety of genres, including singing, dancing, and comedy, and just about every performance here is notably family-friendly. You'll find performances being held here throughout the entire year, so it's always an option no matter when you plan your visit.

15. Refreshing Mountain

If you and your family are looking for outdoor adventure, Refreshing Mountain has got you covered. You'll find zip-lining courses and archery setups, but that's just the beginning. You'll also find numerous hiking trails along with a seasonal pool area complete with a waterslide and a diving board. Kids can even enjoy a water playground in the area. You can stay late and start a campfire in the fire area complete with benches and plenty of seats for the whole family to spend outside time together over songs and s'mores.

16. Strasburg Railroad

The Strasburg Railroad is the oldest operating railroad in the country. Whether your family is interested in trains, history, or just fun rides, you'll find everything you need for an unforgettable experience on the rails here. You can ride the train as it travels through the Amish countryside and the vibrant greenery found throughout Pennsylvania. The station here also has special attractions suitable for kids like the Pump Car and Cranky Cars games. When you visit the station, you'll also find a train-themed playground with slides to give kids a place to have fun if you're waiting for the train to pull into the station.