When trying to figure out Pennsylvania kid activities, families will find fantastic options in the Keystone State. Philadelphia offers an array of Pennsylvania kid activities, whether it’s learning about the Founding Fathers at Independence National Historical Park or checking out interactive exhibits at the Please Touch Museum. Pittsburgh also offers enriching experiences including fascinating exhibits at the Carnegie Science Center. As for exciting theme parks, there is Hersheypark, Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, and Dutch Wonderland. If you need a little trip planning inspiration, have a look at these 17 family attractions worth a visit in Pennsylvania.
1. Follow in the footsteps of the Founding Fathers at Independence National Historical Park
One of the top family attractions in Pennsylvania is Independence National Historical Park. A visit to this federally protected historic district offers a rich and fascinating lesson in freedom and the founding of the United States, complete with several sites related to the American Revolution that are a must-see. Take a tour of Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed, then head to Liberty Bell Center to see the iconic Liberty Bell. Other notable points of interest include the Benjamin Franklin Museum, a museum featuring artifacts and exhibits on the historical figure.
2. Satisfy kids' curiosity at the Please Touch Museum
Set in the Centennial District of Philadelphia, the Please Touch Museum is one of the family attractions in Pennsylvania that will spark children’s imagination. The destination elevates play and lifelong learning with two floors of fun, engaging exhibits. Adventure Camp, which focuses on all things STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), keeps little visitors’ attention with periscopes, an indoor treehouse, and more. Fairytale Garden enchants toddlers and features scenes from classic storybooks, while the Albert M. Greenfield Makerspace Studio is all about inventions. Finally, kids of all ages will want to take a spin on the 1924 Woodside Park Dentzel Carousel.
3. See lions, tigers, bears and more at the Philadelphia Zoo
There are many family attractions in Pennsylvania, including the Philadelphia Zoo, one of the first zoos in the United States. Situated in the Centennial District on the west bank of the Schuylkill River, this kid-friendly destination attracts animal lovers of all ages. Spanning 42 acres, the zoo features exciting exhibits, such as the African Plains, where you can get up close to watch giraffes and spot black-and-white zebras. At Big Cat Falls, lions, snow leopards, and Amur tigers, are among the majestic creatures, while McNeil Avian Center is home to more than 100 exotic birds. Visitors can also enjoy several kid-friendly attractions, including a carousel, kiddie train, and more.
4. Explore the galleries of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
There is no denying that museums prove to be popular family attractions in Pennsylvania. Parents who want to cultivate the inner artist in their children should plan to spend a few hours exploring the Philadelphia Museum of Art. You'll have a lot to take in with 200 galleries of artwork and a rich collection of artifacts from different periods. The museum has several must-sees that will delight children, including the rare armor horse at the Arms and Armor gallery, the lovely post-impressionist paintings by Monet, Manet, and Degas in the New European Galleries, and large sculptures in the Sculpture Garden.
5. Brighten kids’ day with a visit to The Crayola Experience
One of the colorful Pennsylvania attractions for kids is The Crayola Experience. Located in the town of Easton, this one-of-a-kind destination features hands-on activities that inspire creativity, and of course, coloring. Visitors typically spend 3 to 4 hours here with lots to do, such as arts and crafts at the Activity Studio and fun at The Colossal Caddy. Families can even have their own coloring page at the Be a Star photo booth, and the Crayon Factory Show is one not to miss with a Crayologist teaching kids how crayons are made. When it’s time to grab a bite, pop into Cafe Crayola featuring design-your-own pizzas and yummy cupcakes.
6. Admire nature at Bushkill Falls
Spending time outdoors with the family always seems to be one of the essential Pennsylvania kid activities. Billed as the “Niagara Falls of Pennsylvania,” this scenic destination is home to eight waterfalls, hiking trails, and more set within the picturesque Poconos Mountains. There is a lot to experience at this park, including the informative Story of Bushkill Falls exhibit. Those who take on the trails are in for a treat with natural splendor and pathways for all hiking levels and experience. There’s also paddle-boating and fishing at Twin Lakes, a children’s playground, and picnic pavilions, as well as a snack bar and Fudge Kitchen.
7. Go on a steam train adventure at Strasburg Railroad Lancaster
Make train travel dreams come true with a journey on the Strasburg Railroad Lancaster. Located in Lancaster County, the historic steam train is the oldest continuously operating railroad in the western hemisphere and takes passengers on a 45-minute journey of the Amish countryside. While onboard, narrated audio provides interesting stories about the train and its history. The elegant train cars, including the luxurious President’s Car, First-Class Parlor, and Open Air Car, provide a lovely backdrop for photos. There is also daily lunch aboard the Lee E. Brenner Dining Car. For those who want souvenirs, you’ll find train-inspired gifts at one of the station shops.
8. Try tasty chips at the Herr’s Snack Factory Tour
Parents searching for unique things for kids to do in Pennsylvania will want to visit the Herr’s Snack Factory Tour. Located in Nottingham, Pennsylvania, this fun experience tempts the taste buds. During the hour-long walking tour of the snack manufacturing company, guests will get to see how the different Herr’s Snacks are made, starting with a short film in the Chipper’s Theater before heading to watch the snack-making in action. Kids also get to learn what goes into making potato chips, tortilla chips, and more. After the tour, you can pick up snacks and souvenirs to take home from the gift shop.
9. Have a blast at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom
Amusement parks are pretty much one of the favorite Pennsylvania attractions for kids, and Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom are no exception. Located in Allentown, this fun-filled attraction is a spectacular place to spend time with the family. Whether you prefer thrilling rides or something on the tamer side for little ones, there is an experience for everyone. Big kids who are brave will want to line up for the Hydra and Possessed roller coasters, but there are other not-so-scary rides, such as Dodgem bumper cars and the Ferris Wheel. Those who prefer the waterpark, the Aquablast, Patriot Plunge and Runaway River will not disappoint.
10. Make discoveries at the Carnegie Science Center
When visiting Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with kids, be sure to take a field trip to the Carnegie Science Center. Located on the North Shore along the banks of the Ohio River, this museum makes learning entertaining by connecting science and technology with everyday life over four floors of interesting exhibits. Bricksburgh is for budding architects, while Bodyworks appeals to anyone interested in how the human body works. H2Oh! shines the spotlight on waterways, while the NETL Energy Zone features circuit stations and a power house to learn about electricity. For an out-of-this-world experience, head to the Buhl Planetarium to see stars and galaxies far away.
11. See pop art at The Andy Warhol Museum
As far as Pennsylvania kid activities, The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh is full of excitement. One of the largest museums of its kind dedicated to a single artist in the United States, the museum offers a colorful backdrop to the life and work of hometown hero and artist extraordinaire, Andy Warhol. Located on the North Shore along the banks of the Ohio River, the 7-floor museum features an impressive collection of paintings, drawings, sculptures and so much more, including iconic pieces, such as "Crushed Campbell’s Soup Can" and the colorful "Flowers, 1964." However, for kids, the installation of floating metallic "Silver Clouds" seems to be a favorite.
12. Watch animals in their element at Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium
Little ones always go wild over wildlife and the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium is the place to go when traveling in Pennsylvania with kids. Located in Highland Park, this 77-acre zoo and aquarium is home to over 4,000 animals. Family programs, outdoor activities, and enriching exhibits ensure a memorable visit. From polar bears at Water’s Edge to Amur tigers in Forest Passage to flamingos in the African Savannah, the resident animals are remarkable. Especially popular with families is the Wild Encounters, a 30-minute interactive experience of their choice, such as the behind-the-scenes Aquarium Adventure, Animal Ambassadors, and Sharks exhibits.
13. Discover another way of life at The Amish Farm and House
For an authentic, rare glimpse into a simpler way of life, The Amish Farm and House is a must for activities to enjoy with kids in Pennsylvania. Set in Lancaster County, the Amish attraction has been welcoming visitors since 1955. Several tours are available, such as the Premium Bus tour of the Amish countryside. On the farm, visitors meet animals, take buggy rides, see artisans at work, and step inside a traditional Amish schoolhouse. Other fun things to do include a Corn Maze and a Kids Farm Zone. For those who want to bring home something special from Lancaster County, there is a gift shop featuring baskets, wooden toys, and more.
14. Have a sweet time at Hersheypark and Hershey’s Chocolate World
One of the most appealing Pennsylvania attractions for kids, Hersheypark and Hershey’s Chocolate World will satisfy cravings for sweets and fun. Located in Hershey, Pennsylvania, this family attraction boasts rides and Hershey-inspired entertainment and experiences. Start with a tour at the world’s largest Hershey store, before entering the theme park full of roller coasters and fun rides for all ages. Highlights include the Comet, Dry Gulch Railroad, and Fender Bender bumper cars. It’s a good idea to have your camera ready when you spot charming Hershey's characters like Hershey Bar, Kit Kat, Reese, Milk Dud, and Rolo walking around.
15. Enjoy whirlwind rides at Dutch Wonderland
More thrills are in store when you visit Dutch Wonderland, a family theme park located in East Lampeter Township just east of Lancaster. Spanning 48 acres, this popular attraction is billed as a “Kingdom for Kids.” Whether it is flying high on Merlin’s Mayhem or taking a train ride on the Wonderland Special, this place is full of amusement. During the summer months, Duke’s Lagoon is the place to cool off in the lagoon with slides and play structures, or you can hop on the Pipeline Plunge for a splash. Entertaining shows are also on the bill and you’ll want to be in the audience for The Adventures of Frog Prince and Open Dive.
16. Learn all about making ice cream at the Turkey Hill Experience
If you kids are into food and history, then you’ll want to add the Turkey Hill Experience to your list of Pennsylvania kid activities. This immersive experience provides a glimpse into Turkey Hill Dairy to see how ice cream is made and experience other fun activities. Children will get a kick out of sitting behind the wheel of a vintage milk truck and starring in their own Turkey Hill commercial. You can even “Create Your Own” virtual ice cream flavor, and make your own concoction in the Taste Lab for the ultimate Ice Cream 101 session. Parents will enjoy the Tea Discovery experience, which is also onsite.
17. Check out the quirky Castle Halloween Museum
Perhaps one of the most unusual Pennsylvania kid activities is the Castle Halloween Museum. Located in the town of Altoona, this place has more than 35,000 Halloween-themed items from over the years, some dating back to the late 19th-century Whether it is costumes, sculptures, or other kitschy stuff, if it celebrates Halloween, you’ll likely find it here. The “Halloween Queen” guides you on an interesting tour of her personal collection as well.