Kids Day Out!

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When my kids were growing up we loved exploring the different kids activities in the area. Anything from Hershey Park to loading up in our van and driving to the Sesame Street Place in Bucks County PA. Those are great – definitely recommend! 

However there are some true local gems that my kids loved just as much as those big attractions. I’m highlighting three of their favorite museums below. They were great years ago, and they’ve gotten even better today.

THE NORTH MUSEUM

You need to visit! Every month features a new theme designed to educate and spark interest in kids (and parents)! There is a focus on nature and science – what is amazing here is their Planetarium. Not to mention the live animal room, the lego lab, coding corner, and exploring the past with a life-size dinosaur skeleton. 

LANCASTER SCIENCE FACTORY

PC: Lancaster County Museums

With a focus on Science, Lancaster Science Factory is an interactive and fun museum for kids to explore STEM. It’s located in a reclaimed factory downtown. They offer activities almost daily – on weekdays and weekends. Check out their events schedule to plan your visit!

HANDS-ON HOUSE

This has to be my daughter’s favorite from her childhood. Hands-On House offers multiple self-directed exhibits which lets kids learn and play with their parents in a fun setting. Kids can use their imaginations and explore in this fun and safe hands-on environment. There is a play grocery store, science room, tree house and so much more. We went weekly and it seemed to never get old to them. They also have amazing camps in the summer. 

If you have kids (or grandkids), any of these would be great options for a fun, new activity for your little one. These are Lancaster classics for a reason!

Little Lancaster Dictionary

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PC: co.lancaster.pa

If you just moved to the area, or are in town visiting, odds are you’ve picked up on the Lancaster slang and verbiage. You’ve heard it, but do you know what it means to native Lancastrians? Read the list below so you can speak in Lancaster tongue, too!

  • Outen the lights = turn the lights out
  • Red up your room = clean up your room
  • It’s spritzing out = it’s raining
  • Cellar = basement
  • Is it all? = is it all gone?
  • Philly = Philadelphia
  • State store = liquor store
  • Wooder = water
  • Slippy = slippery
  • Left the dog out = let the dog out
  • Look here once = look here for a second
  • I’m coming with = i’m coming with you
  • Macadam = black top/pavement
  • Jimmies = sprinkles
  • Rutts = correct pronunciation for Roots Country Market
  • Buch = “boo-que” Avenue

And of course, the classic names of towns you must know!

  • Lancaster = lang-kiss-ter
  • Ephrata = Eff-er-tah
  • Lititz = Lit-its
  • Amish = Ahhh-mish
  • Reading = Red-ing

Hopefully this makes understanding natives a little easier, and you’ll feel at home in no time!

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All Aboard, Thomas the Train

PC: STRASBURG RAIL ROAD

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Is there a Thomas the Tank Engine lover in your family? If so, make their day by taking them to ride a real-life Thomas the train at the Strasburg Rail Road

This summer, on select days, you will have the chance to board this famous train through the beautiful countryside of Lancaster County. It is a 45 minute train ride, pulled by the fully operational tank engine, Thomas!

For the parents benefit, Thomas’ seats have been beautifully restored to mimic the Victorian era coaches. They are gorgeous!! If you go on a warm Summer day, you will even get to experience the fresh air from the train with the windows opened.

PC: STRASBURG RAIL ROAD

For $25, you can ride Thomas and have access to all Day Out With Thomas activities at the Rail Road. Some of this includes a visit with Sir Topham Hatt, play pods, dance parties, and more. You will also have the chance to take pictures with Thomas (& friends).

PC: STRASBURG RAIL ROAD

Dates for the 2022 season are as follows:

  • April 29 – May 2
  • June 17 – 20
  • September 16 – 19

Note that tickets must be purchased in advance, not onsite.

Did you know Thomas the Tank Engine talks? When he rolls into the station, Thomas has a few words to say to everyone gathered at the platform. So instead of watching Thomas on TV, have your family experience actually riding on board Thomas’ tank engine! Your kids will LOVE this activity this summer.

PC: STRASBURG RAIL ROAD

Be A Tourist In Your Own Town!

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They say when you get married that you should never stop “dating” your spouse. Well, we think this applies to where you live, too – never stop exploring where you live! It’s easy to fall into your routine at home and stick to your usual circle, but there are so many things to do that you probably have not done…right down the street! This is your friendly reminder to get out and try something new in our town this month!

Here are some of the top tourist attractions in Lancaster County…let us know if you try anything below, or have other local favorites!

Ride a Horse & Buggy

PC: TIME.COM

If you take a drive through our beautiful Amish country, through Paradise and Bird-in-Hand, you will pass several horse and buggy spots where you will be able to sit in the buggy! We recommend Aaron and Jessica’s Buggy Rides in Bird-in-Hand for your one stop shop. Ride through a covered bridge, cruise past Amish farms, and see what it’s really like on board a buggy! Times and routes vary – visit their website for more!

Visit a Local Farmer’s Market

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There are so many delicious stands that you will randomly stumble upon while driving the roads of Lancaster. We love Roots Country Market on Tuesdays, the Corn Wagon in Willow Street, and Spooky Nook Farms for flowers. Each is unique and has their own eclectic offerings, but one thing they all have in common is delicious, farm-fresh produce. You’ll love it!

Go to Shady Maple

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Typically if you talk to an out-of-towner about Lancaster, they talk about Amish and Shady Maple. It’s truly a must-try restaurant just for the sake of going to a Lancaster County classic. We can’t promise it will be the best meal of your life, but we can guarantee it will be memorable and you will have a good time! It’s a Smorgasboard, so go hungry and eat a lot!