Living in the heart of Amish country may seem boring at times. Mile after Mile of corn fields do not offer much in the way of entertainment for people looking to have fun. Whether you are just passing through or have lived in central Pa. your whole life the numerous things to do may surprise you. Here is a handy list of things to see and do in central Pa. for the next time you’re bored.
1. Hershey Chocolate World. Hershey’s Chocolate World is located just east of Harrisburg in Central Pennsylvania. In addition to the chocolate factory Hershey is also the home to a theme park, a zoo, and numerous other chocolate related attractions. The great thing about Chocolate world is that the tour is free! If you need a way to entertain the family without spending a lot of money head on down to Hershey and take a ride through Chocolate World.
2. T&D; Cats. T&D; Cats is an animal refuge located near Penns Creek. Visitors can tour the facility for a fee and are even able to feed some of the rare animals on the premises. The refuge focuses mainly on big cats such as lions and tigers but also has bears, wolves, deer, monkeys, and a host of other animals on display. Volunteers are on-hand to help with tours or provide information to visitors throughout the refuge. This attraction can be difficult to find even by locals so I encourage visitors to look carefully for signs when you get close to the park.
3. State College. This town is known far and wide as being the home of the Penn State Nittany Lions. Some must see attractions in the State College area include the Bryce Jordan Center, Bellefonte Historical Railroad, and the Penn State Creamery which features some unique ice cream flavors including Peach Paterno and Lion S’more, yum!
4. Penn’s Cave. Penn’s Cave is a wildlife park and cave located about 20 miles east of State College. Activities at Penn’s Cave include guided boat rides through the cave, wildlife tours to see the numerous rare animals on the premises, and a gift shop to pick up some souvenirs.
5. Hiawatha. The Hiawatha is a paddlewheel riverboat that launches from Williamsport Pa. and travels the Susquehanna river. Public cruises run May thru October. Dinner cruises and entertainment are available on some trips. Schedule well ahead of time for big groups, this attraction fills up fast.
6. State Museum of Pennsylvania. The state museum resides in Harrisburg Pa. and features many attractions. My personal favorite is the planetarium which sits on the top floor of the museum and shows various space related shows on Saturday and Sunday. After visiting the museum be sure to grab a bite to eat from the Aangan Indian restaurant which is a local favorite for tasty Indian cuisine.
7. Bass Pro Shops. A relatively new addition to central Pa. is the Bass Pro Shops in Harrisburg Pa. This is an outdoors lovers paradise but has many attractions for everyone. Some fun things to do include the NASCAR simulator, a rock climbing wall, a 60,000 gallon aquarium, and a specialty restaurant which serves bison and elk burgers among other things.
8. Clyde Peelings Reptiland. This specialized zoo is the home to a wide variety of reptiles including alligators, tortoises, and of course snakes. You may also see some rare birds and mammals scattered throughout the zoo. Reptiland is open year round but is far more enjoyable during the spring and summer months when the colorful gardens make for pleasant walks through the zoo.
9. Knoebels Amusement Park. Knoebels is the largest free admission amusement park in the country. Open from late April thru Oct. Knoebels consistently wins awards for having great food. This park has a long list of things to do including swimming, roller coasters, camping, train rides, a sklooosh, and everything else you would expect to find at a top notch amusement park.
10. Little League Museum. This museum in Williamsport, Pa. was built to commemorate the many accomplishments of little league baseball and softball. Inside you’ll find batting cages which have video playback to help you improve batting form, highlight reels that replay some of the biggest moments in little league history, and a wide assortment of photos and memorabilia relating to little league.
Many other attractions exist in central Pennsylvania. The ones listed here are my personal favorites that I hope you will enjoy as much as I have over the years. If you happen to see me during your travels through Pennsylvania be sure to stop and say hello!