Get ready to go...here’s what you need to know about the coolest spots for family fun in Lancaster County, PA. My family lives in Berks County, PA but we are a stone's throw away from the beautiful Lancaster County. Chloe (my niece) and I love to spend our days finding fun, free or low cost activities that are not only geared towards kids but are educational too! Here’s our list of the best places to hit...
1. The Pretzel Hut
2224 Furnace Hills Pike, Newmanstown, PA 17073
Chloe loveees this place. (Who am I kidding, I do too!) They have tasty food, yummy ice cream and ANIMALS! You’ll find goats, bunnies, pigs, chickens, peacocks and maybe even a calf here. The best part is...they roam free, for the most part! You can just say hello, watch from afar, pet them, take photos, and simply experience the calm of nature while on your visit. We go at off times so it's rarely busy and such a neat experience. Did I mention---it’s FREE! They accept donations and the food/ ice cream is an obvious cost but not required to visit the animals.
2. Fox Meadows Creamery
2475 W. Main St. Ephrata, PA 17522
If you’re looking for somewhere to eat a stellar meal and delicious homemade ice cream while letting your kids burn off a little energy--this is the place for you! There is ample indoor and outdoor seating and a sweet outdoor play area for the kids (positioned close enough to the outdoor seating that you can kick back and relax while the kids play with an iced coffee or milkshake). They even have a little shop inside and an area where you can watch employees making the ice cream by hand. Chloe loves pulling up a chair to watch! My favorite thing about this establishment is the super kind employees. After visiting over a dozen times, I can honestly say I’m ALWAYS beyond pleased with the service.
3. The Oregon Dairy
2900 Oregon Pike, Lititz, PA 17543
If you have been here, you know that your kids will never be ready to leave. The play area is epic. The huge yellow slide, the swings, the spider web, monkey bars and the “Cattle Chute” make it hard to pull your kids away when it’s time to head home---at least in my case it is. Our trip here usually ends in a chase around the play area trying to wrangle my niece. I get it, I wouldn’t want to leave either. The Oregon Dairy has goats to feed who are super friendly and love visitors. You can visit with the deer on premise and the cute (big) piggie as well but they tend to keep their distance rather than run over to say hello. I almost forgot to mention the restaurant and ice cream which is available as well and super delicious! A little trick I learned is to eat first and make your kiddos earn the outdoor play time. This is a great way to ensure you get to eat in peace (who am I kidding, that will never happen).
4. Hands-On House Children’s Museum of Lancaster
721 Landis Valley Rd, Lancaster, PA 17601
The Hands-On House is not free but with some budgeting is certainly do-able! At $11.00 per child and $10.50 per adult you could definitely bring the kids here on a rainy day. They also have a yearly family membership, a good option if you plan to spend more than one day here! The HOH is perfect for children ages 2-10 or any child who is curious and creative. We took Chloe at age 3 and she was all about it. From dress up to face painting (done by your little one) to imagination stations and “Marty’s Machine Shop”, your kids will be busy playing and learning all at once. In my opinion, yes one of my “hats” is being a certified teacher, children become exceptional by doing. They learn through play and honestly who wants to sit behind a desk or television all day anyway? Bottom line, I would definitely suggest checking out the HOH if you have a chance.
5. Tiny Town
533 Janet Ave, Lancaster, PA 17601
Tiny Town is one place you don't want to miss if you have young children. TT is literally a miniature town, consisting of a garage, library, salon, theater, fire station and more! Have a baby under 13 months old? Their admission is free. Kiddos 13 months+ cost just $10 for unlimited fun, all day long! As an auntie, I love to watch my niece play and engage with others (she loves making new friends too as she’s an only child). She super gentle and empathetic and is always sure to include everyone. Here, Mommas, you can relax and let the kids do their thing. During your visit to Tiny Town, you’re in their world! Whether that means they are working in the veterinary clinic or checking out books at the library, they are fully focused on the fact that Tiny Town has brought to life all of their favorite things, made just in their size. Take a breather, superMom! Phew!
Whether you’re able to spend money or not, be sure to take advantage of all the things Lancaster County has to offer. Kids grow up too fast, you only have so much time. If nothing else, take a ride through the countryside, after all it’s not hard to find! Spot a field full of cows? Stop to observe...play “which one has the most spots?”. Basically, what I'm saying is get out and have some fun, you’ll be glad you did!