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Things to do In Lancaster Pennsylvania with Kids

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Known for its charming Amish country, picturesque farmlands, and rich history, Lancaster is a fantastic destination for families. If you and your family are looking for a travel destination that offers fun and educational experiences for everyone, then Lancaster, PA should definitely be on your list. As a family who loves exploring historic sites, Lancaster is the perfect place to learn and have fun. There are many things to do in Lancaster with kids that will make for a fun trip for the whole family. 

things to do with kids in lancaster pa

Visiting Lancaster Pennsylvania with kids

Lancaster is rich in history and offers a variety of activities and attractions will entertain kids of all ages. From visiting the Amish Experience to riding the Strasburg Rail Road, there is so much to see and do. As someone who has taken my kids to historic sites before, I know that the best way for them to learn is by interacting with history. Lancaster offers plenty of opportunities for learning and fun.

Is Lancaster Pa a Good place to visit with kids?

Yes, Lancaster, PA is a great place to visit with kids. Visiting Lancaster with kids offers a variety of family-friendly activities and attractions. Some of our favorites include the Amish Experience, Strasburg Train Ride, Horse Buggy Ride, Turkey Hill Experience, Escape Room at Escape On Queen, and Julius Sturgis Pretzel Factory. This post is based on the things that we did and saw when we took our trip to the Lancaster Area. 

We set out on our trip to find the best kid-friendly activities in Pennsylvania dutch country that would be great for the whole family. We had wonderful experiences at every place that we visited. All of my kids enjoyed each stop that we made. One great thing about visiting Lancaster with kids is that there is plenty to do for children of all ages. This makes it a great place for a family trip with kids of different ages.

Is it worth visiting Lancaster PA?

Yes, Lancaster PA is definitely worth visiting! The city is full of rich history and culture, beautiful countryside scenery, delicious food, and fun family-friendly activities. One of the biggest draws of Lancaster is its Amish heritage, which can be experienced through visiting attractions in the local area.

whoppie pies at a market in lancaster pa

What Local Foods Must You Try when Visiting Lancaster Pa?

As you may already know we are big on trying the foods of the areas that we are visiting. I always research the foods of the area to make sure that we experience the foods that the area is known for. When you are visiting Lancaster there are a few different must-try foods.

  • Shoofly Pie. This is a classic Lancaster County dessert made with molasses and a crumbly, sweet topping.
  • Chicken Pot Pie. Unlike the familiar flaky-crusted version, Lancaster’s chicken pot pie is a stew-like dish. It is made with square-cut noodles and chunks of chicken, in a thick broth made with milk and flour.
  • Scrapple. Regional breakfast meat made from pork scraps and cornmeal, fried until crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
  • Pretzels. The pretzel has a long history in Lancaster County, with the first commercial pretzel bakery in the United States opening in Lititz, Pennsylvania in 1861. Today, visitors can sample a variety of fresh-baked pretzels at many locations throughout the county.
  • Whoopie Pies. A popular Lancaster County dessert consisting of two cake-like cookies sandwiched together with a sweet, creamy filling. The traditional version features chocolate cookies with vanilla filling. There are many variations are available including pumpkin, peanut butter, and even red velvet.

Where to stay when visiting Lancaster with Kids

There are many places to stay in the Lancaster area. We stayed at the Lancaster Double Tree Resort, which the kids loved. They are always happy when we stay at a Double Tree because they get a chocolate chip cookie at check-in. Aside from their well-loved cookie, the Double Tree resort has lots of things great for families. They have spacious rooms, an indoor pool along with a small indoor water park that is great for the young kids to enjoy while the older kids are swimming along with a fitness center.

Things to do In Lancaster with Kids

When planning our trip I wanted it to be one that would be fun for kids of all ages. All 4 of my kids were going on the trip with me and they are ages 6-18. We had 3 days to explore and made the most of our time. We had so much fun while we explored the area and I think it is a great place to visit.

The amish house at the amish experience

The Amish Experience 

If you’re looking for a unique and educational experience in Lancaster, PA, the Amish Experience is a must-see place. My kids and I had an amazing time learning about the Amish way of life. The Amish Experience offers a variety of tours and attractions that are perfect for families with kids of all ages. From a guided bus tour of Amish country to a visit to an authentic Amish farmhouse, there is so much to see and learn. 

We picked the tour of the recreated Amish house and the one-room school house along with the FX movie that tells a story about an Amish family. My kids loved seeing the recreation of the Amish House and learning about how the Amish live without electricity or modern technology. It was a great way to expose them to a different culture and way of life. However, there are many activities you can do.

kids in the one room school house at the amish experience

Things to do when Visiting The Amish Experience

  • Enjoy a screening of “Jacob’s Choice” at the F/X Theater. “Jacob’s Choice” is a movie that tells the story of an Amish family that is forced to leave their community due to religious persecution. The movie is shown in the F/X Theater, which features special effects that make viewers feel like they are part of the story.
  • Experience the Amish lifestyle through a backroads bus tour. The guided tours that take visitors through the backroads of Lancaster County. On them, you can observe the Amish lifestyle up close. The tours stop at various Amish farms and businesses, including a quilt shop, a bakery, and a furniture store.
  • Take a guided tour of an Amish farmhouse and one-room schoolhouse. The Amish Experience offers a guided tour of a farmhouse. The tour takes visitors through the various rooms of the house, including the kitchen, living room, and bedrooms of the house. It also includes a tour of the one room Amish schoolhouse. The guide provides information on how the Amish lived in the past and how they continue to live today.
  • Enjoy an Amish-style dinner. You can enjoy an Amish-style dinner that includes traditional Amish dishes such as fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and apple pie. The dinner is served family-style, giving visitors the opportunity to interact with other guests and learn more about Amish culture.

Location: 3121 Old Philadelphia Pike, Bird-in-Hand, PA 17505

Get More Information here.

riding in an amish buggy in lancaster

Go On An Amish Buggy Ride

Going on an Amish buggy ride is an experience like no other. The clip-clop of the horse’s hooves and the swaying motion of the buggy create a sense of calm that is hard to find in our busy, modern world. We heard many great things for friends that the best buggy rides were with Aaron and Jessica’s Amish Buggy Rides. This experience offers visitors a glimpse into the unique culture and way of life of the Amish community.

There are two different ride options when you are picking your buggy ride. There’s the standard buggy ride, which takes you through the countryside at a leisurely pace, giving you time to take in the scenery and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. 

For those who want to experience the Amish way of life even further, there’s the farm tour ride. This ride takes you past working farms and through the fields where crops are grown. You will get to stop at an Amish farm and enjoy outdoor activities including petting farm animals and shopping at local Amish-owned shops. 

We loved going on the buggy ride thru the Amish Countryside and our driver was amazing. The drivers are all Amish and are more than happy to share their knowledge and answer any questions you have. It’s a great opportunity to learn about the Amish way of life, their traditions, and their beliefs. He shared about what his life was like on a daily basis, he shared about his children and he was so kind when answering any of the questions my kids had. 

Location: 3121 Old Philadelphia Pike (Route 340) Bird in Hand, PA  17572

Get More Information here.

Turkey Hill Experience in lancaster pa

Turkey Hill Experience

As a family who loves ice cream, we had an amazing time at the Turkey Hill Experience. If you have any ice cream lovers in your family then this is a must-make stop! There are many activities in the Turkey Hill Experience that are great for kids of all ages. 

The entire place is filled with interactive and hands-on activities that showcase the history of ice cream and the process of how ice cream is made. While exploring the exhibits you get the chance to milk a mechanical cow and many different hands-on exhibits that showcase the history of ice cream making it fun for kids.

Things to do at Turkey Hill Experience

Interactive exhibits. As you walk thru the Turkey Hill experience you will learn about the process of making ice cream. Kids can interact with the make-your-own ice cream flavor and make their own ice cream exhibits that are a ton of fun.

Eat Ice Cream. While learning about how the ice cream is made with the interactive exhibits, you get to taste all the ice cream that you want! I am not sure exactly how many different ice cream flavors each of the kids ate, but I can tell you they were not hungry for lunch after our trip. 

Learn about Tea. Not only will you learn about Turkey Hill Ice Cream you will also learn about their teas and how they are made. The kids all love the tea-tasting station where you were able to taste all the different Tea flavors that Turkey Hill makes.  

Make Your Own Ice Cream. My kid’s favorite part was making their own ice cream in the taste lab. In this class, you can choose a vanilla base or a chocolate base. Then you get to pick your flavoring, your swirls, and your add-ins and learn how Turkey Hill makes their ice cream while creating your own flavor. After creating your own ice cream flavor you get to enjoy eating it!  From creating our own ice cream flavors to learning about the history of Turkey Hill, there was something for everyone. 

Location: 301 Linden Street Columbia, PA 17512

Get More Information here.

Strasburg Railroad Train Ride

The Strasburg Railroad Train Ride is an iconic attraction in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The train ride takes visitors back in time to the golden age of steam railroads. The historic train station, built in 1832, serves as the departure point for the journey through the picturesque Amish countryside. The vintage steam engines and coaches have been lovingly restored and maintained to provide an authentic experience. As the train chugs along the tracks, visitors can take in the breathtaking scenery and imagine what it was like to travel by train in the 19th century. 

We took a ride on the train during lunchtime so that we could enjoy our lunch while taking the 45-minute train ride. All of the kids enjoyed the ride and the meal that was served. For this train ride you order the tickets online and you are able to pick your meal. Once the train ride gets going they serve your meal and you get to enjoy the meal while enjoying the scenery and listening to the history story that is told while you take the train ride.

At the train station, there are a few other things that you can do before or after your train ride. You can take the young children over to the playground, you can shop in the shops and you can enjoy the live entertainment at the mainstage of folks in period time dress. 

Location: 301 Gap Road, Ronks, PA 17572

Get More Information here.

escape room in lancaster pa

Escape Room at Escape On Queen

As a homeschooling family, we are always looking for new and exciting ways to learn and have fun at the same time. During our trip to Lancaster, PA, we discovered the Escape Room at Escape on Queen. It quickly became one of our favorite family-friendly stops. In fact, the kids loved it so much that we went back to do a second room! 

Lancaster with kids : Visit an escape room

The Escape Room provided a unique opportunity for us to work together as a family, solve puzzles and riddles, and test our problem-solving skills. The themes of the rooms were challenging and engaging, and we all had a great time trying to escape before the clock ran out. It was a great bonding experience for us and a fun way to learn through teamwork and problem-solving.

I wanted to squeeze in some history learning while doing the escape room so we did The Hideout and September 1777. Both of these rooms were fantastic at sparking the kid’s interest in the different time periods along with completing the rooms. It was a great way for everyone to work together and have fun. We escaped one room and we were 5 minutes short of escaping the second one, but overall it was a ton of fun that we all enjoyed. 

Location: 43 N Queen Street Lancaster, PA 17603

Get More Information here.

Lancaster Pa with kids - visiting Landis Village and Museum

Landis Valley Village and Museum

If you’re a history buff or just love exploring unique destinations, Landis Valley Museum in Lancaster, Pennsylvania is definitely worth a visit. This open-air museum showcases Pennsylvania’s rural heritage, dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. The museum is situated on a 100-acre site that includes historic buildings, farmsteads, and gardens. While walking around you are immersed in an expierience that feels like stepping back in time in a tiny town. 

The history museum is home to over 20 historic buildings, including farmhouses, barns, and workshops. Each building showcases different aspects of rural life and the skills of the people who lived in Pennsylvania in the past. Visitors can explore the buildings, interact with knowledgeable guides, and even participate in hands-on activities.

During the busy summer months, there is a lot of hands-on activities for the kids to do. There are interactive personnel who are dressed in time-period clothing who add to the learning experience and fun when you are visiting the Landis museum. You can try your hand at hearth cooking, weaving, pottery, and more. These interactive experiences give visitors a deeper understanding of the daily life and work of Pennsylvania Germans.

The Landis Village and Museum is a great place to visit when you are visiting Lancaster with kids, the kids will learn and have fun while there.

Location: 2451 Kissel Hl Rd, Lancaster, PA 17601

Get More Information here.

Julius Sturgis Pretzel Factory

Julius Sturgis Pretzel Factory

Our first stop when visiting lancaster with kids was visiting the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Factory. It is not directly in Lancaster, but a few minutes on the outskirts in Lititz, Pa. It is a unique and fun experience for families with kids. The factory is the first commercial pretzel bakery in America, established in 1861. When visiting you will learn about the history of the factory, the company and get to have a hands-on experience of learning how to fold a pretzel.

Walking thru the original factory and learning about how the pretzels were made was a ton of fun. The whole tour and experience takes about an hour so it was the perfect stop for us on our way into Lancaster and starting our trip. 

Visiting Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery is a fun and unique experience that’s perfect for anyone who loves pretzels, history, or both. It’s an excellent stop for families, couples, and solo travelers. The bakery is open seven days a week, and tours are available every day except for major holidays. Admission is reasonably priced, and it’s an excellent value for the experience you’ll have. If you are wanting a tour you do need to book online before going to reserve your tour.

Location: 219 East Main Street (Route 772), Lititz, PA 17543

Get More Information here.

Eat Dinner at Millers Smourgous board

For dinner one night I wanted to have us experience some traditional Dutch food. I asked a few locals at the places that we had visited and every one of them said you have to go to Miller’s Smmourgous Board. So of course with that many recommendations, we did and I am very happy that we took their advice. Everything we tried was amazing and we all left totally full and happy after dinner. 

If you’re a fan of classic Pennsylvania Dutch dishes, Miller’s Smorgasbord won’t disappoint. From savory meatloaf and fried chicken to homemade chicken pot pie and baked ham, there’s a dish for every taste bud. The restaurant also offers a variety of vegetarian options, including buttered noodles and fresh vegetables. 

Miller’s Smorgasbord is a family-owned and operated restaurant located in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Known for its hearty Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine, Miller’s Smorgasbord has been a staple of the area since its opening in 1929. With a large dining area, this restaurant is perfect for families or large groups looking for a delicious meal.

Upon entering Miller’s Smorgasbord, you’ll be struck by the rustic charm of the interior. The walls are adorned with historic photos of the Lancaster area and the ceiling features wooden beams that add to the cozy atmosphere.

Location: 2811 Lincoln Highway East Ronks, PA 17572

Get More Information here.

things to do with kids in lancaster: Visiting an amish market

Shop at Amish Markets and Shops

There are many Amish shops and markets that you can shop in the area. We stopped at Kauffman’s Fruit Farm and Market at the suggestion of our Buggy driver. In the market, we picked up some freshly made apple cider and some Whoopie pies to enjoy as a snack after our buggy ride. On our way home we stopped at the Amish Village to grab a few more Whoppie Pies for our snack for the drive home. 

There are many Amish own places that you can visit. We enjoyed lunch at an Amish cafe and the food was amazing. We purchase a quillow (a quilt that fold into a pillow) from another Amish shop that is now in my living room and the kids all argue about who gets to use it. 

Places to Visit with Kids

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