Since its founding in 1730, Lancaster, Pennsylvania has transitioned from a colonial town to a paradise loved by many people. This town is famously known for its architectural heritage, rich history, and many indoor and outdoor recreational opportunities it offers.
Find the best things to do in Lancaster, PA with the kids in this guide. You won’t want to miss it!
1. Magic & Wonder Theater
Located on 3065 Lincoln State Rte in nearby Paradise, the Magic & Wonder Theater offers the best magic shows around.
You and the kids will be amazed by the grand illusion stage that makes all the shows seem realistic through fast-hand technics and optical illusions.
Brett Myers is one of the best illusionists whose shows are full of humor and grand illusions.
Sit back and watch his breathtaking performances for 90 minutes.
There is no age limitation for these performances.
2. The Amish Village
Take a step back into olden times and experience how the Amish people lived by visiting the Amish Village. This place sits on a 12-acre piece of land and offers visitors an opportunity to tour Amish homesteads, farmland, and animals.
One of the highlights for kids here is the one-room schoolhouse built and equipped by the Amish community.
Don’t forget to visit the smokehouse and treat your tastebuds to 1800s flavors. The village also features a craft store stocked with authentic handmade Amish crafts.
Let the kids unleash their energy at the play area as you relax at the picnic ground.
3. Strasburg Rail Road
Steam trains are no longer common, so you should take advantage of an opportunity to ride one at Strasburg Rail Road. This is the oldest railroad system in the US that has operated since 1832.
Board the authentic trains, sit back, and enjoy a ride through thousands of acres in the picturesque Dutch countryside. The accommodation options on the train include the Presidents’ Car, First Class, Open Air, Dining, and Coach.
4. Turkey Hill Experience
One of the best places to visit with the kids in Lancaster is the Turkey Hill Experience.
Take a tour through the interactive exhibits and learn about the dairy culture and production of ice cream.
The experience of milking cows is a delight for kids, and who knows, they might try making their ice cream flavor once you return home.
Those with a sweet tooth will never forget this place thanks to the many ice cream flavors that visitors sample here.
Ice creams are not the only highlight of the Turkey Hill Experience. The place also serves lots of food, so come with your appetite ready.
5. Dutch Wonderland Amusement Park
If you want to create happy memories with your family, head to the Dutch Wonderland Amusement Park.
This 48-acre theme park is located on Lincoln Highway, not far from eastern Lancaster, and it’s full of family entertainment. With over 30 rides and live shows, attractions, and restaurants, your family is in for endless fun.
Once done with the rides and attractions, let the kids witness magic come to life at the Dutch Wonderland live events. They will love singing songs along with Bubba Bear or dancing with the characters of the Royal Castle at the Kingdom Celebration.
The memories created at Dutch Wonderland Amusement Park are lifelong and cherishable.
6. Landis Valley Museum
The Landis Valley Museum sits on a 100-acre piece of land and is one the largest museums in Pennsylvania.
The museum offers kids an opportunity to learn about the everyday history of the people who lived in Lancaster in the 18th century. The kids’ programs are designed around themes that will quickly introduce your children to how the women made clothing for their families and how men drove the Conestoga wagons and carried out their trades.
The most exciting activity in the museum is the summer camps, where kids between five and 11 years old can engage in hands-on activities like cooking food, playing games, or being farmhands.
7. Choo Choo Barn
Immerse yourselves in a world of creativity at the Choo Choo Barn. Tom Groff owns the 1,700-acre train display, which is one of the best to visit with the kids.
Tom renovates this layout every year so visitors will always find something new to see.
Some of the scenes and characters in this place are six decades old and offer a good recap of the region’s history. A fascinating highlight here is the many train models designed as a replica of historic railroads that once operated in the region.
8. Refreshing Mountain Retreat & Adventure Center
There are many places to stay in Lancaster, but I recommend the Refreshing Mountain Retreat & Adventure Center. Here, you will enjoy a comfortable, luxurious atmosphere and various thrilling outdoor activities.
Don’t miss the facility’s Wildlife Center. The one-on-one encounter with animals is something the kids will greatly appreciate.
Additionally, you and the family can enjoy ziplining or riding on horseback. Head to the pool if you want something different on a hot afternoon.
9. Lancaster Science Factory
Do you have a child interested in science? Take them to the Lancaster Science Factory and let them learn about the impact of technology and engineering in science. This is a hands-on interactive science facility suitable for preschool through eighth-grade kids.
Your child will be glad to know how to light a bulb or spin a motor. The kids will never forget how they created dams and operated valves to allow water in.
10. Lapp Valley Farm
Grab a delicious scoop of the best ice cream in Lancaster at the Lapp Valley Farm and cool yourselves down. This ice cream plant is a favorite spot for locals and visitors in Lancaster thanks to the delicious tastes served here.
The beautifully manicured grounds host friendly cats, bulldogs, and peacocks, making them a spectacular site to behold while enjoying your ice cream.
The kids will be excited to see how the cows are milked too.
11. Old Windmill Farm
Snatch your juniors from their electronics and spend quality time with them at the Old Wind Farm. You will personally experience the original Amish dairy farm in the countryside.
The youngsters will learn how to take care of the environment and animals. Gathering eggs, milking cows, or feeding a calf is among the most exciting activities for families here.
Farm tours are also available, allowing you to get up close with domestic animals like cows, mules, chickens, and much more. Remember to take many photos with the backdrop of the blooming flowers.
Make some apple cider, mix butter, or bake cookies during the farm experiences with your loved ones. These experiences are tailored to families’ interests so no one feels left out.
12. Tiny Town
Tiny Town is a haven for kids with several luxurious playhouses offering the little angels a chance to unleash their creativity and quench their curiosity through playful hands-on experiences.
Here the little ones have the freedom to become whatever they want, whether a doctor, mailer, restaurant waiter, or firefighter.
This place is not only for kiddies. Adults can relax at the on-site cafe and enjoy coffee while their kids are playing.
Don’t end your vacation in Lancaster without giving your family a memorable dining experience. I recommend Josephine’s Restaurant since their menu is kid-friendly.
The imaginative chefs make the dishes from scratch using the best organic ingredients, and the end product is a dish with a memorable taste.