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Things to do in Erie, PA with the Kids

As one of the largest cities in Pennsylvania, Erie has lots to do for families. This is an artistic and musical city with professional arts groups, children’s museums, and an animal zoo.

In this article, I’ll share all my favorite activities for keeping the kids entertained when visiting Erie!

1. Splash and Play at Splash Lagoon

Start your vacation in Erie by visiting the Splash Lagoon, an indoor water park offering lots of water activities.

The main part of the water park includes a Tiki Tree House structure for slide play, a kids’ play area, two hot tubs, a lazy river, and five massive water slides.

Every park section has tables where you can sit and watch your little ones splash in the water.

2. Ride the Water Slides at Waldameer & Water World

Allow your little champions to have fun and make memories at the Waldameer & Water World water park.

This is among the oldest amusement and water parks in Pennsylvania and has remained a great attraction for traveling families and locals.

The kids will enjoy the thrilling rides and water slides as well as the great attractions. They can also float along the lazy river and beat the summer heat.

The park features refreshment stands and picnic areas where you can take a break from the waves and thrills to enjoy a snack together as you listen to music.

3. Experience Animals at the Erie Zoo

The Erie Zoo in southern Erie is home to over 400 animals!

Your young zoophilist will be over the moon as you walk around the zoo, experiencing different animal species and learning with every step.

Besides viewing animals, this zoo also offers botanical gardens, a carousel, a playground, and a train ride.

4. Capture Photos at the Presque Isle Lighthouse

The Presque Isle Lighthouse remains one of the city’s most treasured sights.

Besides being a major attraction, this lighthouse is a navigation aid for many sailors.

Climb to the top of Presque Isle Lighthouse tower and take several family photos. The panoramic view of the broad Lake Erie Beach below the tower is also something your kids won’t forget anytime soon.

Around the lighthouse, your little ones can bike, canoe, or swim. The parking area is secure, and the volunteers are kind.

5. Take a Ride on The Victorian Princess Cruise

The Victorian Princess is a boat tour on Lake Erie that’s one of the most popular tourist activities around.

The guided boat tour allows you to treat your kids to a dining experience on the water. You can also celebrate your kid’s birthday with private boat rentals.

6. Play at The Children’s Museum

Located on French Street, the Experience Children’s Museum is a must-visit place for the kids.

This three-floored museum offers science, hands-on arts, and imaginative plays for kids up to 10 years old.

Some of the available exhibits are a bedrock cave, creativity center, and water table. Don’t miss the discovery area for the kids outside the museum that features gardens, offering them an ideal space to engage in building, painting, or digging.

Moreover, there is an event space on the museum grounds where you can hold family parties.

7. Stroll Through Presque Isle State Park

Give your children an outdoor experience to remember at the Presque Isle State Park.

Located in western Erie, the 3,200-acre park offers visitors beautiful coastline views and many recreational activities.

Your kids can swim, fish, boat, or play in the sand on the beach. They can also experience nature through hiking or wildlife watching.

Environmental education training activities are provided throughout the park as well.

8. Eat at Hooch and Blotto’s

Next to the Splash Lagoon is Hooch and Blotto’s.

This sports bar and grill is known for its great menu and services.

The atmosphere within this restaurant is warm and fun. Bowling for the kids will raise their spirits after enjoying the mouthwatering cuisine served here.

If you’re visiting during the weekend, book your bowling in advance, as the place can get crowded.

9. Take a Nature Walk in Asbury Woods

Dedicated to environmental preservation, Asbury Woods is a nature center you should visit with your kids.

The center boasts interconnected nature trails for hiking and great nature education programs for kids. Asbury Woods is also great for picnicking or camping.

As you walk through the nature trails, you will see some vernal pools and ponds where your kids can stop to fish.

The Little Woods Nature kid’s play area will let the kids burn off more energy still as you relax in the pavilion picnic area.

10. Spend Some Peaceful Moments at the Tom Bridge Center

Take your kids out for an educational trip to the Tom Bridge Center. There, they can experience the history and wildlife of Erie, particularly the Presque Isle area.

The center features a theater where the children can relax and watch ecosystem movies after an experience with the plants.

There is also the Sunset Cafe on the grounds where you can all grab a snack and drinks before leaving the center.

Don’t forget to buy a souvenir at the gift and gallery nature shop so you can remember your trip!

11. Visit the Erie Maritime Museum

Have your kids ever seen the Flagship of Niagra in the port? There is no better place to see it than at the Erie Maritime Museum.

The museum is also an excellent place for your kids to learn about the history of Erie during the War of 1812, complete with replicas of sailing warships used by early Americans.

12. Drink in Culture at the Erie Playhouse

The Erie Playhouse is one of the oldest theaters in Pennsylvania, offering quality live theater performances to this day.

Local volunteers showcase their talents at this kid-friendly park. The management also holds events for kids that would be a blast for your children to participate in!

13. Climb the Port Erie Bicentennial Tower

The Port Erie Bicentennial Tower is a historic landmark on the edge of the city, offering thrilling panoramic views of the surrounding areas.

If you and your family want to climb to the top, it does cost a fee to do so. You can only use elevators since the tower has no stairs, but that makes it easy for kids to reach the top.

Boat rides are also available, so you can be sure your little ones will have endless fun here.

Do keep in mind that this place is busy on weekends, especially during the summer, so plan to wake up early to beat the crowds.

14. Do Some Shopping at Millcreek Mall

Head to Millcreek Mall when looking for something different to do with the kids.

The mall has many stores where you can window shop or buy a few things for your kids to use during their holiday.

The mall has been a landmark in Erie since 1975 and remains a popular hangout for most families.