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Summer fun kids activities in Lancaster, PA

It’s about that time of the year again! The kids are home from school for the summer and are itching for an adventure. It’s an exciting time! But for mom or dad, it can be stressful trying to plan unique, fun things for your children to do

Skip the stress – this list has 10 of the best attractions in Lancaster, PA for children and families. From outdoor activities to rainy day activities, this list is sure to save your kids from a boring summer at home. (And you might even have some fun, too!)

1. Dutch Wonderland 

Bring your little prince or princess to Dutch Wonderland for a full day of magical fun. It’s Lancaster’s only family amusement park, and it offers over 30 kid-friendly attractions

Journey back to prehistoric times with the dinosaurs on Exploration Island. Not your speed? Enjoy one of their 5 exciting live shows instead, or pack your swimsuits and cool off in Duke’s Lagoon, open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. 

Designed specifically for families with young children, Dutch Wonderland won the Golden Ticket award for “Best Family Theme Park of 2021” by Amusement Today. It’s the perfect outdoor activity for kids and families in Lancaster PA – and children two and under are free!

Children roller coaster attractions

2. Cherry Crest Adventure Farm

If you’re looking for outdoor kids’ activities in Lancaster County, consider Cherry Crest Adventure Farm in Ronks, PA. They are a family-operated farm located in the heart of Dutch Country with over 26 years of experience in agritainment.

They own over  25 acres of play and host over 60 outdoor attractions, their most popular being their annual corn maze. With a wide range of activities, there’s a good chance your children will find something fun to do. Some of their other outdoor attractions include:

  • Barnyard Jump Pad
  • Hay Chute Slide
  • Apple Blasters
  • Farm Tours
  • Tug-of-War 

They only operate in the late spring, summer, and fall, so make sure to add this one to your Lancaster County bucket list while they’re in season. Another note: they recently went cashless, so come prepared.

3. Lancaster Barnstormers Game

If your children are sports fans, take them out to a ballgame to experience the Lancaster Barnstormers in action. The Clipper Magazine Stadium was voted the #1 Independent Ballpark of the Year by Ballpark Digest in 2020. If you catch a game, you’ll quickly see why.

The Clipper Stadium is electric; the President & General Manager describes it as the “community center” of the surrounding area. With attractions like the Broken Bat Bar & Grille and The May-Grant Little Slugger Dugout located inside of the stadium, the ballpark appeals to young and old sports fans alike. 

If your children need a break from cheering on the ‘Stormers, there’s also a kids park built into the stadium. They can burn off some energy on the playset, carousel, or inflatables for some added fun. 

Buy tickets for a Saturday and you’ll get treated to an impressive display of fireworks after the game!

Take me out to the Lancaster Barnstormer's game!

Courtesy of Barnstormers PR.

4. Hands-On House

Looking for a rainy day activity for the children? Check out the Hands-On House, a non-profit children’s museum that encourages kids to learn through interactive play. It’s designed for children between the ages of two and ten, so keep this in mind if you have older kids.

Their vision is The finest in children’s discovery, and they deliver just that. They offer various exhibits for children to learn new concepts by seeing them in action and trying some “hands-on” activities on their own. Some of the exhibits currently available include:

  • Little Valley Farm Market: Practices sequencing, counting, and sorting skills as your little ones browse through the mini Market. 
  • STEM Lab: Introduces children to robotics and coding with a Robotic Arm.
  • Amazing Airways: Demonstrates heating and cooling ductwork with an 18-foot tall maze of plastic tubes.

Check out The Clubhouse, an art studio for children to express themselves through a range of techniques. Space is limited, so they require advanced registration. 

5. Refreshing Mountain Retreat & Adventure Center

The Refreshing Mountain Retreat is a must-add to your Lancaster Country bucket list if your family is looking for a thrilling adventure. It’s a year-round retreat and adventure center located in Stevens, PA that offers families a range of outdoor activities.

Ziplining, pony rides, escape rooms, and the wildlife center are just a few of the many attractions you can participate in at the Mountain Retreat. Plus, you and your family can cool off in the community pool after all of your outdoor adventurings!

Extend your visit and spend your weekend with Refreshing Mountain. Consider staying overnight in one of their rental cabin suites or family hotel rooms. They have lodging options available for families of all sizes.

6. Bounce Kraze and/or Sky Zone

The summer heat can be brutal. Some days your kids want to be outside, but it’s just not practical. Try out Bounce Kraze or Sky Zone, two exciting kids activities in Lancaster to keep in your back pocket for scorching hot or rainy days. 

Specializing in indoor fun, Bounce Kraze is Lancaster’s only indoor inflatable park. They offer eight inflatable obstacle courses, bounce houses, and slides for your kids to explore. Plus, there’s an area dedicated to toddlers, so parents with younger children don’t have to worry about their little ones getting hurt.

If your children are looking for more adventure, try Sky Zone instead. Your kids, teens, and even you can bounce to your hearts’ delight in the indoor trampoline park. 

Hop around in their massive wall-to-wall facility of trampolines. Or opt for their specialty trampoline experiences like their ultimate dodgeball and basketball courts, their foam pit, or their vertical obstacle course. 

Toddler friendly indoor bounce house

7. Turkey Hill Experience

Calling all ice cream lovers! Enjoy a day learning how the ice cream is made at the Turkey Hill Experience located in Columbia, PA. It’s a sweet adventure the whole family is sure to love.

Spend the day learning how Turkey Hill makes their famous ice cream. Indulge in free samples, or make your own custom flavors in their Taste Lab. Sample their specialty iced teas in the Tea Discovery held on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 1:15 pm. 

Aside from that, the Turkey Hill Experience in Lancaster offers many unique activities for kids when they visit. Children can design their own ice cream packaging or make an ice cream commercial. If they’re up for the challenge, they can even learn the ropes of dairy farming and try milking a mechanical cow.

8. Tiny Town

Tiny Town is exactly what it sounds like: a miniature community of playhouses for your children to explore. It is an indoor play place with 11 specialty playhouses to stimulate creativity through play. 

Each playhouse has a designated theme and is equipped with appropriate accessories to fit that theme. Some fun examples include:

  • Fire station
  • Supermarket 
  • Hospital 
  • Post Office 
  • Castle
  • Café 

As they mosey through the town, your children will learn to use their imagination as they interact with other kids. And you can relax and watch while enjoying a beverage at the coffee bar, built for the convenience of parents and caregivers!

Note: Tiny Town’s health and cleanliness guidelines assure that the playhouses and their accessories are disinfected frequently, so you don’t have to worry about your child’s exposure to germs. 

Tiny Town's miniature indoor playhouses

Courtesy of Tiny Town PR.

9. North Museum of Nature & Science

Give your children some stimulating fun and plan a visit to the North Museum of Nature & Science. Introduce them to the many wonders of nature and science with the museum’s range of exhibits. 

Adventure back to dinosaur times at the Paleontology Gallery where your children can handle real fossils and bones. Or get to know over 20 different species of rodents, reptiles, and insects in the live animal room. 

With exhibits like these and so many more, your child’s curiosity will surely be flowing.

10. Strasburg Rail Road

Give your child an unforgettable adventure with a trip to the Strasburg Rail Road. Experience America’s Oldest Operating Rail Road, and travel the rails through miles of Amish farmland on Strasburg’s historic steam train. Your kids will love soaking in the stunning sights of the Lancaster County landscape. 

We offer plenty of activities for the kids and the family. Throughout the year, the Rail Road holds Day Out With Thomas™ events. Children can enjoy a 45-minute ride on their favorite fully operational steam locomotive: Thomas the Tank EngineTM! And there are additional opportunities to meet and take photos with his friends, Rusty and Mavis.

We also have two picnic groves for families and friends to bask in the sun on beautiful summer days. Ride the train into one of the recreational areas, and get picked up later when you’re ready to head home. 

Pay attention to the departure schedule when choosing this option. Typically, it takes 90 minutes until the train returns to transport guests back to the railroad station, so make sure to plan accordingly!

Boarding the train at Strasburg Rail Road

Make Strasburg Rail Road a part of your summer bucket list and enjoy a piece of America’s history. Buy tickets to create a memory with your family that will last a lifetime!