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Hot Day Activities for Kids in Lancaster

Most lifelong Lancaster County residents know at least one friend who has moved here from the south -- think South Carolina, Georgia -- and brings up the fact every summer that Lancaster gets hot for the season. Not only that, but humid too; “It’s a sauna out there!” is a phrase we’re all used to hearing.

That’s why we put together this list of indoor places you can take your kids (or just yourself!) when you need a break from the heat, and also a little entertainment.

DSC04471a When the kids need to blow off steam:

When the kids need to blow off steam:

Park City Mall

Park City Mall has an impressive play area in the food court, with parking right outside. They’re open most days until 9 p.m. (until 6 p.m. on Sundays).

Park City Center's website | map it | (717) 393-3851 | Park City Center | 142 Park City Center, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 17601

Go ‘N Bananas Family Fun Center

Go ‘N Bananas Family Fun Center features laser tag, a game area, mini-bowling, a ropes course, and plenty of other kinds of activities for kids of all ages -- and parents can hang at the Congo Cafe.

Go 'N Bananas Family Fun Center's website | map it | ((717) 287-5000 | Go 'N Bananas Family Fun Center | 1170 Garfield Avenue, Lancaster, 17601

Bounce Kraze

Bounce Kraze is a family-owned and operated indoor “Inflatable Park,” featuring plenty of bounce houses, slides, obstacle courses, an arcade, and a dedicated Toddler Area. Parents are welcome to watch TV or relax in the cafe area while the kids play.

Bounce Kraze's website | map it | Bounce Kraze | 407 Granite Run Drive, Lancaster, 17601

Sky Zone Trampoline Park

Sky Zone Trampoline Park welcomes kids (and adults!) of all ages, and it’s like it sounds: it’s full of trampolines (and a foam pit)! Guests can jump around freestyle, or take part in activities like Skyslam (basketball-style dunking), ultimate dodgeball, and a climbing obstacle course.

Sky Zone Lancaster's website | map it | 717-208-8922 | Sky Zone Lancaster | 1701 Hempstead Rd., Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 17601
IMG_20160207_210027 Castle Roller Skating & Overlook Roller Skating Rink

Castle Roller Skating & Overlook Roller Skating Rink

If rollerskating is the goal, Castle Roller Skating (it really does look like a castle!) is geared toward family fun, and Overlook Roller Skating Rink is a public offering from Manheim Township.

Overlook Roller Skating Rink's website | map it | 717-569-2071 | Overlook Roller Skating Rink | 301 Golf Drive, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 17601
The Castle Roller Skating's website | map it | 717-393-3126 | The Castle Roller Skating | 1400 Elm Ave., Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 17603

When engaging in active play is the goal:

IMG_20151214_205638 When engaging in active play is the goal:

Tiny Town

Tiny Town, as the name suggests, is aimed toward the toddler crowd. An interactive, play-based center that aims to stimulate curiosity and creativity, kids can explore 9 luxury playhouses with all the accessories. Caregivers can hang at the coffee bar while keeping the kids in close view.

Tiny Town's website | map it | Tiny Town | 533 Janet Ave, Lancaster, 17601


Hands-On-House is a Lancaster gem that’s been around since 1987. The children’s museum features exhibits designed to allow kids and adults to play and learn together, with themes including a farm, grocery store, and post office.

Hands-on House Children's Museum's website | map it | (717) 569-5437 | Hands-on House Children's Museum | 721 Landis Valley Road, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 17601

North Museum of Nature & Science

North Museum of Nature & Science is another longtime Lancaster institution, established in 1953. Here kids can discover science, nature, and different cultures among the multiple exhibits, ranging from a dinosaur gallery to a live animal room. Plus, the SciDome theater offers a state-of-the-art planetarium, featuring shows about astronauts, stars in the night sky, and more.

North Museum of Natural History & Science's website | map it | (717) 291-3941 | North Museum of Natural History & Science | 400 College Avenue, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 17603

Lancaster Science Factory

Lancaster Science Factory is targeted toward kids ages 7-13, but is fun for the whole family. The main exhibit room is open and airy and features more than 60 exhibits, most of them interactive and related to a mathematical or scientific concept. A crowd favorite is “Dam the Creek,” where you’ll learn about fluid dynamics while attempting to build a dam -- there’s real running water!

Lancaster Science Factory's website | map it | (717) 509-6363 | Lancaster Science Factory | 454 New Holland Avenue, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 17602

When you just feel like watching a movie:

Near downtown Lancaster:

(southwest) Regal Cinemas Manor 16 has spacious recliner seats in every theatre now.
(southeast) Kendig Square Movies 6 has the cheapest ticket prices around.

Northern Lancaster (Lititz):

Penn Cinema features an IMAX theatre and even has special summer camps for kids.

Northeastern Lancaster (Ephrata):

The New Main is small, but the old-fashioned vibe is charming.

Ephrata Main Theatre's website | map it | (717) 733-9098 | Ephrata Main Theatre | 124 East Main Street, Ephrata, Pennsylvania, 17522
Kendig Square Movies's website | map it | (717) 464-2222 | Kendig Square Movies | 2600 Willow Street Pike, Willow Street, 17584
Penn Cinema & IMAX®'s website | map it | (717) 626-7720 | Penn Cinema & IMAX® | 541 Airport Road, Lititz, Pennsylvania, 17543
Regal Manor Stadium 16's website | map it | (717) 392-7059 | Regal Manor Stadium 16 | 1246 Millersville Pike, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 17603

For the train enthusiasts (you’ll head to Strasburg for each of these):

IMG_20151018_150620 For the train enthusiasts (you’ll head to Strasburg for each of these):

National Toy Train Museum

National Toy Train Museum is designed like an old-time train station, but features the latest in exhibits and LED lighting. The massive toy train collection features models from the 1800s to the present, and includes five operating, interactive train layouts to explore.

National Toy Train Museum's website | map it | (717) 687-8976 | National Toy Train Museum | 300 Paradise Lane, Strasburg, Pennsylvania, 17579

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania houses one of the most significant collections of historic railroad artifacts in the world.

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania's website | map it | (717) 687-8628 | Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania | 300 Gap Road, Strasburg, Pennsylvania, 17579

Strasburg Rail Road

Strasburg Rail Road features trains you can actually ride -- including Thomas the Tank Engine!

Strasburg Railroad's website | map it | (717) 687-7522 | Strasburg Railroad | 301 Gap Road, Ronks, Pennsylvania, 17572

Choo Choo Barn

Choo Choo Barn has been around since 1961, continuing to attract people from across the country to take in its mega 1,700 square foot model train layout, featuring over 150 hand-built animated figures and vehicles and 22 operating trains.

Choo Choo Barn's website | map it | (717) 687-7911 | Choo Choo Barn | 226 Gap Road, Strasburg, Pennsylvania, 17579
DSC00891 (2) 3 When you’re looking for cooldown fun in the water:

When you’re looking for cooldown fun in the water:

Sickman’s Mill Creek

Sickman’s Mill Creek offers water tubing at the creek that helped operate its flour and grist roller mill built in 1793. There’s tons of gorgeous scenery to take in as you float down the stream!

Sickman's Mill Creek Tubing's website | map it | 717-872-5951 | Sickman's Mill Creek Tubing | 671 Sand Hill Road, Pequea, Pennsylvania, 17565

Dutch Wonderland

Duke’s Lagoon at Dutch Wonderland features a multi-level waterplay platform, kid-sized slides, a variety of spray nozzles, jets, tipping cones, and a large tipping bucket. For the parents, It includes a lounge area decked out with palm trees, thatched umbrella shaded areas and plenty of seating.

Dutch Wonderland's website | map it | 717-291-1888 | Dutch Wonderland | 2249 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 17602

When you feel like enjoying a pretzel:

There’s a pretzel factory tour in just about every part of the county…

Downtown Lancaster
Hammond Pretzel Bakery happens to be the oldest continually family-operated handmade pretzel bakery in the country!

Intercourse Pretzel Factory also features sweets like their signature Molasses Caramel Crunch popcorn.

Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery was the first commercial pretzel bakery in America, and after your tour there are plenty of additional stops in Lititz within walking distance.

Martin’s Pretzels is still family owned and operated, and it’s said that those who work at the twisting table can twist about 10 pretzels a minute, producing more than 1,200 pounds of pretzels per day.

Hammond Pretzel Bakery, Inc's website | map it | (717) 392-7532 | Hammond Pretzel Bakery, Inc | 716 Southwest End Avenue, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 17603
Intercourse Pretzel Factory 's website | map it | (717) 768-3432 | Intercourse Pretzel Factory  | 3614 Old Philadelphia Pike, Intercourse, Pennsylvania, 17534
Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery's website | map it | (717) 626-4354 | Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery | 219 East Main Street, Lititz, Pennsylvania, 17543
Martin's Pretzel Bakery's website | map it | (717) 859 - 1272 | Martin's Pretzel Bakery | 1229 Diamond Street, Akron, Pennsylvania, 17501

And all the rest:

Turkey Hill Experience

Turkey Hill Experience creates fun for guests by showing them how their world-famous ice cream is made. Interactive aspects include touring a milk truck, milking mechanical cows, and creating your own ice cream flavor (along with its corresponding packaging and commercial).

Turkey Hill Experience's website | map it | (717) 684-0134 | Turkey Hill Experience | 301 Linden Street, Columbia, Pennsylvania, 17512

Art and a Bottle

Art and a Bottle will help visitors stretch their creative muscles with all types of painting classes and workshops. You can try your hand at oil painting, calligraphy, pastels, and more, and there are plenty of options for kids.

Art and Bottle's website | map it | 717-824-3191 | Art and Bottle | 1180 Erbs Quarry Road, Lititz, 17543
February 2024

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