A couple of weeks ago, my kids and I headed north to enjoy a few snow days away in Pennsylvania. We started our journey in York for snow tubing and factory tours, then went east to Lancaster. Our county was closed the next three days due to the snow and we were ready for anything. We needed to escape.
The Discover Lancaster website lists a lot of activities in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, including tours, attractions, even covered bridges. We spent some time in Lancaster a few years ago when we stayed at Verdant View Farm Bed & Breakfast and rode a train on the Strasburg Railroad. It’s such a great area for kids.
This time, I didn’t have a lot of time to plan, but given we were in Lancaster on a Thursday and a Friday in February, we pretty much had our pick of things to do in Lancaster and we had a super fun time. Here’s the scoop on where to stay, what to do and where to eat in Lancaster.
Where to Stay
We stayed at Eden Resort & Suites. Centrally located, Eden Resort & Suites is close to a lot of shops and restaurants, as well as the Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum, which is just a few minutes away by car. Since Landis Valley was our last stop of the day, the hotel location couldn’t have been more perfect.
We stayed in a two-bedroom suite at Eden Resort, which was completely fantastic (the Hershey Suite). There was a huge bedroom with two queen beds for my kids, as well as a bedroom with a king bed for me. In between the two bedrooms, there was a sitting area, a dining room and a kitchen. Needless to say, there was plenty of space for me and my four kids to move around.
Even better, the windows opened up to an indoor pool that my kids could not wait to jump into. Inside the hotel, there are also several restaurants, including Garfield’s, which is perfect for families. Look for casual, kid-friendly fare, like quesadillas, sandwiches and burgers. For breakfast, try Arthur’s Terrace, which serves up a breakfast buffet seven days a week.
What to Do
Eden Resort & Suites is easy driving distance from a number of family-friendly attractions, including the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania and the Lancaster Science Factory. If you go, here are a few of my top things to do in Lancaster with kids.
Turkey Hill Experience. Located just down the road in Columbia, the Turkey Hill Experience is an absolute must-go. Learn how Turkey Hill ice cream is made, sit in a milk truck or milk a mechanical cow. We loved making our own flavors of ice cream in the Taste Lab, adding in “flavorings” and “inclusions.”
Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum. Take a stroll around a historical village and farm at Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum. Take a guided tour and walk inside the different buildings. We loved visiting with the Clydesdale horses toward the back of the property. So cute.
Lancaster Science Factory. There are almost too many hands-on activities at the Lancaster Science Factory. We used our brains to try to solve various puzzles and brain teasers. We built and tested out race cars. We even tried our hand at playing the bongophone and (almost) built an arch with soft bricks.
Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. Kids will love exploring the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. Look for model and life-size trains on display, as well as a kid-friendly Railway Education Center. Just across the street, hop on board a steam train for a 45-minute, round-trip ride on the Strasburg Railroad.
Aaron & Jessica’s Buggy Rides. I’d never taken an Amish buggy ride before, so I had to add it to my list. Aaron & Jessica’s Buggy Rides are so popular that you might have quite a wait in the summer, but in February, we hopped right on. Our driver, Levi, was fantastic and so funny. 🙂
Lancaster Central Market. We loved walking around the Lancaster Central Market to see the fresh fruits, vegetables and meats for sale from the various vendors. Get a Long John or two at Stoltzfus Homestyle Bakery. My 12 y.o. daughter got the biggest, most delicious s’mores doughnut while we were there. Yum.
Where to Eat
There are a number of restaurants in the Lancaster area that are perfect for kids and families. Here are a few to check out during your visit.
DJ’s Taste of the 50s. DJ’s Taste of the 50s is a fun place to take kids. The décor inside the restaurant is fantastic and kids are served their meals in a mini convertible. So cute. They also have the absolute best milkshakes. An excellent complement to any meal at DJ’s!
Red Caboose Restaurant. There’s nothing better than eating a meal inside an actual train caboose and you can do so at the Red Caboose Restaurant in nearby Ronks. After lunch, stroll around the property to see the different train cars that serve as hotel rooms.
Good ‘N Plenty. If you like family-style dining, then head to Good ‘N Plenty. The food is delicious though dare I say you may get too much food (mind you, this was my first experience with dining family-style). Look for fried chicken, mashed potatoes, ham loaf, shoo-fly pie and so much more.
Bird-in-Hand Family Restaurant. Look for a lunch or dinner “smorgasbord” at Bird-in-Hand Family Restaurant with plenty of tasty options, like chicken pot pie and fried chicken, as well as a soup, salad and bread bar. There’s also an all-you-can-eat dessert bar with egg custard pie and red velvet cake.
Disclaimer: I was hosted by Discover Lancaster while in Lancaster. However, I was not compensated for this article and all opinions expressed here are my own.