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April Showers Bring....Fun in PA!

Indoor waterparks:

Your family won’t mind getting wet on a rainy-day visit to one of these Pocono Mountain waterparks! The Split Rock Resort & Golf Club in Lake Harmony offers a fun-filled, rainy-day getaway for the whole family. Get ready to get soaked at the resort’s jungle play area, complete with dumping bucket, Jungle Falls, Leapin' Lillypads play areas, wave pool, hot tubs, and three four-story-high tube slides. Afterwards, dry off and head to the 8-lane Cosmic Bowling alley with its colorful bowling balls, glowing pins, and state-of-the-art sound system, or try your hand at the arcade games in the Redemption Arcade.

It’s always 84 degrees and sunny at the Kalahari Resorts & Conventions 220,000-square-foot, African-themed indoor waterpark in Pocono Manor — the largest waterpark in the nation. Surf the perfect wave, transform into a mermaid or merman, and plunge down adrenaline pumping waterslides, then float down the Lazy River and take a break at the Swim-Up Bar or indoor and outdoor spas.. Afterwards, see if you can solve the riddles of the ancients at the Wrath of Anubis escape room or grab a seat at the 7-D Theater (yes, 7-D!) for a truly one-of-a-kind adventure.

Escape your everyday hassles and the gloomy rain at Camelback Lodge & Aquatopia Indoor Waterpark in Tannersville. There are water slides galore –tube slides, body slides, mat slides, bowl slides, aqua launch capsule slides, and kiddie slides – packed with fun for every age and thrill level, including the three-to-six person, 600-foot Venus Slyde Trap raft ride that fuses three exhilarating waterslide experiences into a single slide. There are also seven pools, a lazy river, swim-up bar (adults only), and family indoor/outdoor hot tub. The indoor fun doesn’t end there with miniature golf, climbing walls, arcade, bowling alley, laser tag, ropes course, and a “paint your own pottery” craft sure to entertain.

Food & Drink:

The Casino Theatre Entertainment Center in Mount Pocono offers the perfect refuge from rain-filled skies. Watch first-run movies in one of the two theaters; visit on a Monday or Tuesday evening for the “Dinner and a Movie" special where for just $12 ($14 if you opt for a 3-D movie) you also get a home-cooked meal delivered right to your seat on trays that fit into your cupholder. Save some room for the theatre’s Village Malt Shoppe to enjoy some old-fashioned ice cream parlor treats, including phosphates, ice cream sodas, egg creams, malts, and two dozen kinds of sundaes. It will be hard to choose among the more than 60 flavors of Hershey's ice cream!

You just might need a rainy weekend for a full appreciation of all the great-tasting craft beers you’ll find at the 11 breweries on the aptly named River Rat Brew Trail. All the breweries are located along the upper Susquehanna River and are accessible from Route 11 from Danville and Bloomsburg to Berwick and feature some creative and innovative cuisine along with the tasty brews. For a little fun before you hit the trail, be sure to take the River Rat Quiz to figure out which species of river rat you are. 

Recently named a semi-finalist for the coveted James Beard Award, Pittsburgh’s Wigle Whiskey is the most awarded craft distillery in the United States! Created by Meredith and Alex Grelli, Wigle Whiskey is the perfect escape on a rainy day. Wigle offers distillery and barrelhouse tours of the facilities where they create their organic craft spirits. If a tour is not in the cards during your visit, make sure to visit one of the three tasting rooms throughout the city of Pittsburgh. Each location offers tasting flights, cocktails, and bottle sales.

There is no better way to spend a rainy afternoon than drinking whiskey and gin at Philadelphia Distilling in Fishtown. The distillery uses hand-hammered copper stills and wooden fermentation barrels to create spirits that celebrate big, bold American flavors! While it’s gloomy and rainy outside, take a tour of the distillery, meet the team behind the spirits, learn about the history of Philadelphia Distilling, or visit the Cocktail Bar and Lounge to enjoy signature sips.

A rainy day is the perfect day to take a cooking class at Zest! Located in Lititz, Zest offers a variety of cooking classes that will help you make your next meal or dinner party a success. Cooking classes are open to all levels of experience, ability, and taste preferences. Vegan, Italian, and French are just some of their most popular classes! You could even use a rainy day as an excuse to squeeze in a date with your significant other and attend a Date Night with Nino cooking class!

Indoor Thrills:

Start your engines! Enjoy perfect racing conditions every day at the largest indoor go-karting facility in Pennsylvania: Autobahn Speedway in Lemoyne. Challenge your friends and reach speeds of up to 50mph strapped into an F1-inspired European go-kart, with junior karts for the younger set zooming around the track at speeds up to 25 mph.

Don’t let a few April showers interfere with your sense of adventure! iFLY King of Prussia offers the thrill of skydiving without a concern for cloud cover, approaching weather fronts, or even turbulence (it’s all indoors — no plane or parachute needed). Safe for all but the tiniest of tykes, you’ll float on a column of air, free as a springtime bird.

Hands-On Learning Experiences:

The kids will be hoping for a rainy day with a visit to the Lewisburg Children’s Museum, Pennsylvania’s newest addition to the children’s museum scene. Here, they can uncover their hidden artist at the Creation Station, uncover fossils in “Dig It,” or be an entrepreneurial restaurant owner, an intrepid explorer of outer space or in charge at Mission Control, or a doctor at the Teddy Bear Clinic. Best of all, they won’t even realize they’re getting a great educational experience along with all the fun!

An old timey trip to the past awaits you at the Rockhill Trolley Museum in Rockhill Furnace. Ride the rails in restored antique trolleys just like your great-grandparents might have done. For a truly unique experience, learn to operate an authentic, antique electric trolley car with the “Run-A-Trolley” program. You’ll get two hours of one-on-one guidance with an experienced trainer before taking the controls!

Kids will love to play, explore, and experiment at Discovery Space in State College. With more than 45 interactive exhibits and engaging hands-on science experiences, it’s a perfect place to banish those rainy day “I’m bored” sentiments for kids of all ages.

It’s a trip to “Paris on the Parkway” when you visit The Rodin in Philadelphia, featuring one of the most comprehensive sculpture collections of renowned sculptor Auguste Rodin in the world. You’ll gain a true appreciation of the artist’s genius and legendary career as you view the collection’s nearly 150 bronzes, marbles, and plasters, most of which are housed in the beautiful 1929 Beaux-Arts style building. Braving the weather is worth it to see famous works like The Thinker and other sculptures set in the museum’s outdoor formal French garden.

Learning and rich imagery go hand-in-hand at The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, whose spectacular museum galleries and exhibits are the perfect place to spend a rainy day. With a variety of rotating exhibits and a permanent collection containing breathtaking sculptures, sketches, watercolors, and some of the best American art from the 1760s to the present, the Academy is the perfect solution to chase away those rainy day blues.

Spend a rainy day immersed in art at the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts. Meet and observe artists at work, browse quality contemporary art & craft exhibits, watch glass blowing demonstrations, or take in an art or independent film inside the restored five-story Willson Goggle Factory. You might even be inspired to sign up for an art or craft class or workshop for that next rainy day!

Doylestown offers a myriad of indoor activities worth exploring no matter what the weather. Learn about the everyday life of Americans during the 18th and 19th centuries at the Mercer Museum, then see the beautiful tiles and mosaics of famed industrialist Henry Chapman Mercer on full display in Fonthill Castle and the Moravian Pottery & Tile Works. Walk across the street to the James A. Michener Art Museum featuring the art and cultural heritage of the Bucks County region. Then, end your artsy day catching a movie at the County Theater, a 75-year-old art deco theater in the center of town featuring independent, art, and foreign films you likely won’t find at the local multiplex.

Lancaster City offers a double-shot of science fun! Check out the North Museum of Nature and Science and its very cool 41-foot SciDome XD Theater, hands-on Nature Explorer Gallery, and the iGlobe featuring real-time satellite imagery. Spend the rest of the afternoon across town at the Lancaster Science Factory where the kids will learn that science really can be fun. With more than 65 interactive exhibits, workstations and mini-labs, your children will be begging you to return — even on days that aren’t rainy!

The Crayola Experience in Easton is guaranteed to transform gray, rainy days to ones chock-full of color. Watch Scarlet & Turk, two animated crayons, show how crayons are made during a live theater show with the assistance of a resident “Crayonologist.” Then, enjoy nearly 30 hands-on colorful attractions. Create a crayon with your name on it, star in your own coloring page, create a ring, critter, or other special souvenir out of crayon wax, and explore the many other color-filled activities that will brighten up your day.

See some of the world’s finest Asian artwork at The Maridon Museum in Butler. According to the Huffington Post, “It’s a knockout museum worth a drive from anywhere [rain or shine].” In a beautiful example of East meets West, the Maridon’s focus on Chinese and Japanese art and culture paired with its 300+ pieces of German Meissen porcelain help make this museum an art-lovers’ dream and perfect place to spend a rain-filled day.

Step inside the Zippo/Case Museum in Bradford and experience the story of two iconic American products made right here — Zippo Lighters and W. R. Case and Sons handcrafted knives. As you tour the museum, you’ll see interactive displays and videos and learn about Zippo’s long-time association with Hollywood and rock music. You’ll also be able to watch Zippo repair technicians fix all but the most mangled Zippo lighters, honoring the company’s unconditional lifetime guarantee, "It works or we fix it free.”™

Find out what animatronic dinosaurs, Aldabra tortoises, Komodo dragons, and parakeets all have in common at Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland in Allenwood. Specializing in reptiles and amphibians from around the world in stunning naturalistic habitats, Reptiland is an educational adventure for the whole family. Spend a rainy day having fun with loads of interactive exhibits, live shows, and hands-on animal encounters. (Special note: the animatronic dinosaurs come back to life on April 21; until then, you can enjoy life-size dinosaur models found along Prehistoric Path.)

To learn about more fun ideas at hands-on learning attractions, check out our visitPA website. Follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagramto stay up-to-date on even more great ideas and places to visit around our state. Don’t forget to never miss an update and sign up for our monthly Happy Thoughts e-newsletter.

20 Famous Products Made in PA

1. Martin Guitar

Martin Guitar
Martin Guitar

Whether you love the sweet sounds of classical guitar, the soulful music of a country music or blues player, or some rollicking rock ‘n roll, Martin Guitar in Nazareth invites you to see firsthand how their magical instruments are crafted. Take the free factory tour or opt for a truly in-depth, behind the scenes tour. Afterwards, head to the Pickin’ Parlor where you can summon your inner Ed Sheeran or Dierks Bentley (both who play Martins) and try out some of high-end and limited edition models

2. Utz Quality Foods

tour gallery Utz Quality Foods
Utz Quality Foods

Craving snack food? You’ll want to an “Utz Potato Chip Trip” at the Utz Quality Foods factory in Hanover. There, you’ll perch high above the manufacturing process in a special glass enclosed observation gallery and get to watch the production process from start to finish on the free, self-guided tour. Afterwards, go to the Utz Outlet Store for some free samples and where warm chips, pretzels, chocolate covered chips, and gift items await.

3. Harley-Davidson Vehicle Operations Factory

inside vehical operations at Harley davidson
Harley-Davidson Vehicle Operations Factory

If you’ve ever pictured yourself flying down a deserted highway atop a Harley, this is definitely the tour for you. Watch Touring, Trike, and CVO model motorcycles being assembled on the free Classic Factory Tour at the Harley-Davidson Vehicle Operations Factory in York or sign up for the Steel Toe Tour for a true behind-the-scenes experience of some of the factory’s “employee only” areas. Sorry, no free samples! But you will get a chance to sit on some current production motorcycles.

4. Zippo/Case Museum

zippo case museum
Zippo/Case Museum

Come see why Zippo lighters and W. R. Case and Sons handcrafted knives are recognized throughout the world as two true Made-In-America icons at the Zippo/Case Museum in Bradford. You’ll be able to watch Zippo repair technicians fix all but the most mangled Zippo lighters, honoring the company’s unconditional lifetime guarantee "It works or we fix it free,™”  as well as see hundreds of Zippo lighters from the past 85 years on display.

5. Martin's Potato Chip Factory Tour

Martins Potato Chip Factory Tour
Martin's Potato Chip Factory Tour

For an up-close-and-personal factory tour, the Martin’s Potato Chip Factory Tour in Thomasville can’t be beat! Donning hairnets and closed toes shoes a must, the guided tour will take you right onto the factory floor. You’ll get to see every aspect of the chip manufacturing process – from the moment the trucks arrive and are lifted off the ground to gently dump their load of potatoes onto a conveyor belt to the peeling, slicing, frying, cooling, salting, and packaging. Best yet: you get to sample the fresh, warm chips right out of the fryer!

6. Straub Brewery

Straub Brewery
Straub Brewery

Do you consider yourself a beer aficionado? Then you’ll definitely want to make a pilgrimage to St. Marys for a tour of the Straub Brewery where for close to 150 years the Straub family has been making its small batch beer. You’ll get to see the entire brewing process up close and personal, so closed-toe shoes are a must especially as you climb the three flights of metal stairs of this gravity-fed brewery. Your tour ends at the Eternal Tap, where if you’re at least 21, you’ll get to taste two free samples.

7. Byers' Choice Ltd

Byers Choice
Byers' Choice Ltd.

You’ll experience the joy and wonder of the winter holidays all year round with a trip to Byers' Choice Ltd. in Chalfont.  Your holiday spirit is sure to be rekindled as you watch 80 skilled artisans craft the company’s signature Carolers® Figurines from start to finish. Make a day of it and stroll down a cobblestone street scene reminiscent of Dickens’ London, tour the award-winning flower and sculpture gardens, or visit the gift shop for that one-of-a-kind special find.

8. Chandler Bats

baseball bats Chandler Bats
Chandler Bats

Imagine yourself standing at the plate ready to hit the ball out of the park as the umpire yells, “Play Ball!” Head to Chandler Bats in East Norriton for a tour of their brand new, state-of-the-art baseball bat crafting facility. Here, you’ll not only watch as Chandler artisans handcraft baseball bats from long cylinders of maple known as “billets,” but also learn the science behind the craft and why each Chandler bat has a signature black ink stain on its handle.

9. Callie's Pretzel Factory

pretzels Callies Pretzel Factory
Callie's Pretzel Factory

Nothing can beat a warm pretzel fresh from the oven and a trip to Callie’s Pretzel Factory in Cresco does not disappoint! You can watch the pretzel making process from start to finish and then enjoy some free samples. A stop in their shop features soft pretzels on sticks, wrapped around hotdogs, stuffed with various cheeses, topped with bacon, and so many more, you’ll find it hard to choose your favorite.

10. Highland Chocolates

chocolates in basket Highland chocolates
Highland Chocolates

Does your sweet tooth need satisfying? Would some melt in your mouth, truffle-filled peanut butter cups fit the bill? How about mint Oreos smothered in chocolate? Or Cinna-Grahams, Fluff, and Pretzel Bark S’mores coated in rich milk or dark chocolate? Then head to Highland Chocolates in Wellsboro where you can watch as workers handcraft chocolate confections. A stop in the shop is guaranteed to satisfy even the sweetest of sweet tooths!

11. BWP Bats

baseball bats
BWP Bats

Batter up! Visit BWP Bats in Brookville to see firsthand how this most essential tool of the game is created. You’ll get to watch the entire 14-step process, including how “double dipping” is not only encouraged but an essential part of the process in transforming a rough forest log into a finely crafted baseball bat used by players from the major leagues to little tykes just learning the game.

12. Herr’s® Snack Factory Tour

Herrs snacl factory tour
Herr’s® Snack Factory Tour

Ever wonder which potatoes make the perfect chip or how cheese curls get their curl? Even if you haven’t, Herr’s® Snack Factory Tour in Nottingham is fun, educational, and mighty tasty. Book a tour on Monday through Wednesday and you’ll get to follow the entire production line through three buildings – from slicing and frying to bagging and boxing. Everyone gets a free bag of chips and a chance to sample a chip hot from the fryer. Check out the gift shop to buy some hard-to-find flavors and super-discounted “oops” snacks.

13. Tröegs Brewing Company

can bottle pint Tröegs Brewing Company
Tröegs Brewing Company

Scratch beers are the specialty at Tröegs Brewing Company in Hershey. You and your entire family can take a self-guided tour open to all ages. Or, if you’re at least 21 years of age, you can book a true behind-the-scenes, closed-toe-shoe guided tour. You’ll start out with a welcome beer, then see all the works – from the Splinter Cellar where the beer is wood-aged through the mill room, hop cooler, brewhouse deck, fermentation cellar and packaging lines. Bonus: You’ll get to sample a few beers and take home a souvenir glass of your Tröegs adventure.

14. Bluett Bros. Violins

Bluett Bros Violins in production
Bluett Bros. Violins

If you love the sound of stringed instruments, a tour of Bluett Bros. Violins in York is a must for your bucket list. There, you can watch Master Luthier Mark Bluett and his small team of apprentices expertly transform the wood into world-class violins, mandolins, cellos, guitars and other stringed instruments, all by hand. Mark himself will show you around the shop, walking you through the entire process – from how he chooses the finest wood from around the world to carving, “tap toning,” and the finishing. This is a small working shop, so reservations are required.

15. Snyder’s of Hanover

snack packs Snyders of Hanover
Snyder’s of Hanover

Take a walking tour of Snyder’s of Hanover and you’ll find out why it has been known as America’s Pretzel Bakery for more than  100 years. You’ll get to see all aspects of the pretzel-making process – from the raw material warehouse and oven room to the finished goods warehouse (where you’ll get to see robotics at work) and the state-of-the-art packing room. The tour ends at the factory store where you’ll find loads of your Snyder’s favorites and be treated to a free bag of pretzels.

16. United States Mint

Honoring Womens History month poster United States Mint
United States Mint

Ever wonder where all those coins jangling in your pocket come from? Chances are they were produced at the United States Mint in Philadelphia. In fact, for 225 years the production of U.S. coins has taken place in Philadelphia and you’re invited to see the process in action with a self-guided tour of the facility. Watch the actual production process as coils of copper and nickel are unwound, pressed, and turned into the coins. No free samples here, but you will get to see the nation’s first and original coin press!

17. Wendell August Forge

forging metal sheet Wendell August Forge
Wendell August Forge

Come watch the pride and workmanship of the craftworkers of the Wendell August Forge, the nation’s oldest and largest forge, as they work their magic, hand hammering designs in aluminum, copper, pewter, bronze and silver during a free tour of the workshop at the company’s Flagship Store in Grove City. Look closely at the finished products to see if you can find the signature of the master die engraver hidden within the design. Bonus: children can create their own work of metal art for just $2.

18. Sturgis Pretzel Bakery

gaint pretzel Sturgis Pretzel Bakery
Sturgis Pretzel Bakery

Take a step back in time to learn how pretzels were made back in the 1850’s with a trip to the original Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery in Lititz. You’ll get to see the original ovens built by Julius Sturgis himself in 1861, get to try your hand at pretzel twisting with your own piece of dough, and learn the history of pretzel baking in the U.S. Bonus for history buffs: the building is one of the original structures in Lititz, built in 1784 from stones dug from the street itself and timber hewed from the surrounding forest.

19. Crayola Experience

Crayola Experience
Crayola Experience

Learn how crayons are made in a fun and entertaining way with a trip to the Crayola Experience in Easton. During a live theatre show, a resident “Crayonologist” along with Scarlet & Turk (Turquoise), two animated crayons, offer a colorful, educational tale. You’ll want to make a day of it and get to name and wrap your own Crayola crayon, star in your own coloring page, and loads of other creative and fun activities.

20. Hershey's Chocolate World

Hersheys Chocolate World
Hershey's Chocolate World

Hershey’s really doesn’t employ singing cows on its assembly line, but you’ll still come away with a great understanding of how those delectable treats are made on the free chocolate making tour at Hershey's Chocolate World in Hershey. You’ll get to see, feel, hear, and smell the transformation of cocoa beans and the many steps its takes to produce a chocolate bar. Everyone gets a Hershey’s treat at the end!

Embrace Your Wild Side at One of Pennsylvania’s Many Epic Zoos

Philadelphia Zoo

Kid looking through Tower Viewer at Philadelphia Zoo
Philadelphia Zoo, Photo Credit: J. Fusco, visit Philadelphia.

Catch primates swinging from tree to tree, big majestic cats on the prowl, and meerkats digging and looking out from their ground-based Meerkat Maze. These are just some of the nearly 1,300 animals you’ll find at the Philadelphia Zoo. You might even spy various animals roaming throughout the park on designated “mesh trails” with the newest innovation, Zoo360.

Bonus: The Easter Bunny Brunch, March 31-April 1, features a buffet brunch, the bunny (of course!), an egg hunt, crafts, and the opportunity to mingle with some live animals.

Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium

Kids having fun Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium
Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium

Get ready to take a trip around the world with a visit to the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. Venture to The Islands for an eye-to-eye view of siamangs, Visayan warty pigs, Philippine crocodiles, and clouded leopards, then travel to a Jungle Odyssey to gaze at fossas, capybaras, ocelots, giant anteaters, and a pygmy hippo. See polar bears, sea otters, and sand tiger sharks at Water’s Edge, and a veritable host of underwater creatures at the aquarium.

Bonus: ZooHop to Spring, March 30, to spy the zoo’s animals search for treat-filled enrichment eggs hidden in their habitats, while kids have their own egg hunt in Kids Kingdom.

Elmwood Park Zoo

Woman Feeding Giraffe at Elmwood Park Zoo
Elmwood Park Zoo

Ever wanted to feed a giraffe or a bison? How about get a bird’s eye, aerial view of some really cool animals or interact with tropical sun conures and canary-winged parakeets? Then Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown is the place to be. With its focus on species indigenous to the Americas, you’ll get to see bald and golden eagles, jaguars, red pandas, Chacoan peccaries, howler monkeys, and gray wolves, to name but a few of the zoo’s more than 100 species. Soar up to 50 feet above the animal exhibits with a “Treetop Zoofari” at the zoo’s Treetop Adventures series of zipline courses and rope lines.

Bonus: The zoo's Easter Bunny Brunch and Egg Hunt, which runs March 17, 18, 24, 25, 31, and April 1, features the Easter Bunny and an Egg-ucational Egg Hunt.

Erie Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Tiger at Erie Zoo and Botanical Gardens
Erie Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Welcome Eva and Desta, the two new lionesses who have joined Nala in the completely renovated lion area at the Erie Zoo and Botanical Gardens. They join the familiar favorites, including baby Otis and his Orangutan family, Amur leopards Nia and Rowdy, Amur tigers Victor and Anna, the Canadian lynxes Russell and Martina, and Mimi and Max, the two American river otters.. Plant lovers, the botanical gardens throughout the zoo are sure to impress, with many specially designed to feature plants that complement an exhibit’s theme.

Bonus: Check out the Spring Animal Art Show, March 30-31, for your chance to purchase artwork created by some of your favorite animals.

ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park

ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park Entrance signage
ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park

Do you know the difference between an alligator and a crocodile? (Hint: One has a more rounded snout.) How about, where do wild turkeys like to sleep? Unlock these mysteries at ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park in Hershey to learn some fascinating info about the more than 200 North American animals, including bears, bobcats, lynx, coati, desert kingsnake, and bald eagles.

Bonus: Celebrate Earth Day at the annual "Party for the Planet," April 22.

Lehigh Valley Zoo

zeebra Lehigh valley zoo
Lehigh Valley Zoo

The Lehigh Valley Zoo in Schnecksville has embraced the “wild” in wildlife from the days of its founding as a game preserve in 1906, providing a place where both bison and elk could roam freely undisturbed. Today, you can still see herds of bison and elk, along with more than 300 other animals representing 125 species from around the world whose names literally encompass the alphabet from A (African penguins) to Z (zebras).

Bonus: At the Corks and Canvas painting party, March 28, where you can enjoy a night out at the Zoo, sipping wine (BYOWine) while creating your very own masterpiece. Featuring North American River Otters, the proceeds go towards the creation of an underwater Otter Playground to provide a more natural environment for the zoo’s resident otters.

Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland

monkey tree frog at Repitaland
Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland

What do animatronic dinosaurs, Aldabra tortoises, Komodo dragons, and parakeets all have in common? They are all part of Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland in Allenwood. Specializing in reptiles and amphibians from around the world in stunning naturalistic habitats, Reptiland is an educational adventure for the whole family with loads of interactive exhibits, live shows, and hands-on animal encounters. (Special note: the animatronic dinosaurs come back to life on April 21; until then you can enjoy life-size dinosaur models found along Prehistoric Path.)

Bonus: Birds of Prey Day, April 22, a true raptor rendezvous where you can learn all about these extraordinary animals with special encounters, talks, and flights.

The National Aviary

Penguins at The National Aviary
The National Aviary

Birds, birds and more birds are waiting for you at The National Aviary in Pittsburgh. Come face-to-face with an African Penguin, watch Flamingos dance, and get up close to amazing birds of prey. Home to more than 500 exotic and colorful birds representing more than 150 species, the aviary also has a number of animals from the various ecosystems, including the two male sloths Wookiee and Valentino, and the newest addition, baby girl sloth Vivien.

Bonus: Eggstravaganza!, March 24, 25, 30, 31, April 1, invites you to hop on in for a parade with the Easter Bunny, a bird-themed outdoor egg hunt with an educational twist, and story time with a live bird appearance.

Claws 'N' Paws Wild Animal Park

Loins at Claws and Paws Wild Animal Park
Claws 'N' Paws Wild Animal Park

Have you ever wanted to pet an alligator or a python? Even if your answer is no, Claws 'N' Paws Wild Animal Park in Lake Ariel (re-opening in the spring after its winter hiatus) offers many other opportunities for up-close encounters with many of its animals. You can pet deer, lamb and goats; see two different animal shows, mingle with African tortoises, and feed chunks of apple to its resident lory parrots.

Bonus: Don't miss the Dinosaur Outpost with fossil hunts, Dino Dig, a triceratops to sit on and interactive fun.

Penn's Cave & Wildlife Park

elk at Penns cave and Wildlife park
Penn's Cave & Wildlife Park

You’ll want to spend an entire day at Penn's Cave & Wildlife Park in Centre Hall to see not only breathtaking limestone formations in the underground caverns, but a wide variety of animals in the wildlife park. The 90-minute Farm-Nature-Wildlife guided tour will take you in an open-air bus or tractor tram through the grazing pastures, mountain trails, and forestland of the 1,600-acre Penn’s Cave property where you have a good chance of spying bears, wolves, elk, deer, bobcats, bison, longhorn cattle, mustangs, and bighorn sheep.

Bonus: Prospector Pete’s Miners Maze features a 4,800 square foot labyrinth with loads of twists and turns.

Wildlife Academy at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort

Girl and staff at Nemacolin Wildlife posing for a picture while holding a friendly baby fox
Wildlife Academy at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort

“All Animal, All The Time!” is the apt slogan for the Wildlife Academy at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, featuring red sheep, bears, bison, zebra, a Bengal tiger, lions, and wolves. You’ll also discover smaller exotic and domestic animals including a kinkajou, fennec foxes, a two-toed sloth, rabbits, and reptiles, to name a few of the more than 40 species at the academy. You’ll get to feed and pet various breeds of sheep, cows and goats and marvel at the wolves, tigers, lions, zebra and buffalo as you feed them their favorite treats on the safari.

Living Treasures Animal Park

peacock at Living Treasures Animal Park
Living Treasures Animal Park

Pennsylvania is home to not just one Living Treasures Animal Park, but two – both offering friendly animals from all across the world. Touch a baby kangaroo, hug a camel, or spend the afternoon playing among the goats are just some the many opportunities to interact with the animals at the Living Treasures Animal Park in New Castle. Feed carrots to Levi and Blue Jeans, the two resident giraffes at Living Treasures Animal Park in Jones Mills; they are the proud new parents of baby giraffe Calvin!

Bonus: Take a camel, pony, or horse ride in Jones Mills, or pet and interact with Padawan, the baby sloth in New Castle.

Lake Tobias Wildlife Park

Bear in Lake Tobias Wildlife Park
Lake Tobias Wildlife Park

Opening May 1, experience the wild with hundreds of animals from around the world at Lake Tobias Wildlife Park in Halifax. Generations have been fascinated by the herds of wild, exotic animals and flightless birds seen on the safari, and the petting zoo where the animals love to get up close to their visitors. Brave guests can even touch a live alligator or a snake in the Reptiles and Exotics Facility.

Bonus: On Wildlife Conservation Day, May 20, 50 percent off admissions will be donated to the Conservation of Endangered Species and Star Wars characters will be on hand!

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