From life-sized longhouses to weightlessness simulators similar to those used by NASA, Pennsylvania offers many attractions that make learning and discovery fun for children of all ages. Keep children learning outside of the classroom by visiting the state’s interactive and hands-on destinations designed to engage even little learners through history, science, art and technology.
expERIEnce Children's Museum - Pennsylvania’s Great Lakes Region
For more than 15 years, expERIEnce Children's Museum in Erie has been providing an educational, creative and interactive environment where learning and fun go hand in hand. Children can experience the wonders of aerodynamics at the museum’s Air Sorter exhibit and discover the History, Mystery and Magic of Magnets exhibit, featuring six interactive stations demonstrating the power of magnets. New daily educational programs filled with exploration and learning are available to tiny tots (children 6-24 months) and parents.
Da Vinci Science Center - Lehigh Valley
Want to be an astronaut for a day? The Da Vinci Science Center welcomes guests to climb aboard the GyroSphere, a life-sized, gyroscope-style ride similar to a device that NASA has used to help astronauts train for the weightlessness and tumbling motions in space. The hands-on learning opportunities continue at the Watts Up exhibit, where children can explore light, electricity and magnetism, and at the Built Like a Mack Truck exhibit, where visitors are challenged to build the most fuel-efficient and environmentally-friendly truck and drive it through realistic work scenarios.
Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh and its Countryside
Located in Pittsburgh's historic North Side, the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh offers interactive exhibits for the young tinkerer, artist and more. The XOXO exhibit explores universal meanings of love and forgiveness using facial expressions, words, movement and art making. In the Garage, children can roll up their sleeves and investigate many things that drive, fly and roll. Get behind the wheel or fill up the gas tank on a real SmartforTwo car. Renovated in April 2013, the Waterplay exhibit is a place where children can experience nearly 20 different new exhibit components that let them pump, move, channel and dam the flow of water, and experience rain, spray and ice.
Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts - Dutch Country Roads
From a giant six-story IMAX® theatre to three floors of imaginative, engaging exhibits, Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts is guaranteed to delight the whole family. The center is composed of three main venues – Sunoco Performance Theater, Select Medical IMAX® Theater, and Harsco Science Center, also offering intriguing world-class exhibitions. The newest installment, Backstage Studio, allows visitors to make their own animated video, create movie sound effects, play ‘intelligent’ musical instruments, and discover how different colors of light can create a variety of moods.
Franklin Institute - Philadelphia and the Countryside
Founded in honor of America’s first scientist, Benjamin Franklin, The Franklin Institute is one of America’s oldest and premier centers of science education and development in the country. Think about how you think at the Franklin Institute's newest—and biggest—exhibition, Your Brain. Explore the brain at the cellular level, learn how it controls your body and cognitive functions, and consider the field of neuroethics as the discoveries in brain science rapidly advance.
The Children’s Museum - Valleys of the Susquehanna
With exhibits that bring out the imagination in every child and the child in every visitor, The Children’s Museum in Bloomsburg offers interactive and hands-on educational experiences for all. Come discover ancient culture in the People of the Past: An Egyptian Tomb exhibit, crawl underground to see animal houses in the Animal Architects exhibit, and explore the Eastern Woodlands Longhouse interactive display to see how Native Americans lived in the region inside a full-sized longhouse.
State Museum of Pennsylvania - Dutch Country Roads
With four floors of interactive exhibits and activities representing Pennsylvania's story from Earth's beginning to today, the State Museum of Pennsylvania is a great place to keep growing minds engaged. Favorites include the Planetarium, where astronomy and the latest discoveries in space science are explained through multi-media and Curiosity Connection, the museum's hands-on learning center.
Please Touch Museum - Philadelphia and the Countryside
Home to eight interactive exhibit zones, the Please Touch Museum is the perfect place for families with children to learn and discover. River Adventures takes guests on a journey down the river to explore science, nature and weather, and in the Rainforest Rhythm exhibit, children can play music on nature-inspired instruments. The must-see Hamilton Hall features a 40-foot replica of the Statue of Liberty's arm and torch created out of toys, games and other objects assembled by local artist Leo Sewell.
No. 9 Coal Mine & Museum - Upstate PA
Located at the foot of the Pocono Mountains, the No. 9 Coal Mine & Museum is the world’s oldest continuously operated anthracite coal mine. Visitors are invited to discover the area’s rich history as they travel 1,600 feet into the mountainside by train to experience the life of a coal miner firsthand. Along the journey, guests will see the underground mule-way, miner’s hospital and the 900-foot deep original elevator shaft that once hauled loaded coal cars to the surface.
Carnegie Science Center - Pittsburgh and its Countryside
The Carnegie Science Center educates and inspires visitors through interactive experiences in science and technology. Favorite attractions include the Buhl Digital Dome, a planetarium show which transports guests to the farthest regions of the cosmos and to the inside of the human body, and the Miniature Railroad & Village, a legendary exhibit that brings to life the history of western Pennsylvania.
Johnstown Children's Museum - The Alleghenies
Located in the Heritage Discovery Center, the Johnstown Children's Museum encourages children to learn about Johnstown's geography, history and culture through fun and interactive exhibits. Families are sure to enjoy The Water Room exhibit where they can learn about rain in mountains and valleys as well as acid rain and dam-building. During the visit, take a walk out onto the rooftop terraces for a spectacular view of Cambria City and learn about the growth cycle of Pennsylvania’s native plants.