Hands-on Learning and Discovery in Pennsylvania

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

Erie
www.eriechildrensmuseum.org
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 toys (children 6-24 months) and parents.

 

Da Vinci Science Center - Lehigh Valley

Allentown
www.davinci-center.org
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
Pittsburgh

www.pittsburghkids.org
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 personal universal meanings of love and forgiveness using facial expressions, words, movement and art making. Children can roll up their sleeves and investigate many things that drive, fly and roll in the Garage. Every visitor is encouraged to get behind the wheel or fill up the gas tank on a real SmartforTwo car in the Garage or build a house out of plastic panels, nuts and bolts.

 

Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts - Dutch Country Roads

Harrisburg
www.whitakercenter.org
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, and offers intriguing world-class exhibitions. Bodies in Motion: The Physics of Human Movement is one of the flagship exhibits, Newton's Laws to human motion. Prepare tomorrow’s scientists with Big Science Theatre performances by the Center’s in-house troupe of professional actors who employ innovative, interpretive teaching techniques to educate visitors about science and technology.

 

Franklin Institute - Philadelphia and the Countryside
Philadelphia

www.fi.edu/
With a mission to “inspire a passion for learning about science and technology,” the Franklin Institute designs innovative, interactive exhibits to enlighten and educate each visitor. 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. The dynamic institute is recognized internationally for its educational programs, lectures, and exhibits and emphasizes curiosity and enjoyment. Highlights include The Sports Challenge, which uses virtual-reality technology to illustrate the physics of sports; The Train Factory’s climb-aboard steam engine; Space Command’s simulated earth-orbit research station; and exhibits on electricity.

 

The Children’s Museum - Valleys of the Susquehanna

Bloomsburg
www.the-childrens-museum.org
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, and crawl underground to see animal houses in the Animal Architects exhibit. 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

Harrisburg
www.statemuseumpa.org
With four floors of interactive exhibits and activities representing Pennsylvania's story, the State Museum of Pennsylvania is a great place to keep growing minds engaged. Stories from the
Homefront: Pennsylvania in the Civil War shares compelling stories and photographs made by Pennsylvania individuals and industries to the Union cause during the war. Storytime in Curiosity Connection, the museum's hands-on learning center, allows children and their families to gather together for book readings by Susan Stockdale, William Low and additional authors.

 

Please Touch Museum -  Philadelphia and the Countryside

Philadelphia
www.pleasetouchmuseum.org
Home to six interactive exhibit zones, the Please Touch Museum is the perfect place for families with children to learn and discover. Exhibits are all interactive and encourage learning through play, so children can feel free to touch, explore and lead their parents through the process. In addition to enjoying the nine exhibits offered, including The SuperMarket, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Fairytale Garden (an exhibit for the youngest visitors), families can also take pleasure in live theater performances. 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

Lansford
www.no9mine.com
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
Pittsburgh

www.carnegiesciencecenter.org
The Carnegie Science Center educates and inspires visitors of all ages through interactive experiences in science and technology. One of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, the center features more than 400 hands-on exhibits, three live demonstration theaters, a four-story IMAX® Dome theater, an interactive planetarium, a science-of-sport exhibition, an authentic Cold War submarine moored on Pittsburgh’s Ohio River and a world-renowned model railroad display.

 

Johnstown Children's Museum - The Alleghenies

Johnstown
www.jaha.org/ChildrensMuseum
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 will enjoy The Water Room exhibit where children can learn about rain in mountains and valleys, acid rain, native fish and dam-building. During the visit, take a walk on the rooftop terraces for a spectacular view of Cambria City and discover the growth cycle of Pennsylvania’s native plants.