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 kids 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 20 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 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 Watt’s 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. 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. New in June, children can experience the joy of their favorite author through Very Eric Carle: A Very Hungry, Quiet, Lonely, Clumsy, Busy Exhibit. This play-and-learn exhibit allows children to immerse themselves in the stories of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Very Quiet Cricket, The Very Lonely Firefly, The Very Clumsy Click Beetle and The Very Busy Spider.
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. A new exhibit in 2015, available May 23 through September 6, is the Animation exhibit featuring Cartoon Network™. Kids can learn the ins and outs of animation with the help of cartoon friends from Dexter’s Laboratory, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends and Kids Next Door.
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. This summer experience the awe-inspiring exhibit, The Art of the Brick. View more than 100 creations, all made from over one million LEGO® bricks!
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 Wonderland exhibit, children can weave through a circular maze and enjoy a nice break in the Tea Party. 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. Starting this year is Please Touch Museum® First Wednesdays. On the first Wednesday of every month, visitors who arrive between 4 – 7 p.m. receive a discounted admission of $2 per person.
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. New in 2015 is H2Oh! Why Our Rivers Matter, an exhibit presented by Colcom Foundation. Through this exhibit visitors can learn about all about rivers, including habitation as the impact of humanity on rivers.
North Museum of History and Science - Dutch Country Roads
Since 1953 the North Museum of History and Science has been fulfilling its mission of inspiring curiosity, discovery and a lifelong appreciation of nature and science. Any visitor to this museum will find themselves fascinated by the diverse collections and exhibits available. Guests can enjoy the birds and fossils in the Cabinet Museum, as well as the collections of Native American artifacts and fossils. New in 2015 is the Nature Explorer Gallery, which combines the former Discovery Room and Live Animal room. In addition, North Museum will be the first museum in the world to have a Spitz cove-mounted SciDome XD Touch system, which will allow guests to fully immerse themselves in astronomy, earth sciences and meteorology.
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 County and learn about the growth cycle of Pennsylvania’s native plants.