Duration: Three days and two nights
Looking for a blend of history and family time that will have you traveling across beautiful valleys, stopping atop awe-inspiring inclines and being guided through local history? This three-day, two-night roadtrip through The Alleghenies has you covered. With hands-on exhibits and museums, amusement parks, arts & crafts and the world's oldest rollercoaster, the kids will be beyond excited. But that's not all. Beyond the various kid-oriented activities, the entire family will get a glimpse into history as they learn how floods shaped the Johnstown area, how resilience and ingenuity defined Johnstown's residents and what historic significance nearby Fort Bedford holds. So set your GPS for fun and head for The Alleghenies.
Hands-on exhibits are on today's docket at the Johnstown Children's Museum. Located in the Heritage Discovery Center in downtown Johnstown, the Museum encourages children to learn about Johnstown's geography, history, culture and more. Take a trip through time with the Johnstown Timewarp, introducing kids to landmarks synonomous with Johnstown including City Hall and the Stone Bridge.
Continue your journey as the Inclimber offers a close look at the Pennsylvania coal industry. Then, a reproduction of the Yoder Hill coal mine lets kids experience coal mining for themselves. Making their way through the exhibit they'll learn about mining from real coal miners and even meet some new friends. Taking the coal chute slide down the "Hill," they'll have to hand over their (plastic) coal pick but they'll walk away with quite the story to tell.
For the artists of the group, the Mix-Master Studio encourages your little composer to mix their own "Johnstown soundtrack" with an array of sound effects, music and rhythms. And if fashion is their passion, the Fashion Show is ready. Kids can mix and match outfits on the touchscreen and then watch as a computer-generated figure appears on a projection screen wearing their creation.
But there's too much to be contained inside. Step out onto the Overlook Garden to get in tune with nature while enjoying spectacular views of Cambria City and the Conemaugh Gap. There's even a telescope so kids can take a closer look at all that is out there.Read More >
Downstairs from the Children's Museum you'll be transported to the late 19th century, as a series of interactive exhibits tells the story of the influx of immigrants to the Johnstown community. Throughout the audiot tour and video experience, your children will learn what it was like coming to a new land with not much more than hope and perseverance, and from unique perspectives.
From Josef, a 12-year old Polish boy to Maria, a 19-year old Italian peasant girl, each story is distinctive in how it is told, and your kids will find themselves immersed in a world like they've never imagined. A visit to the Neighborhood of 1907 offers a glimpse into the life of immigrants making their way in America, working in nearby steel mills and coal mines that served as the backbone of Pennsylvania. Celebrate the joys of a Ukrainian wedding, spend some time in an ethnic social club to hear the goings on of the neighborhood or take in a bar mitzvah in audio-visual exhibits so real your kids will feel like they're part of the family.
Then, it's time to test how much the kids have learned. They'll get to see if they have a keen eye for fossil fuel and can pick out coal from rocks, while everyone will feel the heat during a visit to the open-hearth steel furnace exhibit. Before heading out the door, be sure to stop by the History Jukebox. The "jukebox" records your voice and image, then adds the story to the archives as you and your kidsbecome part of Johnstown's history.Read More >
A few minutes away, our next stop offers a unique perspective into life in the Valley. Built after the Johnstown flood of 1889, the Inclined Plane was designed to connect downtown Johnstown with the higher grounds of Westmont Borough. But the Incline became a lifesaver in the 1936 and 1977 floods, when it helped people escape the low-lying downtown area. In its heyday, the Incline carried 1,000,000 passengers a year. While it only carries about 100,000 a year now, there's always room for one more family to ride the world's steepest vehicular incline.Read More >
While the menu features custom pizzas, salads, sandwiches and weekly specials, this restaurant features something even more special - an unrivaled view of Johnstown. Grab a quick bite, and even enjoy a view of the Inclined Plane's amazing engine room from inside the bar.Read More >
More family fun is on the agenda today as we make our way to Altoona and Lakemont Park. Home to more than 30 rides and attractions, be sure to bring your bathing suits and make a splash at Island Waterpark with its waterslides and Pirate Ship Activity Pool. Land lover? Not a problem. Lakemont Park has rides and activities for kids big and small, including a Go-Kart track for a friendly family race and an 18-hole miniature golf course for some quality family time on the greens. And while there's plenty to do at Lakemont, before you leave be sure to take a ride on the world's oldest wooden rollercoaster, Leap-The-Dips. Built in 1902, it might not be the biggest coaster in the world, but for more than a century it's been the reason for some of the biggest smiles this side of Horseshoe Curve.Read More >
Tucked away on Union Avenue in Altoona, the Quaint Corner Children's Museum is just that - quaint. This refurbished home hosts a world of imagination and excitement for your little ones where they can channel their inner artist, creating clay sculptures and watching in wonder as they create works of art on a Harmonograph, a machine that uses pendulums and the earth's own rotation.
Upstairs, a captive audience awaits as your kids put on their own plays - complete with costumes and an actual stage. The only limit is their imagination. And as if these hands-on exhibits weren't enough, they'll have the chance to visit with Thomas the Tank Engine in the Transportation Room, and can even play veterinarian, in a room complete with an x-ray viewer and animal friends looking for some TLC. Add to all this the world's largest indoor sandbox and a pirate ship, and we'll leave you with these three words: see you there.Read More >
Take a journey into history as you and your kids learn about the challenges the Pennsylvania Railroad workers faced when laying the more than 30 miles of track that make up Horseshoe Curve. They'll marvel at one of the world's most incredible engineering feats that served as a crucial lifeline for Allied forces and supplies in World War II. Then, once you've had a chance to stop in the Visitor's Center and Gift Shop, take a ride up the Funicular, an incline plane that takes you from the visitors center to the tracks, or stretch your legs up the 194 beautifully-landscaped steps to the top. Once there, take a moment to break for a relaxing, picturesque picnic.Read More >
A short car ride from Horseshoe Curve, the Slinky Action Zone has fun and games for the entire family. Bigger kids can enjoy bumper cars, arcade games, laser tag and a bounce house, while the young ones enjoy themselves in the many ball pits and tubes in the gigantic playspace. Whether you're old, young, big or small, you can't help but have a good time here. With all the Slinky Action Zone has to offer, and after the day you've just put in, you're going to be pretty hungry. We have just the place for you.Read More >
After a full day's worth of fun, a trip to the Eat n' Park only makes sense. One of the area's first drive-in restaurants with carhops, this is your chance to enjoy a piece of Americana. Along with a great meal from Eat n' Park's diverse menu of breakfast, lunch and dinner items, treat yourself and the kids to a Smiley Cookie - complete with a big frosted smile. And yes, your young ones will be smiling too after having one of these Eat n' Park classics.Read More >
More than 250 years ago, Fort Bedford stood as a key British blockade during the French and Indian War campaign against the French at Fort Duquesne. Today, it's a lifelike museum, featuring a main gallery, a transportation room, a rear gallery, mezzanine and gift shop. Tour its open spaces and historic buildings and watch as your young ones gape in amazement at the history before them. Or, take a guided tour of the Fort and learn about the daily life of British soldiers who called the fort home while facing constant danger as they protected this crucial blockade.Read More >
Next on the docket is a visit to Old Bedford Village, just a few minutes north. Old Bedford Village brings you the best in living history and family fun with more than 14 time period skills, including quilting, candle making, blacksmithing, weaving and spinning. With authentic reenactors so convincing you'll swear they stepped out of colonial times, your family will learn what it was like to live and work during the dawn of our nation. Take in military and civilian reenactments, exhibits and festivals throughout the year, and get a taste of the good ole days, today.Read More >
Johnstown Flood National Memorial
When the South Fork dam failed on Firday, May 31, 1889; 20,000,000 tons of water devasted Johnstown, and 2,209 people lost their lives. Two floors of exhibits, a film on the disaster and trails leading to the remains of the dam offer an up-close lesson on the power of nature.
Johnstown Flood Museum
This exhibit illustrates the path of the Johnstown Flood through compelling visuals, stirring audio and a thought-provoking experience for the entire family. Start your visit by watching the Academy Award winning film, "The Johnstown Flood" to learn about the devastation on that fateful day of May 31, 1889. The documentary uses photo archives and recreations of events to tell the tale. The Museum also features photographs and artifacts to help tell the story of the flood through the eyes and experiences of those who lived it.
Altoona Curve Baseball
Take a moment to enjoy America's pasttime in Blair County. The Altoona Curve are the Double-A affiliate for the Pittsburgh Pirates, and play in Peoples Natural Gas Field. Friday and Saturday home games are a special treat for families all summer long as there's a different giveaway every Friday, and entertainment, giveaways or fireworks each Saturday.
Gravity Hill is a phenomenon. Cars roll uphill and water flows the wrong way. Is it a trick with magnetics? Supernatural forces? Or something else? Stop by Gravity Hill, and watch your kids' jaws drop.