Happiness Now: Amazing Experiences on a Small Budget

On a budget? No worries. Happy Travelers can experience some of the most unique attractions across the state without breaking the bank. Check out some of these budget-friendly attractions in Pennsylvania.

Randyland, located in the Mexican War Streets district of Pittsburgh’s North Side, is one of the city’s most colorful and Instagrammable landmarks, and offers unique insight into the mind of its artist and owner, Randy Gilson. Randyland welcomes visitors to explore the public art displays in and around the property between 10AM and dusk. Admission is free to the public.

Grab the wheel and coast through 10 of Bucks County’s 12 covered bridges. Step back in time on this scenic covered bridge tour with 19th century bridges ranging from 56 feet to 150 feet long. Circling through beautiful Bucks County, the tour is planned so you can start at any one of the notable bridges.

Casino Theater Entertainment Center in the Poconos is a great place for a date or a night out with the family. Sip a vintage ice cream parlor treat and grab dinner at the retro Village Malt Shoppe, catch a first-run movie at the Casino Theater, or do both with the Center’s Dinner & Movie specials on Mondays and Tuesdays for just $12. There’s also an arcade for the kids!  With movies only $7.75 for adults and $5.75 for children, you can get the full night out experience for a reasonable price.

Believe it or not, the famous Big Mac was invented 40 years ago near Pittsburgh. Hop over to Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands region to visit the Big Mac Museum Restaurant and see hundreds of historic artifacts celebrating the iconic sandwich. Admission to the museum is free.

Creekside Gardens Butterfly House, located in Tunkhannock in the Endless Mountains of North Central Pennsylvania, is home to several native Pennsylvania species, including the declining monarch butterflies. Visitors of all ages will enjoy strolling through the gardens and live flight Butterfly House and encountering these enchanting insects up close. While there, learn the stages of a butterfly’s life cycle and how to create a butterfly habitat. The Butterfly House is open through mid-Sept., when it holds its annual Butterfly Release event. Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for children, and free for children under 2 years old.

Have you ever wondered what life was like for the people working in the Pennsylvania lumber industry? Then head to the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum along Route 6 in Ulysses. Guests can experience the visitor center exhibits, logging camp and other outdoor attractions. Admission to the museum is $8 for adults and $5 for kids.

Located in Punxsutawney, the “Weather Capital of the World,” the Weather Discovery Center is the place to go to learn more about the relationship between science and the folklore of weather prediction. The Weather Discovery Center offers interactive exhibits that allow you to climb into the power of a tornado, become a TV weather forecaster, explore Punxsutawney Phil’s Burrow, and much more. The Center offers something for everyone at the affordable cost of $6 for children and adults, and free admission for those two years and under.


Discover the handcrafted side of Lehigh Valley with a guided factory tour at the world-famous C.F. Martin Guitar. Hosted on weekdays, these tours are free to the public. As tour groups walk the factory floor, visitors get an up-close look at how these incredible instruments come to life. Be sure to browse the on-site museum for a look at past models and rare Martin memorabilia before you head to your next stop.

Originally constructed in 1928, the Tionesta Fish Hatchery sits on 50 developed acres of land and raises muskellunge, walleye and steelhead fingerlings for stocking Pennsylvania waters. The facility consists of earthen ponds, a hatchery building, and other breeding areas. Tours are free and are offered 8AM-3PM seven days a week, year-round.

Animal lovers will enjoy the Double Diamond Deer Ranch in Cooksburg. This deer park allows you to enjoy a day in the Pennsylvania Wilds while getting up close to deer and fawns – and you can even feed them!  Open from May through Nov., the $8 admission will give you an all-day pass with free admission for children under age 4.

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