South Central PA Guide to Zoos and Museums


Zoos and museums are popular with families, and for good reason! They’re not only entertaining for kiddos, but they’re also educational. A lot of the time, zoos and museums also serve a greater purpose, such as conservation and research. It’s a win-win all around!

But where are the zoos and museums in South Central PA? Have no fear — we’ve got you covered! From wildlife parks to science museums, our handy guide will keep you in-the-know on all the amazing places to go in the area!


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Zoos and Museums in Cumberland County

  • Cumberland County Historical Society, Carlisle: Count on spending at least half a day to explore the entirety of our permanent galleries or spend some time in our focused galleries including the Carlisle Indian School, folk art (including Wilhelm Schimmel), and more. Tours are self-guided and photographs are allowed! In the heart of downtown Carlisle’s historic district, The Shop highlights the fine artistry and craftsmanship of county artists, including paintings, fine jewelry, textiles, pottery, metalwork, wood carvings, clothing, and food items.
  • U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, Carlisle: The Visitor and Education Center opened in May 2011 to the general public. It serves as the welcome and orientation site for visitors to the facility. The building includes a 7,000-square-foot (650 m2) museum exhibit space, currently featuring “The Soldier Experience,” a museum store, and two large multipurpose rooms for conferences and lectures.

    “The Soldier Experience” is located in the Visitor and Education Center (VEC) of the USAHEC campus and is open during normal business hours.

    The exhibit also features artifacts, oral history recordings accessible from your smart phone, a movie theater, and the opportunity to write a letter to a currently serving Soldier. In addition, guests may test their marksmanship at the digital shooting range, parachute in to Normandy as part of the D-Day invasion, and experience a night attack during the Korean War.

  • Appalachian Trail Museum, Pine Grove Forest State Park: The Appalachian Trail Museum serves the Appalachian Trail community by telling the stories of the founding, construction, preservation, maintenance, protection, and enjoyment of the Trail since its creation. The Museum will collect, preserve, and interpret materials relevant to these subjects in an effort to portray not only the history of the Trail, but also the essence of the physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual human experience of the Appalachian environment and the culture of hiking.

    Our mission statement is reflected in the Museum that is located in Pennsylvania’s Pine Grove Furnace State Park, close to the midpoint of the Appalachian Trail, the Museum is halfway between Maine and Georgia. Appropriately, the Museum is housed in a building that is itself a historical artifact, a structure built more than two hundred years ago as a grist mill. It stands across the road from the Pine Grove General Store, a site famed in hiker lore. It is here that thru-hikers traditionally stop to celebrate reaching the midpoint by eating — or attempting to eat — a half gallon of ice cream in one sitting.

  • Mechanicsburg Museum Association, Mechanicsburg: The MMA owns and preserves four Mechanicsburg buildings built by the Cumberland Valley Railroad: The 1866 Stationmaster’s House, The 1886 Freight Station, The 1867 Passenger Station and the 1899 Washington Street Station. The buildings are open to the public during regular museum hours and at special events, such as Jubilee Day, and other community celebrations. The 1801 Frankenberger Tavern, Mechanicsburg’s oldest known building, is open seasonally and for special events. Admission is free to all normal exhibits. Our main office is located in the Passenger Station at 2 West Strawberry Alley, with exhibits on Mechanicsburg’s history and Cumberland Valley Railroad history. The Freight Station houses changing exhibits, the Museum Store, and museum archives. The Stationmaster’s House is furnished as it might have been when new, as a glimpse of life in the 1860s. The Washington Street Station is a small building with exhibits viewed through the windows. The Frankenberger Tavern is furnished as it might have been in the early 1800s.
  • Oakes Museum of Natural History, Mechanicsburg: The Oakes Museum of Natural History is a unique museum experience for the family, classroom, or group featuring more than 40,000 specimens. The 10,000-square foot museum is home to a collection African and North American mammals, birds, eggs, fish, seashells, minerals, insects, and fossils.

    The museum is open on Saturdays from 10-4:00. Staff and volunteers are available to answer questions and guide visitors through the museum. Storytime is offered at 10:30 for children. A craft and scavenger hunts are available all day.

  • Fashion Archives and Museum of Shippensburg University, Shippensburg: The Fashion Archives & Museum (FA&M) is located in the Davis House at Shippensburg University. It features an expanded collections storage area, an airy exhibit gallery, and a separate library to house the fashion reference collection. There is a meeting/reception area in addition to separate work and office spaces. The facility is also fully handicapped-accessible. There is ample dedicated parking in front of the building.
  • Hessian Powder Magazine, Carlisle: The Hessian Powder Magazine, also known as the Hessian Guardhouse Museum, is an historic guardhouse and gunpowder magazine which is located on the grounds of the Carlisle Barracks in Carlisle, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.
  • The Trout Gallery, Carlisle: The Trout Gallery is the art museum of Dickinson College. It seeks to inspire creativity and to support the study and experience of the visual arts through direct contact with works in the Gallery’s collections and exhibitions. It serves the students, faculty and staff, and alumni of Dickinson College; the residents of the Carlisle-Central Pennsylvania area and their visitors; and the broader academic and artistic communities. It meets its objective through its collections, exhibitions, programs, publications, and professional resources.
  • The Conrail Museum, Shippensburg: The Conrail Historical Society is pleased to announce the grand opening of the Conrail Museum.

    Starting at 12:00 noon (Eastern Time) on Saturday, April 1, 2023 (Conrail’s 47th birthday), The CRHS will host a grand opening event at the boxcar. CRHS members and the public alike are invited to attend and experience this all-new exhibit that has been three years in the making.

  • Pennsylvania Fly Fishing Museum, Carlisle: The PFFMA has established itself as the leading organization in the collection and preservation of the rich flyfishing heritage of Pennsylvania. The Museum works with fly fishers, historians, and conservationists to collect materials and develops exhibits for the museum and presents programs that reflect all schools of the Pennsylvania fly fishing tradition. We have much to discover; much to preserve.

Zoos and Museums in Dauphin County

  • Lake Tobias Wildlife Park, Halifax: Our open-air safari is the main attraction at Lake Tobias Wildlife Park, but there are also plenty of other things to do and see. Encounter giraffes at our new giraffe deck where you may also feed them. Don’t miss the Reptiles & Exotics facility that offers educational presentations throughout the day and the new Museum & Education Center has touch-and-feel learning experiences as well as a 500-gallon aquarium with large fish and stingrays. We operate a petting zoo, a Zoo Babies exhibit and have a full variety of zoo exhibits for you to explore.
  • ZooAmerica, Hershey: ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park is a home for more than 200 animals native to the continent of North America. We are located on 11 acres of landscape featuring native plants and landscaping in Hershey, PA – situated in-between the thrills of Hersheypark and the chocolate-making business of The Hershey Company. Visit us for an adventure into the wild of North America today!
  • The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg: Your official museum of everything Pennsylvania. Since its creation in 1905, The State Museum of Pennsylvania has collected, preserved, researched, and interpreted the cultural and natural history of the state. Over the years, the museum has greatly expanded its collections and modernized its public offerings to serve the needs of succeeding generations of Pennsylvanians. Originally located next to the Capitol, the museum moved to its current location in 1964. It became a bureau of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in 1945.
  • Pennsylvania National Fire Museum, Harrisburg: The Pennsylvania National Fire Museum is a museum devoted to fire fighter heritage in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, United States. The museum has an outstanding collection of artifacts from the hand-drawn equipment, extensive collection of vintage fire apparatus, artifacts, pictures and information about the history of fire fighting in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States. The museum is housed in the former 1899 Victorian firehouse Reily Hose Company No. 10, of the Harrisburg Bureau of Fire.
  • The National Civil War Museum, Harrisburg: As President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address encompassed the emotions of the American struggle, The National Civil War Museum portrays this struggle as a time line, from the issues straining the nation through the war’s conclusion at Appomattox Court House. Nowhere can you find a better understanding of the Civil War, its effect on the nation, or on the people. Come walk our halls. See and feel the emotions rise and fall as you embrace Bull Run, Shiloh, Vicksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness, Antietam, and Gettysburg; once ordinary places transformed to hallowed ground within a few hours.

    The National Civil War Museum incorporates collections of artifacts, manuscripts, documents, photographs, and other printed matter that exceed 24,000 items.

  • The Hershey Story Museum, Hershey: For well over 100 years, the word “Hershey” has been synonymous with the Great American Chocolate Bar. But before the world fell in love with his chocolate, Milton S. Hershey was a struggling entrepreneur determined to make a difference. Our attraction presents his legacy in permanent displays and special exhibits that change periodically.

    The Hershey Story museum experience takes visitors on a journey through his life, his chocolate company, his generous philanthropic legacy and the town of Hershey, PA. Engaging museum exhibits explore Mr. Hershey’s early failures, how he successfully revolutionized the process of making milk chocolate, and how the orphan boys of the Hershey Industrial School became heirs to his fortune.

    Our family attraction is also an interactive experience perfect for kids. The Apprentice Program and “I Spy” activity are special ways we present the Hershey Story to younger visitors, allowing them to guide themselves along a “scavenger hunt-style” exploration of the museum exhibits. We also develop special exhibits and hands-on museum displays with kids and families in mind.

  • Susquehanna Art Museum, Harrisburg: SAM is dedicated to encouraging and inspiring visitors of all ages to become more familiar with; knowledgeable of and appreciative of the art and culture that surrounds them. Educational programming is developed to enhance and enrich the visitor experience, providing a wide variety of classes, lectures, workshops, discussions, critiques, and more for adult learners.

    Nestled within the Capital City’s emerging midtown neighborhood in a newly reclaimed building, the Susquehanna Art Museum serves as a catalyst in the Commonwealth to offer educationally superior programming and diversely extraordinary exhibitions.

  • Whitaker Center for Science and Arts, Harrisburg: The center is the first complex of its kind in the United States to use science as an entry to the arts. Whitaker Center exhibits science, the performing arts, and a digital cinema under one roof. The center encompasses a total of 130,000 square feet (12,000 m2), including the three main components, plus STAGE TWO, Discovery Lab classrooms, multi-purpose rooms, the AMP Grand Lobby and the Kunkel Gallery.
  • AACA Museum, Hershey: The AACA Museum, Inc. at Hershey is dedicated to the preservation and presentation of motor vehicle history in a manner that provides for the education and entertainment of our guests. Our goal is to deliver a world-class automotive experience through innovative and interactive exhibits that appeal to all ages and illustrate the historical evolution and potential future impacts of one of the most culturally defining innovations of modern times.
  • Fort Hunter Mansion and Park, Harrisburg: Fort Hunter Mansion & Park is a division of the Dauphin County Parks and Recreation Department. DCPR elevates the region making it a better place to live, work, and play by preserving and protecting natural, cultural, and historic resources and recreation opportunities. Parks include Fort Hunter Park, Fort Hunter Conservancy, Henninger Bridge, Lykens Glen Park, Wiconisco Creek Park, and Wildwood Park.
  • Lykens Valley Children’s Museum, Elizabethville: The museum provides hands-on exhibits which include dramatic play areas, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and art activities, and other fun learning exhibits to help in early childhood development. Visitors of all ages are leaving the museum having learned something new. The LVCM is an all-volunteer run organization and is currently only open 8 times a month.
  • The Pennsylvania State Police Museum, Hershey: The Pennsylvania State Police Historical, Educational & Memorial Center houses over 115 years of the history of our nation’s first constabulary. We offer hundreds of artifacts and photographs, with exhibits including vehicles, uniforms, rodeo footage, crime scene paraphernalia, and much more.
  • National Christmas Center Family Attraction and Museum, Middletown: At the National Christmas Center life-sized indoor exhibits capture the magic of Christmas memories, its history, and Christmas traditions throughout the year! “Journey to Bethlehem” (total environmental experience); Explore Tudor Towne animated storybook village, Santa’s Workshop, Toyland train mountain (under a giant Christmas tree!), 1950’s Woolworth’s re-creation, and more! Gift shop on site/online. Handicap accessible/seating throughout.

Zoos and Museums in Lancaster County

  • Wolf Sanctuary of PA, Lititz: In the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, quietly secured on 80 plus acres of natural woodland, you will find the home of the Wolves of Speedwell.

    At Speedwell Forge, a quiet haven just north of the town of Lititz, PA, the Darlington Family has offered refuge to gray wolves and wolf-dogs for over 40 years. Wolves have been plagued by myth and misinformation for centuries. This has led to conservation issues across the globe, but it has also led to wolves being improperly handled as household pets. At Wolf Sanctuary of PA, gray wolves and wolf-dogs are given back their dignity. We are devoted to assuring the highest quality of care and enrichment for our wolves. Currently the sanctuary is home to over 50 gray wolves and wolf-dogs. Through guided tours we also seek to dispel some of the common myths about wolves and provide a more accurate and respectful image of this keystone species.

  • Refreshing Mountain Wildlife Center, Stevens: Our Wildlife Center is a unique facility with a specialized focus on Reptiles & Amphibians, as well as Birds of Prey. During the Wildlife Experience tour, you will see more than 40 species and follow your guide through 3 main exhibit areas.
  • North Museum of Nature and Science, Lancaster: See dinosaurs up close and personal right here in Lancaster, PA! The newest exhibit at the North Museum includes an in-depth look at T. rex and its fellow dinosaurs as they really lived, the opportunity to view other forms of ancient life, and get hands-on with real fossils. This new exhibit is sure to please dinosaur lovers young and old.

    Let your inner scientist come out to play!

    Spark your child’s excitement and curiosity with a trip to the North Museum in Lancaster County, PA. Your family can explore engaging exhibits and fun, hands-on activities in an immersive informal learning environment. Now offering early education programming developed by certified teachers.

  • Hands-On House, Children’s Museum of Lancaster, Lancaster: Hands-on House, Children’s Museum of Lancaster is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids learn and making sure they have lots of fun in the process! The museum is designed for children ages 2-10. At Hands-on House, adults and children learn and play together. Our philosophy of childhood learning is simple: it lasts longer if it’s more fun, and it’s more fun if it includes doing.
  • Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum, Lancaster: Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum is a nationally significant living history museum that collects, conserves, exhibits and interprets Pennsylvania German material culture and heritage between 1750-1940. This is accomplished through preservation and interpretation of the largest collection of Pennsylvania German artifacts in the country and through the presentation of authentic traditional farming, village and industrial life, skilled craft demonstrations, and historical animals and plants. The museum promotes education, research, programs, and events for the benefit and enjoyment of its visitors and the community.
  • Demuth Foundation, Lancaster: The Demuth Foundation’s mission is to promote the appreciation and awareness of the visual arts in Lancaster. The Demuth Foundation works to preserve the legacy of Charles Demuth and his groundbreaking art, support current local and regional artists, and inspire a new generation of creatives. This is accomplished through unique exhibitions and engaging educational programs to serve a diverse community.

    In 2014, The Demuth Museum and Lancaster Museum of Art merged to form two museums with one mission. The Demuth Museum is a member of Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The Lancaster Museum of Art is a community-based museum featuring local art and traveling exhibitions. While each location maintains its own unique identity – the Demuth Museum’s focus on the life and legacy of Charles Demuth and the Lancaster Museum of Art’s close relationship with the local visual arts community – the newly formed organization focuses on promoting the visual arts in the community through educational programs, membership, and collaborative exhibitions and events.

  • LancasterHistory, Lancaster: A registered 501(c)3 non-profit, LancasterHistory offers a variety of history-focused opportunities for visitors (and locals!) to learn about Lancaster County’s unique history. A visitor favorite is our guided, in-person tours of Wheatland, the beloved, 1828 home of 15th U.S. President James Buchanan. LancasterHistory’s tours of Wheatland are unique in that there are few room barriers, allowing visitors to stand in the spaces once frequented by a former president and his family.

    LancasterHistory also offers a changing series of museum exhibitions, featuring historic artifacts from its collections. The latest exhibition, Lancaster in the ’60s, examines life in Lancaster County during the ’60s decades: the 1660s, 1760s, 1860s, and 1960s.

  • Ephrata Cloister, Ephrata: Historic Ephrata Cloister engages diverse audiences as an example of religious toleration, creative expression, intellectual freedom and the significant role Pennsylvania plays in contemporary human rights issues. The Ephrata Cloister is administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and is actively supported by the Ephrata Cloister Associates, which is a non-profit community-based organization.
  • Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, Strasburg: At the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, it is our mission to preserve and interpret the Commonwealth’s rich railroad history. We strive to educate the public about the role railroads played, past and present, in building our nation and shaping our daily lives. In pursuing these goals, we hope to engage as broad and diverse an audience as possible. We simply cannot wait for you to experience all we have to offer!
  • National Watch and Clock Museum, Columbia: Operated by the National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors, the Museum features the largest collection of timepieces in North America – more than 13,000 from around the world, including a German table clock from about 1570. Visiting the NAWCC Museum is the closest you can come to time travel. From prehistory to the space age, the items on display delight visitors of all ages.

    At the Museum one can enjoy the sights and sounds of watches and clocks from around the world, be inspired by the artistry and science of timepieces, and marvel at the inner workings of timekeepers of all shapes and sizes.

  • National Toy Train Museum, Strasburg: Home of the Train Collectors Association (TCA) since 1977, the National Toy Train Museum is a world-class toy train destination for kids of all ages. Whether you’re new to the lively hobby of collecting, building, and operating toy trains or you’ve been a toy train enthusiast for decades, you will delight in our dynamic displays, including seven operating, interactive train layouts in G, Standard, O, S, and HO Gauges, Replica Lionel D-265 O Gauge, and LEGO®.
  • Lancaster Science Factory, Lancaster: The Lancaster Science Factory is a hands-on, interactive science center for kids in Pre-K to 8th grade and their families. We are open to the public and available for group reservations and rentals. We host a wide variety of STEM educational programs and workshops and lead STEM educational outreach in our community!
  • Mennonite Life, Lancaster: We’re working towards a world where people learn their own and others’ stories, across boundaries. Mennonite Life does our small part in bringing about that world. We share items and stories featuring the lived experiences and faith values of Lancaster Mennonites and interrelated communities. What’s your story? How are you preserving it, and who have you shared it with?
  • Christiana Underground Railroad Center, Christiana: The events that occurred on September 11, 1851 in Christiana, Pennsylvania are cited as major flash points that led to the outbreak of the Civil War. These events are described in a guided tour by local historians at the Christiana Underground Railroad Center in an interesting and educational format for all ages. The persons, dates and the locations leading up to and following the Resistance at Christiana – originally called the Christiana Riot — are presented in an authentic and easy-to-follow format of maps, photographs and narratives.
  • Lancaster Medical Heritage Museum, Lancaster: The Edward Hand Medical Heritage Foundation, now the Lancaster Medical Heritage Museum, was founded in 1982 with a mission to preserve and make accessible the rich heritage of the healing arts, with special attention given to Lancaster County.

    With this mission in mind, the Lancaster Medical Heritage Museum opened in Burle Industrial Park in 2010 to display and share the collection of over 11,000 artifacts. The museum has become a place to share Lancaster county’s rich medical history, as well as, providing a home base for medical and historical research through its internship program.

  • The Amish Village, Ronks: The Amish Village is dedicated to bringing together elements of the Amish community – farmhouse, barn, schoolhouse, and blacksmith shop included – to give you a true taste of the Amish way of life. Our Amish Village centers around the Amish farmhouse, originally built in 1840. We employ Amish and ex-Amish friends to ensure our tours deliver accurate and helpful information. We have relationships with the Amish-run businesses in our community, and we look forward to sharing some of these Lancaster County gems with you.
  • Choo-Choo Barn, Strasburg: Since 1961, people across the country and around the world have come to visit a truly unique attraction…the Choo Choo Barn — Traintown U.S.A.! Our 1,700 square foot train layout features over 150 hand-built animated figures and vehicles and 22 operating trains…we guarantee the Choo Choo Barn is like nothing you’ve ever seen!
  • Historical Society of Cocalico Valley, Ephrata: We are dedicated to discovering, gathering and preserving materials and data relative to the community known as the Cocalico Valley. All items in the museum collection were either made in the Cocalico Valley or were used by and/or owned by people living in the area. The Cocalico Valley encompasses ten municipalities in Northern Lancaster County — the Boroughs of Adamstown, Akron, Denver, and Ephrata and the Townships of East and West Cocalico, Clay, Ephrata, West Earl, and a portion of Earl.
  • Phillips Museum of Art, Lancaster: The purpose of The Phillips Museum of Art is to foster an understanding and appreciation of the arts, which include contemporary, historical, and multicultural materials. In its essence, the mission of The Phillips Museum is three-fold and encompasses the following: Advancing the educational objectives of the college by presenting exhibitions and programs that support the curriculum, by acquisition of relevant objects and artworks, and by providing study and research opportunities for its faculty and students; Contributing to the cultural life of the Lancaster community and the greater South Central Pennsylvania regions; and Functioning as the steward of Franklin & Marshall College’s permanent collection, and overseeing its management.
  • Columbia Crossing River Trails Center, Columbia: The Columbia Crossing River Trails Center is managed by Susquehanna Heritage for the Borough of Columbia as a gateway visitor education center and trailhead for land and water trails in the Susquehanna Riverlands. Located in Columbia River Park on the eastern shore of the Susquehanna in the historic river town of Columbia, visitors will find maps, guides, and brochures related to river recreation, trails and nearby historic sites and family attractions, along with exhibits and rest rooms.

    Bike or hike the 14-mile Northwest Lancaster County River Trail, which begins at the Columbia Crossing trailhead. Columbia River Park provides the opportunity to launch your boat or paddlecraft and explore the river. The park includes powerboat and paddlecraft launches, picnic areas, historical markers, and land and water trail access. An outfitter is on-site in the park seasonally, offering canoe, kayak, and bike rentals, including shuttle service.

    Columbia Crossing’s educational offerings focus on the river’s historic, scenic, and recreational stories and experiences for residents and visitors, especially bringing river heritage to life for young people. Rotating exhibits featuring local and river history, art and the environment highlight the richness of the local culture through the centuries.

  • Seiverling Antique Car and Pedal Car Museum, Ephrata: One of the largest toy pedal car collections in Eastern Pennsylvania, 140 in all owned by and operated by
    Seiverling Museum, LLC. The Museum is open by appointment only other than Open Houses, with certain Week Nights after 5:00 P.M. and Weekends for private tours. The museum exhibits include a pedal car collection and a small collection of antique cars. The toy pedal car collection consists of kids pedal cars not only from America, but also from England, Canada, France, Italy, and even Russia. Pedal cars, pedal fire trucks, pedal tractors, pedal planes, a pedal boat and a pedal bull dozer are part of the museum display. Each pedal car has a teddy bear driver, in memory of Richard’s wife, Ethel Seiverling. The antique cars are just as special as the pedal cars. There is a popular American muscle car exported to Germany, Ford T5 (a Ford Mustang), and of course we have a matching toy pedal car.

    The two other cars on display in the Museum are from the fully restored examples of the automobile industry from the 1930’s, a 1930 Graham Special 8 Sedan and a 1932 Chrysler CP Series Cabriolet.

  • Winters Heritage House Museum, Elizabethtown: The Winters Heritage House Museum seeks to preserve local history by engaging community support to identify buildings of historic significance; develop educational experiences that recognize contributions of early cultural groups in the greater Elizabethtown area; and acquiring artifacts, texts, and documents of historic value.

    Located only ½ block from Elizabethtown’s square, the Winters Heritage House Museum preserves two of the community’s earliest structures. Built in 1760, when this area was the frontier of the British colonies, the homes exhibit the building styles of Scots-Irish and German settlers. Slated for demolition in the late 1980s, these historic structures were rescued and preserved by the Elizabethtown Preservation Associates, an offshoot of the town’s historical society and created to protect our town’s vanishing historic structures. Given new purpose as a non-profit educational entity, these colonial log buildings are now dedicated to research, preservation and education of our town’s unique and wonderful history.

  • First National Bank Museum, Columbia: Enjoy a guided tour of the First National Bank Museum and discover one of the few banks still preserved in its original setting in the United States. The First National Bank of Columbia was chartered in 1864 and played a key role in the growth and development of Columbia. Marvelous details from the bank’s working years survive, such as the walnut paying and receiving teller cages, the furnishings of the President’s office, the massive walk-in vault, and the original check canceller consisting of a tree stump and a specially designed hammer.
  • Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery, Lititz: The Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery is located in historic Lititz, Pennsylvania, in the middle of beautiful Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Visitors can tour the original pretzel bakery, get a hands-on lesson in pretzel twisting using a playdough mixture, observe our bakers twisting old-fashioned soft pretzels by hand, and shop for delicious treats and souvenirs in our bakery store. We are not a “working factory” but a historic site.
  • Zimmerman Center for Heritage, Wrightsville: The Zimmerman Center for Heritage is the headquarters of Susquehanna Heritage and serves as Pennsylvania’s Official Visitor Contact and Passport Station for the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. Visit us by land or water to learn more about this unique heritage trail; become a Junior Ranger; enjoy a hike to Native Lands County Park and the Mason-Dixon Trail; launch your kayak or canoe; view our Visions of the Susquehanna River Art Collection; see Susquehannock Indian artifacts; learn about river history; and attend a Heritage Lecture.

    Restored and renovated by John and Kathryn Zimmerman in the late 1990s, this historic riverfront home dates to the mid-18th Century. The Zimmermans donated the property to Susquehanna Heritage in 2007, when the home was opened to the public and officially dedicated as The John and Kathryn Zimmerman Center for Heritage in honor of their many contributions to our community and region. Read the Zimmerman Center for Heritage Visitor Guide for more information about the site.

  • The Ken Kulakowsky Center for Letterpress and Book Arts, Lancaster: We are passionate about educating our community on the history and technique of traditional letterpress printing by providing demonstrations and hands-on workshops.

Zoos and Museums in Lebanon County

  • Pennsylvania National Guard Military Museum, Annville: The Pennsylvania National Guard Military Museum Association is concerned with the preservation of the history of the Pennsylvania National Guard and Fort Indiantown Gap.

    Located at Fort Indiantown Gap and housed in a two story barracks built in 1941, the Pennsylvania National Guard Military Museum showcases items and weapons from the Civil War to the Gulf War, as well as items that depict the history of the Pennsylvania National Guard and Fort Indiantown Gap.

  • Cornwall Iron Furnace, Cornwall: Cornwall Furnace is a unique survivor of the early American iron industry. Originally built by Peter Grubb in 1742, the furnace underwent extensive renovations in 1856-57 under its subsequent owners, the Coleman family, and closed in 1883. It is this mid-19th century ironmaking complex which survives today. At Cornwall, furnace, blast equipment, and related buildings still stand as they did over a century ago. Here visitors can explore the rambling Gothic Revival buildings where cannons, stoves, and pig iron were cast, and where men labored day and night to satisfy the furnace’s appetite for charcoal, limestone, and iron ore.

    Cornwall Iron Furnace is part of a National Historic Landmark District by the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. It has also been designated a National Historical Landmark by the American Society of Metals, and a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, citing Cornwall Furnace as “the only one of America’s hundreds of 19th century charcoal fueled blast furnaces to survive fully intact.”

  • Stoy Museum, Lebanon: A guided tour of the Stoy Museum begins with a stroll through several early shops and offices. Throughout the museum, visitors will find fine examples of Pennsylvania German craftsmanship in such items as furniture, quilting and weaving, fraktur, and redware. Young and old enjoy browsing in the one-room schoolhouse and the toy shop before experiencing a turn-of-the century general store, stocked with everything from cookie cutters to kerosene lamps. Community industries such as carpentry, weaving, printing, firefighting, law enforcement and mining are exhibited as they were found throughout the area many years ago.
  • Union Canal Tunnel Park, Lebanon: The Union Canal Tunnel, owned and operated by the Lebanon County Historical Society, is the oldest existing transportation tunnel in the United States. From 1827 to 1885 the Union Canal linked the commercial centers of Harrisburg, Reading, and by extension, the port of Philadelphia. The park serves the tunnel and the only remaining 5/8 mile section of the original canal through Lebanon with an open 110 acre recreational area. The main entrance is located at 25th St and Union Canal Drive, Lebanon, PA.
  • Seltzer’s Bologna Outlet Store & Museum, Palmyra: Since 1902, Seltzer’s Bologna uses a unique blend of spices and 100% beef, along with a 3-day natural hardwood smoking process that helped create the world of Lebanon Bologna right here in Lebanon County Pennsylvania. Today, this now 4th generation owned and operated butcher offers a variety of products from the original bologna for the perfect sandwich to snackable beef sticks and jerky. Purchase their products in the town that started it all at their newly opened outlet store that doubles as a museum. Taste some of the freshest beef products around and view all kinds of original memorabilia and merchandise such as original advertisements, jackets, and photographs of the production process all those years ago, and more!

Zoos and Museums in York County

  • Historical Society Museum, York: The headquarters, Library and Archives and many of the History Center’s diverse exhibits are housed in a building that is itself an historic artifact. Constructed in 1921 as an automobile dealership, the main lobby retains its original showroom tile floor and the spacious two-story entrance hall. William Richley donated the building to the York County Historical Society after it had outgrown its prior home in 1955.
  • Agricultural and Industrial Museum, York: Learn about York County’s vast contributions to the progress of agriculture and industry. Housed in a former factory complex, the York, PA museum features two floors with over 20 exhibits highlighting 300 years of transportation, agriculture and the development of manufacturing and industry. Many of the exhibits feature hands-on experiences for visitors of all ages.

    Step into a 1916 trolley car or sit in the seat of a 1940 train switcher engine in the Transportation Gallery. Explore the Local Industry Galleries to try your hand at using rotary phones operated by a 1930s switchboard. Discover what it’s like to milk a dairy cow in the Agricultural Gallery and check out the working 3-story grist mill during your visit. You will also be able to enjoy exhibits on pottery making, casket manufacturing, wallpaper creation, pianos and organs, as well as the York Plan, which was York’s industrial contribution to World War II. Before leaving, do not miss the Hall of Giants Gallery to see a 72-ton A-frame ammonia compressor used for producing ice in the early 1900s.

  • Colonial Complex, York: One of our most popular York, PA museums, the Colonial Complex encompasses four historic buildings located downtown. Your 45-60 minute guided tour will explore York County’s role during the American Revolutionary War and everyday life and culture during the 18th century. Built in 1741, the Golden Plough Tavern served as a source of news and information for travelers and locals alike, and showcases daily colonial life. The General Horatio Gates House (c. 1751) reflects an upper class English home of the late 18th century, highlighting the stay of American General Horatio Gates during the winter of 1777-1778. You will also visit the reconstructed Colonial Courthouse that highlights the story of the Second Continental Congress when they worked out of York during the winter of 1777-1778, and adopted the Articles of Confederation. The Barnett Bobb Log House, built in 1812 and relocated to the Colonial Complex, is currently used during programs for artisan demonstrations and hands-on activities.
  • Fire Museum, York: Located in the historic 1903 Royal Fire House. The museum allows visitors to see how York Firefighters worked, lived, and played. The building holds more than 225 years of firefighting equipment representative of the 72 fire companies of York County. Exhibits and objects on display include six fire trucks ranging from the 1920s to the 1950s, hand-drawn pumpers, uniforms, and historic alarm systems.
  • Police Heritage Museum, York: Have you ever wondered what law enforcement was like one or even two hundred years ago? The uniforms peace officers wore, the equipment they used, what they were paid, or how they became police officers? If these questions remain unanswered for you, then you must visit the Police Heritage Museum! The Police Heritage Museum, Inc. is a non-profit organization incorporated and dedicated to the preservation of police artifacts and the history of law enforcement. The museum is entertaining and educational for the whole family. You will see, experience and learn about police equipment and the history of law enforcement, crime and punishment.
  • William C. Goodridge Freedom Center & Underground Railroad Museum, York: The William C. Goodridge Freedom Center and Underground Railroad Museum is a museum of transformation and an authenticated site on the Underground Railroad that shares the unique life of its African American owner and local hero, William C. Goodridge, who risked everything to help freedom seekers escape from slavery in the mid-1800s. Our mission is to educate the public about the life and times of Mr. William C. Goodridge and the Underground Railroad, to inspire people to connect with the past and explore the meaning of freedom in today’s society with programming to enhance the quality of life for York’s diverse population and attract visitors to the community.
  • Indian Steps Museum, Airville: Experience the rich history York County has to offer at the Indian Steps Museum. Immerse yourself in engaging historical exhibits, profound architecture, serene nature walks including a 1-mile waterfall loop and interactive programs for both children and adults all the while along the peaceful Susquehanna River.
  • Weightlifting Hall of Fame, York: The Weightlifting Hall of Fame contains a diverse history of strength sports, their evolution from mythology to early Olympic Games and from the 19th and 20th-century amateur and professional strongmen to the current specialized sport of Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, and bodybuilding.
  • Greater Hanover Fire Museum, Hanover: The museum preserves the heritage of over 200 years of firefighting from the greater Hanover area. The three original volunteer fire companies as well as the career side of the Hanover Fire Department, the four original Penn Township volunteer companies as well as many other local volunteer fire companies are represented here. The Greater Hanover Area Fire Museum is a continuing effort; a project of memorabilia and apparatus collecting to showcase the history of the Hanover area fire Services. Our Discovery Room is just one of the many educational displays available to all visitors.

    The beautiful turn-of-the-century fire station creates the perfect atmosphere for the many exciting displays. Visitors will see how firefighters progressed from the early leather bucket brigades to hand drawn carts and pumps, to horse drawn apparatus, and finally to motorized equipment. The equipment here is real, and served the greater Hanover area throughout the past two centuries. Visitors can pull an actual fire alarm box and see and hear an original Gamewell Fire Alarm System from 1911 that served the Hanover Borough community. See photos and read the names of the old fire horses that served the Hanover Fire Department. Exhibits showcase fire vehicles of all types, including an 1882 Silsby Steamer, hand pulled pumps and a coffee grinder type fire pump. Awards, ribbons, badges, helmets and many types of fire fighting tools are showcases beautifully throughout the museum for your viewing pleasure.


If you’re looking for more zoos and museums to visit, there are plenty that are close enough for a day trip!

  • Philadelphia Zoo, Philadelphia: As America’s first zoo, Philadelphia Zoo has over 160 years of experience in conserving wildlife, caring for animals, and educating our communities. Home to more than 1,900 rare and endangered animals, the Zoo continues to reach new heights, offering award-winning animal exhibits, state-of-the-art healthcare facilities, award-winning education and conservation programs, and exceptional guest services, making it one of the most renowned zoos in the world.
  • Lehigh Valley Zoo, Schnecksville: As a non-profit organization, Lehigh Valley Zoo is a relatively young organization, but as a treasured community landmark, our history spans over a century. Lehigh Valley Zoo, located in the heart of the Trexler Nature Preserve, is home to more than 325 animal ambassadors representing over 125 species.

    The Zoo’s animal collection includes over 22 species collectively managed through the Species Survival Plan Program™(SSP), administered by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). As a means to share important conservation messaging with Zoo guests and contribute to field conservation, the Zoo contributes to, participates in, and initiates wildlife conservation programs at home and in the field.

    The Zoo’s full-circle conservation projects spotlight: Spotted Turtle (local), Mexican Gray Wolf (national) and African Penguin (international). You can learn about the Zoo’s conservation efforts by visiting the Zoo’s Reptile & Amphibian Discover Center, watching a daily African Penguin feeding, and observing a Real Life wolf feed throughout the year. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), and an institutional member of American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK), the Zoo hosts year-round family-friendly events and activities, educational programs, and camps.

  • Elmwood Park Zoo, Norristown: Elmwood Park Zoo was established in 1924 when a local farmer transferred 16 acres and a small menagerie to the Borough of Norristown. Today, the zoo is owned and operated by the Norristown Zoological Society, a non-profit organization whose mission is to foster an appreciation for wildlife and the environment that will inspire active participation in conservation. Under the Society’s careful management, Elmwood Park Zoo has attained the elite status as one of only 230 institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The Zoo’s accreditation was renewed in September, 2022.

    Elmwood Park Zoo currently maintains a collection of over 100 species that hail from all over the globe. Highlights of the collection include giraffes, zebras, bald and golden eagles, jaguars, and red pandas. A number of species in the collection are managed pursuant to an international SSP (Species Survival Plan) These programs aim to maintain and increase the size of animal populations that are under the largest threat of extinction. Other species in the collection represent significant wildlife conservation success stories, such as the American bison, peregrine falcon, bald eagle, and American alligator. About two-thirds of the animal collection is on exhibit; many others are maintained separately for use in education programs.

  • Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland, Allenwood: Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland is a world-class specialized zoo offering an unparalleled educational adventure for the whole family! Exotic reptiles and amphibians from around the world await discovery in stunning, naturalistic habitats, introducing visitors to the less-loved members of the animal kingdom. Explore the world of mambas, cobras, vipers, pythons and other rare and beautiful snakes, and experience giant alligators, gentle tortoises, curious lizards, and colorful frogs on this zoological journey.

    Reptiland is truly a year-round attraction. The indoor exhibit gallery houses more than 40 species in recreated natural habitats, and Island Giants showcases giant Aldabra tortoises and our Komodo dragons–the world’s largest lizards. During the warmer months, tortoises and aquatic turtles live in outdoor habitats, and seasonal exhibits make for an even more exciting family destination. Dinosaurs Come to Life is an outdoor, animatronic dinosaur adventure, and Parakeet Landing offers an immersive experience surrounded by hundreds of flitting beauties. A visit to Reptiland explodes common myths and inspires scientific curiosity.

  • Adventure Aquarium, Camden: Discover the wonders of life underwater at Adventure Aquarium, sitting just across the Delaware River from downtown Philadelphia in Camden, New Jersey.

    This celebrated attraction features one-of-a-kind exhibits comprised of more than 15,000 aquatic animals throughout two million gallons of water.

  • T&D’s Cats of the World, Penns Creek: T&D’s is dedicated to providing a permanent safe haven for unwanted, abused and mistreated exotic pets and wild animals. T&D’s will accept as many of these animals as current space allows. T&D’s will not sell, give or trade exotic animals. T&D’s does not condone breeding exotic or wild animals for the pet trade, private ownership or other exploitation. There are many species which call T&D’s home. When you visit you may see the following (listed by common names): bears, primates, wolves, foxes, coyotes, leopards, lions, tigers, and more.
  • Electric City Aquarium and Reptile Den, Scranton: Take a moment and close your eyes. Imagine being in the deep surrounded by different species of fish, sharks, stingrays, octopus and other sea creatures.

    How does that make you feel? Are you excited? Scared?

    There are so many facets of aquatic life that are both beautiful to some and terrifying to others. Often, people base their thoughts on what they see portrayed in movies and on television. We welcome you to visit the Electric City Aquarium and Reptile Den to see real life unfold before your eyes. You’ll be able to feel stingrays and see how they interact amongst one another. As the sharks swim by, you’ll be able to appreciate their immense power, but come to know the important role they play in the ocean. And, to many, the octopus is one of the most interesting creatures in the sea. They are highly intelligent, can camouflage and defend themselves from predators better than most, and can crawl or swim.

  • Pocono Snake and Animal Farm, East Stroudsburg: Pocono Snake & Animal Farm an enduring Pocono attraction that has been delighting kids of all ages for over 50 years, with everything from lizards to lemurs!

    A perfect “starter zoo” for the little ones, who can bottle-feed goats and pot bellied pigs, or feed monkeys, lemurs, black bear (and even alligators in summer!), all in an area they can visit within an hour’s time. From the huge python and Alligator Snapping Turtle to the tiniest Cotton-Top Tamarin, this mini-zoo will entertain… and educate too!


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