18 FUN, Family-Friendly Things to Do in Pennsylvania in Winter

As wintertime arrives in Pennsylvania, you may be at a loss when it comes to ideas for traveling with children to the Keystone State. However, you’ll be glad to know there are many iconic family-friendly places to visit that will keep you and your kids entertained even in the coldest months.

With an array of  fun things to do in Pennsylvania with kids, there is sure to be something for everyone to enjoy – even when the bitter cold winter sets in. 

This Pennsylvania winter travel guide includes the top family-friendly activities and best things to do in Pennsylvania with kids during winter (or other times of the year)!


Pennsylvania in Winter | Activities and Things to Do in Pennsylvania with Kids

Looking for things to keep the kids entertained on a trip to Pennsylvania in winter? Despite the state’s reputation for being cold and dreary, the winter season can be a great time to visit Pennsylvania! Here are some family-friendly Pennsylvania sites to see this winter.

Hersheypark, Hershey

Hersheypark is one of the best places to visit in Pennsylvania with kids, whether you go in summer or during winter in Pennsylvania.
Hersheypark is one of the best places to visit in Pennsylvania with kids, whether you go in summer or during winter in Pennsylvania. | Photo by Solocoot from Pixabay

Recommended ages: Visitors of all ages can enjoy activities.

Hersheypark is a family amusement park that welcomes guests all year long with different themes for each season. You will experience lots of rides and attractions in the whooping 121-acre park. During the Christmas season, the park is decked out in more than 5 million twinkling lights.

Hersheypark is sure to entertain the entire family, and you may need a second trip to get to everything you want to experience.

Milton S. Hershey, the founder of Hershey’s Chocolate, first intended the park to be for employee activities. Today, the park is open for everyone in the world to enjoy and is one of the most popular places to visit in Pennsylvania with kids.

There are 76 attractions and eight themed regions of the park.

Besides all the fun rides you can enjoy, there are other attractions to visit. The park has a zoo, museum, shops, restaurants, games, and shows.

Next to the park, you’ll also find Hershey’s Chocolate World, which has a gift shop and lots of other chocolate-themed activities.

All these fun activities make Hershey the most famous family-friendly Pennsylvania destination.

With experiences for toddlers to teens and parents, Hersheypark is a must visit in Pennsylvania in winter, summer, or any time of year and is considered one of the most famous amusement parks in the United States.

Cartoon Network Hotel, Lancaster

Recommended ages: Children of all ages.

The hotel’s name is sure to get your children excited. You may even secretly enjoy the shows yourself!

Each room at the Cartoon Network Hotel, including the cafeteria, has a character theme. You can get a room with your child’s favorite characters to enhance their experience.

You and your children can enjoy interactive games and experiences like arcades and movies that all relate to a Cartoon Network theme.

Blue Cross RiverRink, Philadelphia

Winterfest at RiverRink
WinterFest at RiverRink is one of the best events to visit in Pennsylvania in winter. | Photo by Matt Stanley

Recommended ages: School-age kids, tweens, and adults.

When winter in Pennsylvania sets in, head to the Blue Cross RiverRink for a fun day of ice skating. You get to have a unique winter experience with thousands of twinkling lights above you.

There is a 45-foot Christmas tree on display to add to the winter wonderland experience.

You can grab delicious snacks and meals at the rink’s eateries or stop inside a warm cottage. This entertaining attraction along the Delaware Riverfront is open until March.

Winterfest at RiverRink is an especially wonderful winter trip in Pennsylvania with kids that you and your family will love.

Please Touch Museum, Philadelphia

Recommended ages: Toddlers, school-age children, and tweens.

If you’re looking for things to do in Philadelphia with kids, you and your toddlers will love the Please Touch Museum. It’s excellent for children since it breaks the traditional no-touching theme in museums.

This version of a museum has objects that are appealing to the eyes, and children learn and play by interacting with exhibits, events, and workshops.

There are so many fun things on display that can be touched instead of only viewed, making it one of the most kid-friendly museums you can visit!

Along with the fun exhibits, there is an indoor tree house, wonderland-themed area, storytime cabin, indoor river, foam block playground, and more. Your children will always have things to do at this twist on a traditional museum.

Kalahari Indoor Waterpark, Pocono Manor

Family on an indoor water slide at Kalahari Resorts in Pocono
Kalahari Resorts offers families year-round fun at their indoor water park. | Photo by Kalahari Resorts

Recommended ages: School-age children and tweens.

If you and your family are missing summer fun in the dead of winter, Kalahari Resorts indoor water park is a great option.

This is the biggest indoor water park in the United States, and it includes many fun water-based activities.

You can stay in the hotel for more than one day to enjoy all the fun. It includes slides, a lazy river, and even spas to relax while the kids play.

While the kids enjoy all the fun activities in the park, you can also have your own fun. There are multiple swim-up bars for the perfect escape adults can indulge in.

Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square

A gazebo surrounded by fallen leaves in Longwood Gardens.
Longwood Gardens is a beautiful place to visit in fall and winter. | Photo by Marian Brandt from Unsplash

Recommended ages: All age groups.

If your family loves nature, Longwood Gardens is the perfect place to enjoy beautiful flora even in the winter. In autumn and early winter, you can enjoy the gorgeous fall foliage as you walk the grounds.

In the colder months, there’s still plenty to see in the indoor greenhouses, as well as live music and entertainment in their performance venues. 

If you go later in the day, you can enjoy the beautiful light displays and sounds accompanied by the natural beauty of trees, flowers, and fountains.

Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh 

Recommended ages: School-age kids

Carnegie Science Center is widely considered one of the best science museums in the country.

Located on Pittsburgh’s North Shore, the museum is a fascinating and fun place to visit in Pennsylvania with kids.

With exhibitions about the planets and space, the body and its incredible functions, and nature and the various ecosystems, children will have a blast and learn a lot at the same time.

Crayola Factory, Easton

A little girl holding a piece of art at the Crayola Experience in Pennsylvania
Kids can explore their creative side at the Crayola Experience. Photo by Crayola Experience

Recommended ages: Toddlers and school-aged children.

The Crayola Experience is a place where families can enjoy the indoors while discovering the magic of colors. With many attractions to choose from, you and your children will love exploring all the colors and activities.

You can choose from new attractions like the “Chaos and Creativity Show” or traditional features like the Adventure Lab and Activity Studio. The Crayola Factory allows children to explore their creative side by interacting with all the activities.

Be sure to check out Café Crayola while you’re here and enjoy the newly refreshed food menu.

Camelback Mountain Resort, Tannersville

Recommended ages: School-age kids, tweens, and older.

Playing in the snow is enjoyable for people of all ages. Traveling down the snowy mountains is thrilling for you and your children.

Whether you go down with skis, a snowboard, or a snow tube, Camelback Mountain Resort is a winter wonderland of fun. 

Located in the Poconos Mountains, Camelback offers snow tubing day sessions and evening sessions, and each is two hours. The spot offers lots of snow tubing lanes that glow at night, with a nearly guaranteeably fun experience.

If you or your little ones are first-timers in skiing or snowboarding, the mountain resort offers lessons to teach you the basics. Or, if you are already a skilled skier, Camelback Mountain is a great place to teach toddlers or young children to ski

However, even if you don’t ski or snowboard, snow tubing at Camelback is an easy and enjoyable activity in Pennsylvania in winter for anyone to enjoy.

Evening Ghost Tour, Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh street at night
Visiting Pennsylvania with teens? Why not bundle up and go on an evening ghost tour through the streets of Pittsburgh? | Photo by Rihards Sergis from Unsplash

Recommended ages: Best for teens and adults.

If you’re looking for something spooky to do, an evening ghost tour is a great option. In Pittsburgh, local tragedies and urban legends may still haunt the buildings you will tour.

This tour starts near the Heinz History Center, which belonged to an ice company and suffered an explosion accident. Then, it’ll take you to Pennsylvania Apartments, the site of a massive fire in 1877.

It continues by taking you through the historic streets to visit haunted buildings like the William Penn Hotel, the oldest graveyard in the city, and more.

If your family loves mystery and all things eerie, this is popular and fun to do in Pennsylvania with your kids.

Great Wolf Lodge, Poconos

Water slides and splash area inside Great Wolf Lodge
Great Wolf Lodge is a popular destination in Pennsylvania with kids any time of year. | Photo by Great Wolf Lodge

Recommended ages: All age groups.

Great Wolf Lodge is another property known for having the best indoor water parks. It has many water activities like waterslides and even a surfing simulator.

It is the perfect way to escape the snow outside and find a little “summer fun” in the warm indoor environment.

If you aren’t feeling the water activities, you can do plenty of other things. You can play mini-golf or an interactive game, which is great for teamwork with the family. No matter your choice, it will surely be a hit with the entire family.

The Amish Farm and House, Lancaster County

An Amish farm in Pennsylvania in winter
Visiting Amish country is an intriguing look at a lifestyle without modern technology to which many aren’t accustomed. | Photo by Vito Natale from Unsplash

Recommended ages: All age groups.

When you and your family visit the Amish Farm and House or sit back on a tour through the rolling farmland of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, you will get to meet friendly animals on a 15-acre farm.

Your children will love to see the animals while enjoying the slow pace of Amish Country life.

It’s a fun and educational experience for everyone when stepping into the lives of the Amish. The Amish history museums and food will allow you to immerse yourselves in their lifestyle fully.

You can pet farm animals and visit a one-room schoolhouse. While Lancaster makes a great spring break trip for families, it is a year-round destination. This trip is great if you want something to do for the day, since it lasts around two to three hours.

Toboggan Slide, Eagles Mere

Recommended ages: All age groups.

Grab your winter gear and head to the rides down Lake Avenue. The Eagles Mere Toboggan Slide is a fun experience that has been delighting winter visitors since 1904! One ride down the hill and it’s easy to see why.

After a few trips down, you can head to the refreshment stand to warm up. They offer hot goodies and refreshments before you head back up the hill.

This attraction is open on the weekends, making Eagles Mere one of the best weekend getaways for families. It is a fun, short trip your children will love in the winter season in Pennsylvania.

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Pittsburgh

Tropical plants inside Phipps Conservatory
Phipps Conservatory is a tropical paradise to escape to on a cold winter day. | Photo by Ace Vu from Unsplash

Recommended ages: All age groups.

This is ideal if you’re looking for a day trip destination in Pennsylvania. During Christmas and the holiday season, the light shows at Phipps Conservatory are a popular winter attraction for everyone to enjoy.

Phipps hosts the Holiday Magic! Winter Flower Show and Light Garden, a beautiful outdoor display that is a great way to spend time as a family in Pennsylvania in winter. You can also go inside to explore the Garden Railroad and embrace the beautiful colors.

Your children will be in awe of this lovely wintertime attraction in Pennsylvania.

Turkey Hill Experience, Columbia

Recommended ages: School-age kids and tweens.

If you miss summer days filled with ice cream, the Turkey Hill Experience will allow you to reminisce about the season of ice cream. You can take a tour and see how ice cream is made, sit in a milk truck, and interact with mechanical cows.

Your kids can even get creative and make their own ice cream flavor virtually. They can choose how the package looks and create a commercial for it.

Take your kids to this fun family place to watch their ice cream flavor ideas come to life.

Presque Isle State Park, Lake Erie

Lake Erie frozen over at Presque Isle State Park
Presque Isle State Park may be cold in winter, but it is a wonderful place to experience the beauty of winter. | Photo by Hans Isaacson from Unsplash

Recommended ages: Tweens, teens and adults

Presque Isle State Park may be significantly more popular to visit during summer time when the sandy shoreline is perfect for fun in the sun, but the lovely park at Lake Erie is open year-round.

The park’s 17 trails are great for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, which are both great cardiovascular activities and fun for kids and adults alike.

You will want to bundle up and dress like you’re going skiing. Although the winter hike will help keep you warm, you’ll still need lots of layers for this outdoor activity in Pennsylvania during winter.

LumiNature at the Philadelphia Zoo, Philadelphia

Giraffe motif at Luminature at the Philadelphia Zoo
Luminature at the Philadephia Zoo is a great place to visit in Pennsylvania with kids from mid-November through early January. | Photo by Georgi Anastasov, Philadelphia Zoo

Recommended ages: All age groups

While the Philadelphia Zoo is best known for the 1,300 animals that call the zoo home, in winter it plays host to the LumiNature Event.

While the animals are hibernating, the zoo comes to light with millions of twinkling lights and larger-than-life- light features.

Walk beneath tunnels of LED lights and under canopies of trees draped and wrapped in colorful lights. It’s a holiday experience during winter in Philadelphia that the kids won’t forget. 

Everhart Museum, Scranton

Recommended age groups: School-age kids, tweens and teens

Is your child interested in animals or dinosaurs? The Everhart Museum is a wonderful place to explore and learn about natural history, science, and art.

Filled with taxidermy animals and fossils, Everhart is the largest public museum in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

While the fossil galley is a favorite for kids, parents might enjoy the art galleries, as well, which contain works from artists around the world.

Try These Family-Friendly Trips This Winter in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is home to some of the most historic places in the country. You can visit Gettysburg, see the Liberty Bell, or explore one of the most charming small towns in the United States.

In fact, Pennsylvania is one of the best places on the East coast for a winter vacation. Things may not seem as fun when the warm weather is gone, but finding other activities to do together can make the time fly by.

Try out one of these sites in Pennsylvania this season or add them to your list for a future winter trip to Pennsylvania with kids!

Have a question or comment about any of these things to do in Pennsylvania with kids or any of these Pennsylvania winter activities? We’d love to hear from you! Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Like this Pennsylvania with kids winter guide? Pin this list of fun places for kids in Pennsylvania to save it for later!
This guide to the best Pennsylvania winter activities for families was first written in December 2022 but was most recently updated in February 2024 for accuracy and current travel information.

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