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Kid-Friendly (And Cheap!) Weekend Adventures in Pennsylvania

Pack up the kids and get ready for an awesome, affordable adventure.

Credit: Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire
Credit: Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire

Written by Sarah Cocchimiglio

Sometimes all it takes is a little planning to have a great family outing. When routine exploits just aren’t cutting it anymore, shake things up by exploring new terrain, taking in an exhibition, or visiting a landmark and learning a little something about our local history. Here are awesome events to attend and places to visit around town before fall ends. Best part? All of them can be done on the cheap and on one tank of gas—or less!

Linvilla Orchards

137 West Knowlton Road

Media, PA 19063

Why Go? What better way to celebrate the coming of fall than with pick-your-own pumpkins and apples, a farm market, and festivals and special events every weekend? The orchards are located just outside Media, Pa., in Middletown Township.

Insider Tip: The best time to visit? “Weekday afternoons in October are the best time to visit, after students head back to school after their tours,” said Rob Ferber, senior manager at Linvilla.

Must Do: “Hayrides to the Witch’s House,” Ferber said. “This is not a haunted hayride and was created especially for young children (up to age 10) and their families. The ride takes your family to visit our friendly Witch’s House in the woods. She tells stories and jokes and gives everyone a treat. The hayride ends at a campfire where you can roast marshmallows and sample apple cider.” 

The Fine Print: Open every day from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., but special events and festivals have their own schedules. Check the website for the latest information, schedules and crop availability. You can also follow Linvilla on Facebook. Admission is free, but bring your wallet because there are lots of things to do and buy.

Hershey

Why Go? How much convincing do you really need to visit the “Sweetest Place on Earth”? Check out Hersheypark, ZooAmerica and the Hershey Chocolate World, all in nearby Hershey, Pa.

Insider Tip: “I recommend going to the back of the attraction (arrive as soon as they open) and then make your way forward,” said Kathy Burrows, Hershey Entertainment & Resorts public relations manager. Also plan ahead, Burrows said. Go online, decide where you want to go when you visit Hershey, and learn as much as you can about each attraction. Another tip? Budget your time wisely—you may not be able to do everything in one day.

Must Do: Hersheypark in the Dark weekends start Oct. 18-20 through Nov. 1-3.

The Fine Print: Now that summer is officially over, Hersheypark is only open on weekends. ZooAmerica admission is free with your Hersheypark ticket. Hours and ticket prices for the various attractions vary. Check out each attraction’s website or call 1-800-HERSHEY for current details and ticket pricing.

Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire

Why Go? Like history? The outdoors? How about food, beer and wine? Through October, the Renaissance Faire in Manheim, Pa., has something for everyone.

Insider Tip: Each Faire weekend has a different theme. The last three weekends’ themes will be Halloween Days and Spooky Knights. Special activities are posted on the Faire’s website, said Renaissance Faire communications and operations director Candace Smith. Download the Elizabethan Times Program, Shire Map and Daily Writ Revels Schedule to plan your visit.

Must Do: “With 90 shows daily, over 100 merchants and food and beverage throughout the 35-acre Faire site, there is too much to see and do in one day,” Smith said. “Must-see daily events include, Queen’s Court, the Human Chess Match, the Ultimate Joust and the Finale In Song.”

The Fine Print: Open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 27. Save by purchasing tickets online. Adults are $25.95 ($29.95 at the gate), children 5 to 11 are $10.95, and children under 5 are free. Purchase a Return to the Past Pass from the “Informistress Booth” before you leave, and come back for a second visit for $16.

Philadelphia Zoo

Why Go? Lions, and tigers and bears, oh my! America’s first zoo has more than 1,300 rare and endangered animals. And the Zoo’s new KidZooU is open with lots of kid-friendly exhibits designed to get kids up close and personal with all kinds of unique animals.

Insider Tip: The Zoo allows you to bring your own food, and has plenty of outdoor seating for a picnic lunch but there are also lots of place to purchase snacks and meals if you’d rather treat yourself. Bring your own water bottle, too. The Zoo has a number of water stations where you can fill up or refill.

Must Do: Download the free Philadelphia Zoo app with an interactive map, trip planner, real-time parking lot status updates, exhibit QR scanner and more. Make sure to visit KidZooU’s petting zoo! Boo at the Zoo will be held Oct 19-20 and 26-27, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with trick-or-treat stations throughout the Zoo, storytelling, crafts, games andf more. Boo at the Zoo is included in your general Zoo admission.

The Fine Print: Until Oct. 31, the Zoo is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily. Beginning Nov. 1, the Zoo will close at 4 p.m. Admission is $20 for adults and $18 for children 2-11. Children under 2 are free. Parking is $15. Things like camel rides, the Zooballoon, Rainforest Carousel and Lorikeet Encounter aren’t included in admission price and are additional charges.

Crayola Experience

Why Go? Formerly the Crayola Factory, the Crayola Experience recently underwent renovations and reopened this spring with over 60,000 square feet of colorful fun for kids of all ages! Visit Easton, Pa., the birthplace of Crayola crayons. Your child can build a custom marker, animate crayon friends, see how crayons are made and personalize an authentic crayon label for his or her very own crayon!

Insider Tip: Because it takes about four minutes to melt each crayon, the lines can build up, so hit the crayon-making station near closing time when lines have started to dwindle, or first thing in the morning before long lines have started to form. Monster Mania is coming in October, and Fall Fest in November. Kids can trick-or-treat throughout the building and create special monster crafts, then create Pilgrim hats and pumpkin crafts to celebrate autumn.

Must Do: “Most guests enjoy seeing how Crayola crayons are made,” said Crayola Experience marketing assistant Alyssa Sarnosky. “With shows taking place throughout the day, the Crayon Factory is a must-see when visiting Crayola Experience. Crayola Crayon wax is one of America’s most recognizable scents.”

The Fine Print: Check the calendar for special events and hours. For the best deal on tickets, take a group to get the affiliate ticket pricing. It only takes a few minutes to sign up, Sarnosky said, and it’s the best way to save.

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