Maureen Rayburn

Maureen Rayburn

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25 Reasons To Take A Family Trip to Harrisburg PA

When many of us think about Harrisburg, PA, our minds immediately take us to the state capitol, politics, or maybe just a turnpike exit—not necessarily the stuff long weekend family trips are made of. However, given the time to map out an itinerary, the Hershey-Harrisburg area is a fabulous destination for families to enjoy, beyond HersheyPark and Pennsylvania’s political hub.

Here are our top 25 picks for must-see spots in Harrisburg and the surrounding area. We recommend planning out your visit, rather than just winging it when you arrive. You’ll be able to park and walk to some of these places, but as in any city, parking and navigating an unfamiliar area can be a challenge. If you’re making a long weekend out of it, consider staying in a hotel outside the city so you can easily access everything within the city limits, as well as the suburban spots.

Looking for more fun in the area? Visit nearby Lancaster!

21 Places for New Year's Eve Fun with Kids in Philadelphia

While they may not be able to stay awake until midnight, kids still have plenty of opportunities to celebrate New Year's Eve in the Philadelphia area. From museums and zoos, to parks and moon bounces, many venues are hosting afternoon events for the little ones. Several options on our list provide prime seating for the city's early (6 PM) fireworks show over the Delaware River. Children can have their own countdowns, toss confetti, watch a mini ball drop, and, who knows, maybe even get home before bedtime!

See our list of fun places to ring in the New Year with kids. Many of these are ticketed events, so be sure to make plans before they sell out.

If you are looking for something else to do on December 31, there are plenty of other non-New Year's themed events listed on our calendar

Hersheypark: The Sweetest Place on Earth at Christmastime

Winter festivities practically require us to guzzle hot chocolate and overindulge in sugary goodies. One destination in Central Pennsylvania is dedicated to helping us fulfill that seasonal demand. Not every amusement park is open during the Christmas season, but Hersheypark offers holiday delights in the form of decorated trees, twinkling lights, family memories, and, of course, sweet treats. Amusement park rides might not be on some families' holiday activities list, but Hersheypark’s Christmas Candy Lane can change that faster than you can say "cocoa bean."

What's Open on Christmas Day in Philly: 15 Things To Do with Kids

On Christmas Day after the presents are all unwrapped and only crumbs are left in the cookie tin, you may be thinking it's time to get out of the house. Whether the sugar rush is kicking in or you just don't want to deal with the mess, there are quite a few places open on December 25th to take the kids.

We found options for families that don't celebrate the holiday as well as ideas for enjoying the Christmas spirit. Either way, we have a list of ideas to get out and about and spend a day with the kids in the Philadelphia area. Continue reading for our selections.

Light It Up! The Best Holiday Light Shows in Philly and The Suburbs

Every Christmas season, the Philadelphia area comes alive with stunning holiday lights and decorative displays. Festive light shows can be found everywhere, including on the Delaware River, at parks, farms, gardens, and even theme parks. We've picked some of the best events in the city and the suburbs for families, many professionally choreographed to Christmas music. While most of these events are free, others are so spectacular that they are well worth the price of admission!

From Nutcrackers to A Christmas Carol: Shows for Philly Families during the Holidays

Does your family keep the tradition of seeing a show during the holidays? Performances such as The Nutcracker or A Christmas Carol, which share a joyful holiday message, come to mind. In addition to these classic holiday performances, there are other shows on stage in and around Philadelphia that are sure to provide Philly families with a chance for quality time together during this festive season.

We have rounded up professional Nutcracker productions, symphony experiences, holiday favorites, and family friendly musicals from our event calendar. Whether it is your family's first experience seeing a Christmas production this year, or it's a new bucket list item for your crew, there are plenty of funny, heartwarming, and magical events on our list that they will enjoy.

Breakfast with Santa for Philly Families

There's something special about that moment when children approach Santa Claus with their wish lists in hand at Christmastime. Nervousness, excitement, awe (and sometimes tears!) cover their faces as they wait to tell the big guy how good they've been all year. Families can avoid the long lines at the mall and extend the magical moment a little longer by attending one of many breakfasts with Santa all over the Delaware Valley.

Kids have a chance to enjoy breakfast, brunch, or lunch as Ol' St. Nick mingles with guests at venues like restaurants, zoos, and even boats! Some events include a professional photo with Santa, while at others, families are welcome to bring their own cameras. Get ready to chow down and make some special holiday memories at one of the many Santa events we've rounded up. Many of these sell out early, so reservations are often recommended.

Santa Express: Christmas Train Rides for Kids in PA, DE, & NJ

There is something about trains that evokes nostalgia at Christmastime. It could be stirring up childhood memories of building a model train set under the twinkling tree lights. Maybe it is a reminder of that "coming home for the holidays" idea, where folks would arrive at the train station, arms filled with Christmas packages for family at home. Whatever the reason might be, many railroads in the tri-state area hold events to bring back that old-fashioned holiday tradition. At many of these special outings, families can ride a real locomotive with Santa Claus, hear Christmas stories, sing carols, sip hot chocolate and admire the views of the passing countryside. Children are even invited to wear their pajamas at some of these events!  

We have rounded up a list of railroads hosting holiday-themed trains of all kinds. Some of these are located more than an hour's drive from Philadelphia, but can make for a fantastic holiday outing. All aboard for some Christmas fun!

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