Top Ten Things to do (with kids) in Lancaster PA

When I moved to Lancaster, PA 10 years ago there was no looking back. The Amish fields filled with corn and tobacco, the train whistles in the background, and the hot air balloons drifting slowly into the sunset made life feel like we were living in painting from an era gone by.

But don’t let the vintage feel fool you – there are plenty of things your modern family will enjoy when they come to visit. Here’s my Top 10 Things to do (with kids) in Lancaster PA. I’m putting the kiddos in parenthesizes because even if your sans diapers and duffle bags (does anyone use those anymore??) you’ll still enjoy these places!

  1. Cherry Crest Adventure Farm – A giant corn maze, a petting zoo, tractor pulls, huge jumping pillows, lots of outdoor games for the whole family, and an awesome atmosphere are just a taste of what you’ll get at this one of kind farm attraction. They have family friendly food and drink and plenty of places to sit and enjoy a laid back meal. When my daughter was younger she especially enjoyed the Lil’ Farmers Playland with activities perfectly suited for toddlers. An added bonus – #2 on our list runs right through it…SophieKeeton
  2. The Strasburg Railroad – If you’re driving around Strasburg you are sure to hear a train whistle coming from one of the old steam locomotives. You can of course ride the train (so fun), but there are also places to eat, shop, and a playground. Thomas the Tank Engine comes to town a few times a year and they have extra booths and activities for his visit. I really love the Christmas Santa Train as well. The first time we ever rode it we were sipping hot cocoa and eating reindeer sugar cookies when all of a sudden it started to snow – talk about magical!
  3. Dutch Wonderland – This amusement park is great for kids and fun for their parents too. It’s geared mainly towards younger kids and has a water play area and live entertainment.dutchwonderland
  4. Longwood Gardens – Oh how I love you Longwood Gardens! I would have put this at #1 but it’s about a 45 minute drive from Lancaster so I’m gonna push my obsession for this place down on the list a bit ( but make the drive and go!) This award winning 1000 acre garden does not disappoint. You can spend all day breathing in the fresh air and looking at all the beautiful flowers, fountains, trees, ponds and so much more. There are two restaurants on site ( I recommend the cafeteria with kids and 1906 for couples), and two distinct play areas for kids (one inside/one out).  In the summer they also have a concert series, and at Christmas it’s lit up like nothing I’ve ever seen before. In the summer you can definitely spend all day here – in the other seasons I would say 3-4 hours at the least. Close by are Winterthur and Nemours Mansion and Gardens (you have the be 12 to go there) that are also worth a visit.P1010037
  5. Turkey Hill Experience – Ice cream samples, ice tea samples, a ball pit, and a make your own ice cream taste lab are on the menu at this attraction. I would say this one is about a 2 hour visit and best for preschool/elementary kids.
  6. Hershey Chocolate World – This one never gets old. I went here as a kid and now I take my daughter whenever I can. It’s a little less than hour from Lancaster but worth the drive. They have a free ride where they show you how chocolate is made and you get a free Hershey’s treat at the end. Lots of chocolate shopping and eating are on the menu when you visit this attraction! If you want to spend all day in Hershey also check out Hershey Gardens, Zoo America, and Hershey Park.P1010559
  7. Pottery Works (and a trip to Lancaster city) – My daughter and I love to go paint pottery here. Pick out a mug, ornament, vase, or other ceramic and let your inner artist out. You paint it and then it takes a week for them to glaze it. Located next door is a nice cafe and down from that is Lancaster Cupcake where your little one can enjoy playing with a cupcake kitchen just her size. Once you find a parking spot you can check out some other great eateries like Rachel’s Crepery, Prince Street Cafe, and Central Market. If you can grab a sitter go with just your honey to The Belvedeer or Aussie and the Fox for a great dinner.
  8. DJs taste of the 50s – This throw back diner is sure to delight young and old. My little one loves the “bendy toy” and balloon she gets at the end of the meal. For an added bonus check out the Cruise In’s they do a few times a year.
  9. Kitchen Kettle Village – Try jams, salsas, honey, cheese, and fudges galore as this unique shopping village. When you’ve have your fill of relishes you can grad a cup of Joe at the Cafe and take the little ones to the playground and small petting zoo on site. A few times a year they have special festivals filled with music and extra activities which are always fun – but of course can get crowded. Visit on a weekday if you like to leisurely peruse or visit on Saturday if you want the extra action.
  10. Cherry Hill Orchard – Pick your own apples, peaches, berries, pumpkins and more at this awesome attraction. You can also sample a wide variety of apples in the store and peruse their garden center. About an hour maybe 2 for this one and then you can head back home and make a wonderful pie, cobbler, or crumble with your freshly picked goodies.P1010794

Well folks – that’s it! Come on out and see what Lancaster is all about. XOXO – Bo Peep

Bo Peep’s Bonnets is a hand knit hat and cowl company in the heart of Lancaster PA. Her charity Hand Knits for Hope provides free, fashionable hats to cancer patients all over the USA. If you or someone you know is currently going through chemotherapy and would like a free hat click here.  Support Bo Peep’s charity by shopping all her handmade hats and scarves here. The proceeds from her online store completely fund her charity. 

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COURAGE EARNED – A Breast Cancer Survivor’s Story

She regretted giving me the gift so late. “I’ve had this bracelet for months, and I’m so sorry that I’m just getting it to you now.”

I had been on Rebecca’s prayer list for the past eight months. She wasn’t the only friend praying for me ever since the breast cancer diagnosis hit me from out of nowhere. No, I made a point of never saying “I have breast cancer”. It was always “I was diagnosed with breast cancer”. I didn’t want to call it mine. I didn’t “have it”, and I certainly didn’t want it to “have me”.

The shining silver bracelet that Rebecca gave me had a pink stone and a charm shaped like the awareness ribbon. The word “courage” repeatedly engraved across a heart was what caused me to tell her that the gift was not late at all. It was right on time. I had earned this. IMG_1527

Before breast cancer I would have never described myself as courageous. I had that adjective reserved for the adventurous, the daring risk-takers, those gutsy girls who live for the moment and don’t care what people think. That wasn’t quiet, safe, routine-entrenched me.

However the cancer journey gave me a new definition of courage. Kara Tippits (The Hardest Peace) says it so well, “It takes courage, humiliating courage, to step aside from your own sovereignty and imagined control and begin looking for the gift that comes unmerited. Yes, I’m talking about grace.”

The red letters of 2 Corinthians 12:9 gave clarity to my brokenness. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” That’s the grace I wanted and needed so desperately—sufficient grace.

The diagnosis, the doctor appointments, the surgery, the chemo and radiation took me to incredible places of weakness and humble brokenness. At the beginning, I had no idea how I was going to do all of this. But taking one day at a time, each step of the way there was grace enough to go on. A loving husband and son, encouraging friends, nutritional support and prayer lifted me along the course plotted by the helpful staff of doctors and nurses. And looking at that bracelet, I finally felt courageous. IMG_1313 “Courage is not something that you already have that makes you brave when the tough times start. Courage is what you earn when you’ve been through the tough times and you discover they aren’t so tough after all.” (Malcolm Gladwell, David & Goliath)

Now I see the other courageous ones, the women with exceptionally short hair, those wearing the pink ribbon t-shirts, running in the “Race for the Cure”, who don’t want to see their friends or family members or anyone else have to go through the fire of cancer. October is the month to make others aware of what we know every day–until there’s a cure, we’ll be in the grandstands cheering for your sufficient grace.  – Karen K

IMG_0719Karen K. was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in July 2013. After a single mastectomy, 6 months of chemo, and 33 radiation treatments, she has regained her stamina and is getting her life back to a new normal.
Karen spent many hours knitting during and after her chemo treatments and says that knitting gave her a sense of renewal. “I made so many pairs of fingerless gloves! While everything inside of me was breaking down from the chemo, I got renewed hope as I interlocked those yarns to make these beautiful personalized gifts. I thought–how much more my creator God will knit me back together more beautiful than ever!” 

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