Things to Do in Lancaster
Anyone curious about the history, heritage, and daily life of America’s Amish will be fascinated by the community at the Amish Farm and House in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This 200-year-old house—one of the nation’s oldest Amish attractions—hosts house and farm tours, cultural demonstrations, and interactive classes.
A giant purple-trimmed castle welcomes families to Dutch Wonderland, a fairytale-themed amusement park fronting Wood Creek on the eastern outskirts of Lancaster in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country. Its 30-some rides are tame compared to larger amusement parks like Six Flags or Cedar Point — its only roller coaster, the Kingdom Coaster, never inverts – and most of its daily shows – like Bubba Bear & the Badland Band or Adventure of the Frog Prince – will only be entertaining for younger children. But for kids ages three to seven, this might be heaven.
To get an overview, take advantage of the park’s Preview Plan entitling all full-day ticket holders to enter the park for free for the three hours prior to closing the day before their adventure begins. Then, it’s a good idea to ride the birds-eye-view monorail or ground-level tram as they wind through parts of the 48-acre property showcasing what’s in store. To the left of the entrance you’ll pass Duke’s Lagoon, a shallow waterpark open only in summer with flume rides, dueling twisting covered waterslides and cabana loungers; space simulators and the flying trapeze. Rounding the the back of the park you’ll find rides and attractions including bumper cars; Storytime Corner; an amphitheater with diving shows; the Kingdom Coaster and a Merry-Go-Round. Out on Exploration Island, farthest from the park entrance and beyond the reach of the monorail or the tram, a dinosaur bone dig gives kids a chance to get dirty and a walking path past dinosaur sculptures provides a shady respite from the shriek-filled rides. Seven eateries offer fast and buffet fare and numerous ice cream, funnel cake and Dole Whip stands dot the premises.
Encounter presidential history at Wheatland, President James Buchanan's 19th-century Pennsylvania property on the grounds of LancasterHistory. Explore a mansion replete with period details. See objects from the 15th president of the US, learn about Civil War America, and enjoy a guided tour free with general admission.