Why You Should Want To #VisitLancaster

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When it’s time to get away, scenic Lancaster, PA is one of our favorite places to go. There is plenty to do, see, and eat in this family friendly environment. Here are some great places to visit in Lancaster, one of our favorite places to spend time as a family (and sure to be one of yours, as well).

lancaster PAThe Strasburg Railroad is the home to many restored trains from around the USA. Many train fanatics call this site the best historic railroad in America for visitors, and for good reason. Recognized as one of the most significant historic railroads in the USA, the Strasburg Railroad has acquired historic trains from all over the country, and recently celebrated operating for 50 years as a tourist railroad It is one of the remaining stations where you and your family can ride the refurbished trains and steam engines. This station is large, restored, and maintained beautifully- a source of pride for the local people.

strasburg railroadEvery time we visit, we truly sense the enjoyment that the conductors and employees have for their jobs- it shines though as they take their time with every child, posing for photos and answering train trivia with a smile. As you ride the beautifully restored trains through Amish country, learning about steam railroading, agriculture, Amish culture and Pennsylvania Dutch heritage, enjoy your family and your little ones, and let worries slip away. They are little for only so long, and riding in a “real” train is going to be a real delight. There was a “vintage baseball” game being played while we visited last weekend, where olde-time dressed players used old rules, terms, and equipments to play the game. It was very enjoyable to watch, and their wives came in full period clothing as well. There are other special events going on regularly at the Strasburg railroad. Check out the calendar and plan for your favorites.

pic 3Strasburg Rail Road is pleased to offer an all-new Summer Fun Pass, a value-packed ticket option for individuals and families who want more bang for their buck! The Summer Fun Pass is valid from May 25 – September 2 and includes unlimited steam train and fun extra rides.

At just $35 per person for ages 3 and older, this pass will pay for itself in just three visits, one of the best offerings from Lancaster County attractions. The Summer Fun Pass admission option also includes a 10% retail discount at the Strasburg Rail Road gift shops and access to member-only specials throughout the season.

When visiting the Rail Road this summer, visitors will enjoy many enhancements around the station including the extended Pint-sized Pufferbelly miniature steam train ride and the kid’s play area (a.k.a. the parent’s relaxing area with wifi!).

Contact- 717-687-7522; http://www.strasburgrailroad.com/

Amish VIlliageThe Amish Village is located almost in the direct center of PA Dutch Country- and there is no better place (in my opinion) to learn about the Amish culture and heritage then in this authentic working farm.

You and your family will hear directly from local Amish people, and can ask any questions you may have. A fun and interactive way to experience the Amish culture and way of life that has remained almost unchanged for roughly 300 years, you will also see interesting modifications that have been made based on technology of the surrounding “English”. We were endlessly surprised at the ingenuity that we saw. On the tour you can experience an Amish one-room schoolhouse, farm animals (which were the delight of my pre-school aged son), a smokehouse market, blacksmith shop, and quite a few buggies, plows, and tools on display. After taking the guided house and farm tour and exploring the 12 acre village grounds, stop by one of the shops on the property. For a very small fee, you can try some of the local hand-made treats (and will be glad you did- whoopie pies are not to be missed).

amishContact- (717) 687-8511; http://theamishvillage.net/

You all know how much Little loves trains, and of course that we love visiting the Choo Choo Barn in Lancaster, PA. This is the home to an immense layout of trains, planes, cars, even firetrucks- everything to capture the love and imagination of that child (or child at heart) that loves things that “go”.

choo choo barnThese trains are incredibly detailed, making little puffs of smoke, and sized for children so that they get to see the top of the train, without being a giant. There is so much to see, so many details and such a great family feel to the place. This is a family business passed on from father to son, who brought the original sets over from their home in the 1960’s. Some of the original pieces includes the snowy ski mountains, Dutch Haven (local attraction), and the now closed down Willows Restaurant and Hotel. Three personal favorites to look out for are the fire truck that comes to put out a “real” fire (that truly does smoke) with real water, climbing firemen up a ladder, and a firetruck with sirens wailing, the Amish barn raising, and the “night time” that occurs roughly every 15 minutes, where the whole room goes dark but for the lights in the houses and street lamps.

choo choo barn trainsThis is a great, warm, friendly place to visit on your trip out to Pennsylvania. The detail of the trains and the town that was created in miniature was amazing- and it is built to be enjoyed from a child’s height, as well as from an adult’s. The details you will see from each height varies, so you will enjoy pointing out different things to each other. It’s this attention to every single detail that will make you visit again and again. It’s central location to all things train-related is also very convenient and makes for a fun day out.
Contact- (717) 687-7911 http://www.choochoobarn.com/


  1. Oh wow, we never considered Lancaster. I love it! This is a place we want to visit for sure! Need to check it out! Good info!

  2. sherry lee says

    Have been to Lancaster and it is wonderful. All I read are books about the Amish and so interesting. Would love to go back again, maybe someday.

  3. Maryann D. says

    Lancaster, PA would be a nice place to visit with my family. I have only been to PA once but do want to go back.

  4. Vickie Couturier says

    I am so hoping take the grandkids this summer, I really think they would enjoy it

  5. Looks like such a fun and educational experience! What a great place to take your son. I’d love to visit some day with my grandsons.

  6. Sandra VanHoey says

    You took some wonderful pics when you visited here and loved that handsome little guys pictures.

  7. I’ve actually been there!! Not a lot of places I have been, but this is one of the 🙂

  8. This looks like so much fun. Great time to spend with the family. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Looks like a great place to visit, and those cakes look so yummy!

  10. How fun! Lancaster is on my wish list of places to visit!

  11. I am originally from PA yet do not recall ever having been to Lancaster although I have read plenty of books set there. It certainly does look like a great place to visit.

  12. I visited Lancaster years with my sisters years ago-it was so beautiful. We took a buggy ride through the countryside and stayed in a bed and breakfast. It was fun, but I’ll have to bring my kids the next time. These places look super fun!

  13. That looks like a great time! I love how the conductors dress. Also, I had no idea that whoopie pies were made by the Amish. I learn so much from blogs!

  14. Samantha says

    Kiera- yes, check out Holmes County 🙂

  15. He definitely looks like he’s having a fantatic time. Strasburg Railroad looks great, my two boys are almost at that age where they wouldn’t see the wonder and magic of real steam trains so I certainly know what you mean. Enjoy it while you can.

  16. Love the pictures! Little man looks like he is having an absolute ball! And the pic of him and the conductor with the ticket? Beautiful! Looks like a fun trip!

  17. My daughter would LOVE this! You know Ohio has the biggest Amish community in the US (I always thought it was PA) so I will have to see if they have something like this. There’s a little but near to the extent as this!

    • We have been to both Amish communities in Pa and Oh. Ohio does in fact have a larger population but they are spread out in a much larger area. If you want small kids to get a taste of how Amish live day to day I suggest Pa. You can spend a few days in OH and see very few true Amish out and about simply because you have such a large area to cover.

  18. We hope to travel to PA in the next couple years. Lancaster looks like a great place to visit!

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