Tag Archives: Children

A Trip to the North Museum of Natural History & Science

I had a chance to return to the North Museum of Natural History & Science with my family this past weekend.  The museum, located on the edge of the campus of Franklin & Marshall College near downtown Lancaster, is a fantastic, accessible way to introduce your school-aged children to the world of science.  My oldest son has shown more of an interest in math and science since he’s started first grade (much to the befuddlement of his English teacher mom and his book-loving Dad) so I thought a return trip to the North Museum might be in order.

The North Museum is filled with lots of hands-on activities and displays for kids.  Even my 3-year-old could get into the act.  Sure, he may not be gleaning any of the “science” from his exploits, but he was having fun which is a bonus for any parent who’s ever heard the phrase, “Can we leave yet?”

The first level of the museum contains a live animal room full of snakes, turtles and insects the kids can inspect through the safety of glass enclosures.  A helpful docent was on hand to clue my boys in on lots of interesting facts about the reptiles and amphibians on display.  We also spent a decent amount of time in the “Hall of Cosmos” which had all kinds of interactive displays geared towards those with an interest in space.


The boys also enjoyed the “Light & Sight Gallery” where they got to see what kind of effect ultraviolet light had on their respective clothing.  Having already been in a college dorm room in my lifetime, I was somewhat less shocked and intrigued by the day-glow effect then they were, but it was great fun to see how excited they got nonetheless.

The current traveling exhibit was Attack of the Bloodsuckers, which focused on the science behind insects that… well… enjoy an opportunity to dine on you.  The boys particularly enjoyed seeing the world through a mosquito’s prism-like eyes and sitting on the giant inflating tick (no lie).

We hit pretty much everything in the museum, from the expansive Cabinet Museum on the lower level with a vast collection of birds and bugs and gorgeous geology specimens, to the Dinosaur gallery filled with fossils and a fierce looking T-Rex model.  We finished up our visit with the planetarium (south-central Pennsylvania’s largest), where we learned quite a bit about the stars we see in the skies here in Pennsylvania Dutch County, and got a primer on the different constellations.

All in all, the North Museum of Natural History & Science was a fun (and educational) way for the family to while away a brisk fall afternoon in Lancaster County.

Lancaster from a Kid’s Perspective

Last night, we got a lot of snow here in Lancaster, and some ice to top it off, so schools were closed today. YAY! A co-worker’s daughter came to work with her, so I figured that to help her from being bored, I’d use her knowledge and ask her what her favorite things to do in Lancaster County are! This post will give those of you who are looking for things to do with your kids some ideas.

There are five places that were mentioned while talking to our resident 11-soon-to-be-12-year-old: Dutch Wonderland, the Whitaker Center, Plain & Fancy, Buggy Rides, and Cherry Crest Adventure Farm.

Dutch Wonderland, also known as the Kingdom for Kids, is an awesome place to go. Alima’s two favorite rides are the Kingdom Coaster, and the Pipeline Plunge. The best place to cool down is at Duke’s Lagoon – where they’ve got spraying water, water jets, palm trees, and a HUGE bucket that tips water and gets you wet. Duke’s Dance Party is fun too – you can do the limbo, freeze dance, the YMCA, the chicken dance, and other stuff.

Plain & Fancy restaurant is one of Alima’s favorite places to eat. They’ve got some delicious choices of what to eat, and it’s just like you’re there with one big family. Alima loves that even when she and her mom don’t know people there, they can just talk to anyone there about how their day is going, and about what they chose to eat! When you go with a bunch of people, you can get “The Feast”, which includes 4 appetizers, 4 different entrees, with 4 sides and 3 choices for dessert! They all get served family style, so just go ahead and pass the plates around!

Buggy Rides are always a fun thing to do… sometimes I get to hold the reigns!” While Aaron & Jessica’s Buggy Rides is Alima’s preferred, there are many different options in Lancaster to get a ride. The owner of Aaron & Jessica’s is Jack Meyer, who loves to tell stories. He’s very funny and will keep any age entertained with his carrying-on, and the other drivers are also very knowledgeable. The drivers come from Amish, Mennonite, or Brethren backgrounds, and from all different trades, school teachers, carpenters, farmers, and more!

For the fall, Cherry Crest Adventure Farm has the biggest corn maze ever! Each year they do a different theme, and it’s fun to go more than once and try to beat your last time for going through the maze. They have another area after the maze that has tons of stuff to do. They have these go-karts that you pedal to race around the cornfield, you can feed the ducks, pigs and I think they have a llama. And they have cute baby chicks that were just hatched and they’re all cute and warm and fuzzy. Then they have even ANOTHER place that you can go to that has a hay tunnel, a place where you can jump into the hay, a pumpkin slinger, and my favorite, the big jumping thing (Barnyard Jump). It’s a huge pillow that you can just keep bouncing on.

Hopefully these suggestions will help you when coming for vacation or just looking for something to do with the kids while you’re here! Please feel free to comment with more suggestions from your kids as to their favorite things to do here!

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