LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — After more than a year of COVID-19, National Tourism Day in 2021 offers hope for local economies and for people with the travel bug as the country appears to be nearing the other side of the pandemic.
On Tuesday, Gov. Wolf announced the easing of COVID-19 mitigation orders. About half of Pennsylvanians have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, and people are itching to get out and about again.
If you’re looking for places to visit, Lancaster County has lots to offer from history to culture to nature.
The economic impact of tourism in Lancaster County is close to $3 billion each year, says Discover Lancaster director of communications Joel Cliff. The industry was hit by COVID-19, but it’s steadily building back, Cliff says. He encourages both locals and people from out of town to help the industry recover by visiting the county’s attractions.
“There really is truly something that pretty much anyone can find here that they can enjoy in Lancaster County,” Cliff said. Here are several fun things to do in Lancaster County this year:
#1: Dutch Wonderland
Dutch Wonderland is an amusement park located in Lancaster. It offers rides, a water play area, shows and other attractions. The park opens for the 2021 season on Saturday, May 15.
Voted one of the Top 5 Best Kid’s Parks in the World by Amusement Today magazine, Dutch Wonderland opened in 1963 and has been a popular spot for generations. More information can be found on Dutch Wonderland’s website.
#2: Sight & Sound Theatres
Located in Ronks, Sight & Sound Theatres present high-quality faith-based performances with original songs and choreography.
The theater is currently showing “Queen Esther.” More information available on the theater’s website.
#3: The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, located in Strasburg just across the street from the Strasburg Rail Road, showcases the history of the state’s trains.
After being closed for more than a year due to COVID-19, the museum reopened last week along with two other historic Lancaster County destinations: the Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum and the Ephrata Cloister.
The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania features train cars, a mock railway town and interactive exhibits demonstrating railroad technology. More information on the museum’s website.
#4: The Amish Farm and House
The Amish Farm and House is an interpretive attraction located off busy Route 30 in Lancaster, but inside the facility, the bustling traffic and nearby shopping centers seem to melt away, says Cliff.
The location offers various tours and educational opportunities to learn about Amish culture with an emphasis on authenticity. Additional information can be found on the Amish Farm and House website.
#5: Barry’s Car Barn
This recently opened attraction features dozens of antique muscle cars from Lancaster local Barry Baldwin’s personal collection. The vehicles on display date back to the 1930s through the 1970s.
Located in Intercourse near the Kitchen Kettle Village shopping area, Barry’s Car Barn takes visitors back in time with its colorful cars and plethora of car-related memorabilia.
More information can be found on the location’s website.
#6: The Lancaster Science Factory and the North Museum
Two science destinations in Lancaster City, the Lancaster Science Factory and the North Museum of Nature and Science provide hands-on educational science opportunities geared toward children, although there’s plenty for adults to enjoy there, as well.
#7: Refreshing Mountain Ziplines
Refreshing Mountain Retreat and Adventure Center in Stevens offers lots of outdoor activities, but one of its most unique attractions is its zipline courses.
The zipline tours are kid-friendly and fun for novices and experts alike. “It’s a fabulous way to be up in the trees and to see Lancaster County in a whole new way,” says Cliff.
Refreshing Mountain also has a wildlife center, cabins for overnight stays, escape rooms and more. Additional information is on the location’s website.
#8: Chiques Rock Outfitters
With locations in Columbia and Marietta, Chiques Rock Outfitters provides equipment for outdoor recreation. At this site, visitors can rent bikes for exploring the land and kayaks for exploring the Susquehanna River.
More information can be found on the Chiques Rock Outfitters website.
#9: Bube’s Brewery
The historic Bube’s Brewery, located in Mount Joy, offers both casual and fine dining options as well as dinner theater productions, ghost tours and paranormal investigations.
According to its owner, Bube’s Brewery is the only brewery in the country that was built in the 1800s and is still in its original condition. Guests can dine in the dark stone catacombs, participate in a murder mystery dinner, search for ghosts at a location featured on “Ghost Hunters,” or enjoy some casual food and drinks outside in the Biergarten.
More information is available on the location’s website.
#10: Nature trails and preserves
Lancaster County has many gorgeous outdoor trails and nature preserves. Camp at one of the county’s dozens of campsites; explore the unique geology and history of Chickies Rock; visit the Falmouth Forest Garden at the Conoy Wetlands Nature Preserve; and more!
The Lancaster Conservancy manages several outdoor spaces around the county. Check out the organization’s website for information about visiting its preserves.