PA Travel Logo

Hands-on Learning and Discovery in Pennsylvania

From life-sized longhouses to weightlessness simulators similar to those used by NASA, Pennsylvania offers many attractions that make learning and discovery fun for children of all ages. Keep kids learning outside of the classroom by visiting the state’s interactive and hands-on destinations designed to engage even little learners through history, science, art and technology.

Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh and its Countryside

Located in Pittsburgh's historic North Side, the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh offers interactive exhibits for the young tinkerer, artist and more. In the Garage, children can roll up their sleeves and investigate many things that drive, fly and roll. Get behind the wheel or fill up the gas tank on a real SmartforTwo car. New in June, children can experience the joy of their favorite carton through Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood®: A Grrrific Experience. Work with Daniel to solve problems, use your imaginations to transform your surroundings and play along with Daniel’s sing-along strategies to better understand and navigate everyday emotions.

Franklin Institute - Philadelphia and the Countryside

Founded in honor of America’s first scientist, Benjamin Franklin, The Franklin Institute is one of America’s oldest and premier centers of science education and development in the country. Think about how you think at the Franklin Institute's biggest exhibition, Your Brain. Explore the brain at the cellular level, learn how it controls your body and cognitive functions, and consider the field of neuroethics as the discoveries in brain science rapidly advance. This summer experience the awe-inspiring exhibit, The Science of Pixar. Explore the science, technology, engineering and math behind some of the beloved characters in Pixar’s award-winning films.

expERIEnce Children's Museum - Pennsylvania’s Great Lakes Region

For more than 20 years, expERIEnce Children's Museum in Erie has been providing an educational, creative and interactive environment where learning and fun go hand in hand. Children can discover the History, Mystery and Magic of Magnets exhibit, featuring six interactive stations demonstrating the power of magnets. New daily educational programs filled with exploration and learning are available to tiny tots (children 6-24 months) and parents.

Da Vinci Science Center - Lehigh Valley

Want to feel what it’s like to be in a hurricane? The Da Vinci Science Center welcomes guests to climb inside The Hurricane Simulator, a tube in which visitors stand and experience wind forces accelerating up to 78 miles per hour - the minimum speed of a Category 1 hurricane. The hands-on learning opportunities continue at the PPL Electric Utilities E-Power House exhibit, where children can use bicycle pedal power to ignite side-by-side light bulbs, and at the Built Like a Mack Truck exhibit, visitors are challenged to build the most fuel-efficient and environmentally-friendly truck and drive it through realistic work scenarios.

Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts -Dutch Country Roads

From a giant four-story cinema screen to three floors of imaginative, engaging exhibits, Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts is guaranteed to delight the whole family. The center is composed of three main venues — Sunoco Performance Theater, Select Medical Digital Cinema and Harsco Science Center. The Whitaker Center presented its fifth long-term exhibit, Lights, Camera, Action — Take Center Stage featuring 1,800 square feet of fascinating exhibits. An Animation Station, Graffiti Wall and Phenakistoscope will have visitors reveling in the science and technology behind movies, TV, music and theater.

The Children’s Museum Valleys of the Susquehanna

With exhibits that bring out the imagination in every child and the child in every visitor, The Children’s Museum in Bloomsburg offers interactive and hands-on educational experiences for all. Create your own piece of ancient culture as you make an Egyptian collar and animal mummy in the Egypt exhibit, crawl underground to see animal houses in the Animal Architects exhibit, and explore the Eastern Woodlands Longhouse interactive display to see how Native Americans lived in the region.

State Museum of Pennsylvania - Dutch Country Roads

With four floors of interactive exhibits and activities representing Pennsylvania's story from Earth's beginning to today, the State Museum of Pennsylvania is a great place to keep growing minds engaged. Favorites include the Planetarium, where astronomy and the latest discoveries in space science are explained through multi-media, and Curiosity Connection, the museum's hands-on learning center.

Please Touch Museum® - Philadelphia and the Countryside

Home to 11 interactive exhibit zones, the Please Touch Museum® is the perfect place for families with children to learn and discover. River Adventures takes guests on a journey down the river to explore science, nature and weather, and in the Wonderland exhibit, children can weave through a circular maze and enjoy a nice break in the Tea Party. The must-see Hamilton Hall features a 40-foot replica of the Statue of Liberty's arm and torch created out of toys, games and other objects assembled by local artist Leo Sewell. Don’t forget to take advantage of Please Touch Museum® First Wednesdays. On the first Wednesday of every month, visitors who arrive between 4 — 7 p.m. receive a discounted admission of $2 per person.

No. 9 Coal Mine & Museum - Upstate PA

Located at the foot of the Pocono Mountains, the No. 9 Coal Mine & Museum is the world’s oldest continuously operated anthracite coal mine. Visitors are invited to discover the area’s rich history as they travel 1,600 feet into the mountainside by train to experience the life of a coal miner firsthand. Along the journey, guests will see the underground mule-way, miner’s hospital and the 900-foot deep original elevator shaft that once hauled loaded coal cars to the surface.

Carnegie Science Center - Pittsburgh and its Countryside

The Carnegie Science Center educates and inspires visitors through interactive experiences in science and technology. Favorite attractions include the Buhl Planetarium, which features shows that transport guests to the farthest regions of the cosmos or dazzles the senses with laser productions, and the Miniature Railroad & Village, a legendary exhibit that brings to life the history of western Pennsylvania. The center’s newest exhibit is H2Oh! Why Our Rivers Matter, an exhibit presented by Colcom Foundation.

North Museum of History and Science - Dutch Country Roads

Since 1953 the North Museum of History and Science has been fulfilling its mission of inspiring curiosity, discovery and a lifelong appreciation of nature and science. Any visitor to this museum will find themselves fascinated by the diverse collections and exhibits available. Guests can enjoy the birds and fossils in the Cabinet Museum, as well as the collections of Native American artifacts and fossils. In addition, North Museum is the first museum in the world to have a Spitz cove-mounted SciDome XD Touch system, which will allow guests to fully immerse themselves in astronomy, earth sciences and meteorology.

Johnstown Children's Museum - The Alleghenies

Located in the Heritage Discovery Center, the Johnstown Children's Museum encourages children to learn about Johnstown's geography, history and culture through fun and interactive exhibits. Families are sure to enjoy The Water Room where they can learn about rain in mountains and valleys as well as acid rain and dam-building. During the visit, take a walk out onto the rooftop terraces for a spectacular view of Cambria County and learn about the growth cycle of Pennsylvania’s native plants.