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

Pittsburgh

www.pittsburghkids.org

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. Children can also see Mister Rogers’ puppets and sneakers displayed in the Fred Rogers & Us exhibit. They will never want to leave when they enter the MAKESHOP, a space for children to get hands on with woodworking, circuitry, and stop-motion animation. 

Franklin Institute - Philadelphia and the Countryside

Philadelphia

www.fi.edu/

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 your thoughts 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. Visitors can also explore the virtual reality (VR) experience at the Franklin Institute. At the most comprehensive VR experience ever launched in a museum, tech newbies and gurus alike can immerse themselves into a whole new world through spectacular films and state-of-the-art technology.

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

Erie

www.eriechildrensmuseum.org

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. More than half a million children have enjoyed the Water Table exhibit’s paddle wheel and heat activated fountains.

Da Vinci Science Center - Lehigh Valley

Allentown

www.davinci-center.org

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

Harrisburg

www.whitakercenter.org

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.  Head to the CASTLE BUILDER: A LEGO® BUILDING EXHIBIT this spring, where children can build their own toy castle and visit a dragon’s cave.

The Children’s Museum Valleys of the Susquehanna

Bloomsburg

www.the-childrens-museum.org

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

Harrisburg

www.statemuseumpa.org

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

Philadelphia

www.pleasetouchmuseum.org

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

Lansford

www.no9minemuseum.wixsite.com/museum

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

Pittsburgh

www.carnegiesciencecenter.org

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. Test your balance at the NEW Ropes Challenge, where kids will defy gravity and climb high above the museum floor. 

North Museum of History and Science - Dutch Country Roads

Lancaster

www.northmuseum.org

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. Visitors 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. Kids can learn about STEM at The Coding Corner exhibit, where they will use VR Goggles, solar and salt water powered Robo Cars, and Sphero Bots to transform the fun into a learning experience. 

Johnstown Children's Museum - The Alleghenies

Johnstown

www.jaha.org/attractions/johnstown-childrens-museum/

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.

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