My family will be spending just over two weeks in the Harrisburg area visiting my two sets of in-laws (some time in Hummelstown/Hershey, and some time in Camp Hill, to be exact). DS will be 3yo then, and I'm hoping someone from the area can tell us some fun things to do at Christmas time there. (We'll definitely be going to Hershey Park for the lights, MIL lives very near.) Are there any train-oriented activities? Indoor and outdoor activity ideas are welcome, though we also have an infant so if it's really cold we'll probably want to stay indoors. Any great playgrounds/parks we should put on our list? Good library storytimes? Kids gyms or bounce places with drop-in hours? Or Kid-friendly museums?
Thanks for any suggestions!
I believe the Harrisburg mall has an indoor play area, some days with story time and craft activities. I would check the website to be sure of the days though. The Mechanicsburg Public library has a great kids area. The whole downstairs is devoted to children. It is off of Walnut Street in downtown Mechanicsburg.
Not sure if you already went, but if not, I definitely recommend checking out the PA State Museum in Harrisburg. Most of the museum isn't fun for kids, but they have a great area called the Curiosity Connection just for little kids. It's got lots of toys and activities, a pretend little farm, truck assembly line, boats and trains to climb on. Really, really fun, and so relaxing for mom, because the kids can't leave the area without a parent (it's walled off and only has one door that's kept shut).
Also, a little more expensive, but really cool if your kids are over 5 is the Whittaker Center for Science, also in Harrisburg. It's a huge science museum with several levels, an IMAX theatre, demonstrations, etc. Again, supercool.
Strasburg (about 45 minutes from Harrisburg) has a working steam railroad and a train museum that is really awesome. If you haven't seen those old steam trains up close before, it's really surreal. I think they run the trains year-round, and I'm sure they're heated in winter. It's just called The Strasburg Railroad, so should be easy to find online.
Thanks for the ideas! We haven't gone yet (we're going for Christmas) so we'll definitely check out the Strasburg RR--this is right up DS' alley.
We're not leaving for another three weeks, so keep the ideas coming if you've got 'em!