Pennsylvania is known for its historical locations, dating to the time of the American Revolution and in some places it might seem as though every stone you step on and building you see is hundreds of years old, but it is also home to some of the country’s most modern and populous cities.
Pennsylvania’s most visited attractions include historic locations like Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and Gettysburg National Park. On a trip to Pennsylvania, don’t forget to take a break from visiting the past to explore other places, new and old, that Pennsylvania has to offer including beautiful natural areas and some of the country’s best amusement parks.
One of Pennsylvania’s most famous cities is the town of Hershey, home to the Hershey Chocolate Company and this family theme park.
Hershey park currently has rides and attractions, including roller coasters and family-oriented rides. The park also has a water park and a zoo. No visit to Hershey park is complete without stopping by Chocolate World, a visitor’s center with shops, restaurants, and ride that replicates the experience of touring a chocolate factory.
Valley Forge National Historic Park
Pennsylvania was once the site of many important events during the American Revolutionary War and the famous Valley Forge National Historic Park was created to preserve the site of where the American army lodged during the winter of 1777 to 1778. The park contains historical buildings as well as recreated structures to replicate how the fort appeared during the time of the war. Also at the park visitors can view memorials and museums.
The Poconos, also known as the Pocono Mountains, are located in the northeastern part of the state covering 2,400 square miles. Since the beginning of the 20th century the mountains have been a popular recreation destination especially during the summer months and today the area is Pennsylvania’s most visited tourist destination. The Pocono Mountains area includes six natural areas, seven state parks, game lands, and the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
Independence National Park & Liberty Bell
Two of the most popular attractions in this area are Independence National Historical Park and the Liberty Bell. The park, nicknamed “America’s most historic square” is filled with some of the country’s most important landmarks, most notably Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were adopted.
Just across the street from the hall visitors can see one of America’s most iconic symbols, the Liberty Bell in Liberty Bell Center, alongside several other historic buildings including two of the country’s first banks.
Longwood Gardens consists of acres of gardens, woodlands, and meadows in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. It is one of the premier horticultural display gardens in the United States and is open to visitors year-round to enjoy exotic plants and horticulture. Longwood Gardens consists of varied outdoor gardens, ranging from formal to naturalistic in their landscape design, and indoor gardens within a group of heated greenhouses. Walk along the many paths through acres of exquisitely maintained grounds featuring 11,000 different types of plants.
Top Things to Do in Pennsylvania
One of the country’s longest running children’s programs, Sesame Street, is the theme for this theme park in Langhorne. The theme park has rides, shows, and water attractions perfect for young children. In addition to the rides, the park features performances with costume characters including a parade titled the Neighborhood Street Party, Elmo’s World Live an interactive show, and Elmo Rocks a rock n’roll-themed show. Also throughout the park visitors can see the costumed characters.
It’s no secret that Pennsylvania is the place to go for unusual and interesting theme parks and Kennywood definitely lives up to the reputation. This historic theme park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, having opened over 100 years ago. Although Kennywood is old, it certainly isn’t old fashioned, earning regular recognition and awards as one of the country’s best theme parks. The park features rides for all ages, ranging from extreme coasters to classic carousels.
Philadelphia Museum of Art
One of the world’s largest art museums, with a collection of more than 200,000 objects, is located in Philadelphia with multiple buildings along Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The museum includes a main building, the Rodin Museum, the Ruth and Raymond Perelman Building, and several historic houses. The museum’s collection showcases some of the world’s finest European and American paintings, prints, and drawings, as well as more than 200,000 books in the library along with 1.6 million historical documents.
Eastern State Penitentiary
This former prison is one of Pennsylvania’s most popular tourist attractions due to its fascinating history incarcerating some of the country’s most notorious criminals.
Today, the prison no longer operates, but instead offers informative and exciting tours where visitors learn about criminals like Al Capone and Willie Sutton, enjoy Haunted House tours, view art exhibits, and learn about the history of the prison.
Gettysburg National Military Park
This important historic location is the site of the famous Gettysburg Battlefield and the Gettysburg National Cemetery. Today visitors to the military park can view most of the battlefield including support structures like supply locations, hospitals, and other areas associated with the battlefield. Besides being a tourist attraction, the park is also a popular site for military parades and other noteworthy events from the famous Gettysburg Address given by President Lincoln in 1863 up until the present day.
Things to Do in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is a land of contrasts. So when you plan a visit to Pennsylvania, spend some time visiting some of the nation’s most important landmarks but don’t get bogged down in history, because Pennsylvania is also the place to go to relax and let loose at theme parks that are playgrounds for all ages.