16 Hot New Attractions for Summer
Happy Travelers, get ready to break out the sunscreen, brush up on your history, and put your arms up rollercoaster-style, because from the shores of Lake Erie to Philadelphia’s waterfront, your summer to-do list just got a lot longer!
1. Lindholm House
New to the Laurel Highlands but not new to the world, Frank Lloyd Wright’s R.W. Lindholm House is the newest architectural gem to be relocated to Polymath Park in Acme. Built in 1952, the house has quite the story to tell: first as a treasured private residence set in a remote woodland setting, then as an aging structure watching as the woods around it vanished and a retail supercenter sprung up across the street. Finally, after being disassembled piece by piece, transported 1,000 miles and lovingly reassembled, the 2,400-sq-ft home is ready to throw open its doors and welcome guests. Make a donation, and you might even win the chance to be one of the first to enjoy an overnight stay in this historic home designed by the master architect himself!
2. Adventures in Philadelphia & its Waterfront
You’ll have trouble deciding which of these new Philadelphia adventures to visit first. What could be more “Philly” than the completely renovated and refurbished LOVE Park, home to the iconic LOVE statue — a definite must-see and perfect place to enjoy the warmer weather! Philadelphia usually inspires visits to U.S. historical sites, but this summer you can experience 10,000 years of human history at Penn Museum’s new Middle East Galleries. There you will find more than 1,200 objects — from a clay footprint left by a worker in Iraq to 4,500-year-old jewelry of a Mesopotamian queen to a child’s first writing primer all — tell their own fascinating story. Two other don’t-miss Philly destinations are the Cherry Street Pier and The Bourse, both set to open later this summer. They’ll feature the latest in creative dining, entertainment, and artisan spaces in a unique blend of old and new.
3. The Boardwalk at Hersheypark
What better place to cool off this summer and quickly banish those laments of “I’m bored” and “It’s too hot” than at The Boardwalk at Hersheypark, especially with its two new water rides. Get ready to rocket through splash-filled hills, open-air Flying Saucer turns, and sweet thrills aboard a four-person in-line raft on the Breakers Edge Water Coaster, then grab a mat to beat the competition as you sail through the curves and tunnels of the longest mat racing slide in the world at the WhitecapSM Racer. Then dry off and enjoy the parks 70+ rides and other attractions for a day chock-full of summertime fun!
4. Waldameer Park & Water World
Not to be outdone, Waldameer Park & Water World in Erie also offers two new, amazingly fun rides. Guaranteed to leave your head spinning, the new CannonBOWL tube slide in the park’s Water World features several twists and turns before spinning you round and round in a giant bowl and finally shooting you out into the splash pool. Ride the single tube or grab a friend to shoot down the double tube! The new Balloon Race ride in Kiddieland provides another dizzyingly fun time as you get to control how fast your “balloon” spins as the ride goes round and round, up and down. The fun doesn’t end there with 100+ great rides, slides, and attractions!
5. Sesame Place®
Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Bert, Ernie, Elmo, and the cast of Sesame Street characters are just waiting to usher you and your little ones aboard Oscar’s Wacky Taxi™ — the new, first-ever family-friendly roller coaster at Sesame Place® in Langhorne. With Oscar the Grouch at the helm, you’ll go on a fun, curvy taxi ride you soon won’t forget! Also new and equally awesome — the park has recently become the first theme park in the world to be designated a Certified Autism Center, offering trained staff and specialized services to guests with autism and other special needs.
6. Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
This summer, the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Ronks will be sporting a fresh look, complete with Trainworks — its new, hands-on exhibit area with new exhibits you won’t want to miss — Stewart Junction, Steinman Station, and the Diesel Simulator, have been revamped to further bring Pennsylvania’s rich railroad history to life. With more than 100 locomotives and railroad cars on display, this is a train lover’s paradise that has fun activities and displays geared to little railroaders!
7. Tiny Estates
Ever wonder what it would be like to live in one of those trendy tiny houses? Now’s your chance! Rent one of the adorable, fully furnished houses at Tiny Estates in Elizabethtown to experience living in a 400-square-foot house. Book a stay and enjoy a weekend getaway that’s sure to be tiny in space, but not in fun!
8. Craft Burger Trail
Does just the thought of a burger sizzling on a grill set your taste buds aquiver? Then Lawrence County’s Craft Burger Trail is a must-do for you this summer. Be sure to download the Burger Trail Passport before you go. It serves as your guide to the 11 unique, mouth-watering burgers featured at five different New Castle restaurants. Complete the trail and, along with being in burger paradise, you’ll receive an official Visit Lawrence County Burger Trail T-shirt!
9. Dutch Wonderland
Get ready to soar through the sky with Merlin on an enchanted journey to find his beloved dragon on Merlin’s Mayhem — the newest roller coaster ride at Dutch Wonderland in Lancaster. Sitting in seats suspended below the track, you’ll rise 60 feet in the air, zoom through two helix turns, and spin along many twists and drops — all while receiving clues and encouragement from Merlin via the on-board audio system and helping make the ride a totally thrilling experience!
10. Thompson-Neely House & Farmstead
Picture the life of an early American colonist at the newly renovated Thompson-Neely House & Farmstead in Washington Crossing, which served as a temporary regimental army hospital during Washington’s winter campaign of 1776-1777. Bonus: the Thompson-Neely Grist Mill. After being shuttered and closed to the public for two decades, the grist mill is once again open and operating!
11. The Pennsylvania State Museum
The Pennsylvania State Museum in Harrisburg is honoring the USS Pennsylvania and those who served aboard this former flagship of the U.S. Navy. See a six-foot model of the ship — which participated in every major Pacific naval offensive during WWII and earned eight battle stars and the US Navy Commendation Award for service — displayed alongside the ship’s silver service and crew members’ uniforms and other personal items.
12. Made in America Tours Event 20th Celebration
Do you know what ice cream, alpacas, soap, motorcycles, violins, beer, and potato chips all have in common? These and many more are all stops on York County’s “Made in America Tours Event 20th Celebration.” While the official celebration dates are June 13-16, many of the featured businesses welcome guests all summer long and might even provide a free sample or two!
13. Carnegie Science Center
In June, the Carnegie Science Center welcomes, THE ART OF THE BRICK, which features more than 100 sculptures built exclusively from LEGO® bricks by artist Nathan Sawaya. The inspiring exhibition transforms a toy that almost every child has played with into contemporary art, providing an engaging experience for all ages. This is the first exhibit in the new 14,000-square-foot Scaife Exhibit Gallery which is part of a $33 million, four-floor, 48,000-square-foot expansion of the Science Center.
14. The Hershey Story Museum
Be transported back in time to 1940s Cuba to Milton Hershey’s other “model town,” named — you guessed it! — Hershey, with a visit to The Hershey Story Museum. There, the Hershey’s Cuba: A Sweet Venture in Sugar exhibit tells the story of Milton Hershey’s venture into sugar manufacturing through hands-on and interactive exhibits, vintage film, photos, and other memorabilia which teach you about sugarcane and the sugar manufacturing process.
15. Presque Isle State Park
Grab the sunscreen, beach towels, and chairs for the perfect beach day at Beach 8 at Presque Isle State Park. Renovations are expected to be complete just in time for summer and will include a new concession area, two new bath houses, new parking, a beachfront promenade, and a new ADA-compliant beach access point.
16. Thomas Town™
Opening midsummer 2018 is the new Thomas Town™ at Kennywood! Located outside of Pittsburgh, Kennywood is celebrating its 120th anniversary with the opening of one of the largest additions in its history. Thomas Town™ at Kennywood will be the second largest permanent Thomas & Friends attraction in North America and will feature four new family rides based on characters from the beloved children’s program, and a life-sized Thomas the Tank Engine™ traveling on a redesigned Olde Kennywood Railroad.
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to stay up-to-date on even more great ideas and places to visit around our state. Don’t forget to never miss an update and sign up for our monthly Happy Thoughts e-newsletter.