Family-Friendly Pennsylvania

Mountain Craft Days in September, Somerset Historical Center (courtesy, the 4th of July, seems an appropriate time to post some highlights from my article on about taking the kids to Pennsylvania.

You can’t lose with the home of the Liberty Bell, Ben Franklin and the Philadelphia Art Museum (remember Rocky running up those steps in the movie?)

The article is titled “Plan on Pennsylvania for Family Fun and Learning,” and here are four of the eighteen places and events I featured:

  • Little League Museum – Batter up! Organized baseball for young boys started in 1939 in Williamsport, PA and the Little League World Series is still played here at the hallowed ball field behind the Museum, which also includes softball exhibits. There are displays about the history of the game, including uniforms, equipment and famous players who started in Little League. Batting and pitching areas with instant replay allow swing analysis and the ever-satisfying crack of a ball against a bat.
  • Laurel Highlands – Southeast of Pittsburgh, this pretty part of PA has attractions that run the gamut from the three miles of natural passages in the state’s largest cave, Laurel Caverns, to Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic home built over a creek, Fallingwater (plus two other Wright homes in the region.) There are numerous covered bridges using a variety of construction techniques, several historic roads including part of the first transcontinental highway, the Fort Necessity National Battlefield from the French and Indian Wars, the Johnstown Flood (1889) Museum and the Mountain Playhouse, which is the state’s oldest professional resident summer theater and performs in a 200 year-old grist mill.
  • Washington Crosses the Delaware – Every year on Christmas Day (and also for a dress rehearsal on the second Sunday in December) Revolutionary War uniformed reenactors cross the Delaware River in wooden boats to boldly attack Hessian troops. Washington Crossing Historic Park also has numerous Family Programs year-round, cooking programs, farm demonstrations and a summer history camp.
  • Mütter Museum – Housed in the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, this highly unusual collection of medical artifacts is not for the particularly squeamish (its tagline is “Disturbingly Informative”) but it will be a huge hit for any future doctors or biologists in your house. Over 20,000 anatomic and pathological objects have been collected here since 1858, to educate future physicians about all manner of human body phenomena. Plaster casts of the original Siamese twins, Chang and Eng (and their conjoined livers) and a tumor that was secretly removed from President Grover Cleveland are just a few of the highlights.

Reenactors at Fort Ligonier, Pennsylvania (courtesy

Did I miss any good ones?

I know I have at least one reader who lived in PA with three kids for many years….and yeah, I should have called her for input. 🙂

Check out the article on and leave a comment, either on their site or this one, or both – thanks!