As a blogger, I may be compensated in some way (either pay, product, or experience) for sharing the post below All opinions are my own. ~Heidi
Last week, I shared a list of Cheap Things to do in Central PA with an under $10 admission price. This week, we’ll bump that up to under $20. This list is based on the REGULAR ADULT ADMISSION PRICE (kids – and often seniors – will be cheaper). I will list all prices below.
Also, be sure to check out my list of FREE Things to do in Central PA also.
Hershey’s Chocolate World & Hershey’s Trolley Works
I listed Hershey’s Chocolate World on my FREE list also, because the factory tour ride IS free. However, if you want to fully immerse yourself in the chocolate world, it’s going to cost you. So, I’m adding the “full experience” to this list as well.
I confess, we mostly only go for the free tour. As you can see by the prices below, a full immersion trip for a full family is going to get pretty costly! However, if you live locally, it might be worth adding just one of these extra-cost adventures to your visit occasionally. I’ve always wanted to check out the trolley ride – so that’s near the top of our personal list.
Admission Prices: $14.95 for the Create-Your-Own Candy Bar Experience; Adult – $7.95, Child (3-12) – $6.95 for the 4-D Mystery Show; Adult – $9.95, Child (3-12) – $6.95 for the Chocolate Tasting Experience; Adults – $14.95, Child (3-12) – $10.95 for the Trolley Works
Turkey Hill Experience
Last summer, I won tickets for the kids and I to go to the Turkey Hill Experience. We loved it so much that we’ll definitely be making it a point to return! I blogged about our visit. At the Turkey Hill Experience, you learn everything there is to know about the Turkey Hill Company and their ice cream; but you also get to taste test various ice cream, iced tea, and iced coffee drinks. And, in the lab, you get to CREATE your very own ice cream flavor! It’s a very nicely done museum and we truly had a blast touring it. It’s at the top of my recommendations list!
Admission Prices: Realistically, I could have added this to my Under $10 list; however, that wouldn’t include the Taste Lab and, quite frankly, that’s 1/2 the fun! So, these prices are including the lab (see website for prices without it). Adult – $14.90, Senior – $14.45, Junior (5-17) – $13.90, Children (4 & under) – $4.95.
The National Civil War Museum
We have visited The National Civil War Museum on a few occasions now, and plan to make another trip sometime this year, as we’ll be studying American History. Not only are the grounds of the museum lovely and the museum itself very educational and nicely laid out, but I love the fact that this museum is the ONLY Civil War museum that does not take one side over the other (both the Union and the Confederates are included, with no bias to one side).
*Be sure to ask for a copy of the Museum Scavenger Hunt. These are a great way to keep kids focused!
Admission Prices: Adult – $11, Senior – $10, Student – $9. There is also a Family Pass available for $40 (for 2 adults and up to 3 students) which would make this visit more affordable.
Whitaker Science Center
Right in the heart of our capital city, you’ll find the Whitaker Center, home to the Science Center and IMAX Theater. “With three floors of imaginative, engaging exhibits, the Science Center is an irresistible invitation to explore the sciences, perform experiments, and discover more about the world around you.” We’ve visited the center, and there’s plenty to do to keep kids entertained for hours. It’s a great hot summer day activity!
Admission Prices: Adults – $16, Junior (3-17) – $12.50. Combo price with films is an additional cost.
Parks & Recreation
While Knoebel’s is well known for being “America’s Largest Free-Admission Amusement Park,” I’m including it here because – let’s face it – if you WANT to ride, it’s going to cost you. I’ve been going to Knoebel’s since I was a kid; and it’s been great fun to see the park grow and expand over the year, adding to it’s ever-increasing line of thrill rides.
While Summer, full-day, ride-all-day prices are over $30, and even the sundown (after 5pm) price exceeds $20, I feel fair putting this on the under $20 list. Full pricing is listed here. *Please note that after 6pm on Wednesday and Friday evenings, you can get a pass for $10 each (does not include some of the bigger thrill rides, though). Individual ride tickets are also available.
And, it should be noted that they have some of the best pizza in central PA. So, go for the evening and grab some pizza for dinner (you might want to eat AFTER you ride!)
This is one of those things that I seem to put on my Field Trip list every year, yet we never seem to find the time to go and actually do it. One of these days . . . “Enjoy an eleven-mile, one hour Round Trip ride on the “Milk & Honey Line”, completed in 1890. All trains leave from the Middletown Station only. A live narration is given along the way, pointing out various historic locations along the railroad as well as “fun facts” of local history and the general area.”
Admission Prices: Adults – $14, Seniors – $12, Children (2-11) – $9. (If you select the noon train, you can pay $15 extra for a hobo lunch as well – reservations must be made in advance.)
I’ve always wanted to visit the Hershey Gardens but we’ve never actually done it. Filled with various themed gardens, a children’s garden, and a butterfly house, it looks like a beautiful place to visit and take pictures.
There are also rotating exhibits at the gardens. This summer’s feature is ArtCycle – ordinary items transformed into works of art by local artists. Be sure to check it out!
Admission Prices: Regular (13+) – $10.50, Senior – $9.50, Junior (3-12) – $7.50. (NOTE: When you purchase a combo ticket to visit both the Gardens & The Hershey Story Museum, that would make the price for the Gardens alone under $10, therefore moving it to the $10 list!)
If you love visiting gardens, this one is truly spectacular. The kids and I visited several summers ago with friends and got some great pictures. It’s not a place I’d choose to go every year; but it’s definitely a great experience and one worth visiting on occasion. I hear it’s also lovely around Christmastime!
Admission Prices: Adult – $20, Senior – $17, Student – $10
Indian Echo Caverns
“Sparkling crystal clear lakes, intimate passageways, and room after room of mystical beauty…and you have a fantastic journey of geological wonders that will take your breath away!” I haven’t visited the caverns since I was a little girl on a field trip with school; but this is on my list of places to take the kids. And caves make great places to visit in the summertime – because it stays nice and cool inside the caves (you may want to bring a sweatshirt!)
Admission Prices: Adults (12+) – $16, Seniors – $14, Children (2-11) – $10 (A money-saving coupon is available for download.)
America’s ONLY all-water cavern, Penn’s Cave is worth the visit. Penn’s Cave features glittering stalactites and stalagmites, often in mysteriously familiar shapes, such as “The Statue of Liberty” and “The Garden of the Gods.” See how dripping water has sculpted magnificent flowstone, curtains, cascades, and draperies against a background of pillars and gigantic columns.”
Admission Prices: (Cavern Tour Only) Adult – $17.95, Seniors – $16.95, Children (2-12) – $9.95 (Please note that if you want to experience the Wildlife Tour, that will add a big chunk to your bill, putting this well above the $20 range.)
I grew up near the Liverpool side of the Millersburg Ferry (and one of my first jobs was dipping ice cream at the Ferryboat Campsites), so I’m kinda partial to the ferry and am so glad that it’s still in operation today. In fact, when the kids and I rode it last summer on our way to Lake Tobias (which I would highly recommend combining these two things together into one day trip), we just so happened to be on board with the man who was the driver of the ferry back in the 70’s and 80’s. I introduced myself and we had a nice little chat!
Admission Prices: Car or Standard-sized Pick-up + Driver – $8, $3 for each additional passenger (essentially UNDER $10 for one adult; but best experienced as a family or group!)
If you have little ones that love trains, a trip to the Strasburg Railroad is a must! We’ve been on various occasions through the years, and even got to ride Thomas a few years ago. “Enjoy a 45-minute, round-trip ride through the tranquil Amish countryside to Paradise, PA and back. Marvel at more than 1,000 acres of farm fields as they pass by your window. Disembark and enjoy old-fashioned fun at Groff’s Grove or Leaman Place Grove, convenient recreation areas along the train’s route for mid-way boarding or unloading.”
Admission Prices: Adult (12+) – $18, Child (3-11) – $12.50
The most economical way to spend the entire day, this one-day pass includes:
- Unlimited rides aboard Coach Car
- Unlimited rides on the Fun Extras (when in operation)
While ZooAmerica is a part of HersheyPark, you can visit the Zoo on its own all throughout the year. I remember visiting this zoo often as a child, but haven’t been there now for many years. For a smaller zoo, they certainly have a large amount of interesting animals to see and learn about! The zoo is ever changing and adding new features, so be sure to check it out.
Admission Prices: Regular (ages 9+) – $11, Seniors – $9, Children (3-8) – $9
Lake Tobias is one of our all-time favorite field trip destinations. We try to visit at least once each summer, though this doesn’t always work out. The safari tour is lots of fun and (as you can see in the picture above) you can actually touch and feed the animals from the bus! The rest of the park includes various animal exhibits, a petting zoo, and a new reptile building. The entire facility is very well-maintained. And, lucky for them, I don’t hold it against them that I got bitten by a monkey there when I was a little girl! We keep going back for more!
Admission Prices: $13 per person (Park admission is $7 for all ages, and includes Zoo Exhibits, Reptiles & Exotics Facility. and Petting Zoo, but does NOT include the safari tour which is an additional $6 per person and a necessary part of the experience.)