Easton, Pennsylvania may or may not be on your way home (it’s on the Northern side of the Pennsylvania-NJ border), and there’s not much else to do in the area, but you can depend on keeping for entire family busy for the whole day. There’s tons of crafty and creative activities across five floors! At closing time, my kids were not ready to leave and are looking forward to their next visit.
Choosing the right park (and having a successful, magical, fun-filled day) really depends on the age of your kids. At Dutch Wonderland, kids under six or seven will find an entire park tailor-made for them. For kids eight and up, there’s nothing like a long day at Hershey Park. There’s sooo much to do. You can definitely fill a couple of days. If you plan to visit for only one day, get there the night before and your “preview” admission, from 7 pm to 11 pm, is free (it’s a great time to get in those roller coasters without waiting on lines!). One thing I really appreciated about Hershey Park: unlike at Six Flags Great Adventure, where the kiddie rides are confined to two areas, Hershey Park’s kiddie rides are throughout the park, so I could take the little kids on rides nearby while waiting for the big kids to ride that big coaster.
Both parks offer kosher food (Hershey Park’s kosher restaurant is centrally located and has a very extensive solid menu), so you don’t have to worry about dinner (double check hours before you go!). If your family keeps chalav Yisrael, be sure to bring along your own chocolate to complete the chocolate experience (though you can find Twizzlers in lots and lots of awesome flavors).
Though this is a place (the top botanical garden in the country!) that adults will enjoy immensely more without kids complaining that their feet hurt, I know we can’t simply drop them off. To keep the kids walking, there are three treehouses along the way to climb and explore. The gardens are huge, and the exhibits change with the seasons, so ask about the “top must-see” areas when you get there so you know where to head. And don’t miss any corner of the conservatory! Note: Herr’s Factory is about a half hour east of Lancaster, and Longwood Gardens is another half hour east of that, so they’re good consecutive stops when you’re on your way home from Hershey or Lancaster.
Who wouldn’t want to taste super hot chips, fresh from the fryer? Pennsylvania has lots of great food factory tours, including the one at Krieder’s Farm, home of Pride of the Farm milk. Even though the Herr’s Factory Tour is free of charge, for most food factory tours, you’ll need to make reservations and the spots fill up! Call ahead to confirm operating hours and reservations. For a complete list of food factory tours, see this post at cookkosher.
Cherry Crest Farm
A day at Cherry Crest Farm is wholesome family fun. Besides for the corn maze (always an adventure), there’s lots of “booths” with fun activities, such as sliding down a giant slide in a potato sack or jumping on a huge air-filled trampoline-like balloons.
The last time I visited was also during a bein haz’manim time and there was even a set place for a minyan set up on the farm.
The farm is not open on Sunday or Monday; check the calendar before you go!