I love winter. I love the cold wintry feel, the smell of the crisp air, and the look of white covered lawns. But somehow, every year, the complaining of cooped up, stir-crazy kids try to ruin my calm winter days.
Not this year. This year I am armed with 10 fun places in York, PA to take these stir-crazy kids this winter. While no one has gone ahead and built that indoor, heated park and grassy field, these ten places definitely offer a fun alternative. I will, undoubtedly, be visiting them several times in the coming months.
So, what is there to do in York, PA during the winter months?
10 Fun Places In York, PA
To Take Your Stir-Crazy Kids This Winter
Let us start with two time-sensitive events that will entertain the kids and adults too!
The York Ice Festival: FestivICE.
Scheduled for Saturday, January 13, 2018, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, FestivICE takes places in downtown York, PA. With ice sculptures to awe at, an ice slide to enjoy, s’more roasting with neighbors, an icy yeti throne, shopping and dining options, this winter festival is so much fun you forget the temperature- or warm up with some hot cocoa inside Central Market.
Harry Potter Day at the Agricultural & Industrial Museum
Scheduled for Saturday, January 20, 2018, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, Magic at the Museum! takes place inside the Agricultural & Industrial Museum in York, PA. This free, family-friendly event invites kids into the large museum space to make a wand, mix potions, complete a scavenger hunt, write with quills, and much more. The kids will be engaged and learning without even knowing it. When the Harry Potter inspired activities are all completed, the whole family can also enjoy this interesting museum highlighting a bygone era.
Test Your Detective Skills At Escape Games Live
One locked room, 60 minutes, hidden clues… can you solve the puzzle and escape? Escape Games Live offers several themed rooms and puzzles to enjoy- from kid-friendly to adults only and everything in between. This is the perfect way to hone your deduction skills and spend an afternoon laughing with the whole family.
Take A Tour
Known as the Factory Capitol of the USA, York is no stranger to the idea of taking a tour. Every June, the city hosts its annual Made in America tour schedule and dazzles visitors with the large array of options. But, somehow, we tend to forget how much fun these tours can be in the cold winter months.
There are three local tours that make for a perfect outing in the winter. Why? Because they involve walking, learning, and the “Oh!” factor.
If you and the family are into machines, tools, motorbikes, or simply the complexity and fascinating world of the assembly line, then the free Harley Davidson Plant Tour is a must. A visit here gives you a walking tour of the production line, a chance to try out current models on for size, and a kids corner for the under-12 crowd. It’d loud and impressive- you are actually on the factory floor!
If smaller machines and tools are your kids’ thing, a tour of the York Time Institute is a must. Incredibly small and intricate tools are used to piece together clocks, watches, and various other timepieces. While small (and clearly no running around allowed) the institute is so impressive in its task that you can see the kids strain themselves to pay attention to every minute detail.
Of course, if history is more your family taste, there is no better tour in town than the York Colonial Complex. With knowledgeable tour guides, the ability to actually walk through history, and a great story behind the complex.
Get Creative Making Something
There are plenty of opportunities to get creative in York!
Want to use your hands and get dirty? Prancing Pig Pottery offers guests the chance to paint a large pottery collection or partake in warm glass fusing, board art, or canvas kid art sessions. There is a wide selection of pottery and activities to choose from and keep the kids entertained for hours.
If painting is more their style, Pinot’s Palette offers adult and child painting sessions. For $25, the kids get a canvass and access to all the art supplies they need to make their own piece of art. There is a theme and specific date for each session making advance planning necessary for this creative activity.
But, if you need an idea for something spur of the moment, look no further than the Sunrise Soap Company. Located next to Central Market in downtown York, this happy shop is heaven for anyone who likes to make their own soaps. The owner is extremely welcoming and always willing to give the kids a lesson on the ingredients that go into making her clean soaps. The kids can see her cutting the pieces, using the ingredients, mixing, and creating- and they get to help in the process too!
Sometimes the kids just need to run around. No lesson, no educational component, no parental oversight… just plain old fashioned running around and screaming with their friends. If that is your case, Bogey Macaws is your place.
Bogey Macaws is part of the Heritage Hills Bogey Macaws American Grill restaurant. The parents can dine on delicious food while the kids play in the arcade section or jump around in ballocity. It really is a win-win situation. The best part is that it caters to a wide age group. Younger kids can play in the arcade while older siblings run around ballocity.
Catch A Show
Looking to get out of the house but not interested in all the yelling? How about catching a show!
There are several great theaters in York where young and older alike can take in a play and be awed.
The Pullo Center is known for having several free shows throughout the year. Many times these are cultural shows like African drum sessions or Tahitian dancers. Other times its a musical concert- you might even get lucky and get to see the Army Jazz band. The center does, of course, also have other shows for a fee.
If you head downtown, located next to Central Market, The Appell Center for the Performing Arts is an amazing and historical venue that plays host to a wide array of shows. Mariachi, the Shanghai Chinese Acrobats, internationally known musical artists, and local theater groups, all can be seen on the Appell Center stage.
Two local theaters, with local thespians, also bring the theater to life for York: Dreamwrights Center for the Community Arts and The Belmont Theatre. Shows appear on stage throughout the year and range from The Little Mermaid to Little House of Horrors to Jane Eyer. What makes these theaters so special is the fact that you can see local kids enjoying their first time on stage as well as parents and even your local plumber taking the stage for the 25th time.
Of course, you don’t just have to catch a show… you can have the kids be IN the show too!
Keep Your Body Moving & Stay Active
Not every kid considers a musical concert or a play a chance to escape the stir-crazy homebound winter. Some kids just want more activity and movement.
Roll r Way and the York City Ice Arena (located across from each other) are two great places to put on some skates and burn off energy. For a small fee, you get 2 to 4 hours of active movement and fun. Both places offer food, a place for the parents to sit if they don’t want to participate, and an indoor environment for those ugly winter days. Really, you just have to ask the kids if they want to roller skate or ice skate.
If the kids prefer to have their feet planted firmly on the ground, you can try Suburban Bowlerama for a round, or two, of bowling. Little ones can practice with the bumpers up, bigger kids can play in the arcade in between rounds, and the whole family can enjoy a new sport. Too tame? Not enough running and movement? Laser Alleys Family Fun Center offers bowling and laser tag! There’s nothing tame about laser tag.
What if the kids want to try something totally new, something they are not likely to have done before? Xtreme Archery is your best bet. It’s indoors, it’s active, and it’s just different enough to peek their interest on a stir-crazy kind of day! Yes, archery.
Learn About & Enjoy The Winter Stars
Sometimes, as parents, we really do want to tick off all the boxes in one stop. So, yes, sometimes we need the fun, movement-filled activity to combat both the stir-crazy winter problem and fulfill some kind of educational component. We want it all! We want something that will engage and keep the kids active and teach them something new.
For those days, it’s The York County Astronomical Society to the rescue.
Who? you ask.
Yes, there is an astronomical society and planetarium right here in York. And they have child and family-friendly activities. And they host free, star gazing nights throughout the year. And they even do radio astronomy and solar observations. So go ahead, look up their schedule of activities and take the kids out to enjoy something fun, something active, and something educational all at once.
Embrace The Snow At Avalanche Xpress
The ultimate winter activity to beat the winter blues and stir-crazy days is, of course, Avalanche Xpress. It is outside, but is there anything that beats snow tubbing on a cold winter day? For the kids, probably not. At least once in the winter season.
The rest of the cold months you now know where to go to escape winter boredom with your kids.
A Slightly Out Of Town Option
Ok with driving a bit out of town? Head 14 miles (20 minutes) east to Columbia, PA for the day. You can start at the National Watch and Clock Museum, where you can make your own clock, then head over to the Turkey Hill Experience to learn all about the science behind ice cream and how its made, at lunchtime you can enjoy a pizza or burger lunch practically on site, and then head over to Through the Fire Studios to make your very own glass souvenir!
If you would like to follow along on our family adventures, “like” us on our Facebook page: Border Free Adventures. You will enjoy tips and tricks for family travel, stories and pictures of our adventures, and fun information as we worldschool our daughter.