With limited opportunities for travel and social gatherings, keeping the kids occupied this year has proven to be a challenge. Explore these five hidden gems in Cumberland Valley that are sure to become some of your new favorite places for family fun.
Plan some creative family fun at this paint-your-own-pottery studio in downtown Carlisle. Located in a renovated 1889 historic building, the studio also features a large 15’ x 30’ tent in the back parking area for those who feel more comfortable with outdoor seating. Choose your favorite ceramic figurine, mug, plate, or ornament, and let your imagination run wild as you create new cherished family memories. Be sure to check their Facebook page to see the schedule for Family Movie Night. TIP: Gilded Door Oil & Vinegar Tap Room is located in the same building. Try new and unique flavors to spice up your recipes.
Status: Reserve your table during open studio time. If you purchase a to-go kit online, it will be ready for you at your table to allow for a contactless experience. Or, you can purchase items off the shelf.
They bake, you decorate. If you are looking for a fun, easy, and inexpensive option to keep the kids occupied, take them to Jubilee Cake Studio. Choose a cupcake or cake kit, grab your goodies (frosting, fondant, and sprinkles available in a rainbow of colors) and start creating your edible work of art. The two-layer white cakes with vanilla buttercream are approximately 5-inches round. The cupcake kit features four cupcakes. Guests are welcome to use any of the decorating tools available at the studio to help them craft a one-of-a-kind creation.
Status: Open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday for walk-in decoration. Workshops are planned to resume by mid-August.
Family game night at The Game Table Café provides hours of fun with access to an expansive library of board games. Rediscover childhood favorites or try something new. Combined with good food plus a nice selection of delicious hot and cold beverages, an evening at The Game Table Café is just the right mix of relaxation and fun.
Status: Currently accepting online reservations (or call 717-695-0836) for two, four, or six hours to help manage limited seating capacity. Walk-ins are welcome if space allows. Open daily.
If your active family has hiked and biked everywhere this summer, head to Susquehanna Outfitters for a water adventure. Rent a canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard for a quick on-your-own exploration of the Susquehanna River (Tuesday through Sunday); spend more time exploring on your own with a three-hour or six-hour trip that includes shuttle service (Friday/Saturday/Sunday only); or plan a guided float along the Susquehanna, Yellow Breeches Creek, or Conodoguinet Creek. The three-hour trip along the shallow, slow-moving water of the Susquehanna River is the perfect introduction for children. (The minimum age is 5 at normal water levels.) The gentle currents make it a tranquil trip with no experience needed. Take in the panoramic views as you navigate down the river and explore secluded islands. TIP: After your trip, enjoy al fresco dining on the deck at Duke’s Bar & Grille, Dockside Willie’s, or RockBass Grill – all within walking distance of Susquehanna Outfitters.
Status: Reservations strongly recommended. Canoes and kayaks can also be rented for off-site trips.
Perhaps you and the little ones want to explore farther away than your local playground. Head to Adventure Park on the grounds of Vibrant-A Christian Church. The handicapped-accessible playground (Adventure Zone Playground) allows children of all abilities to play side-by-side. The park also includes a paved one-mile fitness trail designed for everyone (including those with disabilities), a nine-hole disc golf course, sand volleyball courts, soccer fields, and a pavilion with picnic tables.
Status: The park is free and open to the public daily, rain or shine, from dawn to dusk. Public restrooms are located next to the playground.