Kid-Friendly Activities in the Cumberland Valley
A kid-friendly adventure in the Cumberland Valley promises excitement for everyone in the family. Plan your day of fun now. You and your kids deserve it. Explore one town or pick and choose your favorites as you take a journey across Cumberland Valley that will entertain the entire family.
Start off your day with pancakes at Fay’s Country Kitchen. The kids will love the pancakes and the adults will appreciate the generous portions and affordable prices. (NOTE: Fay’s is cash only.) After breakfast, walk over to Create-a-Palooza, an art and activity studio that offers paint-your-own-pottery. They have scheduled classes as well as open studio time for drop-in visits. Or, perhaps your child is a budding chef rather than an artist. Sign up for a kids’ cooking class at The Kitchen Shoppe, which is just a short 5-minute drive from downtown.
If your little ones need to burn off some energy, head to the Army Heritage Trail at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center. Explore full-scale exhibits such as an Army helicopter up close during a walk along this one-mile outdoor trail. The nearby Carlisle Sports Emporium offers a mix of indoor and outdoor activities including arcade games, laser tag, go-karts, mini-golf, batting cages, and more. Known as “The Place to Play,” it is the perfect destination for all ages.
At the end of the day, head back to downtown Carlisle and treat the kids to a quick visit at Georgie Lou’s, where they can find retro candy, flavored sodas, and fun pop-culture gifts. Then take a short drive to Desperate Times Brewery for dinner. This brewery welcomes kids with board games on hand and plenty of space for them to play while the grown ups can sip an adult beverage.
In the longer days of summer, dress the little ones in their pajamas after dinner and head to the Cumberland Drive-In Theater to experience some old-fashioned fun. Open Friday through Sunday evenings, a second feature is always included with the price of admission.
Sometimes you just have to break the rules. Skip the cereal for breakfast and instead stop by Duck Donuts and let the kids choose their own coating, topping, and drizzle for the perfect made-to-order donut. Be sure to get a picture of the family sitting on the oversized Adirondack chair in front of the restaurant.
A short five-minute drive takes you to SkyZone Indoor Trampoline Park, which offers year-round jumping options for all ages. Bounce, flip, and jump during scheduled programs or open gym. They have an exclusive play area for toddlers, providing big fun and a safe environment for the youngest jumpers. Sunday Family Fun Day offers special pricing for a family of four and includes an hour of jump time, a large cheese pizza, and four fountain drinks.
Jubilee Cake Studio is in the same shopping complex as SkyZone so head there before or after an invigorating jump session. Register for a scheduled workshop or visit the decorate-it-yourself cake studio as a walk-in during normal business hours. You can choose to decorate either a cake or cupcakes and you get full use of any of the available decorating tools.
At Paulus Farm Market, on the outskirts of downtown Mechanicsburg, the kids can feed friendly barnyard animals and let their imagination – and body – run wild in the Farm Park play area. In the meantime, parents can do a little shopping at the farm market.
Finally, you can end the day with dinner at Ever Grain Brewing Co. This casual restaurant offers craft beer and craft food and its laid-back vibe and open space make it ideal for younger children, who can choose a meal from the kids' menu.
West Shore (Camp Hill/Enola/Lemoyne)
You must begin your day with breakfast at Valley Bistro in Enola. With creative choices such as Salted Caramel Banana Cream Pancakes, Holy Cannoli French Toast, and Fruity Pebbles French Toast, the kids will eat everything on their plate. Adults with dietary restrictions will appreciate a nice selection of gluten-free options.
Burn off some of those calories at Adams-Ricci Community Park, which is a short 5-minute drive from Valley Bistro. With 82 acres, there’s plenty of room to explore the outdoors. Panther Station is an enormous children’s play structure ideal for kids 4 and younger. Kick around a soccer ball, visit the butterfly garden when it’s open, walk one of 5 trails, or have a picnic in one of the pavilions.
If you need an indoor activity, let loose at Autobahn Indoor Speedway in Lemoyne. The largest indoor go-karting facility in Pennsylvania has unique Italian pro-karts that can reach speeds up to 50 mph. Walk-in racing allows you to race without a reservation and kids as young as 8 years old (at least 48” tall) can experience the thrill of racing in specially-designed junior karts. For older children (13 years old) and adults, Autobahn also has public ax-throwing.
Or, younger kids can find year-round fun at Monkey Joe’s in Camp Hill, an indoor inflatable park with two designated play areas – one for ages 3 and under and one for up to 12 years old.
End your day of fun at the Coliseum Megaplex in Camp Hill. This 35,000-square-foot entertainment complex includes bowling, billiards, and arcade games. An on-site restaurant has a nice selection of food and 24 beers on tap for the adults to enjoy while the kids play.
If you are planning an overnight stay, many of our hotels have suites that provide spacious accommodations and indoor pools that provide relaxing fun when you don’t want to leave the hotel. Here are some suggestions:
If you are looking for a full weekend packed with activities, the region surrounding the Cumberland Valley offers even more family-friendly fun all less than 30 minutes away.
From the West Shore, head to City Island for a river cruise aboard the Pride of the Susquehanna, an authentic stern-driven paddle wheeler; ride the carousel; play mini-golf, or catch a minor-league baseball game. Traveling into the city, visit Whitaker Center for Science and Arts, where interactive exhibits and hands-on activities await curious little minds.
A short drive to Hershey means Hersheypark fun, a visit with friendly animals at Zoo America, exploration of caves at Indian Echo Caverns, and a trip down memory lane at the AACA Museum, filled with antique automobiles and hands-on activities for the little ones.