Savannah Marie searches for the best restaurants, wildlife and attractions that Harrisburg has to offer.
School is out, and summer is here! With longer days and fewer responsibilities, many families take advantage of the family-friendly events their local cities and towns have to offer.
For Central PA parents looking to make the most of the summer, here are opportunities and attractions you don't want to miss:
Many of today's parents will remember the Chuck E. Cheese parties of their youth with fond nostalgia. Well, move over Chuck. There's a new name in indoor fun, and that's Monkey Joe's. Located on Hartzdale Drive in Camp Hill, this local outpost of the popular chain is great for parties as well as spontaneous drop-ins. The indoor inflatables, slides and other high-energy fun are sure to make Monkey Joe's your kids' new favorite getaway.
Kids always have energy to spare, but summer weather doesn't always cooperate with their need to jump, tumble and play. If high temperatures or rainy days have your little ones climbing the walls, try taking them to Tumble Town or Get Air Harrisburg, where such antics are encouraged!
Located in the York Galleria and Colonial Park malls, Tumble Town promises a safe environment for kids 12 and under to run, jump and play. Between rock walls, ball pits, slides, gymnastic equipment and tumbling areas, there is no shortage of high-octane fun for your family.
Do you have a few ninjas-in-training? Take your kids to Get Air Harrisburg where they can challenge themselves on a ninja course of padded, maze-like walls and trampolines. Foam pits, trampolines and other activities provide tons of fun and exercise.
If you're looking for structured camps that provide a variety of crafts, games and other activities, look no further than local Vacation Bible Schools. Churches on the East and West Shores offer these fun, themed camps throughout the summer.
If your child loves singing, creating and performing, consider signing them up for All About Kids Productions. This performing arts camp is hosted for a week every June (dates will vary) by Country and Town Baptist Church. A week of learning, rehearsing and playing culminates in the Friday Night Show. Spots are limited for this camp, so keep your eyes peeled for the 2016 dates.
For outdoor adventures, City Island offers a one-stop-shop for games and entertainment. Explore the river on the Pride of the Susquehanna Riverboat or take a ride around the island on the miniature steam train. Play in the arcade or on the playground. Try your hand at the batting cages or miniature golf course. Take the family out to the ballgame and give a cheer for the Harrisburg Senators. Pack a picnic, or cross the footbridge into Harrisburg and try one of the many local restaurants.
Summer is the perfect time to explore the great outdoors, and what better venue than Wildwood Park? Explore independently by hiking the many trails, or head to the Nature Center for a more in-depth look at local flora and fauna. Kids will enjoy the chance to explore the inside of a tree or watch local birds from the Center's bird blind.
The fun of a boat ride or the shade of a wooded trail can make it easy to forget summer safety measures. Before you head out, brush up on safety tips to ensure that nothing detracts from your adventures.
School may be out, but that doesn't mean there aren't a host of fun, educational opportunities for kids.
Public libraries are a great source for a variety of both fun and educational activities. The Mountville Library sponsors many summer events including the Dog Wagging Read Aloud. This program allows kids to sign up for 15 minute time slots where they can practice their reading skills on a lovable furry friend.
The Point at Carlisle Plaza is hosting a Create-A-Palooza from July 8 to July 10. The event combines the fun of creativity with the study of building. Lego and Minecraft themes combine with mediums from soap to ceramics for three days of learning and fun.
KidsPlace at the Whitaker Center provides not-to-be-missed fun year round. Kids can play, explore, learn and interact through a variety of displays and activities. Kids can shop at the Midtown Market, perform on Storybook Stage, try their hands at construction work, run an ambulance, learn and play at the WaterWorks or create at Imagination Station.
No matter what your preference -- indoor, outdoor, education or pure fun -- there are enough events, activities and exhibits to fill your family's summer full to the point of bursting. Still in need of more activities? Bookmark the websites of your nearest church, library and museum. These kid-friendly public spaces are always coming up with new events that are fun for the whole family.