All these ideas will cost you very
little when compared to the typical vacations you hear about. I am from
Pittsburgh so these day trips are within 2 ½ hours from the city, but when you
start looking you will be amazed at how many interesting places there are not
far from your own home that you have not explored yet! In this article I will
give you 5 fun, interesting, and low cost ideas for spring day trips that offer
something for everyone in your family.
Altoona Railroaders Museum, the Altoona Horseshoe Curve, and the Boyer Candy
This trip has lots of history, things to see, plenty of action, and delicious
treats! Buy a combination ticket at the Altoona Railroaders Museum and tour both
the museum and the Curve. The museum has displays that are both adult and kid
friendly. There are lots of hands on displays inside the museum, and outside you
can explore railroad car relics!
Ready for action? After the museum take a very short drive to the Curve.
Warning! There are a lot of steps to walk up in order to get to the best viewing
spots. Once at the Horseshoe Curve’s park area you can see the trains coming
from very far away and they literally go right by you around the Curve. You and
your kids will love the excitement and awe of the scenery and giant trains
rolling by. Be sure to waive at all the friendly conductors! Various trains pass
by about every 10-15 minutes.
Finally, before heading home, be sure to stop by the Boyer Candy Company Outlet
store in downtown Altoona. Boyer makes the famous Mallo Cup candy, but you will
also find many other treats at the outlet store at very low prices. Be sure to
get some of their chocolate covered pretzels. They are very inexpensive and
Scenic Route 56, Johnstown Flood Museum, Johnstown Incline, and Westview Plaza
If you take this Johnstown trip, drive into Johnstown via Route 56. The mountain
views in the spring and fall are breathtaking. Be sure to stop at the scenic
overlooks for pictures.
At the Flood Museum it was the giant interactive model of Johnstown, which
recreates the path of the flood, that got my attention. The museum does a great
job of telling the fascinating story behind the flood in addition to displaying
many of the items that survived the flood.
Once you have visited the museum drive over to the Johnstown Incline. Everyone
loves taking the incline car up the mountain, and the view from the top is
amazing. Inside the visitor center you can watch the giant gears of the incline
working! Not only will you see the entire Johnstown area, but from this vantage
point the path of the flood makes much more sense; you can see how the mountains
channeled the water right into Johnstown.
Finally, be sure to take the family to a movie at Westview Plaza Theatre and
Cafe. What you may like about this particular movie theatre is that you can eat
a full meal at your seat. Seats have tables in front of them, and the theatre
offers a great menu with reasonable prices.
Pennsylvania Trolley Museum
Inside the visitor center of the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, located in
Washington, Pennsylvania, you will find lots of old photographs from a time when
trolleys were a primary mode of travel in Pittsburgh. Outside of the museum you
will find several trolleys that you can climb up into and explore. The highlight
of the trip is the trolley ride itself! Often times the conductors will allow
children to “assist” with some of the trolley levers and controls! Be sure to
look for coupons in the Pittsburgh area Entertainment Book that offer free
Lakemont Park and Altoona Curve baseball team
Lakemont Park is like a well hidden secret that once you stumble upon it you are
surprised more people are not taking advantage of this find. Lakemont Park is
located outside of Altoona and right next to the Blair County Ballpark, home of
the Altoona Curve, a Pittsburgh Pirates minor league baseball team.
Several things make Lakemont Park a great day trip. It reminded me of a smaller
Kennywood, yet the prices are a fraction of the cost of a Kennywood ticket.
First, they have rides for both adults and kids. The crowd is very small. There
is barely any waiting time; certainly not like you find at the larger parks.
There were plenty of places to play games and eat. They truly have everything
you would expect at an amusement park, but with a less hurried atmosphere.
After you enjoy the rides at Lakemont, take a walk over to the Altoona Curve
baseball field. Just like Lakemont Park does with rides, the Blair County
Ballpark offers the same enjoyment found at larger stadiums, but without the
cost or crowds. The tickets, food and drinks inside the ballpark cost about half
of what you would expect in the larger cities. In addition to the baseball game
itself the Altoona Curve does a good job of entertaining the crowd. It is a
great night of fun for both adults and kids.
Canton, Ohio – William McKinley Presidential Museum, First Ladies Museum, and
the Football Hall of Fame
Canton, Ohio hosts many fascinating museums, of which the Football Hall of Fame
may be the most famous. The Football Hall of Fame is loaded with relics,
pictures, movies, and stories from the most memorable athletes, and you can
relive many of football’s most exciting moments. Being a Pittsburgh Steelers
fan, it was fun to walk through the hall and find the busts of Steelers hall of
famers! A ticket into the Football Hall of Fame is $21.00 for an adult so be
sure to use your AAA membership card for a discount as well as the “buy one get
one free” coupons found in the Pittsburgh area Entertainment book! As a side
note, if you have the time, consider also visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of
Fame just one hour from Canton in Cleveland, Ohio. However, Canton also has a
few less known surprises hidden downtown.
Canton was the hometown of President William McKinley and his wife Ida. In
Canton you can visit their stunningly beautiful family home which is also part
of the tour of the First Ladies Museum. When touring their home you can visit
the same rooms the McKinleys lived and worked in, which still include many of
their original possessions.
Also be sure to visit the William McKinley presidential museum while in Canton.
The museum houses many artifacts from his life and presidency. Additionally, the
complex houses a kids’ science museum and an exhibition hall full of various
artifacts from the region. At the same location is the William McKinley memorial
where you can view the granite caskets of McKinley and his wife, Ida.