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Places to Have a Great Kids' Party in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

by Erica Loop

Once a small-sized ferry outpost, Harrisburg has grown into a capital city that is packed with entertainment and both cultural and outdoorsy attractions. If you are planning your child's birthday celebration, a pre-k graduation fete or any other type of festive bash, you'll find an array of imaginative choices in this eastern Pennsylvania mecca.

Museums

Whether your child is a pint-sized astronomer or a budding biologist, Harrisburg's many museums have an abundant array of birthday, and other party, options. The State Museum of Pennsylvania's Planetarium offers private group shows for parties of 10 or more kids. Take the kids for a trip to see an indoor show, under the night-time stars, that features age-graded programs for children in preschool and up. If you are looking for an excitingly interactive hands-on science bash, Harrisburg's Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts has birthday party packages for children of all ages. Enjoy the science-oriented exhibits that feature physics, life sciences, technology and nature during an entertaining private party.

Hershey

Who doesn't have fond childhood memories of eating a sweet Hershey's chocolate treat? Take your child and her friends on a private tour of Hershey's Chocolate World for her next birthday bash. Chocolate World offers packages for groups with 20 or more people -- this can include children and adults -- such as a create-your-own candy activity, chocolate tasting and a ride on the simulated factory tour. If adventurous attractions are more your child's speed, Hershey Park offers group discounts for parties of 20 or more. Ride the rides, visit the waterpark or enjoy a fully catered meal -- catered dining is only available to parties with 40 or more guests -- at this Harrisburg area amusement park.

Animal Adventures

Your little animal lover will enjoy a party that is packed with all things furry, fuzzy and feathered. The Harrisburg area's Zoo America offers birthday party packages that include zoo admission, a private room rental, a 20 to 30 minute educator-led animal program, paper products, decorations and a party host to take care of the set-up and clean-up. Add on a cake, food, drinks, gift bags and a visit from the zoo's Ranger Scratch for an extra cost. If you would rather plan your own nature-oriented event, take a group of your little one's friends on a trip to Harrisburg's Wildwood Park. Take a stroll through the natural woodlands, looking for cottontail, groundhogs, woodpeckers and whitetail deer. Stop in to see the nature center and visit animal-themed exhibits or check out the enclosed bird watching area.

Skating

Whether your child and his friends enjoy blades or wheels, throwing a skating-themed bash is an actively excellent way to keep the kids entertained. Harrisburg's Twin Ponds ice arena offers different levels of party packages that include private use of the ice, a public skating session or group learn-to-skate lessons. Some packages also include skate rental, food, drinks, a cake and arcade play tokens. The Olympic Skating Center has party packages that include admission for eight more guests to the indoor roller rink, skate rentals, ice cream, pizza and drinks.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

Photo Credits

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