Your groups can experience Lancaster County like never before with a new series of Experiential Tours that encourage visitors to roll up their sleeves and be a part of the action! Get immersed and experience the essence of life in PA Dutch Country. The tours target active travelers that want something out of the ordinary, an experience with "bragging rights" that sets a visit to Lancaster apart from other destinations. A farmer's apprentice, an expert in chocolate - you get the idea!
Scroll down the list below to check out your options, and click on the individual companies to learn more details.
Across the Fence:
Farmland Fun at Verdant View - Stroll through the beautiful countryside and chat with Amish neighbors "across the fence." Experience everyday conversation with the locals for a thought provoking Q&A session. Available year round.
A Taste of Amish Country:
Amish Farm & House – Come enjoy an evening in the Amish countryside. We’ll leave from our house property in our minibus and your highly trained driver-guide will take you on the backroads through Lancaster County’s heartland. You’ll get a flavor of the real Lancaster County as you learn the area’s history, culture, and local stories. Keep your camera ready as you see Amish schoolhouses, buggies, barns, farms, historic homes, and beautiful farmland vistas. Along your trip, you driver-guide will stop at some Amish businesses. There you’ll have the opportunity to purchase Amish made goods, interact with the Amish directly, and enjoy the fresh air of the countryside. Finally, you’ll stop for the best part-dinner. Included in your ticket price is a meal at a locally-owned restaurant with an exclusively Amish staff. Classic, homemade Pennsylvania Dutch options can be customized to your liking. Enjoy a Whoopie pie on the bus as you return to the farm around 7pm.
Premium Package Tour:
Amish Village - Best value, all three tours in one package. First, tour our authentic Amish farmhouse and hear the stories of Amish history, lifestyles today, and religious traditions. Next, explore our Amish Village! Lastly, travel off the beaten path, past working Amish farms and along country roads. Each bus tour includes at least one stop at a local Amish business. Bus Tours depart at 10, 10:30, 11, 12, 12:30, 1, 2, 2:30, 3, 4, 4:30 and 5.
Amish Experience Theatre Behind the Scenes:
The Amish Experience - Student groups in particular will enjoy this explanation & demonstration of effects used in the Amish Experience's popular show, "Jacob's Choice." Learn the secret behind the unique Pepper's Ghost effect, originated in the 1800's, and learn how to recreate it at home! Discover more, too, like how the amazing cannon machine works!
Amish Foods & Celebrations:
Bird-in-Hand Family Restaurant & Smorgasbord - Enjoy a meal with our Amish friend, Sarah. Hear stories, taste the foods and make the crafts that are a part of our Amish Wedding and Christmas gathering traditions. Available year round.
Amish VIP (Visit in Person) Tour:
The Amish Experience - A unique opportunity for your group to personally interact with our Amish neighbors! Be welcomed into an Amish home to hear from your host what it's like to be Amish, visit an Amish working Farm for a tour with the farmer himself, and discuss daily life with an Amish schoolteacher. Welcome to authentic Lancaster County!
Amish Wedding Celebration:
The Amish Experience - Participate in the Amish Experience's original Amish Wedding Tour, designed to give you insights into the fascinating wedding traditions of the Amish! Be a part of the Amish Wedding Vows reenactment, then enjoy a specially-prepared all-you-can-eat family-style dinner at Plain & Fancy Farm.
A World of Choices:
Bird-in-Hand Family Restaurant - The Smucker family brings Choices to life through the personal story of one of their Amish-Mennonite neighbors, who tells about a family tragedy and the ultimate impact of their choice to forgive. Not just a family style meal but a lesson in non-violent conflict resolution. They'll never look at silly putty in the same way again! Did your choice make the conflict bigger or smaller?
Experience Lancaster by Hoof:
Buggy Rides - Buggy rides throughout Lancaster County.
Chalk Talk with Elva Hurst:
Plain & Fancy Farm Restaurant - Engage your senses through music, storytelling, and the amazing chalk artistry of a former Old Order Mennonite woman who offers insights into Amish culture with a story that comes to life, and lights up before your eyes! Groups of 25+ (not more than 110), approx. 45-50 mins. in length. (Must be booked with a group meal at Plain & Fancy).
Chef's Cooking Demo:
Plain & Fancy Farm Restaurant - This fun and fast-paced demonstration by a Plain & Fancy Farm chef will allow guests to experience (some firsthand!) the preparation of our famous shoofly pie and homemade chicken pot pie noodles.Groups of 20+ (not more than 110), approx. 40 min. in length. $5 per person (must be booked with a group meal at Plain & Fancy).
Clip Clop & Shop:
Kitchen Kettle Village - A Lancaster County sensory experience. Take a horse-drawn ride through picturesque Amish farmland, shop the Village for hundreds of locally-made foods and gifts, and finish with a home-cooked meal in our restaurant. You'll complete your experience by making your own delicious, regional dessert! Available May through October.
Come Quilt With Me:
Mennonite Information Center - Hear about the history and origins of quilting in Amish and Mennonite communities as you put your own stitches in a keepsake patch. Each person can choose their own fabric, trace a pattern and practice the art of hand quilting. Then add your group's stitches to a quilted wall hanging to be sold at the PA Mennonite Central Committee Relief sale held each spring. Your quilting will be part of a demonstration of love and giving to all humankind. Available all year.
Kitchen Kettle Village - It's a battle of flavors – Sweet clashing with sour, Salty fighting Sweet, Sweet vs. Savory – as you eat your way through our Village, experiencing locally-made regional treats of opposing flavors. You are always the winner in this battle! Available March through December 15.
Fractur: The Craft of the Pennsylvania Dutch:
Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum - Roll up your sleeves to learn one of the most unique and elaborate crafts of the Pennsylvania Deutsch (Dutch), Fraktur. Learn the history of this craft, and try your hand at creating this beautiful art form. Make your own sampler of Fraktur to take home with you. Your Visitor Experience includes: *Tour specific building where children would have learned Fraktur *See examples of this art form and create your own message in Fraktur. Available year-round.
Fresh from the Garden:
Inn at Leola Village - Select your herbs and get ready to cook! Enjoy a cooking class in the region's state-of-the-art Tuscan style kitchen for a culinary class with our Executive Chef! Available year round.
Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn - Everyone receives a gingerbread man, unlimited icing, and unusual decorating items. Decorate like you were 10-years-old, but remember each will be judged by our head chef for the most creative. The winner will receive a prize and everyone gets to take home their gingerbread. Available March through December.
Heirloom Gardens of Landis Generations:
Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum - Take a stroll through our 1700s and 1800s herb, vegetable, and flower gardens, interlaced with tales of early garden folklore. Learn about our nationally recognized Heirloom Seed Project, including a tour and packaging demonstration. Learn how heirloom vegetables are making a big comeback in culinary and gardening circles. Take a backstage tour into our Seed Building and watch how they package seeds. Your Visitor Experience includes: *Tour the gardens and greenhouses *Learn the history and folklore about gardens and why they were so important to the lifestyle and health of early communities. *Learn about the vegetables, how they are grown, and the food process from beginning to end. *Identify and pick mint (for our tea) out of the garden and prepare your own meadow tea. * Watch a demonstration about another farm tradition, the essential "tussie mussie" and receive definition and instructions on how to make your own! April-October.
Herr's Snack Factory Tour:
Herr's Snack Factory - See Herr's potato chips, pretzels, tortilla chips, cheese curls and popcorn being made right before your eyes on this free tour. Sample our tasty potato chips, fresh and warm from the cookers. Late afternoon or evening tours are available to groups. These tours must be scheduled in advance. Reservations required for all large groups. Available year round.
Hershey Farm Cooking Class:
Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn - Let one of Hershey Farm's trained cooks guide your group step by step to create two of Hershey Farm's signature bakery items, Shoo-fly pie and whoopie pies. Volunteers will receive hands-on experience and everyone will receive complimentary whoopie pies to cap off the demonstration. Available March through December.
Interactive Cooking Tour: Sticky Buns in the Tavern Culinary and Food Craft:
Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum - You will experience the traditional way of baking over an open hearth in our historic tavern. This includes instruction and hands-on baking of our famous sticky buns. Assist the tavern keeper in the making of the buns, roll the dough, and sample the goods! Experience another Pennsylvania German craft in our Visitor Center. Your Visitor Experience includes: *Your will learn how to make our famous sticky buns, and sample them, of course! *Learn the history of taverns and the role they played in transportation, socialization, and stagecoaches. *Learn preservation and storage of food for the winter. *Watch a demonstration of another Penn Dutch Craft. Available year-round.
America’s First Commercial Pretzel Bakery Tour:
Julius Sturgis – The Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery provides a unique, hands-on tour experience for school, church, family and organized tour groups. We offer tours of the original bakery, during which each visitor is given their own piece of dough and taught how to twist a pretzel. Visitors will also see the original ovens built by Julius Sturgis and learn the history of pretzel baking in America.
Lancaster County Farm Tour - This 90-minute dairy farm tour offers a high-tech view of farming including a drive down the middle of our loafing barn, otherwise known as the cow palace and a bird's eye view of the milking merry-go-round. Filled with facts and humor, we please groups of all ages. In fact, our farm tour program will host thousands of visitors this year alone.
Noon Mechanic Shop Tour:
Strasburg Railroad - Get a behind-the-scenes guided tour of the railroad's mechanical shop, where trains are built and refurbished. Due to safety regulations, children under age 5 are not permitted on the tour. Ticket availability is limited for the tour, and we strongly recommend you purchase tickets in advance, as the tour often sells out for the day. Available year round.
Shoo-Fly Pie Workshop:
Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn - Start with a 9 inch pie shell, fill it with the ingredients to make Hershey Farm's delicious shoo-fly pie. While you enjoy shopping in our large gift shop and have a delicious PA Dutch lunch or dinner, our bakery staff will bake and package the pies for you to take home. Available March through December.
Ride along America's Oldest Short-Line Railroad:
Strasburg Rail Road – Quite possibly the best way to experience Lancaster County. Traveling aboard authentic passenger cars, pulled by a massive, coal-burning steam locomotive, there’s beauty as far as the eyes can see. Rolling hills. Working farms. A landscape that has changed little over time. Your journey starts with a 45-minute train ride on America’s oldest short-line railroad – circa 1832. Travel when you want, how you want. From Coach to First-Class, Open Air to the Dining Car – it’s one ride that is sure to please.
The Old & the MOO Tour:
The Amish Experience - Visit two dairies to discover how milk reaches your table from an Amish vs non-Amish farmland explore a working farm aboard the Farmland Fun Wagon Tour OR learn fun farm facts first-hand at Kreider's Dairy Farm as you drive right through the dairy barn!
Create Your Own Ice Cream:
Turkey Hill Experience – Are you ready to experience Turkey Hill’s delicious new attraction? Come learn how ice cream is made, sit in a milk truck, milk our mechanical cows, and learn about the people and culture of Turkey Hill Dairy. Create your own virtual ice cream flavor, ice cream package and commercial. Our newest attraction, the Turkey Hill Taste Lab, allows you to bring your virtual ice cream creation to life as you make your own pint of ice cream! Of course, there are plenty of free samples of our ice cream and iced tea products, too!
Whoopie Pie Checkers:
Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn - Play checkers Lancaster County style. The checkers are made of our mini chocolate or red velvet whoopie pies. When a checker is jumped, you eat the jumped checker. To king a checker, another whoopie pie shell is added! Afterwards, each person in the group gets a whoopie pie. Available March through December.
Wolf Sanctuary Full Moon Tour:
Wolf Sanctuary of PA – In the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, quietly secured on 22 acres of natural woodland, you will find the home of the Speedwell Wolves. The Sanctuary currently provides food, shelter and veterinary care for over forty Wolves with no government or corporate assistance. Only, by your continued support and interest do the Wolves thrive. Our Full Moon tours are a bit different. You must be 16 (with proof of age) or older to attend this tour. What is a Full Moon tour? Well, it’s a tour we do once a month on the closet Saturday to the full moon. We say create your own experience. Instead of following a tour guide from pack to pack at a regulated pace that fits within a 45-6o minute timeline, you get to go at your own pace from pack to pack talking to a tour guide who is stationed at each pack. You can listen to what they have to say about the wolves when stopping at a station or you can ask questions. You move at your own pace. If you get tired and want to sit, you can go over and sit next to a roaring bonfire (weather permitting) and just relax. When was the last time you did that? Bring a blanket, a flashlight, a chair, maybe some hot dogs and marshmallows. We hope you will come. Sometimes we just sit around and talk, other times we have entertainment. We always have fun, and it’s always about the wolves.
Yesterday and Today: The Evolution of Farming in Lancaster County:
Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum - Step back in time and explore the everyday early farming of the Pennsylvania Dutch. You will visit the state-of -the-art Landis Valley Farm Machinery and Tool Exhibit. Get an insider's look at the technology of agriculture, and how it has evolved since the simple shovel! You'll work shoulder-to-shoulder with one of our farmers to learn about our historic breeds of animals here at Landis Valley. You'll receive hands-on experience by hitching up a couple of Clydesdales for a day in the fields. Your Visitor Experience includes: *Tour the farm and learn about the daily life of a farmer *Learn the role of animals on a farm and meet the array of animals at Landis Valley, including Percherons, Belgian Draft and Clydesdale horses, Tunis sheep, Dornick pigs, Lineback cattle, oxen, geese, and chickens. Available year round.
Zip Line Canopy Tours at Refreshing Mountain:
Refreshing Family Fun & Adventure – Refreshing Mountain is a year-round retreat and adventure center providing family friendly fun and refreshment for over 30 years in Lancaster County, PA. We provide facilities and services for large group retreats and rent cabins for overnight getaways. We also provide a variety of outdoor adventures, day field trips and corporate team building events with activities including zipline canopy tours, high ropes course, climbing tower, problem solving challenges and much more. Our center is built on 80 acres of beautiful Pennsylvania woodland and is conveniently located just 25 minutes north of Lancaster, 30 minutes of Hershey and 90 minutes west of Philadelphia. Come and be refreshed!