Walk with the Animals
Wildlife can be seen all across the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors region, and this itinerary will help you explore some of the more popular places to see many of the beautiful wild creatures that roam here.
Start your day in Punxsutawney by visiting Punxsutawney Phil, the world’s most famous weather forecaster, and his wife, Phyllis, at their burrow in the Punxsutawney Public Library. Then make a short trip to Gobbler’s Knob to check out the iconic stage seen on the news around the country each February 2 where Phil makes his annual Groundhog Day prediction.
Then make your way north through Brookville to the town of Sigel to the Farmers Inn. Here you can enjoy a delicious homemade lunch and explore their wildlife and petting zoo teeming with a large array of exotic and domestic animal exhibits. Hand-feed goats and deer. Pet a rabbit. Come face to face with their black bear, Yogi, and see cougars, coatimundi, and many other animals.
Continue north on Route 949 for seven miles along the Clarion River to the Lewis Painter Memorial Trout Nursery, where you can feed brook, brown, rainbow, and palomino trout. The Heath Township Sportsmen’s Club operates the hatchery and raises trout for a kids’ fishing derby each May at Clear Creek State Park and to stock in local streams.
From there, head south on Route 949 to Belltown. In Belltown, make a right on the bridge spanning the Clarion River, then take a left on River Road for a scenic drive along the beautiful Clarion River to Cook Forest State Park. Make sure to keep your eyes open for eagles, osprey, river otters, and other wildlife that call the river home. In Cook Forest, take the family to the Double Diamond Deer Ranch. From June through August, visitors can bottle-feed whitetail deer fawns twice daily and hand-feed the adult deer in the evenings. Check their Facebook page for scheduled feeding times. Make sure to visit the Buck Barn, a wildlife museum with more than 100 taxidermy displays, including world-famous whitetails and RDM Goliath with the world’s highest-scoring set of antlers.
Start your day in Elk Country at the Winslow Hill Viewing Area in Benezette, known as the Elk Capital of Pennsylvania. You will want to get there early as elk are most active at dawn and dusk.
Make sure to stop by the beautiful Elk Country Visitor Center while in Benezette. This beautiful education and conservation center has interactive exhibits and displays, presentations, wild elk viewing blinds, specially planted grazing pastures to attract wildlife, a 4D theater, a gift shop, and horse-drawn wagon rides. Explore more of Elk Country with the Elk Viewing Guide.
By now you will have most likely worked up an appetite. The Benezette Hotel is famous for their BBQ, elk burger, and the signature Bugle Burger.
From Benezette, take Route 255 through the scenic Bennett’s Valley to Driftwood on your way the Wildlife Center at Sinnemahoning State Park. This stunning, state-of-the-art destination has interpretive exhibits as well as canoe, kayak, and mountain bike loaner programs, plus opportunities to view eagles, elk, and other wildlife.
After an afternoon afield, make your way to Emporium and head to Pizza Palace Plus, voted “Best Pizza in America” twice.