Written by Beth Exley

Once upon a time, long ago, a sweet melody filtered through my radio speakers, “Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down.” This may be true for adults, but if you have children under the age of 15, every day can be a high energy day. You find yourself in the PA Great Outdoors and it is pouring? All your plans for the day are rained out. “What do I do with these kids?” Dad blurts out. Here are a few ideas:

Elk Country Visitor Center, Benezette, PA. The Visitor Center is a state-of-the-art facility with interactive stations to learn more about not only the elk, but about other wildlife as well. The Center also has a brand new 4D experience on the elk for you. The entryway and exit way are completely redone. The entryway also has a new “preview” movie to entertain you while you wait. The 4D movie is a wrap around screen that makes it feel like you are “in the herd” and smells and motion that make the experience complete.

Weather Discovery Center, Punxsutawney, PA. The Weather Discovery Center is housed in the old post office in Punxsutawney. This is a statuesque building that anyone with architectural interest will enjoy. For the kids? So much to do. With Punxsutawney being the Weather Capital, the Weather Discovery Center adds to the kids’ knowledge about how weather is predicted, what do to in an emergency, science and folklore, and how to make a thunderstorm.

BWP Bats, Brookville, PA. Have a few baseball fans in the family? BWP Bats should be a stop on your travels. BWP bats are unique wooden baseball bats. Take a free factory tour and see how these amazing bats are made. The bats they custom build are for those in t-ball to the pros.

Kalyumet Escape Room, north of Cook Forest, PA. With the popularity of the Escape Room in our region, Kalyumet has brought us a Virtual Reality Escape Room. It is the first VR Escape Room in Pennsylvania. They have cutting edge VR gear where you find clues, solve puzzles, and unlock the secrets. Other indoor activities at this location include an arcade, pizza, and ice cream.

Double Diamond Deer Ranch, Cook Forest, PA. Pet and feed over 20 whitetail deer in the summer months. Even though the deer are outdoors, the walkway to feed and view the deer is a covered pathway. In addition to the live deer, go in to the wildlife museum known as the Buck Barn. It features “everything from a mouse to a moose.”

Swift Safariland, Fairmount City, PA. Visitors can now see 100 different exotic animal mounts from around the world at Swift Safariland, located inside the new Long Shot Ammo & Arms. Animal mounts include a life-size grizzly bear, elephant, hippo, lion, cape buffalo, crocodile, and many more. Walls are painted to view the habitat where the animals are normally found.

Wildlife Center, Sinnemahoning, PA. The center is full of educational state-of-the-art interpretive exhibits. There are opportunities to view eagles, elk and other wildlife as well as learn about green building design.

Mysterious Maze, Cook Forest, PA. Venture into the Mysterious Maze. Every move could get you lost. This is a challenging indoor, 2-story maze with eerie music and lighted illusions. The Maze is located on the edge of Cook Forest.

ANF Ranger Station, Marienville, PA. Stop in at the Ranger Station and view informative displays on the plants and animals that live in the Allegheny National Forest. Marienville is one of the gateway locations to the Allegheny National Forest, which spans over 500,000 acres.

Parker’s Indian Trading Post, Cook Forest, PA. Take a stop at Parker’s to pan for gems. Choose from the salted bag or bucket and enjoy identifying gems found from around the world. At Parker’s, you can pan for gems, such as aventurine, quartz, peridot, ruby, raspberry quartz, topaz, rose quartz, crystal points, sapphire, obsidian, smoky quarts, moon stone, amethyst, emerald, fluorite, ammonite, calcite, citrine, pyrite, and garnet; fossils such as amber, trilobites, petrified wood, sea clams, ammonite, sharks teeth, horn coral, gastropods, sea urchins, and more, including arrowheads.

If you are looking for more information on the above places or want to look for other events in our area, go to

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