19 Best Things to Do with Kids in Scranton, PA

Things to Do with Kids in Scranton, PA

Welcome! Ah, Scranton, the Electric City.

This isn't just the "office city" made famous by the hit TV show but also the city I call home.

It's the perfect place to raise a family, full of history, charm, and a certain quaintness that's hard to come by these days.

With the blend of nature, history, and plenty of kid-friendly attractions, there's never a dull moment.

Exploring Scranton through the eyes of a child, full of excitement and wonder, is one of my greatest joys.

Whether you're visiting or residing here, let me guide you through the best things to do with Kids in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

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We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the following individuals for their invaluable contributions to this article: Mollie Durham, Jordan Bennett, Elena Boyd, Diego Henderson, Lily Anderson, Roberto Reed and Brooke Meadows.

Discover the City's Rich Heritage at the Lackawanna Historical Society

Exterior of the Lackawanna Historical Society
Smallbones, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

One of my favorite haunts in Scranton, both literally and metaphorically, is the Lackawanna Historical Society.

Their website has all the information you need to plan your visit.

Trust me, it is an absolute treasure trove of our history and a must-visit place for anyone who has a keen interest in Scranton's past.

My personal favorite has to be the 'Scranton After Dark Haunted Walking Tour.'

Sarah does an amazing job walking us through the downtown, enchanting us with fascinating stories, and bringing a unique historical perspective to the tour.

It's an experience that sends shivers down my spine every time but in a good way!

The staff at Lackawanna Historical Society is another reason why I keep coming back.

They are exceptionally knowledgeable and have a deep understanding of everything that's happened in Lackawanna County since its inception.

You can feel their love and respect for our community, especially our Executive Director, Mary Ann Moran Savakinus.

The museum and house tour is also a fantastic addition.

And if you have any interest in genealogy, the Society is a great resource.

They've helped me trace my family's lineage and know more about my ancestors.

They even organize church tours and architectural walking tours, which are quite interesting.

Reflect at St Peter's Cathedral

Exterior of St Peter's Cathedral
Christopher Seliga, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Every Sunday morning, my footsteps lead me to a place of serene tranquility, a place where spirituality and architectural grandeur seamlessly blend.

That place is none other than St Peter's Cathedral.

From the grand exterior that captures your attention instantaneously to the intricate details of the interior, this cathedral never ceases to amaze me.

As you step inside, you're immediately embraced by an aura of peace.

The exquisite detailing of the cathedral, from its high vaulted ceilings to the ornate decorations, leaves you in awe.

Each element is so meticulously maintained that it shines with a pristine glow, a testament to the dedication of those who care for this incredible building.

Interior of St Peter's Cathedral
Bestbudbrian, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Participating in a mass at St Peter's Cathedral is an experience that transcends the ordinary.

The Bishop, an exceptional individual, conducts the service with such grace and warmth that you can't help but feel spiritually uplifted.

And it's not just about Sunday Mass.

I often find myself dropping by midweek to sit in silence and let the divinity of the place wash over me.

No matter how chaotic life gets, those quiet moments inside the cathedral always bring me peace.

Walk through Time at Catlin House Museum

I've always been fascinated by history and heritage, and living in Lackawanna County, I've found an incredible source of information right in my backyard - the Catlin House Museum.

It's not just an old building but a treasure trove of history nestled in the former residence of financier George H. Catlin.

As you step into this imposing structure, you're immediately transported back in time.

The Archbald family history is beautifully displayed in the tastefully decorated rooms, giving visitors a peek into their lifestyle and contributions to the county.

But the Catlin House Museum is more than just the Archbald family story.

It's also a testament to the rich history of Lackawanna County.

Every inch of the house is filled with fascinating artifacts and insightful stories, with the staff and volunteers going out of their way to provide detailed information.

And if, like me, you're interested in digging deeper into your own family history or the history of Lackawanna County, the research library is a goldmine.

It's amazing how much you can discover with the help of knowledgeable volunteers and well-organized resources.

Look back to Transportation History Exploring Steamtown National Historic Site

Steam locomotive at Steamtown National Historic Site
Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com

Ever since I moved to Pennsylvania, I've found myself drawn to the charm and unique history of Steamtown National Historic Site.

It's always been a thrilling experience, stepping into the world of yesteryears, surrounded by the mighty steam locomotives and the rich rail history they represent.

Over the years, I've spent countless weekends exploring the former railroad yard, each visit bringing a new learning experience.

Every exhibit, every old engine tells a story.

The working roundhouse and turntable are especially fascinating, serving as a real testament to the ingenuity of the past.

I often find myself losing track of time, strolling through the extensive displays, and getting lost in the stories they hold.

One of the things I enjoy most about Steamtown is its ability to cater to both young and old.

The Junior Ranger Program is an excellent initiative that not only keeps the kids engaged but also educates them about American rail history in a fun and interactive way.

But it's not just for kids. Even as an adult, I find the program captivating and always learn something new.

Railcar at Steamtown National Historic Site
Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock.com

There's also the passport cancelation stamp available at Steamtown National Historic Site's visitor center.

As a collector, I find joy in collecting not one but two stamps from the same place.

It's a little souvenir to remind me of my visits and the memories I've made.

Now, a visit to Steamtown would not be complete without the short ride on the Steam locomotive.

Yes, it doesn't really go anywhere, but the feel of the steam engine chugging along the tracks is an experience in itself.

It's one of those things that you just have to try when you're here.

Locomotive at Steamtown National Historic Site
Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock.com

Take Snaps at Saint Ann's Monastery

In the heart of the city, where clamor is a constant, Saint Ann's Monastery stands firm as a sanctuary of peace and divine aura.

The architecture is a work of art, with intricate detailing inside, leaving you in awe.

The view from here is a sight for sore eyes, and the outside is every photographer's dream.

The monastery is well-maintained.

The authorities are always there to lend a helping hand, ensuring the premises is clean and inviting.

It's hard to ignore the air of tranquility that permeates the monastery grounds - a haven for anyone seeking peace.

Walking around, what strikes you is the well-kept, beautiful grounds.

They're not just visually appealing but also offer ample space for introspection.

The area dedicated to Padre Pio, the Stations of the Cross, and St. Ann’s Grotto is particularly touching.

Lighting a candle and saying a prayer here feels truly special.

Saint Ann's Monastery is more than just a religious place.

It is a testament to faith, with countless miracles and blessings attributed to the intercession of Saint Anne.

Every Monday, and especially during the 9-Day Novena in July, the divine presence is palpable.

You can't help but feel a connection to something larger than life.

Living near this sacred place, I can't help but be drawn to its peaceful vibe.

I've seen parishioners and pilgrims alike leaving with a serene expression and a sense of solace.

It is a place of quiet retreat, where one can retreat from the world and find a deep sense of calm and spirituality.

Take a Dip at McDade Park

An egret at McDade Park
Jason Healey Photography / Shutterstock.com

The first time I visited McDade Park it was a spur-of-the-moment decision, and let me tell you, it was an adventure to remember.

With its vast expanse and beautiful arboretum, the park was a welcoming sight that immediately set the tone for the day.

As I unloaded my car at the top of the hill, I couldn't help but marvel at the Olympic pool gleaming under the sun.

I must admit, however, that the steep 200-yard climb up the incline can be quite the challenge, especially with all your gear.

The pool wasn't just impressive in size but also in-depth, being 8ft at its deepest end.

And for the little ones, the shallow area, with its gentle incline, was a delight.

However, the best part had to be the refreshing splash pad which was a hit with all ages.

Welcome sign of McDade Park
Billy Hathorn at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There weren't many picnic tables with umbrellas, so I'd recommend bringing your own shade if you're planning a picnic.

The changing area was limited to bathroom stalls, but the vigilant lifeguards more than made up for it.

But McDade Park isn't just about the pool and the outdoors, it's also steeped in history. I took the coal mine tour, and it was an absolute treat.

Despite the heat outside, I'd suggest carrying a medium jacket for a comfortable trip down the mine.

It's a humbling and enlightening experience that gives you a glimpse into the lives of the miners.

The view from McDade Park
Billy Hathorn at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Discover Railroad History at Electric City Trolley Museum

A vintage trolley at Electric City Trolley Museum
Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock.com

I must say, the Electric City Trolley Museum is one of those hidden gems in Scranton that never fails to impress.

Whether you're a history buff, a transportation enthusiast, or simply looking for a fun day with your family, this place has something for everyone.

My kids absolutely adore the interactive exhibits.

The museum boasts an impressive collection of vintage trolleys, each with its own unique story.

But what really caught their attention was the children's area where they could place wooden buildings on a giant table, creating their own imaginary towns representing the Scranton/Wilkes-barre region.

However, it's not just for the kids. The trolley ride is something else entirely.

The rush of excitement as the trolley gains power is palpable.

We once managed to secure seats by the "end" windows, offering an exciting view of the tracks ahead.

Interior of a trolley at Electric City Trolley Museum
Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com

The trolley can even reach a decent speed, which is quite a thrill for a tourist operation.

You'll find the Electric City Trolley Museum nestled right next to the Steamtown Museum.

Run by the city of Scranton, it offers a beautiful explanation of the history of trolleys.

And although there's an entry fee, unlike the adjacent Steamtown, I assure you, it's worth every penny.

No two visits to the Electric City Trolley Museum are the same, and that's the beauty of it.

Each trip is a new experience, an opportunity to learn something new about our history.

Exterior of the Electric City Trolley Museum
Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock.com

Have a Family Day Out at Tripp Park

There's no better way to spend a sunny afternoon than by heading over to Tripp Park.

This charming local spot is a cornucopia of activities, perfect for both kids and adults alike.

Upon entering, what strikes me the most is the vast, open fields that stretch beyond sight.

It's a fantastic place to let off some steam, play a game of catch, or simply lie down and gaze at the clouds.

The kids absolutely adore the play area, which is equipped with slides, swings, and a jungle gym.

Every time we go, it's a challenge to pry them away from the fun they're having.

Just across the park, there's a full-on basketball court where I've spent countless hours perfecting my three-pointers.

The neighborhood games are always a blast, fostering a sense of community that I've come to treasure.

Tripp Park also offers a track and a baseball field across the street for those who are more athletically inclined.

Although the parking can be a little tight, the facilities more than makeup for it.

Just remember to bring your canopy, as the park offers little to no shade.

One thing I wish they'd improve is the cleanliness.

It's disheartening to see litter scattered around, especially given that children frequent the area.

The mulch also tends to wear down fairly quickly, which can make the playground a bit messy.

On a brighter note, the community center is a hidden gem.

I've rented it out for several parties, and it's always been a wonderful experience.

The prices are fair, and the space is comfortable and accommodating.

Discover History Underground at Lackawanna Coal Mine

Entrance to Lackawanna Coal Mine
Mrosen99, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Every time I have guests in the city, I make it a point to take them to the Lackawanna Coal Mine.

It's one of those experiences that you just can't get anywhere else.

The feeling of stepping into the mine car and slowly descending, with the daylight fading and the chill of the earth enveloping you, is something you won't forget.

Once you hit the 300 ft. mark, you're surrounded by a world that existed long before us.

The old tunnels speak stories of miners who once labored here, and the guides do an excellent job of bringing those stories to life.

It's like being transported back in time.

My favorite part is when we're deep in the shafts, and they turn off all the lights.

The darkness is so thick it feels tangible.

The silence, broken only by the distant drip of water, gives you a real sense of what it was like to work in these conditions.

It's a humbling moment that always leaves my guests wide-eyed and speechless.

The tour lasts for about 2 to 3 hours, and it's recommended to dress warmly as it can get quite cool down there.

But don't worry if you forget your jacket, the gift shop at Lackawanna Coal Mine sells warm blankets and sweatshirts.

They also have some pretty neat souvenirs, perfect for remembering this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

And while there's enough to marvel at, the best part of the tour is the guides, whose humor and knowledge make the entire experience unforgettable.

Get Inspired at the Everhart Museum

Exterior of the Everhart Museum
Jeffrey from Dunmore, PA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I've always felt drawn to the Everhart Museum, like a moth to a flame.

It's one of those places that feature a unique blend of art, science, and natural history, tucked away in the heart of our local park.

Whether you're craving a dose of culture or a breath of educational air, the Everhart Museum is an embrace of tranquillity.

One of the things that I adore about the museum is that it's more than just a collection of exhibits.

It's a haven for different stories, each told through the lens of a painting or the posture of a taxidermied bird.

I remember the last time I was there, immersed in the "Bold Independence" exhibit featuring quilts made by African American women from the second half of the 20th century.

The quilts tell tales of resilience, vibrancy, and artistry, stitched together by hands that have experienced more than we can fathom.

It's not just the art that captivates me, but the natural history as well.

Hundreds of bird species from around the globe, each taxidermically preserved with stunning precision, have found a home here at Everhart.

From majestic eagles to playful penguins, it's as if Mother Nature herself curated this collection.

The museum, however, is also a keeper of our local history.

John Willard Raught's paintings, showcasing the coal breakers of northeastern Pennsylvania, have always filled me with a deep sense of nostalgia.

Each brushstroke seems to whisper stories of our past, shaping the identity of our present.

Do remember to keep an eye on the clock, though.

The museum's dedicated staff are strict about their closing time, and you wouldn't want to be caught in a sudden downpour like I did once.

Bring an umbrella, just in case!

The Everhart Museum, nestled near Nay Aug Park, is more than just a building filled with exhibits.

It's an escape from the humdrum of daily life, a journey through time and culture, and an exploration of our relationship with the natural world.

Being a part of the Scranton community, I've had numerous opportunities to visit the AFA Gallery.

It's a place steeped in creativity and art, brimming with the work of talented local artists.

And yet, there's a nagging sense that things could be better managed.

Their relocation in recent times didn't help either - the charm of the old site is sorely missed.

The influence of older generations is quite noticeable, and for a while, it seemed like the place was stuck in a time warp.

But I keep hoping for a change, for the younger artists to come in and infuse this place with a fresh burst of energy.

Sometimes, the AFA surprises you.

They host some fantastic shows from time to time, which reminds me of the gallery's glorious past.

It's a nostalgic experience, taking me back to the times when the AFA was buzzing with cultural events.

There's also an unexpected element to this place - the black and red squares on the floor.

It was a pleasant surprise to learn that they are used for fencing matches.

So, not just art, but the AFA Gallery also embraces sport, adding to its unique character.

Learn about Coal History at the Anthracite Heritage Museum

Exterior of the Anthracite Heritage Museum
Billy Hathorn at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You wouldn't believe the treasures waiting to be discovered at Anthracite Heritage Museum, hidden right in our backyard!

This history museum is a testament to the area's rich past, showcasing the life inside the once-bustling mines, mills, and factories.

Now I know what you're thinking - "A museum about coal? Really?"

Trust me, it's so much more than that.

Stepping inside is like taking a step back in time.

I remember my first visit there; I was captivated by the intricate displays on textiles, particularly those on silk, which provided a peek into the immigrant experience in Lackawanna Valley.

The museum is an absolute treasure trove of interesting tidbits about our local history, and every trip there uncovers something new.

But that's not all.

The museum also offers enlightening tours every 30 minutes, but here's a tip - arrive half an hour early because these tours can fill up fast!

My last tour lasted about an hour and fifteen minutes, and it was nothing short of captivating.

From the sculptures of Charles Edgar Patience to the antique mining equipment and even a real-life bar, there's so much to see and learn.

Now for all you fans of "The Office," you'll be thrilled to know that the museum's gift shop has an extensive range of merchandise from the show.

So, not only can you delve into our region's rich history, but you can also snag some fun memorabilia!

Hike towards Nay Aug Falls

The waters of Nay Aug Falls
Bruce Goerlitz Photo / Shutterstock.com

Every time I visit Nay Aug Falls, I'm taken aback by its serene beauty and the calm atmosphere it offers.

It's the perfect refuge from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

The scenic trails leading to the falls are a joy to traverse, and the walk itself offers a welcome respite.

One of the things I enjoy the most about Nay Aug Falls is sharing the experience with my kids.

The trail is quite manageable for them, and the spots of interest are nicely spaced, allowing for pleasant walks in between.

The waterfall itself is a sight to behold, and the bridge nearby adds an extra touch of charm to the place.

Unlike many other local attractions, Nay Aug Falls is never too crowded.

In fact, I'm often pleasantly surprised by how few people are present – a rarity in most city parks.

This means you can truly bask in the tranquility without being disturbed.

Have Fun Learning at Electric City Aquarium & Reptile Den

Who would have thought that a trip to the mall could turn into an exotic adventure?

That's exactly what happened when I decided to check out Electric City Aquarium & Reptile Den, nestled in our familiar shopping center.

Upon entering, the first thing I noticed was the cleanliness and meticulous maintenance of the facility.

Not a speck of dust in sight, a testament to the care and dedication of the staff.

Then, the surprising size of the place hit me - its vastness, cleverly disguised by its modest exterior.

Eager children gathered at the front, their faces lit up with excitement as they panned for gems and shells.

The innocent joy was infectious, turning even the most serious of adults into giddy kids for a day.

As I ventured further into the exhibit, I was struck by the variety of animals.

The residents of the aquarium ranged from exotic fish to curious reptiles, each in their beautifully designed habitat.

It was heartening to see the animals well cared for, appearing healthy and content in their surroundings.

To top it all off, the friendly and knowledgeable staff were ever-ready to answer questions and share interesting tidbits about the creatures.

Being able to learn about each animal’s unique traits and behaviors made the visit all the more enriching.

Just a quick tip for those planning to visit - remember to bring your parking garage ticket for validation.

And if you can, buy your tickets online to save a few bucks.

The Electric City Aquarium & Reptile Den defies expectations, transforming a mundane trip to the mall into an unforgettable journey into the natural world.

Stroll through Nay Aug Park

David Wenzel treehouse at Nay Aug Park
quiggyt4 / Shutterstock.com

A day doesn't go by that I don't feel the pull of nature, a call to the outdoors that lures me to Nay Aug Park.

It's like a little slice of heaven right here in the heart of Scranton!

You step into this park, and immediately you're enveloped by the whispers of trees, the murmur of waterfalls, and the joyous shouts of children.

I've seen Nay Aug Park in all seasons, each with its own unique charm, yet it's the treehouse that I've grown to love.

It's like something from a storybook, a child's dream come to life.

But let's not forget the thrill of the waterslide complex, a true suburban paradise!

It's the best way to beat the summer heat and a surefire way to keep the kids entertained.

However, the playground... well, that's a different story. It’s a bit of a letdown, to be honest.

It seems to be stuck in a time capsule, a reminder of its former glory days.

A trail at Nay Aug Park
Bruce Goerlitz Photo / Shutterstock.com

The walking trail, on the other hand, is a breath of fresh air. It wraps itself around the park, showing you glimpses of the waterfall and the gorge area.

It's a stunning sight, although I must admit it's marred by those who choose to ignore the safety signs.

It’s heartbreaking to hear about accidents that could have been avoided with a little caution.

I've also hosted a couple of BBQ parties here, and I must commend the cleanliness of the place.

The porta potties are well-maintained, which is always a relief in a public space.

Discover the City's Industrial Past Scranton Iron Furnaces

Daytime view of the Iron Furnaces
Noel Biesecker / Shutterstock.com

There's something about the Scranton Iron Furnaces that calls to me.

Perhaps it's the towering stone structures, a testament to our city's rich history in iron and steel production.

Or maybe it's their location, a stone's throw from the bustling local mall, offering a stark contrast between the old and the new.

I often find myself taking a leisurely walk to the site after a day of shopping. Parking is never an issue - it's always free.

The moment I step onto the grounds, I'm transported back to a time when these furnaces were alive with activity.

The descriptive signs scattered around the site do a fantastic job of painting a picture of how these massive furnaces functioned.

Blast furnace at the Iron Furnaces
Noel Biesecker / Shutterstock.com

One of my favorite parts of the site is the pavilion up top, surrounded by a sea of blooming roses.

On quiet days, I like to sit there and watch as the sun sets over the furnaces. It's a sight to behold!

The Scranton Iron Furnaces also serve as a venue for numerous local events throughout the year.

I remember witnessing a casting pour once - it was an amazing demonstration of how raw materials were transformed into iron.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Cycle through the Lost Trails

Every weekend, I find myself dusting off my dirt bike and heading out for a day of adventure at Lost Trails.

The adrenaline rush that comes with each ride, the picturesque views, and the camaraderie among fellow riders are just unbeatable.

I must say, Lost Trails is one of the most organized trail spaces you will come across.

Each trail is clearly marked, making navigation pretty straightforward.

Even on bustling weekend days when the parking lot is packed, the trails themselves still feel quiet and uncrowded.

It's a place where you can truly find yourself lost amidst nature.

The terrain is rough and rocky, with about 80% of the trails covered in rocks.

It is also punctuated with muddy sections and puddles, enough to give you a fair share of your off-road adventure.

But rest assured, the thrilling rides on these trails are worth every bit of the challenge.

There are plenty of pull-off points along the trails.

So if you're a novice rider like me who still needs to find their rhythm, or if you just want to take your time to soak in the scenic vistas, you can easily let faster riders pass by.

One of the highlights of the trails has to be the old railroad tunnel.

It's an incredible experience to drive through it, but remember to switch on your lights, as it gets pretty dark inside.

My heart is always thumping with excitement every time I approach the tunnel.

Lost Trails also houses a massive off-road dealership and an accessories shop on-site.

It's a one-stop shop for all your off-road biking needs.

The admission comes with a price tag, but trust me, the riding experience you get here is worth every single penny.

I am seriously contemplating getting myself a pass for uninterrupted fun.

Final Thoughts

I can honestly say that there's never a dull moment in Scranton, Pennsylvania when you're exploring with kids.

Whether it's delving into the depths of history at the Steamtown National Historic Site or the Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour or igniting their sense of wonder at the Electric City Aquarium & Reptile Den, the city offers a wide variety of engaging and educational experiences that cater to all ages.

There's always something exciting for the kids to see or do, and for us grown-ups, the memories we make here are simply priceless.

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