Craving Dole Whip

Disney & museum obsessed, homeschooling mom of 3, parenting to focus on experiences, not possessions. Sharing Disney tips, educational adventures and a few reviews. Constantly craving Dole Whip.


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The Mutter Museum in Philadelphia–Experience Adventure 37 of 100

The Mutter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia delivers one of the most interesting, thought-provoking and unusual museum experiences in the United States.  Housed within a beautiful, national historic landmark, the Mutter Museum showcases the evolution of medical practices and the historical significance of techniques and practitioner procedures.

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It offers a wildly odd, yet universally intriguing, collection of antique medical devices, wax models, vintage drawings, anatomical and pathological specimens, and human oddities–all respectfully and beautifully preserved and displayed.  **No photography is allowed in the main galleries.

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Visitors walk through a nineteenth-century, Victorian collection-like setting full of mysterious medical specimens and the history of diagnosis and treatment of human diseases.

Things you do not want to miss during your visit:

The Hyrtl Skull collection offers viewers the opportunity to stand before 139 human skull specimens, all labeled with the individual’s name, origin, age and means of death (if available).  It is an interesting and moving experience.

My daughter’s favorite exhibit at the Mutter presents several slides with specimens of Albert Einstein’s brain, which can only be viewed in two places in the entire world–one being the Mutter Museum.

2,374 foreign objects that were removed from human airways by Dr. Chevalier Jackson, an otolaryngologist, are on display in large, pull-out drawers.  People swallow weird stuff!

A 360-degree view is available of a life-size cast of the bodies of conjoined twins, Chang and Eng Bunker.

The peaceful Benjamin Rush Medicinal Plant Garden features a beautiful collection of plants, flowers and berries, as well as outdoor seating in a relaxing courtyard.

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We visited the Mutter Museum in March of 2018, and found ourselves completely fascinated by the current, but not permanent, exhibit called Woven Strands.  This unusual display invites visitors to enter the eccentric world of the art of human hair work, something new and foreign to me and my daughters.

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The Mutter Museum’s collection offers visitors a chance to view intimate medical curiosities, while encouraging an understanding of the human experience.

It is certainly one of our favorites.

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The Mutter Museum is located at 19 S. 22nd Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19103.  Fore more information, visit www.muttermuseum.org or call 215-560-8564.

The museum is open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.

**Save $2 on tickets for visits on Monday and Tuesday, if you buy tickets online in advance.

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Other things to do in Philadelphia:

The Barnes Foundation

The Rodin Museum

For more science related educational adventures, we recommend:

The Museum of Science and History in Jacksonville, Florida

The Houston Museum of Natural Science

 

 

 

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The Rodin Museum in Philadelphia–Experience Adventure 36 of 100

Auguste Rodin, born in Paris, in the year 1840, and arguably one of the world’s most famous artists, created thousands of sculptures over a 50+ year span.  Over 7,000 drawings, prints, oils and watercolors are contributed to the master sculptor of marble and bronze casting.

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Focusing on the true human experience and human emotion, Rodin’s work moved away from the Greek tradition of an idealized human figure–full of mythology and folklore–and artistically arrived at a captivating realism, expressing inner turmoil, joy, love and human connection through the language and movements of the human body.

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Jules E. Mastbaum, a philanthropist and Philadelphia native, gifted his extensive, personal collection of Rodin statues and the museum showcase to the city.  The Rodin Museum opened to the public on November 29, 1929, with over 150 Auguste Rodin objects in the collection, three years after Mastbaum’s death.

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For our 36th experience, my daughters and I visited the Rodin Museum in early March of 2018.

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The museum consists of a Beaux-Arts architectural building, which displays the main collection, and the Dorrance H. Hamilton Garden, which showcases 8 Rodin works in an outdoor, formal French-style sculpture garden.

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Visitors view works such as The Thinker, The Gates of Hell and The Three Shades while strolling outside in the garden.

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Inside the museum, visitors find sculptures of The Kiss, Shame, Meditation, Crying Woman, Despair, Eternal Springtime, I Am Beautiful and many, many more.  A very peaceful and reflective space, the main gallery bathes Rodin’s work with natural light.

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A more intimate, quiet space sits off to the side, where visitors are encouraged to sketch using inspiration from Rodin’s sculptures, his books, and the provided drawing supplies.  My youngest daughter wanted to stay until the museum closed.

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The Rodin Museum is located at 2151 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19130.  For more information, visit www.rodinmuseum.org or call 215-763-8100.

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The museum is open Wednesday-Monday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and is closed on Tuesday.

Admission to the Rodin Museum is “pay what you wish”.

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We also recommend:

The Barnes Foundation (Art museum in Philadelphia)

The State Museum of Pennsylvania

8 Fun Food Adventures to Discover in Pennsylvania

The Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida 

The American Prohibition Museum in Savannah, Georgia

 

 

 


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The Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia–Experience Adventure 35 of 100

My daughters and I took our very first trip to Philadelphia in early March of 2018.  The city offers a plethora of outstanding educational opportunities for a homeschooling family–for ANY family–to learn about American history,  government, science, the natural world, and art.

We decided to start our visit with art.

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A day at the unbelievable Barnes Foundation brought our 35th experience adventure.

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The Barnes Foundation is an unusual and extraordinary collection of over 4,000 objects, including over 900 impressionist, post-impressionist and modern European paintings.  Founded by Albert C. Barnes in 1922, and assembled between 1912 and 1951, the extensive collection of art is estimated to be worth at least $25 billion dollars.

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Barnes organized this collection based on visual similarities and created what he called “ensembles” with areas of art never before displayed together.  For example, a visitor might find a painting by Matisse, hanging above a piece of Pennsylvania German furniture displaying Native American pottery, next to a collection of iron work crosses.

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Most rooms or “galleries” at the Barnes portray a personal collection of art and treasured, global trinkets displayed in a home-like setting with chairs, tables, textiles, and ordinary objects.

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Works by famous artists, such as Renoir, Cezanne, van Gogh, and Picasso fill the collection, with no “official” artist plates or identification.

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For visitors use, each room offers a laminated guide with a diagram of the art displayed, as well as artists’ names, title of works, the year and the medium.

 

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The Barnes Foundation collection presents art in an innovative and creative way–breaking the mold of traditional arrangement found in most art museums.  Not only were we inspired by the works created by master artists, we also found ourselves challenged to understand and grasp the connections between seemingly unrelated objects.

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Visit the Barnes Foundation for a truly unique and original art viewing experience.

The Barnes Foundation is located at 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19130.  For more information, visit www.barnesfoundation.org or call 215-278-7000.

Interested in art?  Read about these museums, too!

The Dali Musuem

The Chihuly Collection

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

 


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8 Fun Food Adventures To Experience In Pennsylvania

DANG, y’all (spoken in my best Texas twang accent).  Pennsylvania offers some DE-LICIOUS food.  The restaurants, the desserts, the tours, the hands-on experiences…everything surrounding the PA food industry is top-notch.  For people who enjoy fresh, farm-to-table, innovative, vegetarian and vegan, wholesome foods and clean meals, Pennsylvania is the state for you, my friends.  Book a flight.  Now.

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My family and I are only here for a short time and I do NOT want to leave.  Who knew that PA would become my food mecca?!?

For the gastronomically adventurous readers, here is a list of 8 cool and fun food adventures (not just restaurants!) to explore and enjoy while you visit the super awesome state of Pennsylvania!  Click on the links for more info, details and locations!

1.  Cinnaholic

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What is Cinnaholic??!?  Cinnaholic is a nation of deliciousness–where an exquisitely handmade, heavenly dessert is created–tempting and luscious, indulgent and rich, melting and mouth-watering…and…and…and…It is a cinnamon roll!

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Cinnaholic specializes in high quality gourmet cinnamon rolls.  Each roll can be customized to personal tastes with a variety of frostings and topping options.

And, HELLO–it is VEGAN!

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2.  The Lancaster Central Market

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The Lancaster Central Market is the oldest, continuously operating, farmers market in the country.  WOW!

Inside a beautiful and historical brick building, the Lancaster Central Market showcases approximately 65 stands where local farmers, bakers, makers and shakers sell homemade wares, local vegetables and ethnic food from around the globe.

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All sorts of things are available at the market, such as pickles, grains, dried beans, herbs, pasta, fresh juice, pretzels, farm-to-market produce, candy, bread, meat, pastries, seafood, milk, sauces, quilted goods and fresh flowers.  Shoppers find stands featuring delicious Amish, Greek, African and Middle Eastern food.

Fresh.  Organic.  Straight from the growers’ hands.  Fabulous!

3.  Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery

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In 1861, Mr. Julius Sturgis built the original ovens for his pretzel bakery in a 77 year-old building located in Lititz, Pennsylvania.  Today, pretzel lovers, visitors and crazy homeschooling families on sabbatical (like us!) can visit the site, which is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Guests can watch large, soft pretzels being made onsite!  The company still uses the same recipe from 1861!  AMAZING!

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A very informative tour and the opportunity to learn how to twist a traditional pretzel are must-dos.  All kinds of yummy flavored hard pretzels, souvenirs and hot, fresh soft pretzels can be purchased in the front gift shop, separate from the tour.  But, take the tour!  (And then shop!)

4.  The Lancaster Sweet Shoppe & Stroopie Co.

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The Lancaster Sweet Shoppe is an adorable and delightful place where the fresh goodies of three local treat makers–Groff’s Candies, Pine View Dairy Ice Cream and Stroopies–can be discovered (and eaten!)

 

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Established in 2008, the Stroopie Co’s mission sparks social change, the fundamental backbone of the company.  As well as making delicious, high quality cookies, the company exists to support and hire refugee women who, after fleeing their homes in countries ravaged by war, natural disasters, poverty and uncertainty, find a safe haven and a chance to start over in Lancaster.

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Husband and wife team, Jonathan and Jennie Groff, became co-owners of the Stroopie Co. in 2010.  Their focus on social impact centers around providing meaningful employment for refugee women (and creating an uber delicious cookie!).

Small batches of Stroopies are made fresh daily on site by the Stroopie Co., in a cozy and modest kitchen space in the back of the candy shop.

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Homemade caramel is hand-spread between two slices of warm cookie, creating a super yummy Dutch Stroopwafel right in the heart of Lancaster, Pennsylvania!  Fantastic cookies and social awareness…forward thinking in delicious action!

5.  The Accomac

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With a long, winding history, dating back to the early 1700’s, the Accomac Inn overlooks the beautiful rushing waters of the Susquehanna River.

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Offering visitors the opportunity to dine only by candle light, the Accomac hosts “Firelight Nights” on select evenings from November to early March.  Charming and über romantic, the tiny flicker of soft candle light and a roaring fireplace fill the dining room with a peaceful glow and calming warmth.  No light bulbs.  No lamps.  No electricity generating light. 

And the food…

Mouthwatering.  Fresh.  Unique.  Heavenly.

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The Accomac works with local Pennsylvania farmers and provides a list of menu food sources online, which I appreciate and rarely find.

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6.  The Wilbur Chocolate Store

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The Wilbur Chocolate Store features a tiny glimpse into the history of the company and the process of making yummy chocolate candies and goodies.

Visitors can watch an informative video and see historical candy making equipment and beautiful, antique tins and packaging.

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The aromatic space is a dedicated and delicious store filled with all kinds of chocolate treats!  A little hint:  Find some free samples in the back!

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7.  Caputo Brothers Creamery

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The amazing story of the Caputo Brothers Creamery began when owners David and Rynn Caputo decided to quit their corporate jobs to attend culinary school in Italy–a bold and exciting decision made while on their honeymoon!

After 6 months in Italy, the couple returned to the United States with a love for authentic Italian cheeses.  In 2011, David and Rynn opened Caputo Brothers Creamery, which is named after their sons, Giovanni and Matteo.

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Caputo Brothers Creamery produces the only fermented cheese curds that can be stretched into fresh (DELICIOUS!) Mozzarella–in the entire United States.  Go visit their retail shop in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania.  Better yet, get the Groupon for the awesome Italian cheese making tour and tasting!

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8.  Beiler’s Doughnuts

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Beiler’s Doughnuts is a family-owned, Amish donut store, with three locations in Pennsylvania.  30 years ago, Beiler’s Doughnuts was one of the first Amish merchants to begin selling homemade goods in Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market.

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The mouth-watering doughnuts are made fresh daily, on site at each location.  FRESH baked and fried desserts taste so much better!  The heirloom doughnut recipe has been in the Beiler family for generations and each delicious doughnut is hand rolled and carefully decorated.

Traditional, creative, whimsical, sweet and savory toppings make the doughnut case look like a piece of yummy, edible artwork.

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Get a dozen.  For real.  You will regret it if you don’t.  🙂

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I am kind of a donut snob.  If you know me personally, you know I have a favorite donut place in Austin, Texas, and I rarely (almost NEVER) eat donuts from other shops.  Sub-par donuts are just not worth the extra calories.

Friends, these donuts are worth the extra time at the gym.  Beiler’s Doughnuts are the BEST Amish donuts EVER!  I do not see how they can be improved.

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Put all of these cool places on your Pennsylvania bucket list and ENJOY the experience!

Looking for other cool things to check out in Pennsylvania?

I recommend:

The State Museum of Pennsylvania

The National Watch and Clock Museum

The Harley Davidson Steel Toe Tour

George’s Furniture

Dutch Apple Dinner Theater

 


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100 Experience Adventures–February Summary

WOW!  What a fascinating adventure all ready!

In just 2 short months, we completed a whopping 30 exciting and educational experiences!

THIRTY!

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When I look back on each experience, I am so very grateful my girls have this awesome, once-in-a-lifetime chance to grow and learn and expand their understanding of our world.  And, I have the privilege of sitting in the front row to watch it unfold. 🙂

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Here is a complete list of the 12 adventures (#19 through #30) we enjoyed during the month of February!  Click on each link to read a summary and honest review, as well as personal and educational tips for each experience!  Let me know if you have any specific questions–always happy to help.  🙂

Experience 19:

The Blue Man Group in Orlando, Florida

Experience 20:

Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida

Experience 21:

The Carlisle Ice Art Fest 

Experience 22:

The State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg, PA

Experience 23:

Our First Hike on the Appalachian Trail 

Experience 24:

A Tour of the Harley Davidson Factory in York, Pennsylvania 

Experience 25:

The Wilbur Chocolate Store and Museum in Lititz, Pennsylvania

Experience 26:

A Tour of Julius Sturgis Pretzel in Lititz, Pennsylvania

Experience 27:

Recycled Sari Flower Making Artisan Class in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania

Experience 28:

A Dinner Lit Only By Firelight at The Accomac in York, Pennsylvania 

Experience 29:

A Concert by The Diva Jazz Orchestra

Experience 30:

Film Screening of The Girls in the Band and a Panel Discussion with Diva

 

For a list (with clickable links to all cool places!) of #1 through #18 events from January, click here!

More to come–March has been a super busy and educational month!

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The Wilbur Chocolate Store in Lititz, PA–Experience Adventure 25 of 100

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We took a quick drive to Lititz, Pennsylvania to visit The Wilbur Chocolate Store and Museum for our 25th experience adventure.

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The chocolate dynasty began in 1865 when H.O. Wilbur and Samuel Croft produced mostly molasses candies and hard candies.  By 1884, the men separated the company and the cocoa and chocolate divisions became H.O. Wilbur & Sons.

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The Wilbur Chocolate Store features a tiny glimpse into the history of the company and the process of making chocolate candies and goodies.

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Visitors can watch an informative video and see historical candy making equipment and beautiful, antique tins and packaging.

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The rest of the aromatic space is a dedicated and delicious store filled with all kinds of chocolate treats!

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A free sample can be found at the very back.  🙂

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My daughters and I were thrilled to discover some Stroopies (from our 7th adventure)!  Read all about that amazing and social conscious company and our life-inspiring visit here!

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I purchased a Stroopie and some chocolate-infused hand cream.  🙂

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The Wilbur Chocolate Store is located at 45 North Broad Street, Lititz, Pennsylvania, 17543.  For more information, call 717-626-3249 or visit www.wilburbuds.com to make yummy online orders.

Lititz is an adorable, cozy little town, about an hour from Carlisle, PA.

Within walking distance of The Wilbur Chocolate Store, we found a delightful restaurant, The Tomato Pie Café.  The menu offers several delicious vegetarian and gluten-free options and features light, fresh, and beautiful dishes.

We GREATLY enjoyed the spinach and artichoke tomato pie and the not-your sloppy joe, which is vegetarian.  Lots of yummy options include coffees, pastries, breakfast items, sandwiches, daily soups, and tempting desserts.

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The Tomato Pie Café serves breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner and has two locations:  one in Harrisburg, PA and one in Lititz.

We visited the Lititz location at 23 North Broad Street.  Call 717-627-1762 or visit www.tomatopiecafe.net for more information and to view current menus.

Looking for other fun things to do and explore in Pennsylvania?  Check these out:

The State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg, PA

The Harley Davidson Factory in York, PA

Beiler’s Doughnuts in Lancaster, PA

Lancaster Central Market, in Lancaster, PA

Burning Bridge Antiques in Lancaster, PA


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The State Museum of Pennsylvania–Experience Adventure 22 of 100

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On Valentine’s Day of 2018, and for our 22nd of 100 adventures, my daughters and I spent the day exploring the remarkable State Museum of Pennsylvania.  Established in 1905 and adjacent to the breathtaking and beautiful State Capitol Building, the historical institution is the commonwealth’s official museum located in the state’s important capital city of Harrisburg.

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The museum takes visitors through a full range of fascinating regional history, focusing on Pennsylvania’s multi-faceted culture and prominent figures, beginning with prehistoric geology and archeological exhibits and continuing to present time pop culture influences and art showcases.

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Four impressive exhibit floors and a full-dome planetarium chronologically organize and display over 3 million items in the museum’s expansive collection.

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Interesting and permanent exhibit halls include Life Through Time, Geology, Mammals, Ecology, a Memorial Hall dedicated to William Penn, and Objects of Valor, which features Civil War artifacts.

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**Fun Fact:  Pennsylvania was named by King Charles II, who took the Penn family name and combined it with the Latin word “silva”, which means “woods”.

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The Memorial Hall features an enormous mural, state map, and a monumental bronze statue of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania.

**Fun Fact:  William Penn’s forward-thinking policy of religious tolerance and acceptance created a diverse religious and ethnic culture in the state of Pennsylvania.

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My daughters and I spent most of our time in the noteworthy exhibits of Pennsylvania Icons, Village Square, the Anthropology and Archeology Gallery, and the Transportation and Industry hall.

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**Fun Fact:  Pennsylvania is the nation’s #1 producer of mushrooms, #2 producer of apples and ranks 3rd for eggs and Christmas trees!

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**Fun Fact:  Pennsylvania produces 80% of the nation’s hard pretzels.

More than 350 unusual and thought-provoking items fill the Pennsylvania Icons hall, where visitors learn about the national influence of Pennsylvania’s unique places, people and products.

 

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**Fun Fact:  20% of the United States’ production of craft beer is produced in Pennsylvania.

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True-to-life historical facades, buildings, a summer kitchen and a general store represent a 19th century Pennsylvania town in the walk-through Village Square Hall.  I wanted to find some hands-on activities, but unfortunately, this is a purely visual exhibit.

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The creation and historical significance of the Pennsylvania Turnpike is thoroughly explored within the Transportation and Industry hall.  Focusing on the tools, vehicles and the history of innovative machines, the exhibit gives viewers a fantastic and engaging glimpse into transportation industry and commerce.

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**Fun Fact:  In October of 1940, the nations first modern superhighway birthed a new interest in cross-country travel for post-WWII Americans.  That superhighway is the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Native American artifacts and archeological methods are explored in great detail inside the Anthropology and Archeology Gallery.

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**Fun Fact:  The Meadowcroft Rockshelter, located near Avella in Washington County, Pennsylvania, boasts the earliest signs of human habitation in North America and has been continually inhabited for the past 19,000 years.

As a lover of the visual arts, we greatly enjoyed the engaging, rotating art exhibit, which featured unique art pieces bought and acquired by the museum through the years.

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Overall, we found The State Museum of Pennsylvania educational, interesting and thought-provoking.  It was clean, well organized, thorough, and visually stimulating.  Of course, I prefer a hands-on approach and appreciate exhibits with interactive components, but the museum’s extensive collection makes up for its lack of experiential learning.  My daughters and I left with massive amounts of new and relevant Pennsylvania state knowledge and a greater historical understanding of our nation.

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Kudos to The State Museum of Pennsylvania.  As a museum-obsessed, homeschooling mom, I give it a “B++”!

Hours of operation:  Wed-Sat 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sunday 12:00 to 5:00 pm.

Please note:  The museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Adults:  $7.00

Children ages 1-11 years:  $5.00

The museum is FREE for military members and military families with ID’s.  THANK YOU!

The State Museum of Pennsylvania is located at 300 North Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 17120.  For more information, call 717-787-4980 or visit www.statemuseumpa.org.

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For some other fun and educational adventures in the great state of Pennsylvania, check out:

The Turkey Hill Experience

George’s Furniture

The Pennsylvania Farm Show

The National Watch and Clock Museum

The Lancaster Central Market