Located on the Susquehanna River, Harrisburg has been Pennsylvania's capital since 1812. You'll find many interesting things to do in Harrisburg such as exploring the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts, enjoying the outdoors at Fort Hunter Mansion and Park and examining military history at the National Civil War Museum. Nearby Hershey, Pennsylvania is a must see for chocolate lovers of all ages.
Hershey's Chocolate World features a chocolate tour that is both entertaining and educational. Animated characters explain how cocoa beans are transformed into chocolate. The tour includes a free sample of Hershey's chocolate. Chocolate World also has a 3D musical with animated characters as well as shops and restaurants.
Another one of the most popular things to do in Harrisburg's neighboring Hershey is visiting HersheyPark and Hershey Gardens. You can enjoy a chocolate-themed resort area and amusement park here. The streets are aptly named such as the street signs at the corner of Cocoa Avenue and Chocolate Avenue. Replicas of Hershey's Kisses decorate the tops of the street lights. Zoo America is nearby and has over 200 animals of 75 species.
Visiting the National Civil War Museum is one of the recommended things to do in Harrisburg for those with an interest in American military history. The Museum gives visitors a comprehensive look at the Civil War from beginning to end. Wax figures and photographs are displayed in some of the exhibits. The Museum features a large collection of memorabilia plus audio and video presentations. Viewpoints from both sides are featured and little known information about the Civil War is offered.
Spending a few hours at Fort Hunter Mansion and Park is considered one of the best outdoor things to do in Harrisburg. The land has a large park known for its beautiful Giant Sycamore trees, secret garden, riverfront walking paths and picnic areas. You can see views of the Susquehanna River and the Blue Mountain Range. The property, with its 19th century refurbished plantation, was settled by Benjamin Chambers in 1725 and features nine outbuildings. Chambers went on to become the founder of the borough of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.
Many families consider spending the better part of a day at the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts as one of the best things to do in Harrisburg. The Whitaker Center was the first of its kind in the United States. It combines science and performing arts and has a 664 seat theater that includes balconies. Many Pennsylvania-based and other dance and theater groups perform here. The science sections include plants, insects, weather science, mathematics and many fun hands-on activities for children.