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Things to See & Do in Pennsylvania
Delaware National Scenic River
The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area encompasses 70,000 acres of ridges, forests, lakes and rivers on both sides of the Delaware River in the states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The Delaware River, the only remaining undammed river in the eastern United States, is part of the National Wild and Scenic River system; its exceptional quality waters provide both recreation and drinking water for millions of people in neighboring metropolitan areas. With habitats ranging from rivers and ponds to dry ridge tops, Delaware Water Gap is home to a variety of animals, from black bears weighing up to 800 pounds to ruby-throated hummingbirds, only 3-4 inches long. The Delaware River and its tributaries are home to more than 60 fish species, including both species that make the park their permanent home and migratory species such as eels and American shad that travel between the upper reaches of the river and the Atlantic Ocean. Great blue and green-backed herons wade in shallows looking for fish, frogs, and crustaceans for a meal. Otters glide silently through the water. On the river's floodplain, rich soil supports bountiful farm fields. Visitors can commonly see white-tailed deer and wild turkey searching for food. After nightfall, the park comes alive with a whole new set of animals: foxes, coyotes, bobcats, raccoons, and, in the night sky, owls, and six species of bats.
Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium
Located five miles east of downtown Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium is a 77-acre naturalistic habitat facility that is home to thousands of animals representing hundreds of diverse species. Highlights include the Asian Forest, African Savanna, Tropical Forest Complex, Cheetah, Valley, Aquarium, and more.
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
This park preserves 40 miles of the middle Delaware River and almost 70,000 acres of land along the river's New Jersey and Pennsylvania shores. At the south end of the park, the river cuts eastward through the Appalachian Mountains at the scenic Delaware Water Gap. A one-day auto tour of the park can include waterfalls, rural scenery, and historic Millbrook Village. Visitors can also canoe, hike, camp, swim, picnic, bicycle, crosscountry ski, and horseback ride. Fishing and hunting are permitted in season with state licenses.
Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor
The Corridor is a collection of people, places and events that helped shape our great nation. Come journey through five Pennsylvania counties bursting with heritage and brimming with outdoor adventure. Canals and railroads-remnants of Northeastern Pennsylvania's prosperous coal age-form the spine of this more than 150-mile Corridor. You'll find something for everyone. Follow a history trail marked with stories about hearty lumberjacks, coal miners, lock tenders, canalers and railroaders. Explore quiet canal paths, challenging bike trails and rippling waters of the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers.
Clyde Peeling's Reptiland
Clyde Peeling's Reptiland is a specialized zoo featuring high-profile reptiles and amphibians from around the world. The zoo is located on US Route 15 in Allenwood, Pennsylvania and offers visitors wild encounters in a modern educational setting. Explore the world of mambas, cobras, vipers, pythons and other rare and beautiful snakes. Giant alligators, gentle tortoises, curious lizards and colorful frogs also await discovery on this zoological adventure. An exciting multi-media show reveals the close-up world of reptiles on the big screen and live lecture demonstrations offer guests the chance to touch harmless specimens and speak with friendly experts.
The National Aviary in Pittsburgh is America’s only independent indoor nonprofit bird zoo. Located in historic North Side’s West Park, the Aviary is home to 600+ birds of more than 200 species. Many are threatened or endangered in the wild. The natural, planted exhibits allow visitors an up-close view of the bird world. From hummingbirds to Andean Condors, the birds represent nearly every continent, with a particular emphasis on rainforest and wetland habitats. The National Aviary also offers nearly twenty educational forums for both children and adults.
North Country National Scenic Trail
The North Country National Scenic Trail links scenic, natural, historic, and cultural areas in seven northern states. The approximately four thousand mile long trail incudes a variety of hikes from easy walking to challenging treks. When completed, through the efforts of many people, the trail will become the longest continuous hiking trail in the United States. From the Missouri River in North Dakota to the shores of Lake Champlain in New York, the trail allows hikers to experience a variety of features, from clear-flowing streams, to thick Northern woods, from vast prairies to clean lakes.
Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River
As a part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River stretches 73.4 miles (118.3 km) along the New York-Pennsylvania border. The longest free-flowing river in the Northeast, it includes riffles and Class I and II rapids between placid pools and eddies. Public fishing and boating accesses are provided, although most land along the river is privately owned. Wintering bald eagles are among the wildlife that may be seen here. This unit of the National Park Service is also home to John Roebling's Delaware Aqueduct and the Zane Grey Museum in Lackawaxen, PA.
ZOOAMERICA North American Wildlife Park
ZOOAMERICA in Hershey is an 11-acre walk-through zoo home to animals and living plants native to five regions of North America, featuring over 200 animals, representing 75 species. ZOOAMERICA is open year-round, allowing guests to view and enjoy native wildlife throughout the seasons. The Zoo is located just across the walking bridge from HERSHEYPARK.
Lower Delaware National Wild & Scenic River
The lower Delaware River region contains immense resource diversity, combining an area of high population density with a wealth of natural, cultural, and historical resources and recreational opportunities. The river valley houses cliffs rising 400 feet above the rivers that provide for magnificent scenery and habitat unique to the region. The south-facing, desert-like slopes are home to the prickly pear cactus, while the north-facing slopes display flora and fauna usually only found in arctic-apline climates. The river itself provides habitat for American shad, striped bass, and river herring and is an important component of the Atlantic Flyway, one of four major waterfowl routes in North America. From a historic veiwpoint, the river is one of the most significant corridors in the nation, containing buildings used during Washington's famous crossing, historic navigation channels, Native American and colonial archeological sites, and 19th century mills.
The Philadelphia Zoo features more than 1,600 animals from around the world, picturesque Victorian gardens, outstanding art and historical architecture. Also offers special exhibits and educational programs.
Set on 15 beautifully landscaped acres, the Erie Zoo is home to over 500 animals from the far reaches of the wild (and some closer to home)! Visit Kiboka Outpost - the African Grasslands for a savanna adventure. Take a ride on the Safariland express to a home where the buffalo (and mouflon sheep...and sika deer...) roam. Make new friends with domestic and exotic animals in the Children¹s Zoo. Sign up for an EdZooCation program and boost your eco-IQ.
Elmwood Park Zoo
Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown exhibits over 120 animals in naturalistic, animal-appropriate habitats. Among the most popular animals are the river otters, cougars, and our spotted and melanistic (all-black) jaguars. The Zoo also exhibits animals that are either presently endangered (like the jaguar, bison, and Chinese alligator) or represent successful returns from the endangered species list, like the bald eagle. One exhibit features the black-footed ferret, considered to be among the most endangered animals in North America.
White Clay Creek National Wild & Scenic River
The White Clay Creek is renowned for its scenery, opportunities for birding and trout fishing and historic features. The watershed is also an important source of drinking water for residents of both Pennsylvania and Delaware. The proximity of the Philadelphia and Wilmington-Newark metropolitan areas, however, is having an adverse impact on the watershed. In 1991 citizens requested that the creek and its tributaries be considered for inclusion in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
Appalachian National Scenic Trail
The Appalachian National Scenic Trail is a 2,180-mile footpath along the ridgecrests and across the major valleys of the Appalachian Mountains from Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain in northern Georgia. It traverses the scenic, wooded, pastoral, wild, and culturally resonant lands of the Appalachian Mountains. Conceived in 1921, it was built by private citizens and completed in 1937. The trail traverses Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia.
Activities & Experiments
Handbook of Nature Study
Based on Charlotte Mason's method of education, this website offers ideas and resources for incorporation nature study into your homeschool.
Arbor Day National Poster Contest
Join over 74,000 fifth grade classrooms and home schools across America in the Arbor Day National Poster Contest. The theme chosen will increase your students’ knowledge of how trees produce and conserve energy. The free Activity Guide includes activities to use with fifth grade students to teach the importance of trees in producing and conserving energy. These activities correlate with National Science and Social Study Standards. The Guide also includes all of the information you need for poster contest participation.
How I Teach a Large Family in a Relaxed, Classical Way: Science
Family style learning is a great way to tackle lots of different subjects, including science.
ExploraVision is a competition for all students in grades K-12 attending a school in the U.S., Canada, U.S. Territory or a Department of Defense school. Homeschooled students are eligible to enter. It is designed to encourage students to combine their imagination with their knowledge of science and technology to explore visions of the future. Teams of students select a technology, research how it works and why it was invented, and then project how that technology may change in the future. They must then identify what breakthroughs are required for their vision to become a reality and describe the positive and negative consequences of their technology on society. Winning ideas have focused on things as simple as ballpoint pens and as complex as satellite communications. The student teams write a paper and draw a series of Web page graphics to describe their idea. Regional winners make a Web site and a prototype of their future vision.
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