Looking for something fun to do with your toddler in Harrisburg? You've tried to entertain her at home and maybe even taken a few trips to the park, but you know there is so much more out there, right? Harrisburg is replete with toddler-friendly activities that will stimulate her developing mind, allow her to expend some of that toddler energy and entertain her for hours.
Introduce your toddler to the wonders of science at the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts (whitakercenter.org). The venue offers a multitude of exhibits for adults to enjoy as well as a special center, called the Harsco Science Center, designed for young children. For children under the age of 5 years, The KidsPlace area of the center is comprised of hands-on exhibits such as a marketplace replica, a storybook stage with costumes, a water learning area and a realistic ambulance. Especially for tiny tots is the Tot Spot, with a foam-cushioned gym and age-appropriate toys.
The State Museum of Pennsylvania (statemuseumpa.org) may seem like an adult-oriented venue on the surface, but when you look a little deeper, you'll find the museum's Curiosity Connection. The children's area is designed specifically for children between 1 and 5 years of age and offers a multitude of early learning opportunities. Exhibits in the Curiosity Connection include the hands-on Living Forest, a miniature vehicle assembly line, a farmland with apple trees and farm trucks, a construction zone and an entire glass wall designed for your toddler's artwork. For babies under the age of 1 year, the center's infant zone provides a safe area for play and learning.
The local library may sound like a rather mundane venue, but it holds a multitude of educational and entertaining opportunities for you and your toddler. The Dauphin County Library (dcls.org) offers programs catered to children of all ages. The Toddler Storytime program is available to tots between 19 and 35 months of age and includes a variety of early learning activities. For some family-time learning fun together, the Family Storytime program is open to families with children between 2 and 6 years of age.
Introduce your toddler to the world of nature at Wildwood Park (wildwoodlake.org). The park is situated on 229 acres with various terrains and six miles of trails to explore. When you are ready to retreat indoors, visit the on-site Benjamin Olewine III Nature Center with its climbing tree and a reading area for parents and children.
Introduce your toddler to the theatrical world with a child-friendly performance by the Popcorn Hat Players at the Gamut Classic Theater (gamutplays.org). Younger toddlers are welcome at the performances, but the length of the plays probably makes them better suited to toddlers closer to 3 years of age. The theater has offered a wide range of performances, such as Rapunzel, Robin Hood, Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Puss in Boots.