Weekend Trip with the Grandchildren
Here are a few stops en route from Syracuse to Allenwood, Pennsylvania, home to one of the few reptile zoos in the region
By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
Looking for a weekend trip to take with the grandchildren?
From tots through teens, you will find plenty to enjoy on this Pennsylvania trip that includes animals, sports, history and art — all little more than three hours’ drive from Syracuse.
Corning, New York
On your way to Pennsylvania, visit the Corning Museum of Glass (https://home.cmog.org, free for children 17 and younger) in Corning. In addition to viewing countless pieces of historic and modern glass art and functional pieces of glass, visitors can also create glass items. View the programming page (https://whatson.cmog.org/events-programs/kids-family-programs) to see what’s coming up and the Make Your Own page (https://visit.cmog.org/make-your-own-glass) to reserve a spot for creating a project. Although same-day tickets are available, advanced tickets are advisable to ensure your grandchildren can make the project they want. All items made in the workshop except for sandblasted projects must stay overnight to cool and are available the next day after noon or may be shipped for an extra fee. The museum’s displays include informative videos and live demonstrations on glass creation. Plan to spend a while in the gift shop, which includes not only hundreds of glass gifts but also an impressive array of educational gifts and games, artisan jewelry and books. In the home store, you can find open stock Corelleware, Pfalzgraf and other brands to expand your collections or replace broken items.
If you need a rest stop to stretch your legs, pull into the Pennsylvania Welcome Center at 15 PA Route 287 in Tioga for panoramic views of the Tioga Reservoir along with the typical high-end rest stop amenities.
Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland
The next stop is Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland (https://reptiland.com), an accredited zoo in Allenwood, Pennsylvania. As its name denotes, Reptiland focuses on reptiles, but also includes amphibians and birds. The menagerie includes alligators, geckos, snakes, tortoises, turtles, lizards and more, totaling 40 species among the 6,500 square-foot indoor exhibit gallery and outdoor habitats. Each includes a plaque with information about the animal on display. Don’t miss Parakeet Landing, a room where guests can interact with and feed 100 friendly, colorful budgies. (Offering a provided feeding stick helps facilitate the encounters.) While older children will appreciate the science and nature exhibits, the younger ones will especially enjoy the self-tour, animatronic dinosaur displays outdoors. The zoo also features scheduled animal presentations and encounters, both indoors and outside. Take time to visit the gift shop, as it brims with fun and educational toys and games hard to find elsewhere, along with exotic, artisan goods from abroad.
World of Little League Peter J. McGovern Museum (plus lodging)
Consider staying at the Genetti Hotel (www.genettihotel.com) in Williamsport, which features both indoor and outdoor pools, whirlpool suites, fitness center and a free hot breakfast. The charming décor, historic location and upgraded appointments make the Genetti stand out. The rooms include standards double queen, one bedroom and two-bedroom suites.
Before leaving Pennsylvania, stop at the World of Little League Peter J. McGovern Museum and Official Store in South Williamsport (www.littleleague.org/world-of-little-league) any baseball fan would enjoy exploring the Hall of Excellence, taking a guided tour of interactives and immersive displays of Little League history, and viewing artifacts from the 2021 World Series Event. Don’t miss the exhibit showing artifacts from Olympic gold and silver medalist Cat Osterman during her time as a Little Leaguer. Baseball enthusiasts will love the gift shop’s numerous offerings of memorabilia and baseball-themed collectibles.
Photo: Pennsylvania Welcome Center