Top 10 Summer Stops
By Curtis Stratton
Summer fun in Happy Valley is never far away. Whether it’s crossing off your bucket list with a visit to Penn’s Cave, afternoon fun for the kids at WildRiver Waterpark or a family trip to see the State College Spikes play some minor league baseball, the options are endless — even outside of festival weekends. While school’s out, here are Happy Valley’s top 10 summer stops for you and the whole family.
Nothing says summertime family fun like a good baseball game. Grab some popcorn or a ballpark hotdog at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, the home of the State College Spikes. Pirates and Phillies fans needn’t worry, for the Class-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals are a NittanyLion favorite year-after-year, with an easy walk from Beaver Stadium and the Bryce JordanCenter. Tickets are modestly priced and available online or at the gate.
Escape the heat with a fun, informational tour through history and art. North of State College and just off I-99 is the Bellefonte Art Museum for Centre County, located in beautiful downtown Bellefonte. The historic Linn House is home to artwork from local artists, free art shows, international special exhibits and free classes for children every first Sunday of the month.
Family fun doesn’t end there. Tipton’s own DelGrosso’s Amusement Park is famed for its rides, water park, food, events and free parking. With more than 30 rides, including carousels, bumper cars, a train, roller coasters and a Kid’s Kingdom for smaller children, DelGrosso’s all-day passes offer unlimited access to the park for families of all ages.
Northland Bowl hosts an arcade, bar, restaurant and bowling lanes for families, leagues, birthday parties and tournaments. Play per game and grab a bite to eat with a kids’ menu, appetizers, sandwiches, homemade pizza, award-winning wings and more. What’s a good arena without summer specials? Make sure to check out unlimited bowling Monday through Friday after 5 p.m., two-dollar Tuesdays and inclusive family packages on Saturdays and Sundays.
Where else can you hear Beethoven’s own viola being played? Start checking off your bucket list with Penn State’s Center for the Performing Arts, where individuals and families alike can engage with the student- and faculty-created musical, theatrical and dancing presentations put on year-round. With two full-sized auditoriums, free or inexpensive tickets and complimentary parking, the 62-year-old center is renowned as a source of culture, entertainment and pride for Happy Valley.
The only all-water cavern in the United States just so happens to be in Happy Valley. TheNational Register of Historic Places lists Penn’s Cave and Wildlife Park as the only Pa. cave in its registry, and for good reason. A 45- to 50-minute boat tour of the limestone cavern will reveal hanging stalactites and jutting stalagmites in fantastic detail. After seeing the wonders of an underground million-year creation, be sure to check out the daily 90-minute guided ride through the Wildlife Tour outside. Sixteen hundred acres offer wonderful sites of birds, elk, bison, longhorn cattle, mustangs, bighorn sheep and seasonal sunflowers.
Happy Valley’s ski resort is also home to summer bucket list fun, including outdoor movies, live music in their outdoor amphitheater, go-karting, mini-golf, a driving range, a skate park, batting cages, catch and release fishing, picnicking by the pond and nearly 100,000 acres of Rothrock State Forest.
Outdoor Summer Fun
Raystown Lake is known as Happy Valley’s summer tradition, and there’s no place better to find outdoor summertime fun than on the Allegrippis Trail, within the Lincoln Caverns and Whisper Rocks, in the sky with Pine Bottom Aviation, walking through downtown Huntingdon or cruising on the waves of the lake itself. The outdoor fun is endless at Raystown Lake and throughout the region.
Every Saturday morning all summer long is the North Atherton Farmers Market, in the heart of State College. Every vendor there sells what they’ve personally grown or made, so why not try some delicious baked goods, local produce and greens, salmon and trout, an assortment of fresh fruits or your choice of cheese? Country fresh and a summertime staple, the market also boasts food trucks with burgers, sandwiches, ice cream and more.
Within the Raystown Lake Region but a Happy Valley-wide attraction, the WildRiver Waterpark offers outdoor fun for the whole family. A splash pool, 380-foot slides, inner tube rides and catered pavilions are just part of the fun! Open all summer long through most of the day, WildRiver is a must for staying cool while enjoying the Happy Valley summer sun.
With family and outdoor fun, come cross off your bucket list this summer in Happy Valley! For more information on any of the top 10, or for the many more summer attractions Happy Valley has to offer, be sure to visit happyvalley.com
About the Author
Curtis Stratton has published work in magazines, newspapers, websites and books across the country. A Philadelphia native, he now lives in North Carolina.