Ready for a weekend getaway somewhere where it feels like a nice change of pace but only 2 hours from the city? Check out Erie, Pennsylvania!
With the lake, beaches, hometown diners, and an incredible indoor waterpark, it makes for a perfect family weekend getaway.
Since we have two kids under four years old and another one on the way, we stayed at the Holiday Inn Express conveniently attached to Splash Lagoon! It was so easy to walk from our hotel room to the water park and back. The hotel even had a crib sent to our door right at bedtime since our three year old couldn’t decide what bed to sleep in (but that’s another story for another time)! Breakfast was included, so each morning we were able to wake up, grab breakfast, and head out to explore what Erie has to offer!
Check out some of the indoor activities around town that made for a perfect weekend getaway with little ones!
Indoor Activities the Whole Family Will Love
The museum is currently undergoing major renovations and has some exciting new displays coming this Summer! I was able to go on a behind-the-scenes tour with Director of Operations, Julie, to see first-hand all the new features for kids!
Post-renovation, the children’s museum will be almost 40,000sq feet of fun! The building will feature one of the largest water table/water play features in the country along with a giant bubble display, interactive ship and lighthouses while updating current favorites like the imaginative play grocery store, pet hospital all within a miniature version of the town.
The update will also include a green screen experience where kids can pretend they’re rocking out on stage. Little ones will have a chance to play in the toddler area located in the center of the museum (open so that moms of multiples will be able to stay in the toddler area while keeping their older children in sight.
A barn, cow, and farm to table display will also be available to give children a chance to play.
While we visited, our little ones loved playing dress up, going grocery shopping, and caring for baby dolls in the play doctor office. The current water and ice tables were a huge hit and kept them entertained for an hour! Lastly, my three year old loved going through the cave with a small lantern and sliding down the slide at the end.
We will definitely be coming back once renovations are complete to experience the museum all over again!
As soon as we checked into our hotel Friday night, we changed into our bathing suits and headed to Splash Lagoon to check out everything the indoor waterpark had to offer! They are typically open 11am-9pm so we figured we would let the kids play for a little bit and then order takeout from Quaker Steak and Lube (which was attached)! With little ones, we spent most of our time in the two splash pads and in a double inner tube floating in the lazy river.
We came back on Saturday afternoon after the museum and attempted to put our littlest down for a nap, and immediately went back to the splash pads and little slides. The park also features a large indoor wave pool, where we were all able to sit and float in the shallow end for a while. They had plenty of pool chairs where you could stick your feet in the water and relax.
We grabbed ice cream from the parlor on the top floor of the park before heading back to our room for the evening. Splash Lagoon truly had something for everyone! For older kids, the park featured multiple waterslides, a water bucket that dumped tons and tons of water, a water playground, basketball hoops, hot tubs, and a chance to surf!
Sunday morning, we headed to Flying Monkey Infla-Park to get some energy out before our drive home. Our little ones lit up as soon as we walked in! They host toddler time from 10am-12pm Saturdays and Sundays where littler kids get a chance to jump, slide, and bounce without the crowd. Each toddler is accompanied by an adult and can bounce, go through the obstacle course or down the slides at their own pace. It featured a fun toddler-friendly playlist and made for a wonderful experience!
Local Coffee Shops and Restaurants
We sprinted into this coffee shop as the rain started on Saturday morning! It had a cozy atmosphere and sign with book recommendations and ‘currently reading’ by the staff. A bookshop was attached and the iced coffee was delicious!
This coffee shop was busy the minute it opened! They had an amazing Americano and fun atmosphere.
For a quick lunch, we visited Sara’s Diner, where we ordered foot-long hot dogs, onion rings, curly fries, and milkshakes! It was a quintessential diner experience and fun for all of us to share and discuss our day!
After all the fun at Splash Lagoon, we were all pretty tuckered out. We ordered takeout from Steel City Sandwich Company which did not disappoint. Their sandwiches included french fries and coleslaw so we felt right at home! I ordered their steak sandwich and my husband got capicola. They had pizza for our kids and plenty of other menu options. It was the perfect takeout option after a fun day exploring!
We obviously ordered wings! It was so convenient to order dinner while we were wrapping up at the waterpark. We were able to walk right over to grab our food before heading back to our hotel room. The restaurant also featured a bowling alley for some added fun!
What says vacation more than chocolate meltaways and ice cream at 9am on a Saturday?! We visited Romolo Chocolates (right next to Pressed) Saturday morning and enjoyed walking through the store featuring chocolate, coffees, candies, and ice cream. It felt like an experience all within itself!
After a much needed weekend away as a family, we packed up and got on the road towards home. We were able to make it home before nap time and still get on track for the week ahead- definitely one of the perks of only being a few hours away! Erie feels like a small town getaway with plenty to offer families young and old.
Want to start planning your next Erie trip? Check out VisitErie.com to get started!