Summer is almost here and fun is only a short drive away.
If vacation means a trip to the shore or the mountains, you can add to your summer fun by taking advantage of the things right here in your backyard.
If you are looking to avoid the long drive to the ocean or the mountains, consider a stay-at-home vacation and explore the possibilities York County has to offer.
For a start, a list of ideas and opportunities for summer fun are available through The York County Convention and Visitors Bureau, The York County Heritage Trust and the York County Department of Parks and Recreation.
Made in York County
IF YOU WANT TO LEARN about things that are made in York County, The York County Convention and Visitors Bureau is the place to go.
"We are the factory tour capital of the world," said Rob Mayer, public relations coordinator for the bureau.
The Made in America Tours event June 20 to 23 is an opportunity to visit 30 area companies that manufacture everything from motorcycles to dog treats.
But if you miss out on that weekend event, don't fret.
"We offer tours year-round with visits to up to 22 companies; 17 of them are free. Kids can see how chocolate candy is made or taste a freshly made potato chip. They can see soap made from scratch or how ice cream is made," Mayer said.
The list includes violin and wine makers, weavers and potters, an alpaca farm, a dairy farm, a creamery and candy and potato chip factories.
If you decide on an overnight stay the bureau will work with you to find affordable package prices, and there are even accommodations available to include the family pet.
The complete list of tours and events happening this summer is available at www.yorkpa.org.
IF READING IS YOUR THING, the York County Libraries Get Outdoors York summer reading club and physical activity program is the place to start.
"This year's theme is Dream Big, Read.
"When kids sign up this summer, they will each receive a Star Guide, which is packed with information about free library activities, the prizes they can win by reading and the clues to finding the 30 observation points at parks around the county," she said.
The program is already underway but runs through Aug. 19, so it is not too late to sign up and get in on the fun.
For more information, stop by one of the York County Libraries branches or visit www.yorklibraries.org or www.goyork.org.
IF THE OUTDOORS IS CALLING YOU, then the York County Department of Parks and Recreation might be able to help.
With 11 parks that offer everything from playgrounds to playing fields, picnic pavilions to scenic views, a trail that runs next to an old rail line complete with historic train stations, a restored mill, lakes for boating and fishing and a park where your dog can romp and play off his or her leash, county parks can meet your every outdoor wish.
"We have nice playgrounds and picnic areas, we have a free family campout night coming up, and Reptile Week at Nixon Park Nature Center is always popular," Parks Director Tammy Klunk, said. "We have family discovery walks through the summer and story time at Nixon and boat rentals and fishing.
The parks and the York County libraries are teaming up for the GO York letterbox activity, part of the summer reading club that encourages kids to use clues to find 30 observation points at parks around the county, she said.
The Nature Zone at Rocky Ridge Park offers kids a different kind of park experience, a place where kids can climb, dig, play and explore with nature, said Mike Fobes, manager of natural resources.
"It is an enclosed area where kids can play and climb and get dirty. There are benches for parents to sit and watch while the kids play. Remember when you were a kid and you used to go out in the backyard and play and get really dirty? This is a place where kids can play and get a little dirty, and have a good time doing it," Fobes said.
More information on county parks and the things happening there is available at YorkCountyParks.org.
Museums and historic sites
IF HISTORY IS YOUR THING, the York County Heritage Trust is the place to go. There you will find "a window into the past that provides a view into the future," with visits to the three museums and five historic buildings owned by the trust.
Visit a museum or historic site, step back in time to an earlier century, learn about more than 200 years of firefighting history, view collections and archives or take in the current exhibit about life in York County during wartime.
THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY MUSEUM, 250 E. Market St., York, tells the story of York County's history from the earliest settlement through the turn of the 20th century. Peek into the log cabin, toy store, and apothecary that are part of the Street of Shops, visit the community exhibit titled "A Place to Call Home" and the current exhibit, "Front Porch to Front Lines: York County Goes to War."
THE AGRICULTURAL AND INDUSTRIAL MUSEUM, at 217 W. Princess St., York, houses locally made wagons, tractors and farm tools and working industrial exhibits. See items such as pottery, dental supplies and pianos, automobiles, and trolley car made in York. Visitors also can learn about the city's industrial role in World War II. Kids can milk a life-size model of a cow to see how milk gets from the farm to the table.
THE COLONIAL COMPLEX, at the corner of West Market Street and North Pershing Avenue in York, includes The Golden Plough Tavern - built in 1741 and the oldest structure in York - the General Gates House and the Barnett Bobb Log House, which illustrate life in an earlier period. Visit the reconstructed Colonial Court House, where the Continental Congress met from Sept. 1777 to June 1778 and adopted the Articles of Confederation.
THE BONHAM HOUSE, 152 E. Market St., York, was built in 1840, and features original family furnishings and rooms that include an 1860s parlor and a 1920s library.
YORK COUNTY FIRE MUSEUM, 757 W. Market St., is in the 1903 Royal Fire House. It contains firefighting equipment that is more than 225 years old and represents the 72 fire companies across the county. Visitors can see mechanical fire trucks from the 1920s to the 1950s, 19th-century hand-pumped equipment, the original stalls for the fire horses, alarm boxes, parade uniforms and photographs.
SATURDAYS AT THE TRUST: HANDS-ON HISTORY FOR FAMILIES program is geared for 8- to 14-year-olds.
"Families will enjoy the monthly summer workshop series. These are free, interactive and educational, and include a make-and-take historic craft," said Dan Roe, director of education.
· July 14 - Creating beaded jewelry at the Historical Society Museum.
· July 21 - "Scherenschnite" paper-cutting at the Historical Society Museum.
· Aug. 4 - Weaving at the Agricultural and Industrial Museum.
· Aug. 11 - Historic tie-dying at the Colonial Complex.
Deadline to register is 4 p.m. the Wednesday before each Saturday class.
For details, call 717-848-1587, ext. 301, or email AIMREC@yorkheritage.org.
The sessions are led by local artisans of the York Town Craft Guild.
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