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Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Shop for Fresh Local Produce at the PA Open Air Farmer's Market in Harrisburg

PA Open Air Farmer's Market in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

The PA Open Air Farmer's Market is a great open-air market to shop for local produce, baked goods, honey, wine, canned jelly and jams, meats, eggs, flowers & garden plants, etc. The farmer's market is located in the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex's parking lot. 

It's open from May to November, Tuesdays and Fridays, from 9am to 4pm, rain or shine! Free parking is available. The Farm Show Complex is located right across from HACC on Cameron Street in Harrisburg. The market typically has about 25 vendors who offer shoppers fresh items at affordable prices.

PA Open Air Farmer's Market in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

We had the opportunity to visit the open air market for the first time and were pleasantly surprised! We love supporting small businesses and buying local as much as we can. As we walked around we saw vendors selling corn, lima beans, green beans, peppers, watermelons, cantaloupes, onions, carrots, celery, cabbage, red beets, etc. The type of things you typically see at a farmer's market.

What really surprised us was seeing vendors selling local wine, honey, baked goods, meats, poultry products, eggs, fresh cut flowers, guacamole & salsa, jams & jellies, etc. A really nice selection of locally-made products. Delicious items to put on your family's table today or to stock your pantry for winter. 

PA Open Air Farmer's Market in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

On the day that we were there we only saw one food truck offering hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries, and drinks. If I could recommend an improvement, I would enjoy seeing 3-4 more food trucks offering shoppers a variety of things to eat. A food truck offering barbecue chicken wings, tacos, ice cream offerings, etc. would be nice. 

PA Open Air Farmer's Market in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

If you're looking for handmade craft items...this market isn't for you unless they plan on expanding that in the future. We saw one small vendor selling her handmade crochet items (hats, scarves, booties, etc.) but other than that, I didn't see any crafting vendors. 

Overall, it made for a really nice afternoon and we enjoyed our visit. If you're located in the Harrisburg area it's definitely worth your time to visit if you're looking for locally-grown produce, baked goods, canned goods, honey, and more.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Family Day Trip to Lake Tobias Wildlife Park in Halifax

Lake Tobias Wildlife Park in Halifax, Pennsylvania

The Lake Tobias Wildlife Park is located in Halifax Pennsylvania and has been in business since 1965. The park has a safari tour, zoo exhibits, a petting zoo and a fun playground for little kids. It's a family-owned business that welcomes over 175.000 visitors every year.

Every summer our family likes to get together and play a fun day trip up to Lake Tobias. You'll find picnic pavilions at the park that you can reserve. They're first-come, first served. They can fill up fast, so you'll want to plan ahead. You can pack a picnic-style lunch to enjoy there or buy food at one of the many eateries located within the park. 

Lake Tobias Wildlife Park in Halifax, Pennsylvania
When planning your trip you want to know the weather conditions for the day and dress appropriately. Wear comfortably walking shoes, you'll be doing a lot of walking! We recommend that you bring along your own sunscreen, bug spray, water bottles, etc. Cameras are permitted in the park for personal picture-taking. No smoking or alcohol are permitted except for in the parking lot. No pets allowed. 

After walking through the parking lot you'll come to the admission gate. It's a little building but you'll see signs directing you to it. Visitors are given the option of paying for just the Safari Tour, just to visit the Zoo Exhibits or doing both. We always opt for both activities. Current and past military personnel are admitted free. You need to show a valid military ID. 
Lake Tobias Wildlife Park in Halifax, Pennsylvania

Lake Tobias Wildlife Park in Halifax, Pennsylvania

Once you're through the admission area you'll walk by the picnic pavilions and head into the park. You can head left to go on the Safari Ride or head right to enter the Zoo Exhibits and Petting Zoo. You'll find public restrooms throughout the park. 

We opted for the Safari Ride first. As we were standing in line we purchased food cups for the grandchildren to feed the animals while we were out on the tour. The Safari Ride is approximately 45 minutes in length, not including the time you stand in line waiting for your tour bus to arrive. The open-air tour buses can fill up fast. You will be out in the sun and if it starts raining you will get wait. Please keep all of that in mind.
Lake Tobias Wildlife Park in Halifax, Pennsylvania

Lake Tobias Wildlife Park in Halifax, Pennsylvania

While the tour bus is moving you have to stay seated and keep your hands inside. Once it stops the tour guide will give you information on the animals that you're seeing and if you're permitted to feed and pet them. A lot of the big animals are used to people coming through and will come right up to the tour bus for attention...and of course for food! 

The road is unpaved and can be bumpy. I believe we stopped about 10 times while on the tour so that we could see the ostriches, yaks, bisons, deer, sheep, alpaccas, zonkeys, donkeys, etc. Our guide seemed to know the names of every animal that we saw. The kids really enjoyed meeting Burt and Ernie! 
Lake Tobias Wildlife Park in Halifax, Pennsylvania

Lake Tobias Wildlife Park in Halifax, Pennsylvania

After the Safari Tour we headed to the Zoo Exhbits where we took our leisurely time visiting the tigers, bears, camels, kangaroos, primates, baboons, alligators, lions, lemurs, prairie dogs, tortoises, tropical birds, sheep, etc. There's a lot to see. They had a baby animals section where the kids had to the opportunity to see baby emus! 

If you're visiting with children make sure you stop by the Petting Zoo. You can purchase a cup of food to feed to all of the animals in the petting zoo. They're really used to people and will come up to let you pet them and feed them. There were a lot of goats running around the day that we were there. 
Lake Tobias Wildlife Park in Halifax, Pennsylvania

Lake Tobias Wildlife Park in Halifax, Pennsylvania

We then headed to the Reptile and Exotics House to see an educational show. There were two zookeepers who brought out several animals for us to see. They educated us about them and walked them up and down the center aisle so you could get a good look. Well, all but the alligator and the sloth! Those two stayed down front. I have to admit...the beautiful Sloth was the hit of the show. Everyone wanted to get up close to see the sloth!

Navigating through the Lake Tobias Wildlife Park is fairly easy. If you've never visited before make sure you get a park map at the entrance gate. The signage throughout the park will also help guide you along your way.
Lake Tobias Wildlife Park in Halifax, Pennsylvania
Looking for something to eat and drink? Located inside the park you'll find Grille & Grub (located in center of park), the Lakeside Eats (located in center of park), HUB Concessions (located in center of park), Safari Station Concessions (located above Waterfowl Lake), the BBQ Shack (located in center of park), and The Watering Hole (located at the entrance to the Giraffe Exhibit). 

When visiting you'll want to allow 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours in your schedule. We like to take our leisurely time so typically we're there 3 to 3 1/2 hours. It makes for a nice day trip from most central Pennsylvania locations. Family-friendly and educational. The adults enjoy the visit just as much as the kids!