No problem showing up to these places without tickets in hand.
Good to know
Buggy rides will get cancelled in bad weather.
The Amish Farm and House is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Choo Choo Barn is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., make sure you get your timing right to see both.
Recommended time of the year
Great place to visit anytime of year.
Take your kids before they turn 12 for discounted rates. Kids in the younger age range might appreciate these activities more. Admission was free for our 1-year-old, and us adults enjoyed all of these experiences.
About This Day
Take the kids to Amish Country in Lancaster, Pennsylvania to visit the Amish Farm and House, plus more! It is about an hour and a half drive from Baltimore or Philadelphia (two and a half hours from Washington DC). This makes it an easy day trip for those looking for a unique experience outside of the city. Locals have capitalized on the roughly 35,000 Amish people living in Lancaster County, setting up many tourist attractions showcasing Amish traditions. Start the day off with a big Amish breakfast at Dienner's Country Restaurant. Then, spend the day walking off the calories while touring the various stops in Amish Country. Begin with a guided tour at the Amish Farm and House. Here, learn about the lifestyle and culture of the Amish. Next, train enthusiasts will certainly relish a stop at the Choo Choo Barn. This stop is full of motorized miniature trains and fun for all. Then, all aboard to the Kitchen Kettle Village. Enjoy the Amish crafts and goodies to purchase, and bring something home. Lastly, grab a healthier option for lunch or early dinner at Root of Lancaster. Parents will enjoy the fact that Lancaster County offers lots of family-friendly activities for kids of all ages.
Dienner's Country Restaurant features Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine in a buffet setting. If I’m going to eat a giant, unhealthy meal, I’d rather do that in the morning to have the rest of the day to digest. So we opted for the breakfast buffet at Dienner’s. It has all the standard American breakfast foods. In addition, it offers some Pennsylvania Dutch treats I had never tried before. Two in particular, a baked oatmeal dish and peanut butter marshmallow spread which was great with pancakes. The price for this indulgence was only $7.25 per adult and kids two and under are free. In comparison, Miller’s smorgasboard next door was $25 for dinner, so this is a much more economical way to get your smorgasboard fill.
The house tour at The Amish Farm and House tour lasts about 45 minutes. Ours was led by an older woman who had lived in Lancaster her whole life. She was very knowledgeable and had an answer for every question she received during the tour. The tour covered information about Amish church services, their work-arounds for living without electricity and Amish clothing. We ended up getting a discounted entry because of snow in the morning and fears that they wouldn't be able to open the farm. We were pleasantly surprised that once our tour had ended, all of the pathways on the farm had been cleared and so we got to explore that for free. You can easily spend another hour exploring things like a blacksmith shop, outdoor kitchen, whittling shed, barn and livestock on the farm.
DIRECTIONS A short drive of 2.5 miles (4 km) away on Route 30.
The Choo Choo Barn was a stop that we made especially for our 15-month-old son, but I was surprised to see lots of adults without children there as well. The Choo Choo Barn is a 1700 square foot (500 square meter) space filled with motorized miniature scenes and toy trains. The craftsmanship is pretty amazing. We spent about an hour meandering through and inspecting all the little details of each scene. The entrance fee was $7.50 per adult and free for kids under 3. Also, nearby is a toy train museum and the Strasburg railroad. It offers 45-minute excursion rides on their steam locomotive. So this a great place for train enthusiasts to spend time while in Amish Country.
DIRECTIONS This is about 4 miles (6.5 km) south of the Amish Farm and House.
We aren’t really the type of people that go shopping on vacation, but hubby appreciates woodworking craftsmanship and I appreciate free samples of Amish goods. Kitchen Kettle Village, which is like an Amish outlet mall, delivers on both these fronts. The Amish, of course, are famous for their furniture and home-cooked treats. And, pretty much all the stores in this mall are dedicated to one or the other. My favorite was the canned goods store which had endless samples of jams, pickles and sauces.
DIRECTIONS This is 6.5 miles (10 km) north of the Choo Choo Barn.
TIP If you visit around closing time you might end up getting some discount cookies.
Downtown Lancaster is a sleepy little city with some cute restaurants. We settled on Root, as we are always on the lookout for a place with good vegan options. We had a German pizza to stick to the theme of the day. It was a cheese-less pizza with mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, sausage and mustard. It was actually pretty delicious, and I’d recommend you try it if you get the chance. Surely, a creation like this does exist in many places.
DIRECTIONS It is a 25-minute drive from Kitchen Kettle Village to downtown Lancaster where Root is located.