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Fun Indoor Things to Do with Kids in Erie, PA

Friday Jan 19th, 2024

Are you tired of hearing the dreaded “we’re bored” or “there’s nothing to do” from your kids? Well fear not! The Erie region has a variety of indoor family activities that offer the perfect solution for getting everyone out of the house for a fun escape or a full-day adventure.

Splash Lagoon

Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park
Splash Lagoon is consistently ranked one of the Top 10 Water Park Resorts in the country by USA Today’s Readers’ Choice. It’s a tropical oasis with nine thrilling slides, a 200,000-gallon wave pool, FlowRider surf machine, the Tree Tops Ropes Course, arcade, food court, and a newly renovated Tiki Tree House complete with water sprayers, mini dumping buckets, and a giant tipping coconut! There’s also a new Froggy Family splash pad featuring a zero-depth pool, fun water sprayers, and colorful frog figures. Day passes and overnight packages are available year-round

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Play Port Arcade and Family Fun Center
Relive fond memories of going to the arcade and share them with a new generation at Play Port, where over 100 games are set to “free play”, no quarters needed! The bright neon colors and amazing collection of retro arcade games will transport your family back to the 80’s and 90’s with classic arcade games such as Pac-Man, Centipede, and Donkey Kong, among others.  Play Port also features laser tag, glow golf, virtual reality games, and glow pool. General admission includes all “free play” video games and one round of glow golf.

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Erie Otters OHL Hockey
Erie’s minor-league Ontario Hockey League team has a major following, with home games at Erie Insurance Arena that entertain crowds both on the ice and in the stands with fun family promotions and giveaways. Fans of all ages are encouraged to cheer alongside fellow fans, pound on the plexiglass, and give high-fives and hugs to Otto, the Otters' lovable mascot. The Otters are part of the Ontario Hockey League, a member league of the Canadian Hockey League, a premiere player development league for the National Hockey League. Otters alumni include NHL two-time scoring champion and 2017 NHL MVP Connor McDavid, and 2020 Stanley Cup Champions Anthony Cirelli and Erik Cernak. Upcoming game promotions include Star Wars Night (Jan 27), Mascot Mania (Feb 17), Family Fun Days (Feb 25 and March 10), and Kids Takeover (March 9).

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The expERIEnce Children’s Museum
There’s always something imaginative, inventive, and immersive happening at the newly updated expERIEnce Children’s Museum. The museum is nearing completion of its $18 million renovation and expansion project that includes a three-story, 19,000-square-foot building addition and the renovation of the original building. Some of the newly opened exhibits pay homage to the Erie community. “Lake Life” boasts the second-largest interactive water table in the country, featuring miniature versions of the Bicentennial Tower and the Land Lighthouse, two of Erie’s iconic structures. “My Town” is a kid-sized town packed with hands-on experiences from taking orders at a restaurant to changing the oil on a car. The museum is scheduled to complete the project in spring 2024. Photo credit: Carly Shoulders.

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The Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC)
Dedicated to teaching its visitors about the history of Presque Isle State Park, the Tom Ridge Environmental Center (affectionately referred to as “TREC”) is a free facility with two floors of engaging and interactive exhibits, and a glass-enclosed observation tower offering panoramic views of Lake Erie.  Through these hands-on exhibits, visitors learn about the importance of preserving and appreciating the natural beauty that is Presque Isle. A visit to TREC is incomplete without taking a moment to set the three towering whirligig structures near the main entrance in motion, bringing to life a multitude of hand-carved figures. 

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5 Wits
It’s all about immersing yourselves into worlds of live-action adventures at 5 Wits, located on the southwest end of the Millcreek Mall. Participants choose from a variety of quests such as Espionage, Drago’s Castle, and Tomb and are placed in real-life sets that rely on hands-on tasks, puzzles, and challenges to finish. Each story has multiple endings, adaptable difficulty, repeatable challenges, changing solutions, and dynamic outcomes, complete with synchronized sound, lighting, and special effects. Unlike escape games where escaping is the objective, 5 Wits offers story-driven games where there are always different endings to each story. All ages are admitted, however, children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult.

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Arts and Culture
Taking the family to a theatrical performance at the Erie Playhouse or spending time surrounded by inspiring works of art at the Erie Art Museum can create opportunities for cultural growth, learning, and enjoyment. The Erie Playhouse has been entertaining audiences for more than 100 years and is one of the country’s oldest community theaters. Its intimate floor plan gives patrons the best seats in the house for musical extravaganzas, compelling dramas, light-hearted comedies, and inspired youth theater performances. Shows scheduled during the spring 2024 season include Tootsie (Jan 26-Feb 11), Lyle the Crocodile (March 1-10), Inherit the Wind (April 5-21), and Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Musical (May 10-19). Second Sundays at the Erie Art Museum is a recurring, pay-as-you-wish event that takes place on the second Sunday of each month. Families are invited to get creative and participate in a variety of activities such as painting, drawing, and sculpting. Second Sundays are held from 2-4 p.m.

Partner Spotlight

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Poverty Knob Farmhouse Ales

Stop by Port Farms to check out the newest addition, Poverty Knob Farmhouse Ales. We offer hand-crafted beers and delicious sharable food year-round. The brewery is family and dog friendly with both indoor and outdoor spaces. We offer games, music and entertainment for all ages!

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UPMC Hamot - See What Makes Us Different

UPMC Hamot is a 458-bed hospital in Erie, Pennsylvania, offering a full complement of inpatient and outpatient services. The hospital serves as a regional referral hub and is the only accredited trauma center in the region.

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814 Photo

Showcasing the incredible year round beauty of the City of Erie and its surrounding areas, commonly referred to as its area code "the 814". Explore some of Erie County's most breathtaking landscape photography.

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ASCEND Erie - Climbing | Fitness | Yoga

NOW OPEN! ASCEND fosters a community-centered climbing, fitness, and yoga experience by serving individuals and groups of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. Located in Downtown Erie, ASCEND welcomes Erie visitors to stop in and give climbing a try!

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The Cork 1794

Open for Lunch and Dinner. Get ready for an experience like no other. An atmosphere where uncommon style, comfort and service seamlessly meld. Where food and beverages are expertly crafted to be beautiful, satisfying and truly special. A place that makes every day feel like a reason to celebrate.

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Two45 Waterfront Grille Now Open!

Savor an exquisite waterfront dining experience at Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel, where culinary excellence meets panoramic views. This signature restaurant invites you to indulge in a delectable journey with a menu showcasing locally sourced ingredients and global inspirations while overlooking the serene waters of Lake Erie.

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Mazza Vineyards and the South Shore Wine Company

The Mazza family welcomes you to explore 3 unique locations in Lake Erie Wine Country. Sip and savor award-winning wines at Mazza Vineyards and the historic South Shore Wine Company, both located in North East, PA, and be sure to visit their combination winery, distillery and brewery, Mazza Chautauqua Cellars/Five & 20 Spirits and Brewing, in nearby Westfield, NY.

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Dobbins Landing

Located on the southeast shore of Lake Erie, the Port of Erie has been promoting industrial, commercial, and recreational opportunities on the waters of Lake Erie since 1959.

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U Pick 6 Craft Beer Pubs & Restaurants

Erie’s own local craft beer pubs are a must-visit! With 4 great locations, just pick one that’s convenient for you! A casual, family friendly dining experience with something for everyone! To view our menu, check out what’s on tap, or get to directions to our pubs, learn more now!”

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Erie Events

Erie Events manages a four facility entertainment complex that includes the Warner Theatre, Erie Insurance Arena, Bayfront Convention Center and UPMC Park. These four venues host a variety of events that include world-class entertainment, family friendly shows and sporting events.

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Farmhouse Retreat

Your “Home Away from Home” short term rental sleeps 8 and is in a great location close to Erie Sports Center, Splash Lagoon, shopping and restaurants, as well as Steelhead Fishing. This restored 1881 Farmhouse is located on 10 private acres. Reminisce about bygone days when life was slower and simpler. With a long driveway and large yard, kick back by the firepit, watch wildlife or enjoy a beautiful Erie sunset from the back patio.

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Millcreek Mall

The Millcreek Mall features more than 160 stores, restaurants, and fun for the whole family on Upper Peach Street, Erie’s most popular shopping district! Shopping in Erie means no sales tax on clothing or shoes. Choose from a variety of hotels located on the Mall property and just minutes away at the intersection of Peach Street and Interstate 90.

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The Cove Bay-Side Restaurant & Tavern

The Cove Bay-Side Restaurant & Tavern is sure to give you an unforgettable and care-free dining experience. Enjoy a nautical atmosphere with a beautiful view of Presque Isle Bay.

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Soak in the fun!

Experience 84 degrees all year at one of the top water parks in the country.

Just for fun!

Experience family summer fun on more than 100 great rides, slides and attractions at Waldameer!

Ante-up, Erie.

Find true action with slots, table games, sports book, and horse racing.

Award-Winning Compassionate Care

Voted Erie’s Choice Best Hospital for eight years in a row

One stop convenience.

Fill your tank, pick up fresh food from local brands, and a six-pack to go in 40 regional locations.

Soak in the fun!

Experience 84 degrees all year at one of the top water parks in the country.

Ante-up, Erie.

Find true action with slots, table games, sports book, and horse racing.

Just for fun!

Experience family summer fun on more than 100 great rides, slides and attractions at Waldameer!

One stop convenience.

Fill your tank, pick up fresh food from local brands, and a six-pack to go in 40 regional locations.

Award-Winning Compassionate Care

Voted Erie’s Choice Best Hospital for eight years in a row