Philadelphia Traveling Mom just discovered places that are fun for kids in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. It is an hour from Philadelphia and about two hours from New York. Bucks County has a beautiful riverfront, a kids’ museum, and a huge outdoor wooden castle playground for kids to climb. Bucks County has a concrete castle filled with strange things and another that makes handcrafted tiles. Plus, two small towns with restaurants, bookstores, and fun shopping. Bucks County is a rural gem close to the city.
We live in Philadelphia but just discovered the pleasure of exploring rural Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Fun for kids in Bucks County is year-round. The Delaware River is accessible for water sports in warmer weather, but we visited in February. The two main towns are Doylestown and the more upscale New Hope.
Doylestown in Bucks County
What better way to spend a sunny 73 degree day (in February!) than scrambling around a 5-story wooden castle designed just for kids to climb? The Kids Castle at Doylestown’s Central Park has a gigantic castle-like climbing structure. Inside are lookouts, hiding places, and a slide. A sign says it is for ages 5-12. That seems right, since younger kids might be overwhelmed.
The giant castle is surrounded by swings and wooden structures for kids who don’t want to climb. Parents can sit in the shade. The entire area is fenced. We saw families bring coolers to picnic at one of the tables or on the huge field that surrounds the playground. Fun for kids in Bucks County – and it’s free!
Bucks County has two concrete castles, strange sights in American farmland. One is the Mercer Museum, built by an archeologist to house his eccentric collection of early American tools and artifacts. Henry Mercer built another concrete castle to house his Moravian Pottery and Tile Works. Inside the dark concrete halls, workers used hand tools to craft glazed tiles. The tiles are still made and are used to decorate walls, fireplaces, and floors. Some tiles are made into mosaics. On our tour, a tile maker explained what she was doing as she cleaned and sliced clay, then pressed it into a decorative tile. Doylestown’s concrete castles are strange and wonderful places, each celebrating early American crafts. Fun for kids over 8 would enjoy the experience.
Fun for kids in Bucks County – Peddler’s Village
About 60 shops and restaurants are tucked into landscaped acres of Peddler’s Village. This strolling and shopping area near Doylestown is another spot fun for kids in Bucks County. We visited Giggleberry Fair, an indoor playground for younger kids. Under one roof is an old fashioned carousel, an multi-story indoor climbing area, a video game arcade – a fun place, especially on a cold or rainy day.
Main Street Shops in New Hope
New Hope has a walkable main street that’s a tourist mecca in Bucks County. There are upscale shops and restaurants. There are also affordable burger, sandwich, ice cream, and homemade chocolate shops. Fun for kids in Bucks County includes the quirky Farley’s Bookstore. My husband and I checked out their very good kids’ section and left with a stack of new books.
We walked to the riverfront a block from the bookstore. Ducks cluster below the Ferry Street riverfront area. Free fun for kids in Bucks County includes feeding the ducks – with this great view.
This area is close to where George Washington and the Revolutionary Army crossed the Delaware River. Now a bridge stretches the short distance from Pennsylvania to New Jersey. The view of the bridge and evening lights reflecting on the Delaware River were lovely.
The view was so pretty, we decided to eat with a river view. Martine’s Riverhouse Restaurant in New Hope is a splurge. Huge windows and a terrace overlook the water. We had roast pork shoulder with charcoutte and veal chops with whipped potatoes. A pleasure, for grown ups or kids who like to linger over food.
Fun for Kids in Bucks County – Children’s Museum
The Bucks County Children’s Museum is all on one floor and not too big. Exhibits are fun and educational. An entire wall of tubes blowing air demonstrated how a wind tunnel works.
Everything is hands-on and physically interactive. When we stomped on trash in a video exhibit, “cleaning up the water,” we saw “fish” return to the “river.” We got to simulate the experience of being inside a hot air balloon, looking down at green Pennsylvania farmland. One exhibit showed us how locks work. But a toddler was happy to just splash his hands in the water.
The Bucks County Children’s Museum seems especially good for kids 8 and under. Bucks County is also home to the Michener Art Museum, with programs for kids. These spots are fun for kids in Bucks County all year round.
Family Friendly Base in Bucks County
We stayed at Homewood Suites by Hilton in Newtown – Langhorne. The hotel caters to business travelers but was family-friendly.
What works for families
- hot and cold breakfast buffet is included
- indoor pool
- suite with a bedroom and a living area, kitchen table and a sleeper sofa
- a kitchenette
While we didn’t use the kitchenette, the refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, and dishes made this a real cooking area. That could make a family stay in Bucks County more affordable. Nice touch to have ice cream and snacks available in the lobby.
Plus, Homewood Suites is less than 5 miles from Sesame Place. This Sesame Street-themed amusement park is perfect for kids under 8. For more on Sesame Place and other amusement parks in Pennsylvania, click here.
What spots look like fun for kids in Bucks County, Pennsylvania ? Tell us about it in the comments.