I love exploring Northeast Pennsylvania and beyond, and a day of family fun is sometimes just a road trip away.
Are your kids sick of winter already? Do you have cabin fever? Check out the Discovery Center of the Southern Tier in Binghamton, New York, just a 60-mile drive north of Scranton. We’ve been to the Discovery Center a few times, and it’s a great place to find a change of scenery and let the kids explore and play for a couple hours. Neither Scranton or Wilkes-Barre have dedicated children’s museums, so that makes the Discovery Center or the Bloomsburg Children’s Museum the closest options for most NEPA families.
I feel like the Discovery Center, a 22,500-square foot space with more than 30 exhibits, is probably best for kids 2 and older, but my 1 year-old still had a great experience the last time we visited. My 4-year-old loves shopping at the play Weis grocery store, making food at the diner, pretending to fly a plane (pictured below) and checking out the back of an ambulance. I heard that the center has several new and revamped exhibits opening soon, so we are excited to check those out.
Here are my tips.
- If you choose to wait until nicer weather to make the trip, there is an awesome storybook garden outside, with cool places to explore and snuggle up with a book. The Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park is next door, so you can visit the Discovery Center, enjoy a picnic lunch and then visit the zoo before heading back home.
- Admission is $8 per person, and children under 1 are free. If you plan to visit multiple times, a $90 one-year family membership may be a better option. (We actually have a family membership, but it’s been tough to find the time lately to take advantage of it. We plan to use it a lot more this winter and spring.)
- Food isn’t sold at the Discovery Center, so your best option is to pack a lunch or visit a restaurant in Binghamton. We’ve visited Bingham’s Restaurant, off the Lenox exit on Interstate 81 in Susquehanna County for breakfast before visiting the center or a for a late lunch after the center. One of my favorite restaurants is the Lost Dog Cafe in Binghamton, which features an eclectic menu and good options for kids.
Photo of the outside of the center and the bee hive exhibit courtesy of the Discovery Center.
Sarah balances life as a reporter for The Times-Tribune and as the mom of two little girls. A graduate of Ithaca College, Sarah started covering education in 2006. She has received awards for her reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists, Pennsylvania Newsmedia Association, Inland Press Association and Pennsylvania Women’s Press Association. She lives in Clarks Summit with her husband, their daughters and their sweet pug, Sadie. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org, 570-348-9133 or @HofiusHallTT.