Pennsylvania 2011: Doors Swing Open to New Experiences for Travelers

Dec 02, 2010, 14:33 ET from Pennsylvania Tourism Office

HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 2, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- From a new scenic overlook at one of the nation's tallest and longest bridges to new entertainment complexes and a festival for Jeep lovers attempting to enter the Guinness Book of World Records, 2011 will mark a year of new attractions throughout Pennsylvania.

"We are cutting ribbons on new tourism attraction across the state that run the gamut of visitor interests and passions," said Mickey Rowley, deputy secretary for tourism. "No other state is offering a new world-class arts festival, an opportunity to set a world record in your trusty Jeep, a first-class American Jewish museum, and the chance to learn the ins and outs of making ice cream in 2011."

The Kinzua Bridge, once the world's highest and longest railroad viaduct, will become a scenic pedestrian walkway in mid-2011. It was first built in 1882, but 11 of its 20 towers were toppled by a tornado in 2003. Visitors will be able to walk on part of the bridge and view the Kinzua Gorge from a height of more than 300 feet. The bridge is located in Kinzua Bridge State Park (www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/parks/kinzuabridge.aspx), located in the popular PA Wilds region. The PA Wilds is known for its unsurpassed natural beauty and charming towns awash in history, and also features the largest elk herd in the Northeast. Learn more at www.pawilds.com.

Visitors to southeastern Pennsylvania will be able to see some of the Philadelphia region's top talent perform with international artists for an array of one-time productions during the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, April 7May 1. The festival will feature music, dance, fashion, fine arts, poetry and cuisine — all generously flavored with the essence of Paris, circa 1910-1920. For more details on the festival, visit www.pifa.org.

Butler, PA, is the birthplace of the Jeep and Jeep enthusiasts will venture to the western Pennsylvania city in 2011 for the Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival. There, they will attempt to enter the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest Jeep parade. Set for Aug. 12-14, the event will feature off-road events, historical exhibits, vendor displays, children's activities and a concert, in addition to the Jeep parade. Learn more at www.bantamjeepfestival.com.

In March, Pennsylvania's most visited interstate welcome center will reopen on I-95 outside of Philadelphia. Visitors traveling inbound to explore the Keystone State will be greeted by a knowledgeable staff in a facility awash with sunlight and featuring a vintage Pennsylvania Jeep filled with the trimmings of travel.  

Opening in May, the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks in Bethlehem will be a 65,000-square-foot, multi-use performing arts center, which will feature live music, independent and scientific films, new festivals and community celebrations year-round. ArtsQuest is a product of the organizers of Musicfest, Christkindlmarkt and PeepFest. Check out all there is to do there by clicking www.artsquest.org.

A former silk mill in Columbia, Lancaster County, will become a destination for fans of Turkey Hill Dairy's frozen desserts and drinks. The Turkey Hill Experience interactive center is set to open in the spring and will highlight the ice cream making process, the history of the dairy, the Lancaster County region and its unique heritage and culture. Plan for your experience at www.turkeyhillexperience.com.

Stage AE, a new indoor/outdoor concert complex will open next to Pittsburgh's Heinz Field this Dec. 4. Named after its sponsor, Pittsburgh-based American Eagle Outfitters, the new venue (www.promowestlive.com/pittsburgh) will host more than 100 events annually with outdoor seating for 5,500 and indoor concerts for 2,400.

The National Museum of American Jewish History recently opened its doors in Philadelphia. The museum features exhibits, rare artifacts and interactive displays that tell the story of American Jews through every phase of the nation's history. This newest addition to Independence Mall features a striking glass facade and its 100,000-square-foot museum offers three floors of core exhibition space, a floor of changing exhibits, and the Only in America® Gallery/Hall of Fame, which illustrates the extraordinary accomplishments of American Jews. A number of resources are available, as well, at the museum's website: www.nmajh.org.

In April, the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle will open a 37,000-square-foot visitor and education center that will contain an exhibit and interpretive gallery, cafe, and museum store. The opening exhibit will be dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. The center will be next to the Army Heritage Trail, which features interactive military exhibits, Civil War winter cabins, and a WWI-era trench system. Learn more at www.armyheritage.org.

The Erie Art Museum moved into LEED-certified space that combines 10,500 square feet of new construction with 15,000 square feet of renovated space in downtown Erie. The new addition connects five historic buildings, triples gallery space and allows the museum's entire permanent collection of more than 6,000 objects to be on display; some for the first time. Visit www.erieartmuseum.org to see the new space and what is on display for art lovers.

In January, the doors will open to York County's first microbrewery, Mudhook Brewery Inc., in York's Central Market and will add to the market's made-from-scratch appeal with indoor and outdoor seating. The pub will serve craft beers brewed onsite, as well as food and local wine. Get a taste of what the Central Market has to offer at www.centralmarketyork.com.

Debuting in Philadelphia during summer will be the Lights of Liberty show, the first nighttime outdoor show in historic Philadelphia that will include 3-D technology. Guests will watch as 21st century innovations turn some of the city's most historic buildings into a spectacularly lit recreation of 18th century Philadelphia. Lights of Liberty is an initiative of Historic Philadelphia Inc., www.historicphiladelphia.org.

The Pennsylvania Tourism Office, under the state Department of Community and Economic Development, is dedicated to inspiring travel to the State of Independence. For more information, go to visitPA.com or call (800) VISIT PA; become a fan at facebook.com/visitPA, follow us at twitter.com/visitPA, share photos at flickr.com/visitPA, friend us at foursquare.com/visitPA, or watch us on youtube.com/visitPA.

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Media contact: Michael Chapaloney, 717-720-1301

Editor's Note: For additional Pennsylvania tourism story ideas, follow us at www.twitter.com/patourismpr.

SOURCE Pennsylvania Tourism Office



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