Sightseeing in Harrisburg

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Featured on Central PA magazine’s 2010 Hot List for Best Leisure Options, The State Museum lays out a telescopic view of the Commonwealth's history throughout its four-story building. Visitors are welcomed by the colossal figure of William Penn, flash-frozen in bronze and captured in his life-like 18-foot majesty. The statue stands flanked by cunning facsimiles of a Pennsylvania past and backed by the museum's featured exhibit, currently Wood on Glass, a photographic history and lecture series on the lumber industry. The second floor recreates a Native American village and unrolls the carpet of history from the Civil War through the Industrial Revolution and beyond. The final level delves thousands of years into the past when the eons-old Marshalls Creek Mastodon lumbered across the Pennsylvanian plains and starred in two MTV reality shows—see the 12,000-year-old, 20-foot skeleton when its exhibit opens on Sunday, February 27.

300 North St
Harrisburg,
PA
US

The Whitaker Center's Select Medical IMAX Theater dazzles moviegoers with 3-D adventures projected onto a six-story screen and piped through a six-channel, 16,000-watt surround-sound system. The 65' x 80' screen towers over the audience, immersing them in overwhelming three-dimensional visuals like a diorama built in Paul Bunyan's shoebox. Swing from the trees with Born to be Wild 3D, a heartwarming documentary narrated by Morgan Freeman that introduces audiences to the lives of orphaned orangutans and elephants and their human care-givers. Hubble 3D follows the crewmembers of the space shuttle Atlantis on their mission to repair the Hubble Telescope, giving viewers a close-up look at such breathtaking galactic events as the birth of stars and the Quinceañera of planets. Check out the showtimes for all current films.

222 Market St
Harrisburg,
PA
US

People tend to walk slowly through The National Civil War Museum—both out of respect for the fallen soldiers and sheer awe at how much there is to see. The institution strives to cover the events before, during, and after the war without bias to either the Union or Confederate cause.

  • Size: with 21,000 historic documents and 4,400 artifacts rotating in and out of exhibits on two floors, the museum recommends reserving 2 to 4 hours for a visit
  • Eye Catcher: Moment of Mercy—a statue outside the museum that depicts Richard Kirkland, a confederate sergeant who gave water to wounded Union troops
  • Permanent Mainstay: Weapons & Equipment, a collection of rifles and uniforms from both sides of the Mason Dixon
  • Temporary Exhibit: 1864—the first of four special exhibits to cover specific years of the war and part of the museum's lead up to the Civil War's 150th anniversary
  • Don't Miss: a giant, interactive video wall, where President Abraham Lincoln answers questions about anything except his hat
  • Leave Your Mark: descendants of Civil War veterans can purchase memorial bricks that add their relatives' names to the museum's Walk of Valor
One Lincoln Circle
Harrisburg,
PA
US