Knowledgeable, friendly locals enlighten visitors on their city's rich history, art, culture, and dining scene during Philadelphia Urban Adventures' informative walking excursions. Following a philosophy of responsible travel—which aims to support local businesses whenever possible—the guides steer sightseers through intriguing neighborhoods and districts such as Center City, the Ninth Street Italian Market, and the campuses of Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania. Along the way, they make pit stops at local pubs, cafés, galleries, and food trucks, working to cultivate an authentic experience for all guests. They also dispense helpful tips, such as how to talk to locals and where to find good views of cheesesteaks in their natural habitat.
Shortly after opening Club Zoo in an old industrial building between 16th and 17th streets, owner Bernie Firman began to suspect the place was haunted. The stories of mysterious sounds and figures have been documented in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and the building has been visited by the Pennsylvania Department of Paranormal Investigations. Like all successful entrepreneurs, Firman decided to turn a bad situation into opportunity. For one month each year, he and his brother enlist a cast of actors to don gory attire and collaborate with the suspected specters to frighten visitors to the Terror Town haunted house. In Terror Town, shrieks drift across more than 30,000 square feet of scenes made to simulate a subterranean cannibal civilization. Scenes in the evil mini-city include an insane asylum, a gory grocery store, and a room where a barbershop quartet might be about to have practice.
Captained by experienced, trained drivers, All-Terrain Pinzgauer Tours strap adventurers into high-mobility military vehicles to explore the wilderness of Jim Thorpe. During the excursion, rugged Pinzgauer pilots share local history and wildlife trivia as they motor through creeks, past gingerbread houses, over boulders, and down the Hades Hollow mountainside. Partway through the 3.5-hour tour, passengers lace up their boots and trek through the woods of Bear Run until they near Rattlesnake Bluff. During an interlude at Blue Lake, tour members munch on snacks and wash them down with water before hunting for fossils and Benjamin Franklin’s discarded pipes. After ten miles of Pinzing up and down sheer slopes, splashing through streams, and snapping photos of verdant vistas, travelers are safely returned to the world of civilian vehicles. Any items that passengers bring along must be kept in their laps, limiting carry-ons to cameras, binoculars, and teddy bears.
Propelled by an affinity for fresh air, the family that helms Hispaniola Cycling fosters the same free-spirit mentality in its guests who embark on the outfit’s bike tours, which include cycles and helmets. Hispaniola’s guides are experts on the local topography, calling upon their respect for Mother Nature and a healthy fear of her mood swings to guide groups for spins around town or weekend jaunts through Valley Forge and along the Schuylkill River Trail. They can also expand fitness with wellness tours and camaraderie with corporate tours that follow custom routes around worksites, kick-starting employee heart rates a midday slump after they wrestle faulty fax machines.
Though it's usually cars and ghost-horse-drawn carriages that roam the monument-studded fields of Gettysburg, the intrepid individuals at SegTours devised another means of wandering America's past. The two-wheeled vehicles allow groups a more intimate look at the Civil War battlefield.
Though a cyclist traversing a city's streets is a common sight, 15 cyclists pedaling on one bike is not. That's where Big Red Pedal Tours comes in. The earth-friendly company swaps gas-fueled vehicles for its people-powered pedicycle, an open-air apparatus that passengers pedal through the streets of Philadelphia. Tour guides, who double as bike drivers, narrate the jaunts, sharing historical facts about the City of Brotherly Love and its landmarks. The guides also helm bouts of revelry on pub pedal tours, which acquaint cyclists with four of Philadelphia's renowned watering holes.