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In one of my latest post, I talked about our first day in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Day one allowed us to get acquainted with Altoona and learn about all there was to do there. With two days left to explore Altoona, we had plenty still to do and see.
If you are planning a visit to Altoona, Pennsylvania, I hope our itinerary can help you plan the best trip and do something a little out of the ordinary.
Our second day in Altoona started out early, so we were extra thankful our hotel, the Fairfield Inn and Suites, had a complimentary breakfast buffet. There was literally so much food on the buffet that even my pickiest eater found something he loved! After breakfast, we left our hotel and learned a little history about Altoona.
Altoona’s Rich Railroading History
If you are planning a trip to Altoona, you may be surprised to learn about all the railroad-themed attractions there. Since Altoona was built around the railroading industry and once the largest rail shop in the world, railroad buffs from all over come to enjoy some of the amazing railroading marvels including the world-famous, Horseshoe Curve.
Railroaders Memorial Museum
You don’t have to be a history buff, or a railroading fanatic to want to visit the Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum. Built to commemorate, reveal, and celebrate the significant contributions of railroaders and their families, the museum is a great place to learn about the railroading industry.
Located in the former Master Mechanics Building for the Pennsylvania Railroad, the museum has three full levels of exhibits to go through. Start from the third floor and work your way down as you go through interactive exhibits, watch movies, and get a glimpse of the American railroading industry back in the day.
Outside the museum, climb aboard an actual train car, have a picnic, and check out some of the old trains inside of the roundhouse.
If you are planning a visit to the Railroaders Memorial Museum, be sure to check out their schedule of events, as they offer concerts outside throughout the year.
Take a peak at a real engineering feat at the world-famous Horseshoe Curve. Located just a few miles outside of town,folks from all over the world come to marvel their eyes at the only place they can be surrounded on all three sides by a train.
With 51 trains traveling the curve daily, folks can enjoy a picnic lunch and watch as trains pass by almost every half hour.
This is not my video, but this video shows you just how amazing Horseshoe Curve is!
Along with staring at the magnificent Horseshoe Curve, folks can take a tour of the visitors museum and ride a fun funicular up the hill to the picnic area. Although, there are 194-steps you can walk to the top, my kids loved riding the funicular and I personally thought it made our experience more memorable.
Tickets to Horseshoe Curve can be bought separately, or you can purchase them as an add-on with your Railroaders Memorial Museum tickets.
Austin’s Texas Hot Dogs
Altoona is home to a lot of delicious non-chain restaurants, like Austin’s Texas Hot Dogs. Once located inside of Delgrosso’s Amusement Park in Tipton, Pennsylvania, the restaurant now resides directly beside it and draws quite the crowd.
Serving up their famous brand of Austin’s hot dogs, Austin’s Chili Sauce, Fresh-Cut Fries, Old-Fashioned Frozen Custard, and Texas Macaroni, Austin’s Texas Hot Dogs has been delivering great food since 1978!
When we stopped to eat, we were all starving and their twist on one of my favorites, mac ‘n cheese caught my eye. I asked for some added Austin’s Chili Sauce in mine, and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since!
My kids on the other hand, tried their first custard ice cream and loved it!
Whether you’re driving through or staying for a few days, I highly recommend trying Austin’s Texas Hot Dogs.
If you’re traveling to Altoona and the railroads aren’t your thing, check out Fort Roberdeau just outside of town. An original lead mine fort that shipped musketballs to the east, Fort Roberdeau was built to safeguard the community from Tory and Native American raids.
Visitors can learn about the fort and take a tour in the reconstructed fort. While visiting here, I suggest leaving yourself plenty of time to learn about the fort and walk some of the nearby trails.
Benzel’s Pretzel Factory
In case you didn’t know, the world famous Pennystick pretzels are made in Altoona, fresh everyday, at the Benzel’s Pretzel Factory. Stop by their outlet store and score some low-priced deals on your favorite Benzel’s Pretzel snack. While you’re there, snap a picture with the authentic caboose outside and be sure to sample some yummy pretzel varieties inside.
My kids and I enjoyed our shopping experience inside of the Benzel’s Pretzel Factory Outlet Store. I shopped and scored some pretty amazing deals while my restless kids played in the small play area. If you’re in town, don’t forget a stop at Benzel’s to stock up on your favorite salty snacks.
Gardners Candy Shop Museum
Gardner’s Candy is a candy I absolutely adore during the holidays and I had no idea the candy originated in Tyrone, Pennsylvania – just outside of Altoona. If you’ve never heard of Gardners Candies, they don’t call themselves the World’s Best Chocolate for nothing. Makers of the original Peanut Butter Meltaway®, a creamy, smooth peanut butter dipped in rich chocolate candy, Gardners Candy is now a widely-known chocolate brand. With 10 stores in Pennsylvania, Gardners Candy will ship anywhere.
Since Gardners Candy originated in Tyrone, be sure to stop at it’s downtown location and tour the small museum and grab an ice cream inside of the ice cream parlor. The museum may not be huge, but if you love chocolate as much as I do, you will love the museum.
Delgrosso’s Amusement Park
You may have already seen the post I wrote detailing our visit to Delgrosso’s Amusement Park in Tipton, Pennyslvania, so I won’t go into much detail on this post.
Delgrosso’s is the perfect place to go while your exploring Altoona. With more than 30 rides including a Kid’s Kingdom and water park, the park has so much to offer families of all sizes. While you’re visiting be sure to stay for some yummy, affordable food.
Day 3 was our last day exploring Altoona, but unfortunately, we ran into some rain so some of our original plans got dampered. Thankfully, Altoona is full of shopping, so we took full advantage of shopping at the Logan Valley Mall, just down the road from the Fairfield Inn and Suites Hotel.
Inside of the mall, we found so many of our favorite shops and did a little back-to-school shopping.
Before we left the Logan Valley Mall, the kids had been begging to check out a place called, Tilt Studio, located on the upper level of the mall. Tilt Studio is a free-admission, pay as you play, fun area offering; laser tag, mini golf, mini bowling, and so many more attractions.
While we were there we tried a few of the attractions, but our favorite thing turned out to be the claw machines. The claw machines had all of my children’s favorite characters inside. My daughter who is obsessed My Little Pony, was more than happy to come out with 5 ponies, the staff even had to give her a bag to carry them all.
As soon as we finish up in Tilt Studio, we decided it was time to head home, but not before our final stop.
Charlotte’s Trove is the perfect place to go for a unique personal shopping experience. While you’re there, learn about Charlotte, met the owner, and be sure to grab a bite to eat. Located right outside of town in Roaring Springs, Pennsylvania, Charlotte’s Trove offers more than your traditional chain-stores.
While I was visiting, I was fortunate enough to meet the shop’s owner, who was kind enough to show me around and offer to help me find the perfect item. Unlike big chain-stores, I could tell she cared about her customers and had a great-love for her mother, whom the shop is named after.
The items you find at Charlotte’s Trove are things that you won’t find anywhere else, including; modern-clothing, jewelry, and other fun gifts. I purchased a small clutch bag while I was there and I absolutely love it.
For a unique shopping experience, Charlotte’s Trove is the perfect place to go!
The End of Our Trip
If you’re planning a trip to Altoona, three days is the perfect amount of time to explore all there is to do. If you are looking for more things to do in Altoona, be sure to check out Explore Altoona.