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A Mom’s Guide to Surviving the Great American Outdoor Show with Kids

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Looking for something fun to do this week? Why not take a trip to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for the World’s Largest Outdoor Show – The Great American Outdoor Show. The nine day event runs from February 3-11 and features over 650,000 square feet of vendors and fun for the whole family.

Bring the kids for some fun at Eddie Eagle Kid Zone, watch Dockdogs, or meet and have your picture taken with celebrities.

Planning a Visit to The Great American Outdoor Show with Kids

While there are many reasons you may want to bring the kids to The Great American Outdoor Show, there are a few things you should know before you go. To make sure you and your family have the best time, I have put together this list of tips that I wish I had known before my I went with my three kids.

Admission for Kids is as low as $7

Depending on your child’s age, children ages 6-12 can get into the show for as low as $7 while kids 5 and under can get free admission.

Bring your own Snacks

While the Great American Outdoor Show has food vendors, food selection for kids is very limited and a bit expensive. If you eat inside the show, drinks can cost an upward of $4 and this soft pretzel was $4, while a bag of cotton candy was $5. If your kids are picky eaters, like mine, you may find the food selection very limited. Be sure to pack your own snacks, if you are trying to save money because you are allowed to bring them inside.

Make sure your children are well rested, bring the stroller

As I previously mentioned, the Great American Outdoor Show is the World’s Largest Outdoor show, so be prepared to do a LOT of walking – 650,000 square feet to be exact. If you have little ones small enough to be in a stroller, I highly recommend bringing one. The show is very busy, so keeping your kids with you at all times will be easier with a stroller or small wagon. And, if you’re little ones are prone to getting tired quickly, a stroller will help keep you from having to carry them.

Plan a Visit to Eddie Eagle Kid’s Zone

Not everything in the show will be fun for the kids. There are a lot of vendors there selling things like fishing charters and hunts, while others like Chevrolet and Ram only offer things for the adults. Be sure to let your children stop by Eddie Eagle Kid’s Zone. Although, it is a relatively small area, kids can play basketball, learn and even walk away with a small prize.

Enjoy the Show

The Great American Outdoor Show has so many things going on throughout the day, that you have to stop and take the time to watch them. While we were there we got a glimpse of the Dockdog show and the kids loved it. Some of the other things going on that your kids will love is a trout pond, where for an extra $5 your kids can fish for trout, a wall climbing wall, and even a really cool NRA Country Concert going on this Saturday, Feb. 10th featuring Granger Smith and LOCASH. (the concert cost extra)


If you’re not sure about where to park for the Great American Outdoor Show, you have a couple options. Pay $10 and park at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center or park for free at the Bass Pro Shop and take a shuttle. The Bass Pro Shop is a few miles down the road, and when we visited the mall, the lines were extremely long. If you have little ones, I recommend just paying the $10 and parking at the expo center as it will be easier and less stressful.*

So, how many of you have visited the Great American Outdoor Show and what were your thoughts?

After visiting the Great American Outdoor Show, have more fun by visiting the nearby Hershey Chocolate World.

*There are other parking options, but the two I mentioned are the ones that I think are the best options. As some of the other parking options still cost $10 and require a shuttle.

Disclosure: Although, I received a press pass, I did not receive complimentary tickets and was not required to post for the show. All opinions in this post are from my actual experience.

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