Free pastimes for those with free time

Diane Gallagher
Features Writer

If you are looking for something to do on your down time that won’t break your piggybank, you are in luck, because Lancaster County has many free activities that you can take full advantage of now that spring has arrived.
If you are a lover of the arts, you may enjoy visiting Bube’s Brewery’s Art Gallery, located at 102 North Market St., Mount Joy. The Brewery Gallery presents visual arts including sculpture, painting, drawing, assembling, photography and installation. The gallery is open every day from noon to 9 p.m. and until 11 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
“I haven’t been there recently, but the time I did go I liked the artwork, there is a lot of other fun things to do there, just not for free,” said Kyle Smith.
Once your visit to the Brewery Gallery leaves you craving more art, you may consider visiting the Demuth Museum, located at 120 East King St., Lancaster. The museum features six rotating exhibitions, tours of the restored 1700s home and painting studio of Lancaster’s most famous resident and world famous artist, Charles Demuth.
The museum has 35 of Demuth’s original pieces, as well as a chance to experience for yourself the surroundings in which Demuth created his more than 1,000 watercolors, drawings and architectural oils. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. It is closed on Mondays and major holidays.
Want to take a trip back in time? You can do so by visiting some of Lancaster County’s historic covered bridges, sometimes referred to as “kissing bridges” because of the many couples who have strolled across them over the years. There are 25 covered bridges in Lancaster County; if you visit this website, http://www.padutchcountry.com/activities/c…iving-tours.asp, you will find five different driving tours that provides you with the location of the bridge as well as a brief history of each bridge.

Though it is located next door to Hershey Park, the Chocolate World tour is free of charge and takes you through the process of making chocolate.
Though it is located next door to Hershey Park, the Chocolate World tour is free of charge and takes you through the process of making chocolate.

Love salty snacks and want to learn more about them? Take the Herr’s Snack Factory tour located at 271 Old Baltimore Pike in Nottingham and you will learn all about your favorite salty treats. Herr’s Snack Factory Tour is an experience that includes the history of Herr’s, a guided tour and tasting fresh made potato chips at the end of the tour.
On your tour you will learn little-known facts, such as how a pretzel gets its brown color, what makes a great chipping potato and how tortilla chips get their seasoning. Tours run Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Friday 9 a.m. to 11a.m. Go to http://www.herrs.com/snackfactorytours.html to schedule your tour.
If potato chips are not the salty snack you crave, you could always visit the Intercourse Pretzel Factory, located at 3614 Old Philadelphia Pike in Intercourse. You will learn how to twist a pretzel on this tour as well as be entertained with pretzel trivia. They have an ever-changing schedule for tours so be sure to check their website (http://www.intercoursepretzelfactory.com/grouptours.php) before visiting.
Maybe you’re not a fan of salty snacks. If that’s the case, then Hershey’s Great American Chocolate Tour is the perfect factory tour for you and your sweet tooth. It is located at 251 Park Blvd. in Hershey. The tour begins in a tropical rainforest where cocoa beans grow and are harvested. Then, follow their journey to America and their delivery to Hershey, Pa. The cocoa beans continue through a simulated chocolate factory where you’ll delight your senses with the delicious transformation from bean to milk chocolate. There is a free chocolate sample waiting for you at the end of the tour. Visit their website (http://www.hersheys.com/chocolateworld/visitor-info) for tour hours of operation.
If the stress of deadlines and pending exams is getting to you, take a break and visit Hayloft Candles’ petting zoo, locate at 99 S. Groffdale Road in Leola. You are welcome to come pet and feed the animals. They have both barnyard and exotic animals for you to see. There are donkeys, a llama, pot belly pigs and rabbits, just to name a few types of creatures. Bring a picnic lunch with you and you can enjoy the lake with fountains, ducks and swans.
Hayloft Candles’ hours of operation currently are Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and closed on Sundays. From May through August they will be open Monday through Wednesday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Thursday and Friday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Check their website (http://hayloftcandles.com/) for their hours as they change with the seasons.

Conveniently located off Harrisburg Pike, Long’s Park is an 80-acre park, including a petting zoo and walking paths. During the summer months, there are often outdoor concerts.
Conveniently located off Harrisburg Pike, Long’s Park is an 80-acre park, including a petting zoo and walking paths. During the summer months, there are often outdoor concerts.

Maybe it is outdoors activities you are seeking. If so visit Long’s Park located at 1441 Harrisburg Pike in Lancaster. This 80 acre park offers a petting zoo, a spring fed lake, walking paths, tennis and basketball courts and many free events held throughout the year. Check their website to learn more about all of the upcoming events being held at the park.
Katrina Webb said, “I love Long’s Park in the summer months; there is live music almost every week.”
You do not have to spend a lot of money to have fun. All of the above activities are 100 percent free of charge; however, each location has restaurants and/or gift shops nearby or on location in case you want to plan a whole day out. Now get out there and enjoy Lancaster County.