Small Destination, Big Adventures—Altoona, PA

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© Courtesy of Explore Altoona

Located within the heart of Pennsylvania’s Alleghenies, Altoona/Blair County offers a highly distinctive variety of authentic experiences. Rather unique, iconic sites and opportunities to explore include a vast spectrum of interests, including railroading heritage, history, outdoor recreation, a blossoming arts and culture scene and classic family fun!

America’s only interactive railroaders museum, the Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum, tells the story of the railroader’s life and how the railroader intrinsically cultivated the fabric and culture of a hardworking community. Housed in the historic original Master Mechanics building of the Pennsylvania Railroad, this landmark offers three floors of interactive environments, a rich array of artifacts, and colourful orientation films.

The museum’s sister site, the World Famous Horseshoe Curve National Historic Landmark, is the only place in the world where one can observe trains traversing a mountain range, the Alleghenies, in the literal shape of a horseshoe. Known as one of the eight engineering marvels of the world, this monumental transportation project was built by hand by 450 Irish immigrants over five years beginning in 1849. Because Altoona was such a vital railroad centre transporting military supplies and soldiers at the time, the city and the Horseshoe Curve were on the Nazis’ hit list during World War II. Each of these sites portrays the history of that challenging period.

Blair County’s place in history comes to life at Baker Mansion, the only Greek-Temple style home in Pennsylvania, which has gone through an extensive interior renovation and is known as the site serving as an inspiration for the CBS series Ghosts, written by Altoona native Joe Port, who grew up in the same neighbourhood as the Mansion. Another iconic historical site is Fort Roberdeau, America’s westernmost Revolutionary War site. This replica fort is on the site built to protect lead miners who provided ammunition for the Continental Army during America’s war for independence from England. It is situated in beautiful Sinking Valley, home to many Amish markets and one of the richest agricultural regions in Pennsylvania.

© Courtesy of Explore Altoona

Additional experiences offer stellar outdoor recreational opportunities and beautiful green spaces to explore. Discover Canoe Creek State Park, chosen by the PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources as one of the “Twenty Must-See State Parks,” with abundant water and land-based recreation, a picturesque 155-acre lake and the historic, iconic Blair Limestone Kilns.

It aligns with the September 11th National Memorial Trail, which is evolving into an unbroken 1,300-mile system of roads, trails, and greenways that link the three national 9/11 memorials in NYC, DC, and PA. This Trail aligns with the path of the Lower Trail, the Six-to-Ten Trail and the Mainline Canal Greenway and traverses through Blair County’s three trail towns—Hollidaysburg, Williamsburg, and Duncansville.

Classic family fun includes DelGrosso’s Park and Laguna Splash Water Park, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Herschell-Spillman carousel in 2024. The park is part of a family of companies that are the oldest family-owned pasta sauce producers in America and boasts the only Italian-themed water park in America, Laguna Splash.

Top it off with exciting minor league baseball with the Altoona Curve, ‘AA’ affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, housed at Peoples Natural Gas Field, known as one of the Mid Atlantic’s most sensational baseball stadiums, and Slinky Action Zone, an indoor family fun center featuring a new two-tier laser tag arena in the hometown of the original Slinky; and a scenic train excursion through the beautiful Alleghenies aboard the Everett Railroad!

Blair County is the ultimate Small Destination with Big Adventures, each showcasing a distinctive variety; for these experiences and more, visit explorealtoona.com!

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Located within the heart of Pennsylvania’s Alleghenies, our destination offers a distinctive variety of authentic visitor experiences from classic family fun, extensive railroading history and heritage, to an expanding performing and visual arts scene, all of this within outstanding outdoor recreational green spaces.

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