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Quick Preview: 2020 Lancaster Tourism

Local Stories , Chamber Updates
January 16 2020
This article first appeared in Thriving! magazine and was written by Tony Gorick, Creative Services Manager at the Lancaster Chamber. Thriving! magazine is a quarterly magazine by the Lancaster Chamber published by Hoffman Publishing Group. Explore the new January 2020 issue in its entirety online here

Lancaster County has been known for attracting multitudes of visitors over the decades. However, while previous visitors were focused primarily on Amish country, the new wave of tourists are looking for other varying layers of engaging experiences. From exploring the rooftop at Tellus360 where diverse cuisines are offered from around the globe, to participating in the Fire and Ice festival in Lititz where a chili cookoff heats up a rather chilly frozen ice sculpture paradise, there are many different opportunities waiting for the lover of wanderlust.

 “We’re excited about a number of new additions to our tourism landscape in 2020,” says Joel Cliff, Director of Communications at Discover Lancaster.

Next year looks to build on the excitement and freshness of 2019 with new directions.

“We continue to see expanding visitor interest especially in foodie tourism, outdoor recreation, and local experiences, and we have wonderful offerings to take advantage of these opportunities,” says Cliff. “This dynamic should help maintain our multi-billion dollar industry as one of the prime economic drivers for Lancaster County in 2020 and beyond.”

One of the attractions getting the most buzz is the Cartoon Network Hotel—the first-ever hotel for the brand debuting here in Lancaster in January 2020.

“Fans of Cartoon Network will see that we have really paid attention to the details—you'll see animation featuring some nostalgic cartoon favorites in unexpected places, hand drawn sketches from artists and animators, and food inspired from your favorite shows,” says Diana Bernardo, General Manager at the Cartoon Network Hotel. “Lancaster County has always been a favorite tourist destination, and I believe our hotel will give families even more to do in Lancaster, no matter the time of year. When we have had local events, almost everyone has come up to us saying that even though they live nearby, they cannot wait to stay with us. It inspired us to offer 'Staycation' Packages just for Lancaster County residents!”

Guests can experience an array of exciting opportunities—from taking a dip in the pool inspired by Adventure Time to gaming in the Ben 10 Omnicade, there is enough interactive experiences for both kids and adults to enjoy.  

“The Cartoon Network Hotel is unlike anything this County or region has ever seen and we are confident we will bring wonderful value to our guests,” adds Bernardo. “We have seen great interest, locally and nationally, from members of multiple generations who each love something about Cartoon Network.”

While there are too many up and coming attractions, restaurants, and experiences to note, it’s worth encouraging you to explore all that Lancaster has to offer—from traditional to revolutionized experiences.

Eric Kazda, from Lancaster Virtual Reality Lounge, is excited to take a cutting edge approach to tech experience.

“Virtual Reality is the natural, and now realized, evolution of gaming, entertainment, consumption of information, and completion of tasks,” says Kazda. “While we are primarily an arcade, we are excited that the Lancaster Virtual Reality Lounge is at the forefront of this revolution and is providing a platform for the public to experience VR firsthand without an enormous expense.”

The VR experience can range from top games, to exploring the world around us.

“It is perfect for people of all ages and backgrounds,” says Kazda. “We have experiences of all types, from traditional games to walking around the Earth in Google Earth VR—and everything in between.”

For other new up-and-coming changes for Lancaster tourism in 2020, check out the below 2020 plans and reflect back on some of what 2019 had to offer. Always keep on the lookout for hidden gems and surprising experiences—they are literally around almost every corner of this great County.

2020 Preview from Discover Lancaster:

*this is in no way an all-inclusive list. Keep on the look out for even more amazing spots opening all across our County in 2020 and beyond!

  • Scheduled to open in early 2020, the Lititz Shirt Factory – an entertainment/event venue in a historic renovation. 
  • Scheduled to open in early 2020: interactive construction trade section at Hands-On House.
  • Cartoon Network’s first hotel, right next door to Dutch Wonderland park, will be the first ever hotel from the brand and will debut here in January 2020.
  • Scheduled to open in spring 2020: the Snyder Gallery of Colonial decorative arts at Rock Ford Plantation. 
  • New original shows at Sight & Sound (Queen Esther, March 14th) and American Music Theatre (Britain’s Best, May 5th).
  • Significant expansion of the Fulton Theatre: slated for completion in November 2020, that adds in-house apartments for cast, expanded lobby area, and much more.
  • Magic & Wonder Show has purchased the old Rainbow Comedy Playhouse and will be opening it as Magic & Wonder Theatre in 2020.

A Reflection On 2019:

  • Opened in March 2019, Decades is a six-lane boutique bowling alley and arcade with a full-service restaurant and bar.  Located in the historic Stahr Armory in Lancaster City, the venue evokes nostalgia with class in a 90-year-old 15,000 square foot gymnasium filled with amusement and cocktails.
  • Refreshing Mountain Retreat’s new 35+-foot tall Climbing Tower with seven climbing routes & two racing routes opened in Stevens in March 2019.
  • The re-located, enlarged, and renamed Zoetropolis Cinema Stillhouse in Lancaster City has been opening in phases over 2018-19 – mainly more theater space in 2018, but in April 2019 they added a new restaurant & micro-distillery.
  • Dutch Wonderland amusement park just outside Lancaster City made upgrades to its Duke’s Lagoon waterplay area in May 2019, including several new play structures.  

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