Here are a few “under the radar” attractions for you to consider while you’re here in the Poconos. They’re spread around the area a bit, but we think you’ll like them all! The travel is worth it to experience the best things to do in the Poconos.
This first one is for the kids. It’s a zoo, animal park, and petting zoo! Come see alpacas, African lions, Bengal tigers, American alligators, black bears, monkeys and marmosets, camels and cockatoos, coati and capybara, lynx and leopards, warthogs, and more. Visit Turtle Town and pet, play, and have your picture taken with African tortoises or get inside the parrot aviary and feed friendly Lory parrots (small parrots from Australia and Indonesia). Feed Jethro the giraffe too, and budding young anthropologists can dig for fossils in the Dinosaur Outpost.
1475 Ledgedale Road, Lake Ariel, PA
Open daily from 10am to 6pm
If you’ve ever wondered what it was like mining coal, this is the attraction for you. The Wash Shanty Mine – or No. 9 Coal Mine – dives 1,600 feet down into the mountain and was producing Anthracite coal from 1855 until June of 1972 and is now one of the top things to do in the Poconos. Visitors can take a trip by rail down into the mine, where they can see the original 700-foot deep elevator shaft where coal was hauled up to the surface from the depths of the mine. There’s the miner’s hospital and a walk along the underground mule-way too. Located in what was originally the miner’s wash shanty, the museum’s exhibits include a variety of the miner’s original tools: picks, drills, shovels, axes, blasting tools, lamps, lunch cans, and even some of the miner’s personal belongings.
No. 9 Coal Mine
9 Dock Street, Lansford PA
Open Wednesday through Sunday from 10am to 4pm, and closed Monday and Tuesday
Did you know that Zane Gray’s first name is Pearl? And that he wanted to be a baseball player but was actually a dentist for a time? These are just a few of the interesting facts you can learn about this American writer during a visit to the museum. This small house museum sits on the banks of the Upper Delaware River, and offers a view into the life and thoughts of an iconic American writer. Zane may have been born in Ohio, but he loved Lackawaxen and lived here with his family. Even after relocating to California, he kept his Lackawaxen home, and both he and his wife Dolly are buried in the cemetery near their home. The museum is housed in the old Grey home and is part of the National Park Service. You can take a self-guided tour of the house museum where Grey memorabilia including photographs of his exploits and books are displayed in his old office and study.
Zane Grey Museum
135 Scenic Drive, Lackawaxen PA
Displaying hundreds of artifacts from the Delaware Indians this museum offers a look back into the history of the Delaware Indians (called “Lenape”) who lived here from 10,500 BC to the days the European settlers arrived. Artifacts include peace pipes over 150 years old, ancient weapons and tools, and displays include edible plants and plants for medicinal purposes. Stop by the museum’s gift shop for Native American pottery, dream catchers, jewelry and more. The shop has an extensive book section with hundreds of titles dedicated to Native Americans.
The main building is one of the oldest framed structures in the Poconos and has an interesting history on its own. Originally a farmhouse, then a boarding house and stagecoach stop, it became a speakeasy during Prohibition and then a Baptist summer camp dormitory. Rumor has it that during the Civil War the basement was used as a safe space for slaves to hide during the day while on their way to Canada.
The Pocono Indian Museum
5425 Milford Road, East Stroudsburg PA
Open daily from 10am to 6pm
Frank Frazetta was an American fantasy and sci-fi artist who died in May of 2010. He is known for his distinctive comic books, paperback book covers (like Tarzan and classics by Edgar Rice Burroughs), and album covers including Molly Hatchet’s first three albums. And his “The Death Dealer” was used by the U.S. Army III Corps as their mascot. A documentary done in 2003, Frank Frazetta: Painting with Fire, covers his life and is worth a trip to one of the best things to do in the Poconos.
His grandchildren take turns running the museum, which is housed in his home overlooking a small lake on his original 67 acre estate. The museum houses the largest collection of Frazetta’s work, including over 30 original oil paintings, and original works in watercolor, pencil, and pen & ink. His personal painting equipment, sports equipment and part of his extensive camera collection are also on display. A few of his left-handed works, done after his eighth stroke, can be viewed as well.
Frazetta Art Museum
141 Museum Road, East Stroudsburg PA
Thursday – Sunday 10am to 4pm