We had planned to go to Dorney Park this past weekend, and when the weather forecast started looking decidedly iffy, I started Googling around to see what else might be fun to do in the area, but indoors.
And while the fish hatchery is definitely not indoors, the Google search was how I found it to begin with.
And what a fun, quirky, and unusual little stop!
It was fairly simple to find, although your GPS might direct you to the parking lot for the Museum of Indian Culture, which is actually right after the fish hatchery. That being said, a quick u-turn and we were pulling into the gravel driveway to find a parking space minutes later.
Over 27 acres of property, it is a peaceful and tranquil spot where you can let your kids roam without worry. It is the oldest, continuously operating trout nursery in the nation, and is open 365 days a year. There are a few picnic tables and benches, but the highlights are the outdoor cement pools that house the trout nursery. In the back of the property, there is a little white house where you can purchase bags of fish food (small bags are just fifty cents) and feed the trout, which the kids loved. Just a forewarning, when you walk into the white house, there is some serious taxidermy inside. I wasn’t expecting it, and all those little eyeballs totally caught me off guard.
As soon as you sprinkle the little pellets into the water, the trout swarm to the top and the flurry of activity is pretty awesome to watch (I shot a quick video here). The hatchery has been in operation for over 100 years, and the trout that are raised here are mainly used to stock the rivers when fishing season starts.
There is a restroom (glorified port-a-john) on the property, and cold bottles of water are also sold in the little white house. Free parking and no admission fee makes this the perfect little stop when you’re on a day trip and need to stop and stretch your legs, or happen to be in the area. We spent about an hour here, and the kids easily would have stayed for longer.
*Just one note, the food left a slight oily residue on our hands that had a, um, unique, smell that seriously didn’t come off until the next day, despite many hand scrubbings. Although we didn’t notice a fishy smell when we were there, we noticed our clothes had a bit of eau de fish afterwards too. So just a little note in case you’re going somewhere fancy afterwards. ;)
Allentown Fish Hatchery
2901 Fish Hatchery Road
Allentown, PA 18103