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SCRANTON, PA – Thanks to the price of gas, the cost of food, and the economy in general, more and more people are choosing to stay near home for their vacations. Internet bloggers have coined a new word to describe this trend - "Staycation"! Staycations seem to be the latest trend in family-oriented "time away" vacations. Basically, a "staycation" is a vacation from work, taken at home. Many people are choosing to spend time with their families and do activities that are close to home rather than drive all over the country. With gas prices setting a new high nearly every day and air fares on the rise, summer vacation travelers will feel the pinch in their wallets this year. Touring local sites, rather than spending mass amounts of money to get to a typical vacation destination is becoming the norm. This year would be a good time to dial down the distance you plan to travel and stay closer to home, experts say, and Steamtown National Historic Site in downtown Scranton, PA is just the ticket!
Become a tourist in your own hometown, and learn about the role that steam railroading played in the development of the United States at this multifaceted National Historic Site. The indoor complex of museums and exhibits is air-conditioned for summer comfort. You can enjoy an 18-minute video in the 250-seat Surround Sound Theater, and then explore the History Museum where you may also walk through a Railway Post Car and a railroad Business Car.
At the Technology Museum, you can view exhibits that explain how a steam locomotive works, hear some of the whistle signals railroaders use to communicate, see how track is built and learn about railroad architecture and safety. In this museum, you can also learn about different types of freight cars at the Boxcar Theater, and get aboard a real caboose.
In the center of the museum complex is a turntable that is used twice daily when locomotives are in service. The "Scranton Limited" train rides operate in the Steamtown Yards daily at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m., and at 1:30 and 2:15 p.m., Wednesdays through Sundays in June, September, October and November, and daily during July and August, 2008. This 30-minute ride through the Scranton Yards crosses the Lackawanna River and will take passengers past the former DL&W Locomotive Erecting Shops, Railroad Express Agency building, and the Radisson at Lackawanna Station Hotel which is celebrating its centennial anniversary. Or if you wish, on Saturdays in July and August, take a steam powered main line excursion to either Moscow or Tobyhanna, PA.
Join Ranger guided tours of the locomotive shops, turntable demonstrations and see how steam locomotives are maintained. The kids can have a great time taking part in special programs in our recently opened "Imagination Station Children's Discovery Center" and can also have fun becoming a Junior Ranger. Check our web site for program schedules.
And don’t worry about lunch. Pack your coolers and take advantage of the numerous picnic areas located throughout the park.
But best of all, on average, a family of four can enjoy all of these programs and spend the entire day at Steamtown for as little as $24.00.
Located in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Steamtown is open daily from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. From I-81, follow exit 185 (Central Scranton Expressway); then, follow the signs to the main entrance at Lackawanna and Cliff Avenues. Additional details regarding interpretive and educational programs and activities may be obtained by calling (570) 340-5200 or toll free (888) 693-9391 during regular business hours, or by visiting the Steamtown web site at www.nps.gov/stea anytime!