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Roadside America, Shartlesville

4.5
#58 of 361 in Museums in Pennsylvania
Specialty Museum · Museum
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Roadside America was an indoor miniature village and railway covering 8,000 square feet (740 m2). Created by Laurence Gieringer in 1935, it was first displayed to the public in his Hamburg, Pennsylvania, home. The miniature village's popularity increased after stories were published about it in local newspapers, which prompted Gieringer to move it to a recently-closed local amusement park called Carsonia Park. This location, which supported more visitors, was open from 1938 to about 1940. To accommodate growing interest and build a larger display, Geringer then purchased land at what would be the miniature village's final location, a former dance hall in Shartlesville, Pennsylvania off of Interstate 78, approximately 20 mi (32 km) west of the Lehigh Valley, where the display reopened in 1953.
After being closed since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Roadside America announced on November 21, 2020, that they were closing permanently after trying, unsuccessfully, to find a buyer for the past three years, and that they would be auctioning off the display.
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Roadside America reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
320 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • First visit was 1967 and it was amazing. We talked with the owner and he explained it was an ongoing project which would never be finished. He was doing for his son who loved trains. His son was in... 
    First visit was 1967 and it was amazing. We talked with the owner and he explained it was an ongoing project which would never be finished. He was doing for his son who loved trains. His son was in...  more »
  • Despite passing this quite frequently, I never stop often enough. This is the kind of old-school, low-tech roadside entertainment that is sadly becoming harder to find these days. While it's easy to.....  more
    Despite passing this quite frequently, I never stop often enough. This is the kind of old-school, low-tech roadside entertainment that is sadly becoming harder to find these days. While it's easy to.....  more »
Google
  • This place is monstrous fun. Picture your favorite neighbor’s train table (or your own) spread out over 7500 SF. I visited this place when I was a kid, and it’s just as much fun as an adult. The displays are lovingly maintained and there are numerous vignettes you can get lost in. There’s even an airport! Make sure you’re there long enough for day to turn into night - I think it’s about every half hour or so. And walk around the whole place, or you miss a lot.
  • This place was pretty amazing, I honestly wasn't expecting it to be since the place is so small but the little village was beautiful! This is a great place to take kids who love trains. I especially enjoyed the night view and music. My kids loved the trains and how they could control the trains or trolley with a push of a button, they did not want to leave. I love how detailed it was and the beautiful little pond with the fish, will definitely bring the kids back again.

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