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Ohiopyle, Phipps, Fallingwater among top 10 Pennsylvania attractions

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
| Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017, 11:30 a.m.
A biker rides along the Great Allegheny Passage over the Youghiogheny River and fall foliage in Ohiopyle State Park.
Tribune-Review
A biker rides along the Great Allegheny Passage over the Youghiogheny River and fall foliage in Ohiopyle State Park.
The Winter Light Garden at Phipps Conservatory is illuminated with the Oakland skyline in the background.
Tribune-Review
The Winter Light Garden at Phipps Conservatory is illuminated with the Oakland skyline in the background.
The morning sun streaks across the Flight Path Overlook at the Flight 93 National Memorial on Sunday, April 24, 2016, in Stony Creek.
Tribune-Review
The morning sun streaks across the Flight Path Overlook at the Flight 93 National Memorial on Sunday, April 24, 2016, in Stony Creek.
Since it opened its doors to the public in 1964, Fallingwater has welcomed famous faces from all over the world.
Tribune-Review
Since it opened its doors to the public in 1964, Fallingwater has welcomed famous faces from all over the world.

If you're looking for someplace to visit in Pennsylvania, your best bet is to staying on the western side of the state, according to a USA Today Readers' Choice vote.

Southwestern Pennsylvania claimed five of the top 10 best attractions in the state:

• Ohiopyle State Park (4)

• Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens (5)

• Flight 93 National Memorial (6)

• Carnegie Museum of Natural History (9)

• Fallingwater (10)

This side of the state also can claim the No. 1 pick — Presque Isle State Park in Erie (1).

The rest of the list included: Knoebels in Elysburg, Northumberland County; (2), Pine Creek Gorge in Wellsboro, Tioga County (3); Pennsylvania Amish country in Lancaster County (7) and Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Chester County (8).

The paper asked a panel of Pennsylvania travel writers to nominate their favorite state attractions and the readers voted. The experts partnered with 10Best.com editors to pick the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 were determined by popular vote.

If you're planning some day trips this fall, here's a little about our local attractions:

Ohiopyle State Park

The overlook at Ohiopyle State Park above the falls on the Youghiogheny River.

Tribune-Review file photo

 

Located on the southern reaches of the Laurel Ridge, Ohiopyle State Park encompasses approximately 20,500 acres of rugged natural beauty and serves as the gateway to the Laurel Highlands. The park, with the Youghiogheny River Gorge as its centerpiece, attracts millions of visitors annually, many who test their whitewater boating skills on the Yough.

The park has free admission and is open every day of the year, sunrise to sunset.

Details: dcnr.pa.gov/stateparks

Phipps Conservatory

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden decorated for winter.

Tribune-Review file photo

 

The steel and glass Victorian greenhouse at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, in Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood, has been inviting visitors to explore the beauty of plants since 1893.

In recent decades, Phipps, which lies at the edge of Schenley Park, has become a strong advocate for advanced green-building practices, sustainable gardening and a new environmental awareness.

The "Winter Flower Show and Light Garden: Holiday Magic" opens Nov. 24, with glowing evergreens, more than 2,000 poinsettias, whimsical props and a stunning outdoor winter light garden.

A new garden railroad will be on view too, taking guests on a high-seas adventure to a tropical treasure-island of joke-telling pirates, gleaming treasures and chugging trains.

Phipps is open from 9:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Admission is $17.95, $16.95 for seniors (62+) and students and $11.95 for ages 2-18.

Details: phipps.conservatory.org

Flight 93 National Memorial

The Flight 93 Memorial visitors center overloks the Memorial Plaza and the crash site.

Photo by Dan Speicher

 

The memorial to the 40 passengers and crew who died while trying to take back Flight 93 from terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001, has come a long way since Congress authorized its development in 2002 at the crash site in Shanksville, Somerset County.

It is believed that the actions of the passengers and crew thwarted an attack on the U.S. Capitol.

A visitor center is open and guests can walk the Memorial Plaza along the crash site/debris field to the Wall of Names. There are over two miles of walking trails through the memorial.

Future plans include the Tower of Voices — a 93-foot tower containing 40 wind chimes at the entrance of the memorial on U.S. Route 30. The completion date is anticipated for 2018.

Admission is free. Details: nps.gov/flni

Carnegie Museum of Natural History

The "Dinosaurs in Their Time" exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History include two T.Rex fossils.

Tribune-Review file photo

 

Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Oakland was founded in 1895 by Andrew Carnegie. Today, the museum is ranked among the top five natural history museums in the country and features 20 exhibition halls, including "Dinosaurs in Their Time."

The latest exhibit, "We Are Nature: Living in the Anthropocene," opens Oct. 28. It explore the concept that human activity has had a profound and pervasive impact on the planet.

The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays-Mondays (closed Tuesdays); and until 8 p.m. Thursdays. Admission is $19.95, $14.95 for seniors (65+) and $11.95 for students with ID and children 3-18.

Details: carnegiemnh.org

Fallingwater

The house designed in 1935 in Mill Run, Fayette County, by renowned American architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) continues to attract thousans of visitors each year.

Fallingwater, designed as a weekend home for the family of department store owner Edgar J. Kaufmann Sr., is one of Wright's most widely acclaimed works and best exemplifies his philosophy of organic architecture: the harmonious union of art and nature.

In 1963, Edgar Kaufmann Jr. donated Fallingwater and the surrounding 1,543 acres to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.

Fallingwater is open to the public as a museum and is designated as a National Historic Landmark and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Treasure. The house was also named the "best all-time work of American architecture" in a poll of members of the American Institute of Architects. Since its public debut 82 years ago, more than five million visitors have toured and experienced Fallingwater. Travel + Leisure Magazine said that Fallingwater is "one of the 12 landmarks that will change the way you see the world."

Guided house tours are currently available every day except Wednesday, and less frequently during the winter months. Reservations are strongly encouraged. Admission is $30, $18 for youth.

Details: fallingwater.org

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-853-5062 or jharrop@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Jharrop_Trib.

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