A Look Back at Roadside America - What Was Inside?

Saturday, January 2, 2021
Somewhere in your travels between New Jersey and Pennsylvania (especially on your way to or from Hershey from Central or Western New Jersey) you might have noticed a little place by the side of the road, aptly named Roadside America.  Have you driven past there, wondering, what exactly is Roadside America?  Sadly, after 85 years of family fun, Roadside America has closed its doors. But you can still take a look back at our visit there before they closed, and see what it was like inside this miniature wonderland.  

Come with us as we reminisce about Roadside America in Shartlesville, Pennsylvania!

Disclosure: Roadside America recently closed after serving the public for 85 years. Thank you, Roadside America, for all of the amazing memories! We hope this post helps to keep a little bit of the magic alive. 

Don't be fooled by the exterior of Roadside America! It was quite amazing inside, especially for train and miniature enthusiasts. 

Where Was Roadside America?

Roadside America was located on Roadside Drive (right off the highway) in Shartlesville, Pennsylvania.  We would often pass it on our way back from Hershey.

It was open year round and it was all indoors. We happened to visit on one of the ickiest days ever during the month of December - so icky that I didn't even want to get out of the car to take this picture.

What Could I See There?

Roadside America was billed as 'The World's Greatest Miniature Indoor Village.' If you have been to Northlandz in Flemington, you will find some similarities. The people working at Roadside America were very friendly! Roadside America was contained within one large room, whereas Northlandz is composed of different floor levels.

When you entered Roadside America you were greeted by a large souvenir shop that sold all kinds of train and miniature goodies.  After you paid your admission, you entered what was basically a large room that you could walk through to view the displays.  There were ramps that went up and down so you could see the display at different levels (it was handicapped accessible, too). 

There were buttons you could push and murals painted on the wall, and it took longer than you'd think to walk through and see everything (we were there a little over an hour, but The Jersey Momma's Boy tends to go through things pretty quickly).  The attention to detail was amazing.  The light-up buildings were beautiful.

There were waterfalls and lots of moving trains, amongst other things.

And as you walked towards the back you'd notice some bleachers, and think, 
'What are these for?'

Well, lo and behold, day turned to night at Roadside America!  You were treated to a little 'sundown show' where the lights would dim and it would become night time right before your eyes!  There was also a nice little tribute to America during the show, too.

This was our favorite part of the visit!

Was It Worth the Trip?

There are not many miniature displays like this around, so it was always worth stopping to see.  You couldn't beat the entrance price and it seemed like a little piece of 'Americana' right there on the side of the road.

Had it not been so rainy out we would have gotten out for a better funky photo op, I'm sure.  Or at least I would have. Fair thee well, Roadside America! We'll miss you. 


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