Indoor Adventures: Phil’s Burrow, Swift Safariland, and More

While most of my outdoors-related endeavors take place in the outdoors, there are times when an indoor adventure suits me just fine.

Particularly when the cold and snow reach levels that make enjoying the activity nearly impossible.

Fortunately, our region provides a number of places to have an outdoors adventure indoors, such as Phil’s Burrow.

The Weather Capital of the World is home to Phil’s Burrow, located in the Punxsutawney Memorial Library at 300 East Mahoning Street.

Punxsutawney Phil and family are there in a climate controlled environment.

The rock structures that are in the back are man-made burrows. These burrows are Phil’s favorite place to sleep.

Punxsutawney Phil can be seen from dawn to dusk daily from outside or from inside the Library.

Another place of indoor place of interest is the Tionesta Fish Hatchery, located in Forest County, off Route 62, just north of Tionesta.

(Pictured above: West Forest students at Tionesta Fish Hatchery.)

Built in 1928, the hatchery, which is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., is open for free tours year round. The hatchery raises muskellunge, walleye and steelhead fingerlings for stocking the Commonwealth waters.

The facility consists of earthen ponds, exterior curvilinear concrete raceways, a hatchery building that contains concrete and fiberglass interior raceways, circular tanks, and egg incubator jars.

Another indoor adventure is Swift Safariland, located in the back of Long Shot’s Gun Shop, located off Route 28 in Fairmount City, near New Bethlehem.

This museum features more than 100 animal trophies from around the world.

Some of these trophies include an elephant, grizzly bear, lions, and much more. The story behind each hunt is what makes this museum special. Almost all of the animals were taken by owner Vincent Dougherty with his .220 Swift.

The Dougherty family opened the impressive complex in September 2016.

The first thing you’ll notice upon entering the store is the huge selection of rifles and shotguns on the walls and just about everything for the shooting sports on the shelves.

The display cases are well stocked with handguns. You can even rent a used handgun for some shooting fun in their indoor range featuring both 25- and 50-yard target lanes.

Entering Safariland, the first thing that catches the eye is a massive African warrior statue in the center of the room.

To the right is a wall lined with large antlered animals like elk, red stag, whitetail and mule deer. To the left is beautiful mountain scene with a life-size grizzly bear and trophies found at high elevations including tahr, sheep, and goats.

The main and rear walls are painted with beautiful murals of African landscapes and adorned with trophies from “the dark continent” including elephant, hippo, lion, cape buffalo, crocodile and many plains game species.

In Cherrytree Township, Venango County, the Drake Well Museum and Park are open on weekends from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day.

The Drake Well struck oil in 1859, launching an industry that has forever shaped our modern world.

Using orientation films, exhibits, operating oil field machinery, historic buildings and more, Drake Well Museum and Park tells the story of the petroleum industry’s birth in Pennsylvania and its growth into the global enterprise it is today.

Visitors to the museum’s 240-acre site enjoy a variety of special events, educational programs, membership, volunteer, shopping and recreational experiences.

If you are looking to learn about all things elk, the Elk Country Visitor Center in Benezette, Elk County, is open on weekends from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. from January through March.

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(Photo courtesy Elk County Visitor Center.)


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