You may think you’ve seen the Lancaster County countryside before, but you haven’t seen it like this.
Lancaster County looks a little different when you are standing 100 feet off the ground, looking down.
It’s a view now available at Penn Township-based Kreider Farms, which in late May opened a public observation tower at the top of a 100-foot-tall silo.
The new attraction gives visitors a 360-degree view of the county.
The silo, possibly the largest cylindrical grain silo ever moved in U.S. history, is now part of a 90-minute tour Kreider Farms offers at its multifaceted agribusiness.
The silo also features 78 high-efficiency color LED lights, which can be controlled to change colors for seasons and events, according to a news release.
“There’s real value in agri-tourism, as it give folks an opportunity to see, touch and feel agriculture and to see who’s feeding them,” said Russell Redding, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, who went on to describe Lancaster County as an “epicenter of agriculture and tourism.”
New attractions, such as the silo, give travelers reasons to come back to Lancaster again. The variety of attractions also boosts first-time visitors, according to Joel Cliff, spokesperson for Discover Lancaster, the official marketing organization for Lancaster County.
“Repeat and new business are important markets for us, so fresh investment is critical to attracting both segments,” Cliff said.
The tourism industry is the fifth-largest private-sector, non-agriculture employer in Lancaster County.
Discover Lancaster recently released its 2015 tourism industry numbers, which revealed that in 2015, tourism in Lancaster County generated $2.64 billion and attracted an estimated 8.34 million visitors.
Both numbers were up by more than 2 percent over 2014.
Cliff attributed the growth to several investments including the renovation of the North Museum of Nature and Science and the Lancaster Country Club’s role in hosting the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open.
Kreider Farms is just one example of a business investing in the tourism industry for 2016.
In Strasburg Township, the Strasburg Rail Road added a new train ride last summer. This is the first full year the ride will be operational.
The investment for labor and parts was about $6,000, according to spokesperson Hope Graby.
The new ride is called the Pinball Pendolino Train. The train contains 12 vintage pinball machines, and it randomly tilts as it travels.
Adding new events and rides attracts a variety of people who might not have been interested otherwise, according to Graby.
“The impact is great in that it allows us to cater to a different type of visitor,” Graby said.
An estimated 300,000 people visit the Strasburg Rail Road each year, which is America’s oldest short-line railroad.