Tiny World Is A Small But Mighty Attraction In Franklin County PA

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The Franklin County Visitors Bureau recommends Tiny World on Rice Road in Shippensburg--on view year-round, but a special sight decorated for the holidays.

Tiny World was created in 1985 after Ernest Helm retired.

Tiny World is on Rice Road in Shippensburg and is decorated for the holidays.

Although the small structures can be seen throughout the year, visiting them at night in December is an extra-special experience. Christmas lights and other decorations help bring the buildings to life, creating an atmosphere of holiday cheer.

Just as Robert Frost suggested taking the "road less traveled," the Franklin County Visitors Bureau suggests exploring "the less traveled" Rice Road in Shippensburg for a holiday surprise. This quiet trip through the fields of northern Franklin County offers a small but memorable surprise--Tiny World. Tiny World is a miniature town that takes on a magical appeal when decorated for Christmas.

In 1985, Ernest Helm retired from his Chambersurg workplace and devoted his energy to creating “Tiny World." The first structure was a Victorian-style “cat house” for the enjoyment of felines who roamed his property. It wasn’t long before he began building other miniature structures, and within a few years, an entire town had taken shape.

Helm and his family members knew they had created something special when people driving by started stopping their cars before getting out and looking around. Seeing scaled-down versions of common community sights such as a fire hall, courthouse and general store undoubtedly captured the attention of these unexpected guests. A retired man’s hobby had officially become a roadside attraction.

Helm’s daughter and son-in-law helped keep Tiny World operating for nearly 20 years. Donna Myers adds wallpaper and other furnishings to help ensure each building is as authentic as possible. Her husband, Wendell, points out that they’re all handmade, using real shingles and genuine siding.

Although the small structures can be seen throughout the year, visiting them at night in December is an extra-special experience. Christmas lights and other decorations help bring the buildings to life, creating an atmosphere of holiday cheer. Hot chocolate is available for guests to enjoy, and a detailed train exhibit is set up in what normally serves as a storage shed.

School field trips to Tiny World are also scheduled at this time of the year. Wendell Myers says students are only a few of the names on the guest list that continue to surprise him.

“We get calls from people who have questions about our hours of operation or what the weather is like in our area because they’re preparing to make a two-hour trip to visit us. It makes me think, ‘Really? You’re coming all that way just to see this?’ It’s amazing.”

Tiny World is open from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. on weeknights and 5:00 – 10:00 on weekends. The holiday display will be up and running through the first week of January. Admission is free, but donations are accepted.

The Franklin County Visitors Bureau invites all to explore Franklin County PA and enjoy the history, arts and entertainment, recreation and natural beauty, and the fresh foods and warm hospitality of charming communities like Chambersburg, Greencastle, Mercersburg, Shippensburg, and Waynesboro. Franklin County PA is located just north of the Mason Dixon Line and an easy drive to Washington DC, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. Discover more....plan your visit at ExploreFranklinCountyPA.com or by contacting 866.646.8060.

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Janet Pollard

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