Located just a few miles outside the heart of downtown Scranton is one of the most beautiful city parks in all of Pennsylvania: Nay Aug Park. As the city’s largest park, there are obviously many things to do here, but I was surprised to find out what a great destination this was for visitors to the city.
In the past, Nay Aug Park has been home to both an amusement park and a zoo, both of which are gone today. However, what’s still there is definitely worth checking out. Here are my top five things to do in Scranton’s Nay Aug Park.
Hike Through Nay Aug Gorge
Nay Aug Gorge is probably the most well-known part of the park. This gorge has been cut by Roaring Brook and offers ample opportunities for great views while hiking.
Trails primarily run along the western banks for the creek below, though there are creeks on the far bank. The primary destination for hikers along these trails is Nay Aug Falls. This 22-foot tall waterfall is one of the most powerful waterfalls that you’ll find in the state and should always have at least some water flow, even in the late summer.
There are two viewing platforms for the falls, one on each bank. The hike to the far bank of Roaring Brook is especially scenic as the trail crosses the creek through a modern covered bridge, known as the Paul Kanjorski Bridge.
Go for a Dip in the Swimming Pool
If you’re looking to cool off on a summer day, Nay Aug Park is home to two Olympic-size swimming pools. These pools offer visitors a chance to take a dip on a hot summer day and even feature two water slides and diving boards.
It’s worth noting that, while you may see people cliff jumping into the waters below Nay Aug Falls, this is not only illegal, but very dangerous. If you want to cool off, avoid that brook and head to the beautiful swimming pools.
Explore the Everhart Museum
The Everhart Museum is located near the entrance to Nay Aug Park and offers visitors a great chance to explore a wide variety of subjects. Founded in 1908, the Everhart Museum is the largest public museum in northeastern Pennsylvania.
The museum runs the gamut from natural history to art. They have an especially good collection of taxidermied birds from around the world and American folk art. The Everhart Museum has done a great job combining many different facets of their collection into a relatively small space without the museum feeling like it covers too many subjects.
For more information about visiting, check out my full article on the Everhart Museum.
Check out the Many Roadside Attractions
There are a variety of interesting monuments and oddities scattered throughout Nay Aug Park. Next to the Everhart Museum is the gated entrance to the old Brooks Coal Mine, along with a rusting coal car and train car.
The park used to be home to a zoo that was considered one of the worst in the country, and, while the zoo is no longer there, the building, complete with cages and animal statues still stands across the street from the treehouse.
There are also many monuments in the park, including a 9/11 monument, and ones for World War 1, the Vietnam War, and the Constitution, to name a few.
There are many more interesting things to look at in the park, and it’s well worth walking or driving through the park to see some of these interesting curiosities.
Visit the David Wenzel Tree House
Located above the Nay Aug Gorge is the David Wenzel Tree House. Opened in 2007, this treehouse offers a nice view of the gorge below and is completely handicapped-accessible. While there isn’t much to do in the treehouse other than look at the view, it’s still a nice place to visit.
The treehouse also provides a nice vantage point for anyone that doesn’t want to hike down into the gorge. Unfortunately, trees block much of the view, and the treehouse is closed during the winter when the bare trees might actually allow for a decent view. However, if you have a chance, this is a fun and unique way to peer into the surrounding forests.
Holiday Light Spectacular
Every year from mid-November through early January, visit Nay Aug Park after dark for the Holiday Light Spectacular.
This free drive-through Christmas light display offers visitors nearly a mile of beautiful holiday lights featuring scenes including Santa and his elves, the 12 Days of Christmas, and even the Scranton Electric City Sign.
This is truly one of the most festive things to do in PA at Christmas.