Visiting the Amish Experience - located halfway between Bird-in-Hand and Intercourse, Pennsylvania - provides a substantial glimpse into what it means to be Amish. Your ticket includes a tour of the Homestead and Schoolroom, plus the unique "Jacob's Choice" film experience in the F/X Theater.
The Amish Experience is designed to be just that - a complete "experience," providing visitors with an entertaining and exciting way to understand, observe and learn about the Amish.
The goal is to humanize the Amish, to show them not as curiosities or saints, but as real people of faith, faults, humor, joys, and sorrows. By visiting the Homestead and Schoolroom, and watching the visually compelling multimedia story in the theater, you can briefly experience a little of what it means to be Amish, assisted by a theatrical story with universal appeal, involving characters with whom we can all identify.
2 activities totaling approximately 90 minutes
Operating Hours April through December
10:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Saturday
11:00 am to 5:00 pm Sunday (The latest time to start either activity is 4:00 pm)
Closed weekdays in December except the 26th through the 30th
Time on availability calendar is for booking purposes only and reflects the opening time each day. You may arrive at any time during operating hours on the date of your tour.
Hotel pick-up or drop-off is not included. Please order online or call to order or for more information.
The Amish Country Homestead and Fisher Schoolroom
(touring the Homestead and Schoolroom takes about 45 minutes)
There has been an Amish house for touring since 1959. This is the only Amish house tour to have been designated an official HERITAGE SITE by Lancaster County. The Amish Country Homestead received the prestigious designation in 1999. It is the only Amish-related attraction in Lancaster to receive this honor. The determining factors in achieving this distinction are accuracy, authenticity, and interpretation.
The Amish are a living, changing culture, and every effort is made to change the furnishings of the nine-room home to reflect the lifestyle of the Amish neighbors today. The Homestead is surrounded by Amish farms. Unlike other house tours that may reflect how the Amish lived 20-30 years ago, this homestead is not designed to be a museum. Here you will get an insider’s view of what has changed, as you walk through what feels like a real, "lived-in" house.
But observing is not understanding; so your tour guide will try to answer the "why" questions, by explaining and interpreting the furnishings and clothing, from kitchen to bedroom. Why can the Amish have a bottled gas refrigerator but not an electric one? Why do they dress as they do? How are teenager clothes different from the adults, and married from unmarried? As the guide talks about 150 people worshiping at home, you hear actual Amish singing and preaching. And kids of all ages will love the marble rollers!
Through the fictional Fisher family, who visitors meet in the theater presentation, you will go through each room with a guide, learning how each family member lives. Indeed, some scenes from the show were filmed in the homestead. From a wringer washing machine operated with a gasoline engine to the popular rolling gas light, guests discover how the Amish adapt and change - not at all the timeless culture they are often portrayed to be.
Added in 2010 is the Fisher Amish Schoolroom. This allows visitors to see what the inside of an Amish one-room school is like. There are desks, blackboard, books, and supplies from an actual Amish school. The room is decorated and furnished with the help of a local Amish schoolteacher to give it an authentic feel, and guests are welcome to sit at the desks for photos. This is included in the guided walking tour of the house.
Since you cannot walk through and explore an Amish house where people actually live, this provides the next best thing. Perhaps the highest compliment came when a curious Amish neighbor toured the house to see if the developers "got it right." After walking through the nine rooms he said, "I feel like I could move in here today and be right at home."
The Amish Experience F/X Theater - "Jacob's Choice"
(the film presentation is approximately 40 minutes long)
The Experience Theater is an emotional presentation of who the Amish are, told through new media and special effect techniques. It is truly unique, only the third "experiential theater" in North America. Many visitors have called it the best presentation on the Amish they have ever seen.
The theater building itself is a striking, barn-like structure of 35 feet in height which blends well into the farmland setting. Inside, the actual theater area is an intimate space with seating for about 150 people, and designed specially for the show, creating dynamic experiential effects.
The production is not a traditional film. Rather, as the audience enters the theater, they will feel as though they are on an Amish farm. The story is told by projecting film images on 5 different areas in the theater. These screens are actual barn siding, and they can be lit from behind to later give the feeling of being in a barn for an Amish church service. A special effects area known as "Pepper's Ghost" is used to create historical characters like William Penn, and signals a journey into the past. As the story unfolds, different "environments" are created for the audience. There are special lighting, sound, and 3-D effects so the audience will, in a sense, be there with the characters. Most popular are the cannon that shoots a smoke-ring over the audience, and actual wind and rain during a storm sequence.
The story, "Jacob's Choice," deals with the difficult decision of adult baptism young people need to make - whether they will be Amish or live in the outside world. Jacob, like many Amish (and non-Amish) young people, is torn between his family and traditions, and the lure of the modern world around him. By dealing intimately with an Amish family (the Fishers), the visitor receives a glimpse into what it means to be Amish.
Through flashbacks, we see the struggles the Amish have had throughout history - from their days of martyrdom hundreds of years ago in Europe, through the perilous voyage to America when many died, right up to the contemporary Amish of today, trying to maintain a "separate" way of life in a rapidly changing modern world. As one character in the show says, "You can't understand who you are today without knowing where you've come from."
Frequently Asked Questions
How long will all this take?
It takes approximately 90 minutes to complete the two activities, depending on the start time. Theater shows begin on the hour and are scheduled once you arrive on-site. Homestead tours are also scheduled upon arrival. Some people take the homestead tour before the theater, and some after. Staff will be happy to help you decide on-site and choose the times that will work best for you.
Have I seen this movie before? I think I might have.
The Amish Experience Theater show is NOT a movie that could have been seen elsewhere. It cannot be seen anywhere else in the world except this theater, which was especially built for the show.It is not a documentary or a Hollywood movie.
What's the story, "Jacob’s Choice," about?
It deals with a young man's choice as to whether he will join the Amish church. Being born in an Amish family doesn't make you Amish. The Amish believe in adult baptism. Jacob has a car, and is torn between his Amish family and the attraction of the outside world. His grandfather Isaac reminds him that he can't live in both worlds. The audience gets to know this Amish family and will identify with the story. Scenes from Amish history are vividly brought to life using special effects, some of which have never been seen before on the East Coast. You might put yourself in Jacob's shoes and decide what you would have done had you been born into an Amish family.
Will children like it?
Families have been enjoying the Amish Experience attractions for a long time. Parents know their children best, of course, so they'll probably know their likes and dislikes. Small children may be frightened by the loud noises and special effects in the theater show. Staff can describe this in more detail on arrival, and then parents will need to make their own decisions. Many families view this as an excellent education opportunity. Children usually find the theater exciting. Parents with very small children might explain to them beforehand that there will sometimes be loud noises and smoke and fire effects which are "make believe."
What else is on the property?
There are a number of other optional activities available once you're at the farm. You can get a taste of American and local food favorites at the original and oldest family-style restaurant in Lancaster County. Typical local foods are served all-you-can-eat style at the table. Visitors may also opt to eat a la carte from an excellent menu. Wine and beer are available. The restaurant is open 7 days a week.
Amish Country bus and shuttle tours also depart from the grounds and may be available for purchase on-site. Visitors may also enjoy taking a buggy ride, seeing some of the farm animals, or shopping in the extensive barn gift shop.
Where is it located?
The property is located one and one half miles from either Bird-in-Hand or Intercourse, PA. Specifics and directions will be provided on your E-Ticket. Transportation to the farm is not included in the ticket price.
This tour is not available on weekdays in December - except from December 26-30. The facility is closed on New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Eve.
Hotel pick-up or drop-off is not included. Please order online or call to order or for more information.
There are no refunds. All sales are final.
If changes are allowed on a tour or activity, a $20.00 per reservation change fee will be applied for any change to a reservation. Please note that some tours and activities do not allow any changes. Date changes can only be made only if we can confirm availability on the new date. While we cannot guarantee any changes can be made, all change requests must be submitted a minimum of 24 hours prior to the tour departure and must be handled on an individual basis through our Reservations Center.
Use the form below to select the date for your reservation. Calendar defaults to first available date. Please verify your date selection prior to submitting your order.
If you are unable to select a date, it means the tour is unavailable on that date.