Here are seven things you probably didn't know about State College and Penn State.

1. Penn State began as an agricultural college

200 acres of land was donated to help build the school by ironmaster Moses Thompson, who resided in the now historic Centre Mansion from 1842-1891. The school, originally named The Farmers’ High School, was built in 1855.

2. The term Nittany is derived from the local American Indians meaning “single mountain.”

According to Penn State’s website, “the phrase matches the distinction of the mountain that separates Penns Valley and Nittany Valley.” Colonial settlers in the 1700’s eventually named it Nittany Mountain.
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3. State College’s 4th of July fireworks are among the best in the country

A national fireworks guide rated the State College 4th Fest Fireworks as the “3rd Largest, Biggest and Best,” 4th Of July Fireworks show in the country. Plan your next summer vacation to Happy Valley and experience these outstanding fireworks and 4th Fest first hand.

4. America’s Only All-Water Cavern and Wildlife Park is in nearby Centre Hall

Penn’s Cave and Wildlife Park is not only a great educational trip to take with the family; it’s one of a kind. Nowhere else in the country will you find a all water cavern in conjunction with a wildlife park. As you take the one-hour boat tour, you will be amazed at what geologic formations sit underneath Happy Valley. And, out of all the caves in Pennsylvania, Penns Cave is the only one to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

5. THON –The Largest Student Run Philanthropic Event in the World

Run entirely by Penn State students, THON has raised more than $88 million for the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital since 1977. It is a 46-hour no sitting, no sleeping marathon that consists of hundreds of dancers and thousands of volunteers. THON 2013 will be held February 15-17, inside the Bryce Jordan Center.

6. Penn State’s Berkey Creamery is the largest university creamery in the country

The Creamery, as it’s known, sees 4.5 million pounds of milk pass through its stainless steel holding tanks per year and roughly half comes from the 225 cows located at the University’s Dairy Production Research Center.

7. You can spend a day at the beach.

Whipple Dam State Park and Raystown Lake are not far at all from the State College area, and there are plenty of fun things to do at each location. Whipple Dam has a 300-foot sand beach open from May to mid-September. A beach volleyball court and boat rentals are also available at the beach.

Only 40 minutes from State College is Raystown Lake, the largest lake in Pennsylvania. There are a variety of lake tours available including dinner cruises, fireworks cruises and public sightseeing tours. The 8,300-acre lake has beaches, boat launches, campgrounds and picnic tables.

Coming to the area to see your favorite college student? Parents, sign up for the Parent Discount Plan and save 15% every time you stay with us! 

Visit Lion Country Lodging

Carnegie Inn & Spa  - 814-234-2424
100 Cricklewood Drive, State College, PA 16803 

Days Inn Penn State  - 814-238-8454
240 South Pugh Street, State College, PA 16801 

Hilton Garden Inn - 814-272-1221
1221 East College Avenue, State College, PA 16801 

Quality Inn State College - 814-234-1600
1274 N. Atherton Street, State College, PA 16803 

Super 8  - 814-237-8005
1663 S. Atherton/Branch Road, State College, PA 16801 

Nittany Budget Motel - 814-238-0015
2070 Cato Avenue, State College, PA 16801