Throughout the year, regardless of the season, the Pocono Mountains provide a picturesque backdrop where visitors can spend time in the region's old-fashioned, rural towns while also reconnecting with nature. At the same time, you'll find a wide variety of fun, adventurous activities such as water parks, train tours, zip lines, hiking trails, and horseback riding stables. In addition to the many activities visitors to the Poconos are accustomed to, the area also offers several interesting opportunities that are off the beaten path. Some of these “hidden jewels” focus on the traditions and history of the area. Others offer new ways to enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds you. Dorflinger-Suydam Wildlife Sanctuary The Dorflinger-Suydam Wildlife Sanctuary provides a peaceful, natural setting where visitors can explore nearly 600 acres of woodlands and open spaces. It was established to preserve the natural beauty and wildlife found in northeastern Pennsylvania. With more than five miles of well-maintained trails, this is a great place to relax and reflect. The Sanctuary is open even in the winter when visitors are often found cross-country skiing through the snow. The Sanctuary is also home to the Dorflinger Glass Museum, where guests can see the beautiful glass works manufactured in the area from 1852 to 1921. Plan your visit! No. 9 Coal Mine & Museum The No. 9 Coal Mine was established in 1855 to extract from a large vein of anthracite coal. From the time it opened until 1972, the mine was in production, a world-record for the longest continuous operation of an anthracite coal mine. Since 2002, the mine has been open for tours, during which visitors travel 1,600 feet into the mountain by rail before starting a 600-foot guided walking tour. Points of interest inside the mine include a hospital cut into solid rock. Visit their website here. Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm is a living-history museum dedicated to preserving the German agricultural heritage of 19th-century Pennsylvania. The history of the farm dates back to the 1760s, when Johann Depper and his family left Germany and settled in the area to start a new life. Located on 114 acres of rolling pastures, natural wooded areas, and babbling streams, Quiet Valley is home to the kinds of farm animals common in the 1800s, including cows, pigs, chickens, and goats, as well as Suffolk Punch draft horses. Visit them online. The Catacombs Restaurant at Bube's Brewery Located in Lancaster, Bube's Brewery was founded by German immigrant Alois Bube when he bought a small brewery in 1876. Today, it offers several dining options, including the unique Catacombs Restaurant, located several stories below street level. The experience starts when the guest is led on a tour of the historic brewery while descending over 40 feet to the vaults in the catacombs, where the dining room is housed. The culinary experience includes both traditional fare and gourmet dishes, complemented by a complete wine and cocktail list, as well as a variety of beers custom brewed in house. bubesbrewery.com Antoine Dutot Museum & Gallery The Delaware Water Gap has a fascinating history as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the U.S. from 1880 to 1930, and the Antoine Dutot Museum & Gallery is a great place to explore the area's past. Housed in a charming old brick-construction schoolhouse built around 1850, visitors can experience the unique story of how the area's history and tourism are tied together. The building is also home to an art gallery that exhibits work from local artists, as well as a restored 1930s-era classroom. dutotmuseum.com Claws “N” Paws Claws “N” Paws is an open-air zoo that features easy-to-walk woodland trails that keep you comfortably in the shade. This attraction offers plenty of opportunity to get a close-up look at the animals, including a young Bengal tiger named Kiera and Jethro the giraffe, the park's gentle, lovable giant. Guests can even hand-feed carrots to Jethro, which makes a great photo opportunity! And kids can try their hand at paleontology at the Dino Dig, where there are plenty of fossils to unearth! www.clawsnpaws.com Phoebe's Little Wax Works Tucked away in the Western Pocono Community Library is a unique collection of exquisite shadow boxes that show storybook scenes from 35 children's favorites like Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan, Hansel and Gretel, and Charlotte's Web. Created by Phoebe Conrad in the late 1940s, each scene was meticulously staged using wax figures she formed by hand, set against custom-made miniature sets. At the time, roadside tourist attractions were very popular and she displayed the scene in her aunt's barn. After changing locations a few times, the collection finally settled at the library in 2000. www.wpcl.lib.pa.us With so many interesting, unique places to explore in the Pocono Mountains area, dare to be adventurous. Whether you are interested in history, culture, arts, or nature – or all of the above – an unforgettable experience is practically around every corner. And stay in the heart of it all at the Pocono Mountain Villas by Exploria Resorts, a four seasons resort retreat that provides a picturesque backdrop for your vacation memories. Here you'll also find a host of on-site resort activities and amenities to enjoy every time of the year. Explore and book the Poconos today!