Philadelphia is one of the greatest learning cities to discover with your kids! It is a destination that offers many hands on lessons in history, science and art. My son and I have enjoyed many trips to this city that is steeped in history. These are my top picks for those who love history, science and art:
One of the best places to start your visit in Philadelphia is at the Independence Visitor Center. It is a great place to get maps, purchase tickets to attractions and pick up a Park Service Ranger Activity Book for your kids. These books will allow your children to go on a treasure hunt through history as they go to different attractions. The Visitor Center is also a great place to learn about events, like Breakfast with Ben, which is a fun thing to do in the summer on Saturdays between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Once you have your map in your hand, start out at the National Constitution Center. This museum is highly interactive, and we spent a good two hours and my son never once uttered the words, “I am bored” or “can we go now”! He loved the exhibit titled “We the People” and learning about the constitution was more fun than you can imagine.
Of course, no trip to Philadelphia would be complete without a visit to the Liberty Bell Center and Independence Hall. Both of these historical attractions are free, but you do have to go through a security line at the Liberty Bell, and you still need to get a ticket to tour Independence Hall. You can get tickets at the Visitor’s Center, or you can buy them up to a year in advance at http://recreation.gov.
Other fun attractions to check out are Franklin’s Court and Betsy Ross’ house I enjoyed the Franklin Court. You can visit the Franklin Print Shop, the Franklin Museum, and the United States Postal Service Museum. On our visit, my son and nephew were able to see a printing demonstration on 18th-century printing equipment.
Touring Betsy Ross’ house will not take too much time because it is tiny. Despite that fact, it is still worth your time. If you go in the summer, check out their website for events like raising the flag.
Philadelphia is not all about history! There are some great science museums. In fact, the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia is one of America’s oldest natural history museums, and this is the place to go if you have any dinosaur fans in your household. Your kids will have a blast getting dirty in the Big Dig while they search for fossils.
The Franklin Institute is a science museum that is hands on, and there is no way you can’t have a splendid time here! Plan on an entire day, because there is so much to see and do. There is an excellent exhibit on the first floor called KidScience for kids that are between the ages of five and eight. They will be able to learn about light, water, earth and air through a fictional story called the “Island of Elements.” Older kids will enjoy exhibits on electricity and the giant heart which has been popular for years. The Sports Challenge is also loads of fun and interactive and will get your kids thinking about the important role science plays in their favorite sports.
If you are looking to expose your children to a little culture, the Philadelphia Museum of Art has a great family and children’s program. Programs range from workshops like Drawing Together and Family Studio to tours like Tours for Tots and the Family Gallery Tour. If you want to do your own thing, you can explore at your pace and pick up a printed family guide to four of their exhibits. The guides have activities and questions that will make going through the museum more like a treasure hunt. Audio guides for children are also available at the visitor service desk for kids six to ten years old. For parents, a bonus is that you won’t be able to escape the Rocky theme song that will enter your head when you climb the steps to the entrance, fun for all!
An unexpected art find and fun experience are in the lobby of the Curtis Publishing Building where they publish. Ladies’ Home Journal. Here you will find the Dream Garden, a beautiful mosaic of more than a 100,000 pieces of colored glass that were completed by Tiffany Studios. Across the street from Independence National Historical Park, this a great place to take a break and get lost in over 250 colors in the mosaic making it fun for kids to see how many shades of purple, pink and blue they can find while you relax in the serene surrounding.
Philadelphia can be a great day trip, weekend
getaway or week-long vacation. Our family has enjoyed several trips to Philadelphia and we are amazed at the fact that there is still so much more for us to discover. This great city is another family destination where your kids won’t even realize they’re learning because they are having so much fun! So go ahead, and plan your next family adventure in Philadelphia!