Philadelphia with the kids: where to go and what to see

If a fun-packed trip with the kids is planned, Philadelphia with the kids should make the shortlist of top places to visit. Situated in the mid-Atlantic region in the south eastern part of Pennsylvania, Philly is a big city with big-hitting attractions to match. Being the fifth most populous city in the United States, Philadelphia gives places such as New York and Chicago a run for their money in the bustling metropolis department. If the kids want a high-octane, energy-packed city break, it’s hard to get it wrong in Philadelphia.


Disguised learning

Okay, so this is a vacation, right? School’s out and the kids are just up for having a great time, but parents love it when they can combine a bit of learning with the fun and Philadelphia has many opportunities for such skullduggery. First place to visit on the list should be the Please Touch Museum in the historic setting of Fairmount Park’s Memorial Hall. There’s a clue in the name that this is no ordinary museum, children are actually encouraged to learn through play in this enormous homage to childhood. There are themed sections from Alice in Wonderland, a fairytale garden and a supermarket experience; children can sit behind the wheel of a bus or make believe they’re sailing a boat. With a focus on interaction there are many things to spark the imagination and the Please Touch Museum is especially popular with younger children.  The highlight of the visit is likely to be a ride on the stunning, lovingly restored carousel with painted, prancing horses. This museum is a joy to visit any time but makes a wonderful option when rain interferes with outdoor plans.

Next stop is the Franklin Institute. Since 1934 Philly families have been coming here to enjoy the science related exhibits. Kids love learning about how things work and when it comes to bodily functions, they really relate. A new exhibition investigating the working of the brain is sure to please them, as is the walk-through giant heart. There are also movies to enjoy in the IMAX theater and exhibits designed to help us learn how electricity works, in a fun and interesting way. Covering all things from sport to space, the Franklin Institute will excite children and adults alike.

Last stop on the disguised learning tour of Philly should be the Independence Seaport Museum on Penn’s Landing. Ever wondered what it was like in a World War II submarine or how about riding the waves in a 1890s Navy cruiser?  These exhibits give an insight into the maritime heritage of Philadelphia, making the museum is a great port of call for young and old.

It’s show-time

There are few better family bonding experiences than sharing a great show together. Whatever the tastes of your brood, there will be something to tempt them at the Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia’s leading events and entertainment venue. Buy Wells Fargo Center Tickets for a range of family friendly spectaculars including Philadelphia Flyers games, Disney on Ice shows, Harlem Globe Trotters exhibition games, wrestling, Sesame Street and many musical acts.  With a thrilling program packed with quality and variety, it won’t be difficult pleasing everyone.

Let’s get active

For burning off excess energy, Philadelphia is blessed with some wonderful open spaces. Try the colonial surroundings at Franklin Square for its mini golf, carousel and picnic area; there is plenty of room for children to run about. Alternatively, The Smith House and Playground offers six acres of wooded parkland with a 44 foot wooden slide, ‘play mansion’ and an enormous play-pod with jungle gyms and see-saws galore. If they’re not totally exhausted after all that, take them to the slightly more sedate Camden Children’s Garden, an interactive four acre space where youngsters are encouraged to get in touch with their inner horticulturalist. For children showing a budding interest in all matters gardening, this place will seem like heaven.

Critter capers

Most families have at least one budding zoologists or veterinarians keen for a bit of animal fun, so why not take them to the wonderful Philadelphia Zoo? Marvel at the Primate Center, the Avian Center and The Big Cat Falls; this zoo has been here for 150 years, so they really know what they’re doing. If water-based creatures are preferred take a trip to Camden Adventure Aquarium where the new hippo exhibition is wowing visitors. Along with the penguins, sharks and crocodiles, there are some fascinating creatures to see up close in a wonderful setting.

Finding great things to do with the kids in Philadelphia is not a problem, the hardest thing will be persuading them to leave this brilliant family destination once the vacation is over…


Photo credit: Flickr/Vic15