The summer months are quickly passing and soon it’ll be time to head back to school. Now is about the time you realize the pressure is on. Sure, you’ve enjoyed plenty of days at the park or pool, but did you get to take that family trip you planned on back in May, when the summer months were stretched out before us? Don’t worry, there’s still time! In our last issue of MeSee we suggested trips to Knoebel’s Amusement Park or the Turkey Hill Experience. This issue, we’re heading to Philadelphia. With so many great attractions in the City of Brotherly Love, you’ll have a hard time deciding what’s best for you and your family. Here are a few ideas.
Please Touch Museum
Experts in play, the Please Touch Museum has grown into one of the nation’s premier children’s museums with over three decades of business and more than two million visitors. The mission of the museum is to enrich the lives of children by creating learning opportunities through play, laying the foundation for a lifetime of hands-on learning and cultural awareness. Located in historic Memorial Hall – a National Historic Landmark – the Please Touch Museum aims to bring together the past, present, and future through six interactive exhibit zones across 157,000 square feet, including four areas specifically designed for children 3 and younger.
The perfect kids’ day out, especially for your little ones, Sesame Place® is the nation’s only theme park based entirely on Sesame Street®. Hop on the rides, splash down slides, and hug everyone’s favorite furry friends. Check out Cookie’s Monster Land or meet, greet, and eat with Elmo and friends. Daily shows, like The Magic of Art and the Neighborhood Street Party Parades, bring opportunities to sing, dance, and clap along with your favorite characters. Plus, while the weather is warm, water attractions are open for fun!
The Philadelphia Zoo is filled with animals. In fact, it’s one of the most animal-packed zoos in the country! Set among a charming 42-acre Victorian garden with tree-lined walks, formal shrubbery, ornate iron cages, and animal sculptures, the zoo has garnered many “firsts,” like the first zoo to be chartered in the U.S. In addition to its animals, the zoo is known for its historic architecture, which includes the country home of William Penn’s grandson, its botanical collections of over 500 plant species, groundbreaking research, and the finest veterinary facilities. The zoo even has a beer and wine garden!
Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse
What is a “play mansion,” you ask? It’s a four-story, 16,000-square-foot mansion with an iconic 44-foot wooden slide and state-of-the-art Play Pod, filled with a giant see-saw and spinning “jungle gyms.” Located in a six-acre, wooded parkland in beautiful East Fairmount Park, this century-old landmark is free for all to enjoy. Designed for children ten-years-old and under, the playground offers toys, games, and activities, including a tumbling room, a book nook, a climb-on train, and an indoor tricycle room for exploring “Smithville,” a mini-town made just for kids. It has hosted over nine-million children since its opening and continues to remain a tradition for generations.
Franklin Square, one of five public squares laid out by William Penn in his original plan for Philadelphia, offers a refreshing, urban green space with a ton of awesome activities within its eight-acre grounds.
The park boasts several family-friendly attractions, including a miniature golf course, classic carousel, burger joint, storytelling bench, picnic area, and more.
The Franklin Institute
An innovator in designing hands-on exhibits before “interactive” became a buzzword, The Franklin Institute is as clever as its namesake. Its eminently touchable attractions explore science in disciplines ranging from sports to space. Highlights include, The Sports Challenge, which uses virtual-reality technology to illustrate the physics of sports; The Train Factory’s climb-aboard steam engine; Space Command’s simulated earth-orbit research station; a fully equipped weather station; and exhibits on electricity. Films assume grand proportions on the Tuttleman IMAX Theater’s 79-foot domed screen; galaxies are formed and deep space explored in North America’s second-oldest planetarium, which reopened in 2002, sporting the continent’s most advanced technology. Don’t miss the 3D Theater and the indoor SkyBike.
Independence National Historical Park
Visit the birthplace of American democracy at Historic Philadelphia’s Independence National Historical Park (INHP). More than 4.3 million visitors come to INHP every year and line up to see what is the park’s most visited and most famous attraction, the Liberty Bell.The Liberty Bell Center, Independence Hall, Congress Hall, the New Hall Military Museum, Franklin Court, the Bishop White House and the Graff House are just some of the buildings that make up Independence National Historical Park — all of which are free.