Philadelphia and the Countryside - Press Room

Releases: Expanded View

Apr 25 2016

Fact Sheet: Family Fun In Philadelphia

Historical Sites & Attractions:

  • Wannabe sailors can visit the nation’s most decorated battleship, the Battleship New Jersey, and take tours of the ship, ride the 4-D flight simulator, climb into the onboard helicopter and sleep in the sailors’ bunks as part of its award-winning Overnight Encampment program. 62 Battleship Place, Camden, (856) 966-1652, battleshipnewjersey.org
  • America’s most famous flag maker greets guests in her interactive 18th-century upholstery shop at the Betsy Ross House. Visitors learn about Betsy’s life and legend from the lady herself and Phillis the laundress, a historical re-enactor who portrays what life was like for a freed black woman in the 18th century. An audio tour caters to four-to-eight-year-olds, offering lessons in Colonial life and the opportunity to solve “history mysteries.” 239 Arch Street, (215) 629-4026, betsyrosshouse.org
  • Everyone handles money, but how does it arrive in people’s wallets? The hands-on Money in Motion exhibit at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia explains it all. Plus, games invite visitors to “Match Wits with Ben,” and an impressive collection of old and rare currency is on display. 6th & Arch Streets, (866) 574-3727, (215) 574-6000, philadelphiafed.org
  • The Liberty Bell Center, Independence Hall, Congress Hall, the Benjamin Franklin Museum and the Bishop White House are just some of the buildings that make up Independence National Historical Park in Historic Philadelphia. In the summer months, the park offers ranger-led walking tours, which have in recent years included Dr. Franklin’s Philadelphia, History Beneath Our Feet and Underground Railroad. (215) 965-2305, nps.gov/inde
  • The National Constitution Center is America’s first and only museum dedicated to the U.S. Constitution. Highlights include interactive exhibits; the powerful, multimedia Freedom Rising performance; Signers’ Hall, filled with life-sized statues of the signers of the U.S. Constitution; and nationally touring exhibitions. Special family-friendly programs take place throughout the year that celebrate civic holidays like Presidents’ Day, Veterans’ Day, Tax Day, Earth Day and more. 525 Arch Street, (215) 409-6700, constitutioncenter.org
  • Horses, deer, sheep and even a few peacocks roam the grounds of Pennsbury Manor, the recreated country estate of William Penn that’s situated on 43 scenic acres along the Delaware River. Craft demonstrations, costumed interpreters, interactive activities, gardens and animals whisk modern-day visitors back to the 17th century. 400 Pennsbury Memorial Road, Morrisville, (215) 946-0400, pennsburymanor.org
  • Thirteen Once Upon a Nation Storytelling Benches are spread throughout Historic Philadelphia, featuring free, five-minute tales of Philadelphia's history and even some since forgotten secrets, told by professional storytellers. Story benches are marked with Once Upon a Nation signs. (215) 629-4026, historicphiladelphia.org
  • Visitors to Valley Forge National Historical Park’s 3,500 acres learn about the Continental Army’s intolerable winter encampment of 1777-1778. Highlights include nearly 30 miles of multi-use trails and historic structures, including Washington’s Headquarters, replica soldiers’ huts, monuments, statues and the Washington Memorial Chapel. Children can play-enlist in the Continental Army for a day. During the summer, visitors can stop at two free Once Upon A Nation storytelling benches to hear tales about the encampment, and kids can learn about 18th-century spy activities. 1400 N. Outer Line Drive, Valley Forge, (610) 783-1000, nps.gov/vafo

Museums:

  • Highlights at The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the oldest natural history museum in the Americas, include Dinosaur Hall, with a fossil preparation lab and hands-on fossil dig site; live butterflies in a tropical garden; a children’s nature center with live animals; and historic dioramas featuring animals from around the world. Numerous changing exhibits are featured throughout the year as well. 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 299-1000, ansp.org
  • The African American Museum in Philadelphia takes a fresh and bold look at the stories of African-Americans and their role in the founding of the nation through the core exhibit Audacious Freedom. Children's Corner, an interactive installment for ages three through eight, lets kids explore the daily lives of children in Philadelphia from 1776-1876. Other exhibits explore contemporary issues through art and historic artifacts. Weekend workshops and special events take place throughout the year. 701 Arch Street, (215) 574-0380, aampmuseum.org
  • The American Helicopter Museum & Education Center’s collection includes more than 35 helicopters, autogiros and convertiplanes—eight of which are fully accessible. Kids’ learning and toddler areas give children under six the chance to play with puzzles, games and other toys. Four times a year, guests of all ages can ride in a helicopter. 1220 American Boulevard, West Chester, (610) 436-9600, americanhelicopter.museum
  • Telling the story of Swedes in America, the American Swedish Historical Museum appeals to tiny visitors, too, thanks to speical events throughout the year like Viking Day and Midsommarfest. Every third Tuesday of the month, the smallest of visitors can enjoy Toddler Time, featuring interactive stories and activities that explore art, science and literature. 1900 Pattison Avenue, (215) 389-1776, americanswedish.org
  • The Bucks County Children’s Museum combines hands-on learning with fun. Kids can play their way through seven explore-able exhibits, many of which offer insight into Bucks County’s history. Play area themes include: The Hospital, Town Square, Factory Works, Big Dig, Bucks County Country, Airways to Waterways and Hot Air Balloon Ride. 500 Union Square Drive, New Hope, (215) 693-1290, buckskids.org
  • Future firefighters get a head start at Fireman’s Hall Museum, a restored 1902 firehouse that houses some of the nation’s earliest firefighting equipment, including hand, steam and motor fire engines, as well as a 9/11 exhibit and an interactive kiosk that teaches kids about 9-1-1 emergency services. Visitors can try on fire coats and boots, man a bucket brigade and learn about fire prevention. 147 N. 2nd Street, (215) 923-1438, firemanshallmuseum.org
  • The Franklin Institute, the region’s premier science museum, features a full city block of kid-friendly exhibitions, such as the walk-through Giant Heart, Space Command, SportsZone, Sir Isaac's Loft, Amazing Machine, Electricity, Train Factory, KidScience, The Franklin Air Show, Changing Earth and the outdoor, rooftop Joel N. Bloom Observatory. In 2014, the museum opened the doors to its 53,000-square-foot Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion. The centerpiece of the dazzling three-story addition is the 8,500-square-foot exhibit Your Brain, featuring an unprecedented collection of interactive, high-tech exhibitions. The expansion also features a rain garden and a larger, climate-controlled traveling exhibition space for limited engagements. The Franklin also houses the Tuttleman IMAX Theater, the Fels Planetarium and a 3-D theater. 222 N. 20th Street, (215) 448-1200, fi.edu
  • After checking out the boat-building shop at the Independence Seaport Museum, kids can explore the Spanish-American War Cruiser Olympia and the World War II Submarine Becuna docked outside. Indoors, mini sailors love to climb through a new, full-size reconstruction of the 1707 schooner Diligence, created onsite using traditional boat-building techniques. Kids (and their adults) can also rent kayaks or museum-built rowboats to explore the calm waters of the basin and get a close-up view of the historic ships. Every Saturday, kids can participate in Seafarin’ Saturdays, featuring activities designed especially for them. 211 S. Columbus Boulevard at Walnut Street, (215) 413-8655, phillyseaport.org
  • Independence Mall's modern, four-floor National Museum of American Jewish History offers marvelous means to teach little ones about Jewish history and traditions through the lives of history makers (Albert Einstein, Golda Meir, Jonas Salk), industry giants (Estée Lauder, Barbra Streisand, Steven Spielberg) and many exhibitions they understand, such as a display on summer camps. The second Sunday of each month means kid-friendly story time, crafting and holiday celebrations, free with admission. 101 S. Independence Mall East, (215) 923-3811, nmajh.org
  • If a 15-ton Egyptian sphinx and real, dead mummies aren't enough to get kids through the heavy doors of the Penn Museum, then the venerable institution's World Culture Days ought to do it. Several Saturdays a year, families stream into the galleries, halls and auditorium for performances, craft projects and personal interactions to celebrate ancient and modern traditions of China, Africa, Mexico and beyond. 3260 South Street, (215) 898-4000, penn.museum
  • Sunday is a big day for families at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, with special tours created just for them, as well as drawing and craft activities for children of all ages. The museum also offers themed written guides for kids every day and special family programming throughout the year. Pay-what-you-wish admission on the first Sunday of every month and every Wednesday after 5 p.m. provides opportunities for families to enjoy the museum at a lesser cost. Admission is always free for kids 12 and under. 26th Street & Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 763-8100, philamuseum.org
  • Housed in Fairmount Park’s Memorial Hall, the kid-centric Please Touch Museum® includes two full floors of interactive exhibit zones, plus a fully restored century-old carousel. Kids can play and pretend amid Alice’s Wonderland, River Adventures and other hands-on fun. And on First Wednesdays, the museum stay opens 4-7 p.m. with $2 admission. 4231 Avenue of the Republic, (215) 581-3181, pleasetouchmuseum.org
  • In the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia, Woodmere Art Museum tells the story of Philadelphia’s art and artists. The 19th-century stone Victorian mansion sits on a six-acre lawn that doubles as a treasure trove of sculptures by Philadelphia-area artists. Woodmere's Children’s Garden contains fanciful wooden creatures: birds, butterflies—even a giant bird’s nest, nestled within the flowerbeds. Come autumn, a straw maze doubles as an outdoor pop-up sculpture. 9201 Germantown Avenue, (215) 247-0476, woodmereartmuseum.org

Animals Above & Below The Sea:

  • With two million gallons of water and 8,500 animals, Adventure Aquarium offers activities, animals, exhibits and unforgettable moments on the Camden Waterfront. Visitors can walk through a suspended Shark Tunnel and over a Shark Bridge; explore KidZone, a virtual playground under the sea aimed at ages six and under; and get nose-to-nose with a pair of underwater hippos in Hippo Haven. The 760,000-gallon Ocean Realm is home to sea turtles, stingrays, schooling fish and sharks, including the only Great Hammerhead on exhibit in the country. Adventurous types can roll up their sleeves to pet and feed stingrays or touch horseshoe crabs, starfish and sharks. 1 Riverside Drive, Camden, NJ, (856) 365-3300, adventureaquarium.com
  • Opened in 1924, the 16-acre Elmwood Park Zoo showcases an animal collection of more than 100 species indigenous to the Americas, along with African fruit bats, and, as of 2015, Asian red pandas. Many of the animals—the American bison, peregrine falcon, bald eagle, timber wolf and American alligator—represent significant wildlife conservation success stories. The zoo also includes a spacious playground featuring interactive animal sculptures. Daily in the summer months, guests can feed the world’s tallest mammal at the Independence Blue Cross Giraffe Exhibit. 1661 Harding Boulevard, Norristown, (610) 277-3825, elmwoodparkzoo.org
  • Philadelphia’s only all-bug museum and the largest insect museum in the Northeast is the Insectarium, exhibiting thousands of live and mounted insects from Africa and other far-away places, and offering interactive displays (working beehive, roach-infested kitchen) and a movie room. 8046 Frankford Avenue, (215) 335-9500, myinsectarium.com
  • America’s first zoo and one of the region’s foremost conservation organizations, the Philadelphia Zoo is home to nearly 1,300 animals, many rare and endangered. The zoo offers a first-in-the-world animal travel and exploration train system—called Zoo360—that enables primates and big cats to move above and across the main visitor pathway. Award-winning exhibits include First Niagara Big Cat Falls, the McNeil Avian Center, the PECO Primate Reserve and KidZooU: Hamilton Family Children’s Zoo & Faris Family Education Center. 3400 W. Girard Avenue, (215) 243-1100, philadelphiazoo.org

Gardens, Tours & A Whole Lot More:

  • April through December, the Butterfly, CityScapes, Picnic, Fitness, Dinosaur and Storybook Gardens at the four-acre Camden Children’s Garden provide horticultural experiences for creative and imaginative play. The garden also includes three indoor attractions: the popular Philadelphia Eagles Four Seasons Butterfly House, the tropical exhibit Plaza de Aibonito and Ben Franklin’s Workshop, as well as more outdoor attractions such as a Tree House, Garden Carousel, Arrow River Train and the Spring Butterfly Ride. 3 Riverside Drive, Camden, NJ, (856) 365-8733, camdenchildrensgarden.org
  • During the Herr’s Snack Factory Tour, children see how the company makes their favorite snacks, including potato chips, pretzels and popcorn. Tours are by-reservation. On the factory’s annual summertime Zoo Day, kids can also get up close and personal with animals. Route 272 & Herr Drive, Nottingham, (610) 932-6400, herrs.com
  • At Linvilla Orchards, a 300-acre family farm dedicated to agriculture, education and entertainment, families can explore the Garden Center, pick their own seasonal fruit, hop on a hayride and buy freshly baked pies to take home. 137 W. Knowlton Road, Media, (610) 876-7116, linvilla.com
  • Indoors at Longwood Gardens, children can hide in a Bamboo Maze, scamper into the Secret Room and dodge the Drooling Dragon, all part of the Indoor Children’s Garden in the Conservatory. Outside, a Children’s Corner offers a Flower Fountain for splashing, and plenty of seating for the adults. In October, Longwood makes room for a Pumpkin Playground. U.S. Route 1, Kennett Square, (610) 388-1000, longwoodgardens.org
  • At Giggleberry Fair in Peddler’s Village, kids can ride a restored 1922 Philadelphia Toboggan Company Grand Carousel; conquer Giggleberry Mountain, the area’s largest indoor obstacle course; get active in Giggles Discovers, an interactive exploration environment; play in the Game Room; and enjoy a snack in the Painted Pony Café. Routes 202 & 263, Lahaska, (215) 794-4000, peddlersvillage.com
  • Big Bird, Elmo and the other stars of Sesame Street come out and play at Sesame Place, the only theme park in the nation featuring the popular TV show’s most lovable characters. A water park, rides, interactive activities, parades, fireworks and shows add to the fun. 100 Sesame Road, Langhorne, (866) GO-4-ELMO, sesameplace.com
  • Featuring the iconic Ann Newman Giant Wooden Slide, circa 1899 Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse—one of the oldest playgrounds in America—offers children (ages 10 and under) a free, safe place to play, jump, swing and climb, and, as of 2016, learn about nature. For children five and under, the Tot Lot features more than 20 pieces of age-appropriate play equipment, and at the 16,000-square-foot Playhouse, kids run the show. 3500 Reservoir Drive (near 33rd & Oxford Streets), (215) 765-4325, smithplayground.org

Parks & Public Spaces:

  • City Hall’s recently refurbished front yard, Dilworth Park boasts tree-lined fountains (splashing encouraged) in warm weather and an ice skating rink in winter. Year-round movies, festivals, a cozy Cuban cafe and great access to public transit have revived the very center of Center City. 15th & Market Streets, (215) 482-9565, ccdparks.org/dilworth-park
  • Endless trails, an enormous public pool, historic houses and a Japanese garden are among the pleasant surprises that await explorers of Fairmount Park, one of the nation’s largest urban parks, stretching from Boathouse Row to West Philadelphia, Strawberry Mansion, Chestnut Hill and Northeast Philadelphia. phila.gov/parksandrecreation
  • One of William Penn’s original five squares, Franklin Square is a modern and fun family park, with a Philly-themed miniature golf course, restored marble fountain, two playgrounds and an old-fashioned carousel featuring some famous Philly horses. When hunger strikes, SquareBurger delivers with burgers, fries and Cake Shakes. 6th & Race Streets, historicphiladelphia.org
  • In summer, an alfresco hangout pops up in The Oval, a once little-used parking lot at the edge of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Though the programming changes year to year, reliable fun includes mega-sized games to play, visits from food and retail trucks, plus arts festivals and family parties. 2601 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 422-4169, theovalphl.org
  • The Benjamin Franklin Bridge towers above Race Street Pier, a finger pier reinvented as a multi-use, two-level recreational space now used for picnicking, yoga classes, concerts, fireworks-watching and simply catching the Delaware River breeze. Columbus Boulevard & Race Street, (215) 922-2FUN, racestreetpier.com
  • To wee water fans, the pebble-bottom wading pool sheltered by a landscaped hill and randomly spouting fountains make Sister Cities Park a summertime paradise. To the fans’ caretakers, the lifeguard, cafe and kiosk that sells plastic boats, swim diapers, sunscreen and other essentials is just as great. 18th Street & Ben Franklin Parkway, (215) 440-5500, ccdparks.org/sister-cities-park
  • It's three times the riverside fun at Penn’s Landing with seasonal pop-ups Spruce Street Harbor Park and Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest and Summerfest. The first, with tree-slung hammocks, cargo container arcades and concessions, misting palm trees and planted barges (with bars) was an instant hit during its 2014 summer debut. The latter two bring ice skating and roller skating to the riverside rink with special pop-up fire pits, indoor games, cozy couches and hot drinks in winter and air conditioning, rocking chairs on a wrap-around porch and cool drinks in summer. Spruce Street Harbor Park, Columbus Boulevard & Spruce Street; Winterfest and Summerfest, Columbus Boulevard & Walnut Street, (215) 922-2FUN, delawareriverwaterfront.com
  • The eco-friendly arts and community center that has transformed Manayunk’s formerly vacant Venice Island is a study in city-and-citizen cooperation. But kids don’t know that. They just want to go to children’s theater, dash through the water park and play a game of basketball or volleyball. 7 Lock Street, (215) 482-9565, manayunk.com/dsr/veniceisland.html

Restaurants & Sweets:

  • Chic South Philly corner spot Bing Bing Dim Sum wasn’t designed with kids in mind (cocktails come by the pitcher), but funky wallpaper, family-style booths and delightful dumplings just so happen to be exactly the break from the grilled cheese scene that modern families crave. 1648 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 279-7702, bingbingdimsum.com
  • Campo’s, a casual eatery in Old City, is known for making some of the best Philly sandwiches, including hoagies, cheesesteaks and homemade meatball and pork sandwiches. Plus, it’s just blocks away from the city’s most famous historic attractions. There are additional Campo’s locations inside Citizens Bank Park, the Wells Fargo Center and the Liacouras Center. 214 Market Street, (215) 923-1000, camposdeli.com
  • Owned and operated by the family that gave Philly gelato (Capogiro), Old City’s Capofitto serves up its now-famous hazelnut, pistachio or fresh berry scoops, along with wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas and authentic Italian brunch. 233 Chestnut Street, (215) 897-9999, capofittoforno.com
  • Established in 1773, City Tavern is a Colonial tavern featuring an award-winning children’s menu, high chairs and booster seats, as well as costumed servers. 138 S. 2nd Street, (215) 413-1443, citytavern.com
  • Frankford Hall follows the tradition of German beer gardens by offering fun for the whole family. Giant soft pretzels, frankfurters and liters of beer please palates of all kinds, while ping pong tables, foosball and Jenga blocks offer pre- and post-meal distractions. 1201 Frankford Avenue, (215) 634-3338, frankfordhall.com
  • Those who have a taste for sweets and history can stop by The Franklin Fountain, an award-winning, old-fashioned ice-cream saloon serving handmade ice cream, splits, shakes, sundaes, fountain sodas and seasonally minded baked goods using fresh, local ingredients sourced from area farms. 116 Market Street, (215) 627-1899, franklinfountain.com
  • Jim’s Steaks South Street, a popular eatery on the always-lively South Street, serves those tasty Philadelphia cheesesteaks. Families can take advantage of the additional seating upstairs. 400 South Street, (215) 928-1911, jimssouthstreet.com
  • With a setting right out of The Brady Bunch, Jones restaurant serves up classic comfort foods such as macaroni and cheese and meatloaf. 700 Chestnut Street, (215) 223-5663, jones-restaurant.com
  • Conveniently located throughout Center City, Marathon’s three casual restaurants prove perfect for early-riser breakfast, lunch or dinner, thanks to menus filled with sandwiches, salads, full entrees and healthy choices. 121 S. 16th Street, (215) 569-3278; 1818 Market Street, (215) 561-1818; 1839 Spruce Street, (215) 731-0800, eatmarathon.com
  • Pizza and kids are always a winning combination, which is exactly why families can’t go wrong at Pizzeria Stella. The just-off-South Street restaurant offers gourmet pizzas, pastas and salads, along with house-made gelato made from a secret family recipe. Don’t worry: There are simple selections perfect for the youngest members of the group. 2nd & Lombard Streets, (215) 320-8000, pizzeriastella.net
  • Fresh produce, meats, fish, cheeses, spices and prepared foods ranging from cheesesteaks to cannoli are up for grabs throughout the historic Reading Terminal Market. Annual indoor-outdoor events and festivals are fun for food lovers of all ages. 12th & Arch Streets, (215) 922-2317, readingterminalmarket.org
  • Precede a visit to the nearby Italian Market with a hearty breakfast at friendly Sam’s Morning Glory Diner. Their famous Glory cakes come in short stacks, and families can pass the time waiting for a table on the weekends at the across-the-street playground. 735 S. 10th Street, (215) 413-3999, themorningglorydiner.com
  • Shane Confectionery is America’s oldest candy store, built in 1863 and restored to its 1911 splendor with its carved cabinetry and glass cases. Clerks in long dresses or bowties serve award-wining house-made fresh chocolates and confections using early 20th-century machinery. Customers can watch as their sweet treats are bagged and weighed on antique scales or choose chocolates by the piece. 110 Market Street, (215) 922-1048, shanecandies.com

Hotels:

  • Those who want to stay in the middle of the action check into the DoubleTree by Hilton Philadelphia Center City on the Avenue of the Arts (Broad Street), just steps from performing arts venues, great restaurants and fashionable shops. Guests of all ages receive warm chocolate chip cookies at check-in. 237 S. Broad Street, (215) 893-1600, philadelphia.doubletree.com
  • Every Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m., the Hotel Monaco Philadelphia hosts a Kids’ Table in its living room lobby. Youngsters enjoy kid-friendly snacks and beverages, an assortment of board games and take-home goodies. 433 Chestnut Street, (215) 925-2111,
    monaco-philadelphia.com
  • The Rittenhouse Square-based Hotel Palomar Philadelphia provides several kid-friendly amenities perfect for families travelling together. The Palomar’s fleet of PUBLIC bicycles is available for complimentary guest use. And the hotel’s popular Guppy Love program offers an in-room goldfish companion for kids to look after during their stay. 117 S. 17th Street, (215) 563-5006, hotelpalomar-philadelphia.com
  • Loews Philadelphia Hotel offers special kid-friendly menus, welcome gifts and music downloads for teens, and family members of all ages can enjoy the indoor pool. If the family pet comes along, the Loews Loves Pets program keeps Fido happy. Children under 18 stay for free. 1200 Market Street, (215) 627-1200, loewshotels.com
  • In addition to the indoor pool, outdoor picnic area and complimentary hot breakfast, this Bucks County Residence Inn offers a Sesame Place package featuring tickets and free shuttle service to the park. 15 Cabot Boulevard East, Langhorne, (215) 946-6500, marriott.com
  • At The Rittenhouse Hotel, kids can choose a gift from the Rittenhouse Treasure Chest or a movie and popcorn, and they get bathrobes at turndown, along with a copy of Goodnight Philadelphia. In addition, families can ask the concierge about discount tickets for the Philadelphia Zoo, Please Touch Museum® and Adventure Aquarium. 210 W. Rittenhouse Square, (215) 546-9000, rittenhousehotel.com
  • After visiting the historic sites that are just steps away, kids can continue the fun by splashing in a rooftop pool overlooking the city at the Wyndham Philadelphia Historic District. 400 Arch Street, (215) 923-8660, wyndham.com

 

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® is our name and our mission. As the region’s official tourism marketing agency, we build Greater Philadelphia’s image, drive visitation and boost the economy.

 

On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.

 

Contact(s):
  • E-mail

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