Philadelphia most famous for being the centerpiece of American History. While Philadelphia offers many opportunities to bring history alive for kids in a fun way, there’s so much more for them to explore. Philly is filled to the brim with activities that will engage your children whether they’re 2 or 22. Here are our parent’s top picks:
Best Museum for Kids under 5 – Please Touch Museum (#1 place to take kids in Philadelphia)
If you’ve got kids under the age of 5, be sure to add the Please Touch Museum to your list. Take the location of the first World’s Fair in the US… fill it with hands-on activity centers for kids and voila… you’ve got one of the best children’s museum in this country. Favorites include shopping at the grocery store or collecting and dumping at the construction site in City Capers, building rockets and launching them in Flight Fantasy, and changing the tires at Roadside Attractions.
The Franklin Institute is the place to take kids in Philadelphia. The science center has more than enough to keep your kids busy for the whole day. From learning about the physics of air and flying to walking through the human heart, we were bummed when my 2 year old had to knock off to take a nap. For Love or Funny summed it up perfectly, “There are so many hands on activities, it’s hard to know where to start.”
Your tweens and teens will be wide-eyed as they check out all the strange medical oddities spread throughout the Mutter Museum. “For kids who like a bit of gore, this museum is really fascinating. They’ll find jars filled with strange tumors, odd shaped skulls, and strange horns growing out of a person’s head.” (TravelPangs)
If you’ve got kids who like to be grossed out, take them to the Insectarium. They won’t forget about all the creepy critters they see at Cockroach Kitchen and ,” the “glow-in-the-dark” scorpion, the live termite tunnel, or the tarantulas. It’s located in the Northeast section of the city, so a bit off-the-beaten path, but worth a visit if your kids like that kind of stuff.
The Ride the Ducks will make a trip through Philadelphia’s historical section a quacking good time with a nice 20 minute cruise around the Delaware River at the end. A fun way to enjoy Philadelphia without having to do a lot of walking.
Nestled in Fairmont Park, the Smith Memorial Playground is great for kids looking for some free outdoor fun. Here you’ll find a “40-foot-long giant slide, huge playground, and a giant 24,000 square foot playhouse! The basement has been turned into a small town – complete with stop light and parking meters, where kids can ride trikes. The playhouse is for ages 5 and under. Fun fun fun and free!!” (from girlymama)
With over 80 stands to choose from, this place is filled with food for any eater. It’s a great place for your kids to try some authentic Pennsylvania Dutch food from scrapple to whoopie pies. It can get crowded on the weekends, so be sure to hang on to your kids. Our favorite is savoring a plate of blueberry pancakes with a side of scrapple at the Dutch Eating Place for breakfast. YUM.
Kids from preschoolers to high schoolers learn about the Liberty Bell. As Linda Kramer (aka minnemom) puts it, “This place has no interactive exhibits, but the fact that you’re seeing the actual Liberty Bell is impressive. Even if you’re 3. So take the kids, snap some photos by the Liberty Bell with Independence Hall in the background, and someday explain the rest of the history lesson to them. They’ll think it’s cool that they got to go there once upon a time.”
Which Hotels came up at the top?
Other Resources for Philadelphia:
- Off the Beaten Path Kid Activities in Philadelphia – motherofalltrips
- Teen-friendly Activities in Philadelphia – ForLoveOrFunny
- Things to Do in Philly with Young Kids - Girlymama
- Historic Philadelphia by foot with Kids – Minnemom
- Phildelphia: 5 Kids-friendly Activities – CiaoBambino
- Best Attractions for Kids Who Love Trains in Pennsylvania – BryantFamily