Philly: Where to Take Your Kids, According to Her Kids

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Today’s guest post on Philadelphia was written by Debi Bouffard. She is a homeschooling mother of nine (yes, you read that right) children living in Pennsylvania. Debi and the kids frequently travel all over the East Coast and are about to embark on a cross country road trip to Utah. We are hoping that if she returns with a shred of her sanity, she will come back and tell Trekaroo all about it. You can follow Debi and her adventures with all nine kids  on her blog, Who Says 8 is Enough?

Ever since I was a little girl, I have always loved to travel.  It’s probably because growing up with eleven siblings, vacations were the one thing my parents always managed to save up for.  When we did have the opportunity to hit the road,  it was always a HUGE deal for our family.  I have passed that same desire of traveling on to my children, although with a twist. I homeschool my nine kids, so we do a bit more traveling these days than my family did when I was young. However, the one thing I have kept constant is that I am certain to make every trip we take into an educational experience, just like my parents did when I was little.  There is no better place to start on an educational trip than in the city of Philadelphia, which is so rich in history.  We have been fortunate to have lived within an hour of Philadelphia for my childrens’ entire lives, so we have been able to completely appreciate and absorb the City of Brotherly Love.  If you are not fortunate enough to live near Philly and only have a day or two to really see the city for yourself, you might want to map out some fascinating places of interest.  I asked my kids to give you their top 5 favorite places to visit, and in no particular order, here they are:

1. The Philadelphia Zoo

Checking out the animals at the Philadelphia Zoo

While The Philadelphia Zoo is not the largest in the country, it does hold the distinction of being the oldest. Nestled on 42 (hard to find in a city) acres, the zoo houses over 1300 different animals.  While my favorite part of a zoo has always been where the babies are (go figure), my kids’ favorite part is the Children’s Zoo, where they get to pet and sometimes feed the animals.  Of course, they are also thrilled to watch the lions and tigers up close, or spend hours with their faces pressed up to glass, looking at giant snakes {shudder}.

2. The Franklin Institute

Giant Heart (photo courtesy of the Franklin Institute)

Ok, so if I could be truly honest, this would be my first choice of places to visit in Philly.  I simply love the idea of history meeting science (we’re talking about Ben Franklin here!)!  This place is just full of inventions, both old and new,  and they are always hosting interesting events and exhibits (and sleep-overs for boy scouts & girl scouts!!!).  I can remember walking through the Giant Human heart as a little girl and being absolutely amazed. The day I watched my own kids walk through and saw the same looks on their faces that I am sure mine once reflected, was priceless.  The Franklin Institute is FULL of wonderful learning experiences just waiting to be explored  in some of  the most fun and imaginitive ways possible.

3. Fairmount Park

Boathouse Row

This is not just your average park. In fact, there is nothing run-of-the-mill here.  Fairmount Park is gorgeous and I can’t even beging to tell you how much it thrills me to see that my kids love it as much as I do. While there are no big bells and whistles, there is simply stunning landscape as far as the eye can see.  The kids and I love to walk the trails and take in the scenery. It is especially beautiful during the spring when the flowers are in bloom, or in the fall when the foliage is changing colors. Of course, if you’re feeling fancy, you can take a trolley ride around the park and enjoy the views of Boathouse Row, The Philadelphia Museum of Art (you know, the one where Rocky famously ran up the stairs…), or watch the crew teams practice rowing which is our personal favorite. My boys like to chant “row, row, row” as the teams go by. I am sure the crew just loves that!

4. & 5. Liberty Bell & Independence Hall

Indpendence Hall

Of course, you can not, and should not, go to Philadelphia without seeing the true history of the city and our country.  Independence Hall houses the Liberty Bell, the Declaration of Independence & the Constitution.  Just walking through the doors you get a sense and a feeling of history, and for myself and my children who are all major US history buffs, there is no place where that feeling is more powerful.  The photos on the walls and surroundings which are depicted give us a sense of what it was to be a Founding Father back in 1776.  Just seeing the Liberty Bell up close and reading the words “Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof”  is enough to take my breath away.
Philadelphia truly is a city that should be explored.
For it’s beauty.
For it’s attractions.
And, most definitely for it’s rich history.

Travel with kids to: CA | CO | DC | FL | HI | IL | MA | NC  | NY | PA | TN | TX | VA | WA

About the author

Sharlene Earnshaw is Trekaroo’s Editor in Chief. She lives in sunny Orange County, CA, with her husband and 10-year-old son and daughter (twins!). She is a self-proclaimed National Park junkie and has the goal of visiting each and every one with her kids. When she isn't traveling to places like Norway, Peru, Disney World, and Hawaii with her family, she enjoys hiking, beach days, obsessively rooting for the San Francisco 49ers, and planning her brood's next trip.
4 Responses
  1. debi9kids

    I’m honored to be featured on this fantastic blog and look forward to all of your ideas each day 🙂

  2. Christina

    Great tips! It sounds awesome!

  3. Cheryl

    What a great review/tip sheet! Love Debi and her gorgeous family. Thank you for featuring her!

  4. doubleadventure

    Thank you so much Debi for your wonderful post! I am looking forward to hitting up Philly with my own kids one day.

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