Founded in 1682 by English Quaker, William Penn, Philadelphia played a pivotal role in the American Revolution. It was a meeting place for the Founding Fathers, who eventually signed the Declaration of Independence (1776), and later the Constitution (1787) there. The city also served as the temporary U.S. capital while Washington D.C. was under construction.
Here are 10 family friendly attractions to visit on your next trip to Philadelphia.
- Franklin Square is the perfect spot for a family outing. One of William Penn’s original parks, part of his effort to create a “green country town,” the square in the Historic District has many attractions that capture the essence of Philadelphia. The park also invites all visitors to try their putting skills on the 18-hole Philadelphia-themed miniature golf course. Windmills and waterfalls are replaced by some of the city’s most prominent monuments and icons, including the Chinatown Friendship Arch, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Elfreth’s Alley. The course ends when you hit the ball through the famous crack in the Liberty Bell in front of a model Independence Hall.
- The Franklin Institute, the entire family can walk through a larger-than-life heart, learn from Benjamin Franklin’s early electricity experiments, travel through a two-story tall neural network climbing structure with dynamic lighting and sound effects that are triggered by your footsteps and view IMAX® movies on a four-story domed theater.
- Dinosaurs loom overhead and butterflies roam free at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, where four floors of exhibits and interactive activities focus on the environment.
- Just down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway from The Franklin Institute and Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is The Oval, Philadelphia’s new “Park on the Parkway,” where families can enjoy free programming, events and activities including interactive games, movie nights, live music and special events in the summer months.
- Located right across the street from The Oval is the third largest art museum in the country, the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Participate in Art! Explore which combines creative play and participatory conversation introducing art to young visitors and their families.
- Children can also explore the Please Touch Museum which promotes hands-on learning and parent-child interaction.
- Animal lovers will enjoy America’s first zoo, the Philadelphia Zoo, where lions, tigers, bears, giraffes, gorillas and species from around the world come out to play. Visitors can see these dynamic animals move 360 degrees-along, above and across visitors’ pathways through the first-in-the-world animal travel and exploration trail system, called Zoo360. With Treetop Trail, Great Ape Trail and Big Cat Crossing, visitors are taken on an experience unlike any other zoo in the world. In 2015, Zoo360 was expanded to include Gorilla Treeway, where the Philadelphia Zoo’s Western lowland gorillas can enjoy long-distance travel throughout a variety of environments.
- Just across the Delaware River, get up-close to over 1,500 species of fabulous fish and marine life throughout Ocean Realm at the Adventure Aquarium. Home to Hippo Haven, highlighting a colorful landscape of color and sound within the hippo environment, guests can see these giant animals like never before.
- For the little tykes, ages seven and under, nearby Sesame Place is the only theme park based on Sesame Street.
- And, of course, no visit to Philadelphia would be complete without soaking up a little history. You have lots to choose from: Liberty Bell Center, Independence Hall, African History Museum, Once Upon a Nation Storytelling Benches, and Betsy Ross House, are good places to start.
Do you have a favorite family friendly spot in Philadelphia?
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Anthony Manzanares | Anthony has found travel provides a healthy balance to his day job as a criminal defense attorney. Living on the periphery of blogging for years, he's now decided to flex his creative muscles with a little writing and photography of his own. Anthony's favorite travel destinations are the Caribbean, Italy, and Ireland.