With its impressive number of renowned museums, rich culture of historical significance and booming culinary scene, the City of Brotherly Love can be a surprisingly ideal destination for your family vacation. There are a wide variety of reasons why Philly deserves to be on your short list of vacation spots, but these ten are focused on all of the great things there are to see and do with your children.
- The Mud Room (Ardmore, PA 19003) – A ceramics and craft studio that stocks clay mugs, plates, figurines and pots, The Mud Room is a great place to let kids relax and unwind from the pressure of a packed itinerary on a whirlwind vacation. Their works of art will not only allow them to exercise their creative sides, but also provide a built-in souvenir of their time in Philadelphia.
- American Helicopter Museum & Education Center (West Chester, PA 19380) – Kids who are fascinated with air travel will love the American Helicopter Museum & Education center, which allows kids to interact with and even climb inside some of the aircraft. There’s also a toddler learning area for kids under the age of six, filled with plenty of proverbial bells and whistles to keep little hands busy.
- New Hope and Ivyland Railroad (New Hope, PA 18938) – Roll through the hills of Bucks County on a restored 1920′s passenger train, a historic diesel train or an authentic steam locomotive on the New Hope and Ivyland Railroad. Kids with a fondness for trains will be enraptured, but even kids without a particular fixation on them will enjoy the novelty of this attraction. There’s also a gift shop, and an arcade for kids to browse and play in while waiting for the next train.
- National Constitution Center (Philadelphia, PA 19106) – Featuring interactive exhibits showcasing key moments in American history, politics and the key document governing the United States’ democratic system, the National Constitution Center is a can’t-miss offering on your trip to Philadelphia. Instilling a sense of civil responsibility and an understanding of the events that led to the establishment of the American political structure in kids while presenting the information in an absorbing, engaging way, the National Constitution Center hosts a variety of events and limited-time exhibits.
- The Franklin Institute (Philadelphia PA 19103) – Named after the great scientist, inventor and political figure Benjamin Franklin, the Franklin Institute is not only one of the oldest centers for science education and research in the country, but also a great destination for kids. There’s even a special program in place directed solely at homeschooled kids, which provides additional opportunities and special experiments to further their education.
- Betsy Ross House (Philadelphia, PA 19106) – The image of the American flag is an iconic one, the original creation of which is attributed to the national treasure Betsy Ross. Kids can tour the house, interact with an actor in period costume and watch demonstrations of life in colonial America. In addition to the permanent exhibits, the Betsy Ross house and Historic Philadelphia also offer a variety of specialty programs and exhibits.
- Abe’s Buggy Rides (Bird in Hand, PA 17505) – Learning about other cultures is both fun and engaging for kids, which is why Abe’s Buggy Rides can be such a big hit with the smaller set. Rolling through the Lancaster County countryside in a horse-drawn Amish buggy is a great way to let kids observe Amish farms, a schoolhouse and other sights while enjoying the novelty of riding in a buggy with real horse-power.
- Please Touch Museum (Philadelphia, PA 19131) – All too often, kids are instructed not to touch anything in museums. The Please Touch Museum turns the concept of looking-but-not-touching on its ear, with fully interactive and hands-on exhibits that teach kids about a variety of subject through play and experimentation.
- Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse (Philadelphia, PA 19121) – With a 24,000 square foot, three floor playhouse and extensive outdoor playgrounds, the Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse is an ideal place to let the kids burn some energy in a beautiful, kid-friendly setting. The playhouse includes bikes and cars for kids to ride in a miniature town, complete with a stop light, parking meters and a gas station, along with a staggering array of additional toys on the upper levels.
- The Crayola Factory (Easton, PA 18042) – While the Crayola Factory is a bit of a drive from the metropolitan Philadelphia area, the interactive exhibits and projects make the trek well worth it. While The Crayola Factory is a factory in name only, there is a section that helps kids see and understand a bit about the manufacturing process of their beloved crayons.
Because of Philadelphia’s historical significance and a city-wide dedication to preserving it, the city is a great choice for parents in search of a vacation destination that offers the opportunity for learning alongside carefree fun. Visiting Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and the same streets that Benjamin Franklin walked all provide your family with great fun that also presents the opportunity to learn about the history of this great country.