Meet the Cookie Monster, explore World War II submarines and feed sharks – all top things to do in Philadelphia with kids. This historic city may be the birthplace of the nation – and there’s much to discover in terms of history – but there are plenty of other Philadelphia family activities too. Get interactive at a choice of excellent museums, discover more about the city’s haunted spots and even find out what it’s like to be sworn in as President. It could only happen in Philadelphia.
Independence National Historical Park
History lessons don’t have to be boring. Kids are never too young to start understanding the importance of the past. And they don’t get much more dramatic than this. Visit the place the Declaration of Independence was signed and US Constitution debated. Take a guided walking tour or discover the Underground Railroad.
Meet more than 1,300 animals at America’s first ever zoo. Visit award-winning exhibits including, the First Niagara Big Cat Falls and the McNeil Avian Center. Philadelphia Zoo specializes in breeding animals that have trouble doing so in captivity elsewhere. So it’s your chance to see some of the world’s rarest animals.
Have great family fun in Franklin Square. One of William Penn’s original 5 city squares, there’s mini golf, fountains and an old fashioned carousel to keep the kids more than happy – plus plenty of eating options for all appetites. Have fun splashing around in the water, relax under the trees and enjoy some family time in this unique urban space.
Please Touch Museum
Bored of museums where you can’t touch the exhibits? Then this makes a refreshing change. 2 full floors of interactive exhibits – adults and kids can have loads of hands on fun, learning at the same time. Children will also love the top exhibits including Alice’s Wonderland and River Adventures. Enjoy this tactile experience where the learning is really first-hand.
The Franklin Institute
Get interactive at one of the country’s premier science museums. Named after the city’s most famous son and one of the world’s greatest ever minds, kids will love the walk-through heart and high-tech Your Brain exhibition. There’s also a family chill out spot for when you all need a little break to recharge the batteries.
Meet underwater hippos face to face. Watch as sharks and rays swim right in front of you in the suspended tunnel. This underwater world is a playground beneath the sea. You can also get your hands wet feeding and petting the stingrays, lobsters and small sharks.
Want to meet Oscar the Grouch or the Cookie Monster? Sesame Place is the only theme park in the US based entirely on the legendary show Sesame Street. Fire young imaginations on swirling rides and water slides. Perfect for younger kids – and adults will love it too – such is the enduring appeal of these cuddly characters.
Ghost tours of Philadelphia
Explore Philadelphia’s spooky side on a ghost walk through the Old City. This lantern-led tour and storytelling experience takes in all the city’s most haunted spots. The walks last around 90 minutes so little legs might get tired, but it’s perfect for older kids with big imaginations.
Independence Seaport Museum
Explore a Spanish-American war cruiser or find out what life was like on the World War II submarine Becuna. Rent a rowing boat or head out in a kayak on the calm waters of the harbor for a closer look at historic ships. On Saturdays there’s even a chance for the kids to get involved in specially designed activities.
National Constitution Center
Let the little ones feel what it’s like to put on presidential robes and get sworn in as the President. Meet the founding fathers face to face and discover more about the history of the US at this superb interactive museum.