Philadelphia is a historic city with sites, activities, and fun for all ages. Visiting Philadelphia with kids is a great way to immerse children in the history of the United States with an expansive and interactive historic area as well as immersing them in scientific and cultural learning at the many museums.
After a month of traveling around Italy earlier this month, my daughter and I decided to hit the road for a mother-daughter trip to Philadelphia. There is so much to see, do, and eat in Philadelphia that you could easily spend several days or even a week taking in everything. But what if you, like us, only have two days? Cramming history, science, and culture into two days can be difficult unless you have an idea of the hot spots.
Three Must Do Activities for Kids in Philadelphia
Visiting the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall are obvious choices for must do activities for children that are ready to learn first hand how the United States became a country. One of the most engaging parts of visiting these historic sites, are that these sites are part of a National Park which means that they offer a Junior Rangers program where children can pick up a Junior Ranger Activity Booklet to complete as they tour the sites. Children that complete a certain number of activities can earn a Junior Ranger badge. Children can also collect Trading Cards as they come into contact with rangers across Independence National Park by asking a ranger or by visiting the visitor center.
Insider tip: Visit the historic sites early in the day. You need a timed ticket for Independence Hall which can be picked up in the visitors center. On a Thursday morning in August, we went to the visitor center at 10 am and were able to obtain tickets for 10:45 am. Or, you can wait until 5-7 pm in the evening when entrance is allowed without a timed ticket.
Take the Phlash
The Phlash is a trolley that takes you to many key destinations downtown between Penn’s Landing and the Please Touch Museum. Family or day passes are available. The Phlash is a great way to get some rest with kids who have been on their feet, as well as being an efficient and quick way to get around.
The Franklin Institute
The Franklin Institute is a science museum that engages all ages with interactive exhibits that educate, inspire, and entertain. We spent four hours in the Franklin Institute taking in a show at Fels Planetarium, the Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit, and most of the other permanent exhibits. There are multiple IMAX films as well, making the Franklin Institute worthy of an even longer stay if time permits.
Insider tip: Sir Isaac’s Loft is located on the top floor and is nestled in a corner. Out of all the permanent exhibits, this room was the most engaging and also the least crowded. At 4:00 pm there were 15 kids playing, learning, and experimenting in the large space with their parents seated, almost relaxing on benches around the exhibit.
Two days in Philadelphia are just enough time to give children a great introduction to this historical city. They will undoubtedly want to go back and dive deeper into the history, sites, food, and culture of Philadelphia.
Italian by birth, Elena tells the story of living-doing-and growing as a Cancer survivor, freelance writer, teacher, runner & triathlete from her perch in the DC suburbs at Ciao Mom.