Top Ten Family Friendly Attractions
Where kids can learn, play and explore
Families love to visit Philadelphia and we love hosting them. Here are ten of our favorite family-friendly museums, parks and attractions that will keep the entire family engaged and happy throughout your entire trip.
1. Please Touch Museum
The Please Touch Museum is beloved by generations of Philadelphians. Its new location in Fairmount Park’s Memorial Hall features even more exhibits and spaces for kids to discover and explore — including a 1920s-era carousel, the Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland exhibit and a replica of the Statue of Liberty’s torch made completely out of toys.
2. Franklin Square
One of Philadelphia’s five original colonial squares, this formerly rough-and-tumble park was recently renovated to include a miniature golf course, picnic area, playground and carousel — and it’s won every sort of kid-friendly accolade for its efforts. Franklin Square is a particularly good destination in the warmer months, when Steven Starr’s Square Burger is open and serving up shakes, burgers and fries.
3. The Independence Seaport Museum
The Independence Seaport Museum on Penn’s Landing offers kids the chance to explore a World War II submarine and a Navy cruiser from the 1890s, as well as several permanent displays and special exhibitions. There’s plenty here to keeps both parents and children engaged.
4. The Franklin Institute
The Franklin Institute has been a favorite destination for Philadelphia families since 1934, when the Institute opened its science museum side. Kids love to tramp through the giant heart, learn about electricity and see movies in the IMAX theater. Parents love that their kids are learning and having a good time doing it.
Known for its giant exhibitions like King Tut and Body Worlds, the Institute will doubtlessly be showing something great while you’re there. Make sure you get tickets in advance.
5. Smith: The Kids’ Play Place in the Park
The Smith Playhouse and Playground has been welcoming Philadelphia’s kids for more than 100 years. Located in a six-acre, wooded parkland in beautiful East Fairmount Park, this century-old landmark is home to a four-story, 24,000-square-foot “play mansion,” iconic 44-foot wooden slide and state-of-the-art Play Pod filled with a giant see-saw and spinning “jungle gyms.”
Admission is free and they’re open Tuesday through Sunday. (Hours vary depending on the time of year, so check before making a visit.)
6. Linvilla Orchards
Want to get a little closer to the source of your food? Linvilla Orchards is the ideal place to start. They offer u-pick crops, a fully stocked farm market and a Pumpkin Patch in the fall. Kids will love paying a visit to Playland, riding the pint-sized train and getting a snack from one of the stands (they look like they came straight from the fairgrounds).
7. Philadelphia Zoo
The Philadelphia Zoo was the very first chartered zoo in the country and recently celebrated its 150th birthday. Visit and you’ll see Big Cat Falls, a Primate Reserve and the new MacNeil Avian Center. Parking can be tight at this historic zoo, so consider taking public transportation. The Girard Avenue Trolley stops right outside of the front gates.
8. Camden Adventure Aquarium
Open since 2005, the Camden Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ offers nearly 200,000 square feet of marine and wild life. See hippos at the West African River Experience, meet the flightless birds at Penguin Island and even come face-to-face with a crocodile (don’t worry; it’s safe).
And in the Shark Realm, where a 40-foot, underwater tunnel takes you deep into shark-infested waters, you’ll feel what’s it’s like to have “Jaws” looming just over your shoulder. The bravest among you can even swim with the sharks (with advance reservations).
9. Camden Children’s Garden
The Camden Children’s Garden is a four-acre interactive garden, run by a non-profit whose goal is to help encourage community gardening. Believing that it was important to cultivate young gardeners, they opened the Children’s Garden in 1999. When you visit, you’ll get a chance to explore the Dinosaur Garden, Storybook Gardens and Tree House and Picnic Garden.
10. Sesame Place
Visit Sesame Place this year and help them celebrate their 30th anniversary!
Sesame Place strives to bring the Sesame Street television show and its values to life for children through play. Kids have an opportunity to meet their favorite characters (Elmo!) and climb the three-story-high Nets n’ Climbs in Big Bird’s Court. Sesame Place is just 30 minutes north of Philadelphia and makes for a perfect day trip. And don’t miss the new Count’s Splash Castle — perfect for cooling off during the summer months.