Family Fun near Downtown Philadelphia

Philadelphia Family FunFor many families, a trip to Philadelphia starts with a visit to Independence Square. The area has been called the most historical square mile in the United States. Independence Hall, a favorite tour, is the place where the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence. Nearby, in its own building, the Liberty Bell is seen by two million visitors each year. Near the Hall, families will find The African American Museum, The Constitution Museum, and The Civil War & Underground Railroad Museum.

In the rotunda of the Franklin Institute, visitors can see a 20-foot high statue of Benjamin Franklin, Philadelphia’s most famous inventor, writer and early political figure. The Franklin Institute offers many scientific exhibits on flight, nature, electricity, trains and more. Memorable exhibits include a giant human heart that kids can explore and the multi-media Space Command exhibit. The Franklin Institute also offers a planetarium and an IMAX theater with special IMAX science movies.

Along the riverfront, families will find ships to tour. The Gazela is a 177-foot wooden square rigger that is still in use. The USS Becuna, a 318-foot guppy submarine, once was home to 88 men. The USS Olympia is a Naval ship dating back to the Spanish-American War. The Independence Seaport Museum, housed in a whimsical ship-like building, has interesting exhibits about the importance of boat travel. Many families also enjoy taking the ferry to the unique Camden Children’s Garden and the Adventure Aquarium. The Aquarium has many ocean exhibits and an African exhibit complete with hippos.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art offers many family-friendly exhibits, including a remarkable collection of armor and several reconstructed buildings. These include a Japanese teahouse, a 16th century Indian temple hall, and a Chinese palace hall. The famous statue of the fictitious prizefighter, Rocky Balboa, is near the front steps. The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology houses an extensive collection that includes Egyptian mummies and a 13-ton granite Sphinx. The Rodin Museum is home to the famous sculptor's many works. Rodin's The Thinker is at the entrance to the newly restored building and grounds.

The Philadelphia Zoo features 1,300 animals on over 40 acres. Favorites include penguins, polar bears, kangaroos and giraffes. There are many special habitat areas such as Niagara Big Cat Falls, the African Plains, and the Primate Preserve. The Please Touch Museum includes many exhibits aimed at younger children. Two favorites for kids of all ages include the playable Walking Piano and the Woodside Park Carousel.