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Philadelphia: Independence Hall

Things To Do In Philadelphia With Kids

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Philadelphia is a city fit for family travel. From the historical richness of the city’s past to the kid-friendly museums, traveling to Philadelphia with kids can be the perfect weekend trip for East Coast families looking to get away. Although there is a long list of activities and things to do in Philadelphia, spending almost two days there with my daughter for a mother-daughter trip was the perfect length (compared to a weekend in NYC where you feel like you are just getting started).

Knowing that my daughter is interested in both history and science, we planned an almost two-day itinerary in Philadelphia that balanced historical sites, science, and walking exploration.

Day 1 in Philadelphia

We arrived in Philadelphia midday to maximize our time there. The plan was to divide up the historical venues between our first afternoon and the morning of our second day so as not to “overload” on history. Luckily for families, many of the historical sites like Betsy Ross’s house, Independence Hall, and the Liberty Bell are very close to one another so they are easy to walk to without too much fatigue for little feet. Our first stop was the Independence Visitor Center, located at 1 North Independence Mall W (at the corner of N 6th Street and Market Street). There we picked up a Junior Ranger activity book that gave both background knowledge about some of the sites and activities for children to complete as they learned more about each venue.  We also learned that children can collect trading cards at the National Park Service sites by asking a Park Service Ranger and correctly answering a question from the Ranger.  This became a highlight of our trip.

Collecting Junior Ranger trading cards is one of the fun things to do in Philadelphia with kids.

Collecting Junior Ranger trading cards is one of the fun things to do in Philadelphia with kids.

We decided to explore the historical neighborhood on foot.  We made our way to the home of Betsy Ross, passing the U.S. Mint (my daughter was VERY excited about this).  Having studied Betsy Ross in first grade, seeing the artifacts and home of  Betsy Ross brought all of that school learning to life. Although we got a bit wet when the blue sky gave way to an unexpected rain storm, we bought silly blue ponchos to keep dry. We were then able to to use the rain to our advantage and see the Liberty Bell without any line since most other visitors had taken shelter from the weather.

Day 2 in Philadelphia

Getting an early start to make sure we could get an early timed ticket for Independence Hall, we made our way to the Independence Visitor Center again. Entrance to both Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell are free but the lines can be long, so going early in the day (or at the very end of the day) is a smart way for families to beat some of the crowds during peak travel times like school holidays and summer. Hearing the stories from the Park Ranger were particularly interesting to my daughter who kept scrolling through her trading cards to connect a face to the anecdote that was being described.

After our tour of Independence Hall, we took the Phlash trolley to enjoy the Franklin Institute for the rest of the day. You can buy a pass for this trolley at the Visitor Center.  The Franklin Institute is a perfect thing to do in Philadelphia with kids because it engages children of all ages with interactive exhibits that educate, inspire, and entertain. We spent four hours in the Franklin Institute seeing a show at Fels Planetarium, taking in the Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit, and exploring the other permanent exhibits.

Hands on fun at the Franklin Institute, one of the great things to do in Philadelphia with kids.

Hands on fun at the Franklin Institute.

To round out our last day in Philadelphia, and wanting to explore the city on foot, we made our way via Walnut Street (for some fabulous window shopping), with an early dinner stop at The Continental, followed by a much awaited later dessert at the Franklin Fountain.

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Our Hilton Mom Voyage team members live throughout the U.S. and have traveled by air and car all over the world with their families!

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