Visiting Philadelphia with kids? We’ve got a whole host of fun things to do with children of all ages, whatever their interests. There are sites of historic significance as well as classic kid-friendly attractions such as theme parks and museums, alongside plenty of outdoor places for recreation and exploration. This ensures family fun and a memorable time when you visit Philly with the kids. Ready to plan a trip they’ll never forget? Then read our list featuring some of the best things to do in Philadelphia with kids.
Philadelphia with Kids: Fun Things to do
Located in Philadelphia’s Old City neighbourhood in the heart of the Historic District, The Betsy Ross House is the birthplace of the American flag. When you tour this authentic 18th-century home you can meet Betsy and listen to her story. History is brought to life with interactive storytelling tours and performances by historic reenactors. Children can also listen to a special audio tour of the house and try to solve 13 history mysteries. It is fun and educational, and a great way to get to know the history of Philadelphia. You can also visit her burial place. Betsy Ross died in 1836 at 84 years of age and she is buried alongside her third husband, John Claypoole, in the garden in the courtyard outside her home.
An urban beach area, Spruce Street Harbor Park is an oasis in the city along the Delaware River. With lots of hammocks for lounging, games to play, and plenty of street food options, this waterfront recreation area is a great family day out. Bright and colourful, the place is vibrant with a great buzz, especially on long hot summer evenings. You can also take to the water on kayaks, swans and boats. The flexible, and those with good balance, can try stand-up paddleboard yoga! Bring your camera to capture the epic views of the Delaware River and Ben Franklin Bridge. Looking for some fun games? Make your way to the southern end of the Boardwalk to play some cool arcade games, for instance, skeeball, air hockey and more in converted shipping containers. You can also play friendly games of bocce, ping pong or shuffleboard along the boardwalk.
The Franklin Institute is an engaging science museum with lots of hands-on educational exhibits. It is named after the American scientist and statesman Benjamin Franklin and is also home to the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial. Inside, there are dozens of rooms and areas with different themes with things to do for children of all ages. Be warned, there is so much to see and do here that you’ll need a full day to cover everything. One of the most popular exhibits is a walk-through giant heart that gets smaller and louder the further inside you go. From electricity experiments to sports sessions, kids will love it here and adults will be highly entertained too. Space lovers will also adore the awe-inspiring planetarium where they can explore the night sky and enjoy cutting-edge astronomical presentations.
4. Sesame Place
Located on the outskirts of Philadelphia, this theme park and water park has lots of rides, shows and water attractions based around the kid’s TV show Sesame Street. It is also the first theme park in the world designated as a Certified Autism Center. Children can enjoy the rides and meet furry friends like Elmo, Abby Cadabby and Big Bird. Make sure you time your visit to coincide with the daily Neighborhood Street Party Parades where you can sing, dance and clap along with the cast of characters. And the fun doesn’t stop there. Even when you are getting a bite to eat there’ll be appearances by the Sesame Street gang, so be sure to have your camera ready for this fun kid-friendly experience.
For mini-golf, a carousel ride and a whole lot more kid-friendly activities, head to Franklin Square in the city centre. The park is centred around a beautiful fountain, which was built in 1838 and has been turned into a wonderful Fountain Show. You can watch water dance to choreographed music and lights during the free performances. There’s also a playground in the park and places to relax and have a picnic. You can also try the renowned burgers, fries and shakes from SquareBurger which has a kiosk in the park. Fun fact for history lovers, Franklin Square is one of the five original open-space parks planned by William Penn when he laid out the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1682. The other four squares are Centre Square at City Hall, Logan Square, Rittenhouse Square, and Washington Square.
Located in the Centennial District of Philadelphia, the Please Touch Museum is dedicated to all things related to playing, creating and imagination. At this interactive play space, children can enjoy tea parties with their friends, real or imaginary, drive a bus or a Philly Phlash Trolley, float a boat down the river and launch a rocket into space. There’s also an art studio, a garden, an adventure camp and a storytime cabin. This is a huge facility where kids of all ages can explore, play, create and learn. When you work up an appetite, you can stop in at the Café to enjoy a snack or meal, or eat in the outside dining area in the Please Touch Garden. The cafe has a wonderful selection of food specially designed for children. You’ll find something on the menu that even the fussiest eaters will enjoy.
The Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse provides amply opportunities for children to enjoy unstructured free play. It is a place where they can run wild and burn off some energy. Located in East Fairmount Park, the playground has over 50 pieces of unique play equipment. However, the biggest draw has to be the iconic Ann Newman Giant Wooden Slide, which is 39 feet long! There is also a historic playhouse, constructed in 1899, where children can drive a train, cook in the kitchen, ride a bike or trike and enjoy an urban nature centre. The park also hosts some wonderful events throughout the year which educate and entertain both children and adults alike.