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What to See and Do in Philadelphia

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The Liberty Bell

A road trip can be a great learning experience for kids and parents alike, especially when one of the destinations on the trip is a city. Taking a trip to a city requires planning, but the new experiences and opportunities for learning are well worth the effort. In Philadelphia you will find a wealth of opportunities for you and your children to learn about history, explore and discover that makes for a great weekend.

When to Go:

Summers are hot in Philadelphia and winters can be bone chilling. The best time to visit is during May through June and September through October.

How to Get There:

Philadelphia has an international airport and is only two hours from Washington D.C and NYC. The city can be accessed by Interstate 95.

What to Do:

Philadelphia is a great weekend destination so allow two days to visit.

Day One

1. The Constitutional Walking Tour - Allow 1.5 hours minimum

Spend your morning doing the Constitutional Walking Tour. The tour visits more than twenty historic sites including Independence Hall, The Liberty Bell Center, Betsy Ross House, and the Declaration House. You can take a self-guided tour or get a more in depth and informative tour guided by a Philadelphia native. The guided tour lasts seventy-five minutes and costs $17.50 per adult and $12.50 per child. If you take a self-guided tour you can easily spend up to three hours touring around the city.

2. Pat's Cheesesteak - Allow 1 hour minimum

Philadelphia is known for cheesesteaks, and for good reason. The cheesesteak was born here, at Pat's Cheesesteak. The cheesesteaks are so popular that Pat's sends cheesesteaks to customers in the mail! Take lunch here. If you've never been to Pat's chances are you'll be confused when you go to order your cheesesteak. You will be asked if you want it "whiz wit" or "whiz wit-out". We'll translate - "whiz wit" means with cheese, "whiz wit-out" means without cheese. Now you're prepared! Pat's is open twenty-four hours a day and serves more than 1,500 of these delicious sandwiches daily. It is located at the intersection of 9th Street, Wharton & Passyunk Avenues in south Philadelphia and almost always has a line.

3. Philadelphia Zoo - Allow 2 hours minimum

The oldest zoo in the United States and one which houses over 1,300 animals and an incredible amount of rare and endangered species is great fun for the family. Spend the afternoon here. There are over twenty animal feeding times that you can watch and there are many other fun rides and activities, such as the Amazon Rainforest Carousel, Birds of Australia, Camel Safari, Zoo Balloon, Pony Rides, a Train and Swan Rides. Tickets for adults cost $18 and for children is $15.

Day Two

4. Please Touch Museum - Allow 2 hours minimum

This fascinating museum is aimed at children seven and younger. All of the exhibits are completely open for kids to play with and learn in unique ways. There is a walking piano, Flight Fantasy, Alice in Wonderland, River Adventure Playlands, and a Please Taste Cafe'. Adults and children both can be admitted for $15.

5. Eastern State Penitentiary - Allow 1.5 hours minimum

If you have teenagers, Eastern State Penitentiary is an interesting visit. Having operated between 1829 until 1971, Eastern State Penitentiary is considered to be the world's first true penitentiary. Eastern State's revolutionary system of incarceration encouraged separate confinement and demanded that the warden visit every inmate every day. This former penitentiary was the largest and most expensive public structure ever constructed during the time it was erected. It is now a U.S. National Historic Landmark. Visitors to Eastern State Penitentiary have the option of historic tours or twilight tours. There are also historic exhibits and art to peruse.

As a big city Philly is walking friendly and visitor friendly. A stroll down any cobblestone street will bring you back to days of old, and in the City of Brotherly Love it's more than likely that you will come across Philadelphians who are more than happy to send you the right way. There is really something for everyone, including the kids! Not only can you and your children learn about how our country was formed and grew, but you can touch, see, and feel that history.

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