Pennsylvania: Philadelphia, Family Vacations with Dinosaurs, Butterflies, and Big Bird.
Spending time in Philly with kids is always rewarding. The city is a first-class family vacation location offering hundreds of ways to share really cool stuff and create one-of-a-kind memories. Here’s the scoop.
In any season the city offers families fun stuff so no two trips will ever be the same. From seeing the Liberty Bell and walking in the footsteps of Ben Franklin to counting butterflies and counting dinos and fishes, learning and fun go together. I like this place because it is a city where history, science, and art thrive. Walking is my preferred mode of navigation but there are trolleys, carriages, and boats as additional transportation choices. Naturally I have my favorite places, each one kid certified and terrific. Bonus points: Shopping choices along with no sales tax on clothing is at the top of the list. Look for tyrannosaurus rex.
The Academy of Natural Sciences with its grand Dinosaur Hall is a bonanza for dinosaur lovers of all ages. More than 30 species are represented along with dinosaur eggs, footprints, and a life-size model showing the internal structure a Stegosaurus. Bonus points:
Onsite is a green-screen video studio where youngsters may time travel by projecting an image of themselves into the era of dinosaurs.Walk with butterflies.
Also at the Academy of Natural Sciences is an exceptional spot for a butterfly encounter. The butterfly exhibit is set within a lush, tropical garden filled with colorful foliage and a multitude of live butterflies. The resident population changes weekly. The Live Animal Center, located nearby is home to more than 100 live birds, mammals, reptiles, and invertebrates. Bonus points:
The Academy has created a hands-on discovery center geared toward children ages 3-8 and loaded with activities and educational experiences for the whole family. (Academy of Natural Sciences 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA. (215) 299-1000 or www.ansp.org
) See an insect's world.
The Philadelphia Insectarium is the largest insect museum in the nation. The facility has thousands of live (as well as mounted) insects. The facility contains, oodles of interactive displays, a movie-room, and a zany staff to make any visit fun. Tour three floors see creepy-crawlies; play in a man-made spider web; see the inside of a beehive. There is even a bug petting corner, an Arachnid Alley, and a termite mound. Bonus points:
This is the place to buy those hard-to-find spicy Cajun mealworms or candied insect lollipops. (Philadelphia Insectarium 8046 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia, PA. (215) 338-3000 or www.insectarium.com
) Meet Big Bird, Elmo, and Cookie Monster.
Sesame Place is an interactive play experience for families with children ages 2 - 13. The park is based on the award winning television show Sesame Street and contains 14 thrilling water attractions and loads of interactive experiences, live stage shows, a parade, and a roller coaster. Big Bird, Elmo, Cookie Monster and the other lovable characters from Sesame Street not only perform in shows, they greet visitors throughout the day. (Sesame Place 100 Sesame Road Langhorne, Philadelphia, PA. (215) 752-7070 or www.sesameplace.com
) Checkout a classic shopping stop.
Franklin Mint, the world’s largest private mint, is located along famous U.S. Route 1. It’s the place that provides high quality collectibles and personal luxury products. So naturally the museum displays their catalog items from the Star Trek transporter room to the mood-lit display hall of fake Faberge eggs. Items on display include porcelain dolls, precision die-cast model motor vehicles, collector plates, historic weapon replicas and the list goes on. This is the place to find the ultimate versions of the world's most popular games and they take credit cards. (Franklin Mint. U.S. Route 1 Franklin Center, Philadelphia, PA. (610) 459 6168 or www.franklinmint.com
)Visit one big campus.
For parent with teens Philadelphia is a great place to combine a family vacation with a college campus tour. It is never too soon to present the idea of attending college and for most teens seeing will make all of the difference. Most college and university campuses offer general tours to potential students. If your family is in the college search mode consider Philadelphia because it is home to more than 50 colleges and universities. (Toll-free 1-877-887-4452 or www.onebigcampus.com
)Make it happen.
For general Philadelphia family vacation information toll-free 1-800-537-7676, (215) 636-1666 or www.gophila.comContent researched and written by Nancy Nelson-Duac. Images provided by Academy of Natural Sciences and Philadelphia CVB. Copyright 2013.