Philadelphia is packed with things to do with kids, from magic gardens and animal-packed zoos, to mystery museums, old-fashioned soda shops, and fun-filled water parks. Whether you are looking for somewhere for your kids to run, jump, and play all day long, or explore and discover art, culture, and history, the city has something for everyone.
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1.The Philadelphia Zoo
The Philadelphia Zoo is located at the corner of 34th Street and Girard Avenue in Philadelphia's historic Fairmount Park and is home to more than 1300 animals, many of which are rare and endangered. The zoo’s 42-acre landscape is home to several eco-friendly animal habitats designed to offer personal encounters with the animals, from lions to lizards, as well as a variety of top attractions and adventures, including the Amazon Rainforest Carousel, Lorikeet Encounters, draft horse and pony rides, camel safaris, paddleboats and a train ride. The Philadelphia Zoo features a world-class breeding program and works alongside many groups around the world to protect the natural habitats of the animals in their care.
3400 W Girard Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19104, Phone: 215-243-1100
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2.Please Touch Museum
The Please Touch Museum® has the foremost children’s museum in the state of Philadelphia, providing families with children under the age of seven with a variety of interactive and fun-filled experiences to encourage learning through play. The Museum offers an array of educational programs, including exhibits and displays, theater and art, music and movement, carousels and collections. The Please Touch Museum® features two floors of stimulating and interactive exhibit zones designed to encourage education through immersion, such as ‘City Capers,’ ‘Roadside Attractions,’ ‘River Adventures,’ and ‘Wonderland.’ Children can also partake in several educational programs like theater shows, story times, sing-a-longs, and special programs based on maths, engineering, science, and technology.
Memorial Hall, Fairmount Park, 4231 Avenue of the Republic, (formerly North Concourse Drive), Philadelphia, PA 19131, Phone: 215-581-3181
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3.The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
© The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, formerly known as the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, is the oldest natural science research institution and museum in the United States. Founded in 1812 with the aim of encouraging and cultivating an interest in the sciences, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University features a natural history collection of more than 17 million specimens and an extensive research facility and system, as well as hosts an array of rotating exhibitions and presentations. The Academy also offers a variety of educational programs for scholars, students, and the general public.
1900 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA 19103, Phone: 215-299-1000
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© Africa Studio/stock.adobe.com
Located on the Delaware River Camden Waterfront in downtown Philadelphia, the Adventure Aquarium, formerly known as the New Jersey State Aquarium, is a famous attraction that features one-of-a-kind exhibits and habitats that house more than 8,500 aquatic species and two million gallons of water. The Adventure Aquarium is renowned for being home to the most extensive collection of sharks on the East Coast, including the only Great Hammerhead shark in captivity in the United States, and is the only aquarium in the world to exhibit hippos. The Aquarium also features the longest Shark Bridge in the world and houses a colony of Little Blue penguins.
1 Riverside Drive, Camden, NJ 08103, Phone: 856-365-3300
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5.Independence Seaport Museum
© Independence Seaport Museum
The Independence Seaport Museum is dedicated to documenting and showcasing the maritime history and culture along the Delaware River. Founded in 1961 and located in Penn's Landing complex along the Delaware River, the Museum features a variety of fascinating exhibits for visitors to explore including an underwater ROV to maneuver, historic vessels to board, and a mock cannon to fire. In addition to the exhibits that chronicle the city’s contributions to naval and commercial maritime history, the museum also boasts a variety of interactive displays that show how local small craft are made, what makes boats float, and more. The nation’s oldest floating steel warship, the Olympia, which dates back to 1892, is berthed outside the museum, along with the Becuna, a classic World War II submarine that fought battles in the South Pacific.
211 S Christopher Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19106, Phone: 215-413-8655
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One of the five original open-space parks planned by William Penn, Franklin Square is a modern, fun park with an array of attractions and amenities, including a large playground and a carousel, a beautifully restored marble fountain, and a Philly-themed miniature golf course. The park was designed by William Penn when he laid out the city in 1682 and is sandwiched between North 6th and 7th Streets, Race Street and the Vine Street Expressway and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Open year-round to the public, Franklin Square is also home to SquareBurger and Cake Shake, which serves burgers, fries and sweet treats.
200 N 6th St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
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7.The Liberty Bell
Bearing the timeless message: “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants Thereof,” the Liberty Bell is one of the United States’ most iconic symbols. Once known as the State House Bell, the Liberty Bell rang in the tower of the Pennsylvania State House, what is known today as Independence Hall. The Bell, its famous crack, and much-repeated inscription became a symbol of hope and a herald of liberty in the 19th century, providing inspiration to abolitionists, women's suffrage advocates and Civil Rights leaders. The Liberty Bell is housed in a modern visitor’s center which showcases the history of the bell and how it came to be cracked, as well as the role it played in the development of a free and fair society through a range of exhibits, films, and displays. No tickets are required and opening hours vary seasonally.
6th St & Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19106, Phone: 215-965-2305
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8.The Franklin Institute
© The Franklin Institute
The Franklin Institute is a science museum and center for science education and research in Philadelphia. Founded in honor of America’s first scientist and statesman, Benjamin Franklin, The Franklin Institute is one of America’s oldest and premier centers of science education. The world-renowned center features an array of fascinating exhibits, one-of-a-kind theatrical experiences, and ongoing interactive exhibitions that explore science in disciplines ranging from sports to space. The Franklin Institute features an IMAX Theater with a 79-foot domed screen, the Fels Planetarium, and houses the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial.
222 N 20th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103, Phone: 215-448-1200
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9.Elmwood Park Zoo
The Elmwood Park Zoo is a community zoo dedicated to animal and habitat conservation. Located in Norristown, Pennsylvania, Elmwood Park Zoo was founded in 1924, when a private landowner donated a small piece of property and a handful of white-tailed deer to the Borough of Norristown and is now home to over 100 exotic and endangered species from around the world. The 16-acre zoo offers a fun day out for the whole family where visitors can hand-feed lovable giraffes, enjoy close encounters with jaguars, zip line across bison and elk exhibits, and interact with barn animals while learning more about conservation of animals and the environment. The zoo features different sections, including Treetop Adventures with more than 70 challenge games and zip lines that span up to 50 feet above the ground in the trees of the zoo; Eagle Canyon which is home to bald eagles and golden eagles; and an open-air walk-through exhibit featuring pools, lush vegetation, and playful otters called The Wetlands.
1661 Harding Blvd, Norristown, PA 19401, Phone: 800-652-4143
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10.The Bucks County Children's Museum
© The Bucks County Children's Museum
The Bucks County Children's Museum is a family-friendly museum that provides an educational and fun way for children of all ages to learn more about the unique culture and history of the surrounding community. The 9,000 square foot museum’s exhibits are designed for young children from 12 months up to seven years and encourage learning through play, along with an Exploration for All Program which helps children with disabilities experience the museum in a way that works for them. Notable exhibits include ‘The Hospital,’ ‘Town Square,’ ‘Factory Works,’ ‘Big Dig,’ and ‘Bucks County Country – A Recycled Adventure.’ The museum has lovely outdoor areas with benches for picnic lunches, and HG Pizza is a short drive away.
500 Union Square Drive, New Hope, PA 18938, Phone: 215-693-1290
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11.Camden Children's Garden
© Camden Children's Garden
Designed for children and families, the Camden Children's Garden provides a special place to explore and discover the natural world through unique horticultural experiences for creative and imaginative play. Operated by the Camden City Garden Club, the four-acre garden features a variety of attractions and amenities, including a garden carousel, a spring butterfly ride, a Dinosaur Garden, Storybook Gardens, Red Oak Run, a Picnic Garden, and the Arrow River Train, among others. The Camden Children's Garden also hosts special celebrations and events throughout the year, along with additional activities and crafts related to the event theme. The Camden Children's Garden is situated next to the Adventure Aquarium across the Delaware River from Philadelphia.
500 Union Square, New Hope, PA 18938, Phone: 215-693-1290
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12.The Franklin Fountain
© The Franklin Fountain
The Franklin Fountain is a classic ice cream parlor with a beautifully restored soda fountain that serves homemade ice cream and soda fountain treats in a traditional old school space. Established in 2004 by the Berley Brothers, the Old City ice cream shop has been supplying the local community with scoops of tradition and old-time ice-cream ever since. Franklin Fountain serves up handmade ice cream in a variety of flavors including Teaberry Gum, banana, vanilla bean, chocolate, and Green Tea, along with 25 different flavors of milkshakes, ice cream sodas, sodas, and egg creams.
116 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19106, Phone: 215-627-1899
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13.Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest and Winterfest
The Blue Cross RiverRink is a family-friendly park with a roller-skating / ice rink and a variety of other amenities that hosts the Summerfest and Winterfest, both of which provide a wealth of fun-filled attractions for families. Philadelphia’s only outdoor roller skating rink, the Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest offers roller-skating in the summer months, along with pay-as-you-go.mini-golf, themed rides, games, and concessions. During the winter, the Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest features a seasonal fairytale winter landscape with a world-class ice skating rink, outdoor seating area with fire pits, cozy warming cabins, arcades games, a chalet-inspired Lodge with food and beverages, and a special kid’s lodge. The Blue Cross RiverRink is open seven days a week during both summer and winter.
101 S Christopher Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19106, Phone: 215-925-7465
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14.TreeTop Quest Philly
Based in West Fairmount Park, Treetop Quest Philly is a sky-high adventure park with six courses featuring over 60 obstacles, rides, slides and fun-filled adventures, including 18 zip-lines ranging from 30 to 200 feet in length. Treetop Quest Philly boasts a range of treetop obstacle courses from ones designed specifically for children to higher, more challenging courses ideal for teens and adults. Self-guided obstacles include tightropes, balance beams, Tarzan swings, monkey bars, rock walls, and zip-lines and trained staff provides instructions for every obstacle before participants begin. Treetop Quest Philly is open seven days a week during the summer season.
51 Chamonix Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19131, Phone: 267-901-4145
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15.Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania
© Zack Frank/stock.adobe.com
The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania is a historic public garden and educational institution that aims to promote and inspire an understanding of the relationship between plants and people. Spanning 92 acres, the beautifully maintained gardens are home to over 12,000 labeled plants, trees, and flowers across a range of collections, including an azalea meadow, an English park, a hilly slope, a Japanese Garden and a stunning sculpture garden. The Arboretum also boasts a variety of exhibits, collections, and educational programs to enjoy - venture out on a limb and see the forest from a 50-foot high canopy walk through the treetops on the interactive Tree Adventure exhibit, or delight in the Garden Railway, which features a quarter mile of looping, winding and tunneled model railroad track, complete with cable cars, bridges and model trains.
100 E. Northwestern Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118, Phone: 215-247-5777
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16.LEGOLAND® Discovery Center
© LEGOLAND® Discovery Center
Based in the Plymouth Meeting Mall in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, LEGOLAND® Discovery Center is geared towards families with children between the ages of 2 and twelve with a range of exhilarating rides, a variety of attractions and shows, as well as restaurants, and fantastic shopping. Attractions include ten LEGO-themed Play Areas, including ‘Build and Test’ and ‘MINILAND® Philadelphia,’ a LEGO® NINJAGO Training Camp with obstacle course challenges, and a LEGO® 4D Cinema where children can see their favorite LEGO stars come to life in 4D. Children can enjoy a world of creativity, color and building fun in the ultimate indoor LEGO playground and thrilling age-appropriate LEGO® themed rides.
500 W Germantown Pike, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462
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17.Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse
© Syda Productions/stock.adobe.com
The Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse has been providing children with an invaluable place to learn through for more than a century. Located in East Fairmount Park, the Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse is surrounded by acres of rolling hills, open fields, and wooded forests, which are scattered with over 50 pieces of unique and age-appropriate play equipment. The Playhouse rests in the center of the Playground and spans more than 16,000 square feet of space, housing education-focused play areas such as a railroad terminal, a kitchen, an artist’s studio and more. The Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse also offers a range of on-site programs, such as ‘Story Time,’ ‘Crafts in the Playhouse,’ and ‘Ready, Set and Play!’
3500 Reservoir Drive, East Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, PA 19121-1095, Phone: 215-765-4325
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18.Spruce Street Harbor Park
The Spruce Street Harbor Park is an urban beach and hammock-filled haven in Penn's Landing that boasts a popular boardwalk along the Delaware River with a vibrant, beachfront atmosphere. Open during the summer, the popular seasonal park has been lauded as one of the best urban beaches in America, complete with colorful hammocks and loungers, a beer garden serving local craft brews, floating barges offering Philly-inspired eats, and plenty of play games such as bocce, shuffleboard and more. The Spruce Street Harbor Park is free and open to the public from May through September.
Spruce Street & S. Columbus Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19106, Phone: 215-922-2386
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19.Once Upon a Nation Storytelling Benches
Once Upon a Nation Storytelling Benches is an award-winning concept that features 13 unique semi-circular teak benches scattered around Historic Philadelphia where Once Upon A Nation uniformed storytellers share tales from the nation's history. Open during the Spring and Summer, these benches are located throughout the Independence National Historical Park area outside many of the top attractions and staffed during the daytime with professional storytellers who entertain and educate visitors with short stories about the culture and history of the city, region, and country.
Philadelphia, PA 19121-1095
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20.Independence National Historical Park
© Florian Kunde/stock.adobe.com
The Independence National Historical Park is home to Independence Hall, the historic site of the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. Resting at the center of the Independence National Historical Park on Chestnut Street, Independence Hall was completed in 1973 and is now listed as a World Heritage Site. Visitors can explore the famous building on a guided tour, which includes visiting the famous Assembly Room where George Washington was appointed a commander in chief of the Continental Army in 1775, the design for the American flag was decided, and the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were both signed. Tickets are needed to tour Independence Hall and are available at the Independence Visitor Center.
520 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106, Phone: 215-965-2305
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21.The Betsy Ross House
The Betsy Ross House is a historic landmark in Philadelphia that is said to be the place where Betsy Ross lived between 1752 and 1836, and during that time designed and sewed the first American Flag. Located on Arch Street, just a few blocks from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, the front part of the house was built in the Pennsylvania colonial style around 1740, while the rear section and the stair hall was added ten to 20 years later. Today, visitors can explore the house by wandering through the tiny rooms and tight staircases on self-guided tours and discover why she took on the potentially treasonous flag-making task. The Betsy Ross House has long been the site of Philadelphia's observance of Flag Day.
239 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19106, Phone: 215-686-1252
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© Pizza Brain
Pizza Brain is the world's first combination pizza restaurant and museum, showcasing the Guinness Book of Records-certified world's largest collection of pizza-related memorabilia. The American-style pizzeria, which is located within Philadelphia's Fishtown neighborhood, is known for its brick-oven thin-crust pizzas, which are prepared entirely from scratch in house daily. Red, white, and specialty pies are served up throughout the day, including favorites such as the Patrick Maxwell, which is topped with root beer-braised beef brisket and Cheez Whiz, or the Kira Tierston, which features oven-roasted brussels sprouts, smoked bacon, and brown sugar. Select pizzas are available with traditional dairy or Daiya plant-based cheese.
2313 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125, Phone: 215-291-2965
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23.Sweet as Fudge Candy Shoppe
© Sweet as Fudge Candy Shoppe
Located in Reading Terminal Market, one of America’s largest and oldest public markets, the Sweet as Fudge Candy Shoppe are confectionery and sweet shop that sells homemade chocolate and candy, fudge and nut brittles, dried fruit, nuts, and roasted peanuts. The technicolor candy shop offers something to suit every sweet tooth, ranging from chocolate- and yogurt-covered nuts and fruits, licorice, gummies, retro mix-and-match penny candies, chewy Mary Janes, and root beer barrels. Other treats include chocolate bunnies or candy corn, boxes of artisan chocolates and baskets of fruit candies, and generous slabs of maple, salted caramel, carrot cake, and chocolate walnut fudge.
1136 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19107, Phone: 215-592-8510
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Located on the outskirts of Philadelphia in Langhorne, Sesame Place® is a theme park based entirely on Sesame Street® for young children with water slides, whirly rides, and furry animals characters, as well as being the first theme park in the world to be designated as a Certified Autism Center. Operated by SeaWorld Entertainment and open seasonally from spring through the holiday season, Sesame Place® features a variety of rides, slides, shows, and water attractions suited to young children. Themed seasonal rides include Elmo's Springtacular, Summer Season, The Count's Halloween Spooktacular, and A Very Furry Christmas, and water rides are only open during the summer season.
100 Sesame Rd, Langhorne, PA 19047, Phone: 215-702-3566
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25.Dragon's Eye Theatre
© Arkady Chubykin/stock.adobe.com
Dragon's Eye Theatre is a community theater that produces and presents theatrical adventures for children of all ages that celebrate the wildness of children's imaginations. The theater partners with beautiful community spaces and venues to create original, interactive plays inspired by the areas and allowing guests to discover new places. Founded by Suzana Berger and Miriam White in 2012, the Dragon’s Eye Theater has been creating original plays in different public spaces featuring characters and stories inspired by that space and the people who use it ever since. Performances involve audiences in the action of the plays making them genuinely immersive, interactive, and unforgettable experiences.
399 Market St Ste 360, Philadelphia, PA 19106, Phone: 215-922-1122
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25 Best Things to Do in Philadelphia with Kids
- The Philadelphia Zoo, Photo: marisabelquiroga/stock.adobe.com
- Please Touch Museum, Photo: HT777/stock.adobe.com
- The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Photo: The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
- Adventure Aquarium, Photo: Africa Studio/stock.adobe.com
- Independence Seaport Museum, Photo: Independence Seaport Museum
- Franklin Square, Photo: joscelynm/stock.adobe.com
- The Liberty Bell, Photo: R.Babakin/stock.adobe.com
- The Franklin Institute, Photo: The Franklin Institute
- Elmwood Park Zoo, Photo: watman/stock.adobe.com
- The Bucks County Children's Museum, Photo: The Bucks County Children's Museum
- Camden Children's Garden, Photo: Camden Children's Garden
- The Franklin Fountain, Photo: The Franklin Fountain
- Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest and Winterfest, Photo: aphotostory/stock.adobe.com
- TreeTop Quest Philly, Photo: dvrcan/stock.adobe.com
- Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania, Photo: Zack Frank/stock.adobe.com
- LEGOLAND® Discovery Center, Photo: LEGOLAND® Discovery Center
- Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse, Photo: Syda Productions/stock.adobe.com
- Spruce Street Harbor Park, Photo: Zhi/stock.adobe.com
- Once Upon a Nation Storytelling Benches, Photo: Rusty/stock.adobe.com
- Independence National Historical Park, Photo: Florian Kunde/stock.adobe.com
- The Betsy Ross House, Photo: R.Babakin/stock.adobe.com
- Pizza Brain, Photo: Pizza Brain
- Sweet as Fudge Candy Shoppe, Photo: Sweet as Fudge Candy Shoppe
- Sesame Place, Photo: Jin/stock.adobe.com
- Dragon's Eye Theatre, Photo: Arkady Chubykin/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: CW Photography/stock.adobe.com
Sister Cities Park
The Sister Cities Park is a community park on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway that features a boating pond, an educational garden, a casual café, and a 10-geyser commemorative fountain. Located on Logan Square in front of the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, Sister Cities Park is a welcoming space where young children can play in the Children’s Discovery Garden, which was inspired by the Wissahickon and features meandering pathways, climbable rocks, and a bubbling stream. They can also wade in the shallow waters of the nearby boat pond where visitors can rent sailboats, and splash around in the Sister Cities Fountain, whose 10 spouts represent Philadelphia’s ten sister cities, including Florence, Italy and Tel Aviv, Israel.
210 N 18th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103, Phone: 215-440-5500