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Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Activities for Kids & Families

Philadelphia Visitors Center
Sixth & Market Sts., 800-537-7676. Opens daily at 8:30am. City Hall Visitor Center: Broad and Market Sts. (east end of City Hall Courtyard), 215-686-2840. Pick up entry tickets to Independence Hall at 6th & Market St. Center. For free visitors information, tour and attraction tickets, events calendar and hotel packages, call or visit website.
      Pay-one-price CityPass provides admission to six Philadelphia area attractions with no waiting in main entrance ticket lines.
      Philadelphia Pass
offers free entry to over 40 attractions and line skipping privileges.
      See Philly Fun Guide for a comprehensive entertainment calendar for the Philadelphia region coordinated by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.
      Refer to the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau website for visitor information about Philadelphia and the official tourism website for Pennsylvania for information about the entire state. The official visitor site for Greater Philadelphia provides Philadelphia information as well as travel info for Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery Counties.
      Search Philadelphia Official Visitor Guide in the App store to downland Philadelphia CVB's free app.

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
Logan Circle at 19th St. and Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, 215-299-1000. Mon.-Fri. 10-4:30, weekends and holidays 10-5. General admission: Adults $18.95, srs., children, students $14.95, under 3 free.
          Founded in 1812, this is the oldest science research institution in the Western hemisphere and home to the first dinosaur skeleton ever displayed (in 1868, found in Haddonfield, NJ, in 1858). Dinosaur Hall, African, Asian and North American Halls, live butterflies exhibit, live animals center, and changing natural science exhibits highlight the ongoing research of Academy scientists. "Outside-In" is an exploration area for young children open weekends and ­holidays. Library open Mon.-Fri. 1-5. Scavenger Hunt activity sheets available at Entrance Desk. Family field trips and workshops; Tiny Tot Explorers for ages 3-5 with adult; spring break and ­summer camps; birthday parties; scout badges; Safari Overnights; adult programs.
Sat & Sun
         Crafts, activities, presentations, demonstrations, meet live animals on selected weekends and holidays.
        Butterflies!, tropical garden filled with butterflies from around the globe.
        Safari Overnights, interactive activities, refreshments, sleep in the galleries for ages 7-14. Special dates are set for scouts and adults only. 6:30pm-9am. Reservations, 215-299-1060.
Selected Exhibitions

Thru Jan 10
           Reptiles: The Beautiful & the Deadly, get eyeball to eyeball with almost 20 species of live reptiles from around the world.
Jan 30-May 30
           Tarantulas: Alive & Up Close.
Selected Special Events
Jan 16-18
           Animal Mythology Weekend.
Mar 5-6
           Paleopalooza, two day festival of fossils.
Mar 21
           Founders Day, pay what you wish.

America On Wheels Museum
5 North Front St, Allentown, PA 18102, 610-432-4200. Tues.-Sat. 10-5, Sun. 12-5. Adults $10, srs. $7, ages 6-16 $5, 5 and under free. Children 12 and under free on Sundays. Interactive activities and over 75 cars, trucks, motorcycles and bikes are on display including one-of-a-kind show cars, emergency vehicles, antique Mack Trucks, historic cars, motorized and self-propelled bikes and other unique forms of personal transportation. Gift shop; Hubcab Cafe soda fountain; birthday parties.

The Barnes Foundation
2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, 215-278-7000. Wed.-Mon. 10-5, Fri. 6-9 every first Fri. and select Fri. evenings, closed Tues. Frequent extended hours on Sat. until 7pm and Sun. until 6pm. Adults $22-25, srs. $20-23, ages 6-18 and full-time students $10, 5 and under free. Advance reservations recommended. Backpacks and backpack-type child-carriers must be checked; strollers are permitted. Restaurant and coffee bar on site.
   Dr. Albert C. Barnes amassed one of the world's most important collections of post-impressionist and early modern paintings, including 181 paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. In his home, Dr. Barnes arranged paintings, metalwork, sculpture and decorate arts of different periods, cultures, styles and genres in symmetrical wall "ensembles" based on continuity of light, line, color and space. The museum recreates Barnes' striking rooms and ensembles just as they were in place at his death in 1951. Adult and family audio tours are included with admission or download the apps in advance from iTunes or Google Play. School programs, educator workshops, performances, lectures, story­times, children and family art programs are offered. See "Programs" online for schedule.
         Family Audio Tour,
interactive audio game designed for ages 7-12, can be downloaded in advance from iTunes or Google Play.

Crayola Factory
Two Rivers Landing, 30 Centre Square, Easton, PA, 866-875-5263. Hours vary by season, check online link. Admission $18.99, srs. $16.99, under 2 free, $2 off tickets purchased online; group discounts. Learn how crayons are made, participate in three floors of hands-on art activities and play. Scout programs, birthday parties, family workshops, homeschool programs, teacher workshops available. Crayola store and cafe.
     Hugh Moore Park, located on the Lehigh River nearby, illustrates America's canal and industrial revolution eras with canal boat rides (May-Sept.), locks, 19th century industrial ruins, the Locktender's House, and National Canal Museum.

DaVinci Science Center
At Cedar Crest College, 3145 Hamilton Blvd. Bypass, Allentown, PA 18103, 484-664-1002. Mon.-Sat. 10-5, Sun. 12-5. Admission ages 3 and up $12.95, toddlers free. Designed for families with children ages 12 and under, the two-story exhibit floor includes Keva plank building area, weather station, touch tank, and many hands-on electricity, physics, and chemistry activities, animation station, touch tunnel, water play area, preschool room and more. Science workshops for all ages; teacher programs; scout and camp programs; traveling Science on the Move; birthday parties; science store.
         Hands-On Activities & Demonstrations, weekends, summer weekdays and school holidays.
Thru Jan 18
         Rainforest Adventure, life-sized maze with more than 40 playful challenges.

The Franklin Institute Science Museum
222 N. 20th St., (at Benjamin Franklin Parkway), Philadelphia, 215-448-1200. Science museum exhibits open daily 9:30-5; evening hours for special exhibits 5-9pm. Open extended hours for holidays. Advance tickets available online or call 877-TFI-TIXS. General admission: Adults $19.95, ages 3-11 $15.95; additional fees for special exhibits and rides.
     Founded in honor of America's first scientist, Benjamin Franklin, the Franklin Institute is the pioneer of hands-on exhibits. The museum complex consists of the Science Center, Mandell Futures Center, IMAX Theater and Fels Planetarium. Traveling Science Show for groups; camp-ins; home school workshops; Schools Out Camp and summer Discovery Camp.
         Live science shows and demonstrations daily. Consult daily program sheet upon arrival.
         Science Park, 30 interactive science-related exhibits and activities in outdoor park. Free with admission. 9:30-4, weather permitting.
         Target Community Night, fun, educational events 5-8pm on the third Wed. of the month unless noted. Free admission and shows.
         The Franklin Air Show, permanent exhibit simulates environment of an actual air show.
         The Giant Heart: A Healthy Interactive Experience, walk through a giant heart.
         Electricity, the exhibit most closely identified with the Franklin Institute, features interactive devices and glowing graphics, sustainable dance floor, cell phone disco wall and sparking tesla coil.
         Ben's Curiosity Show, reenacts some of Benjamin Franklin's most famous and exciting experiments. Check program guide upon arrival.
         SportsZone, new high energy exhibit explores the precision and science of sport.
         Your Brain, travel through a two-story neural network climbing structure and find out how and why the brain is always changing.
Selected Special Exhibitions
Advance tickets can be purchased online.
Thru Jan 3
          Genghis Khan: Bring the Legend to Life, the story of one of the world's greatest leaders and most misunderstood conquerors.
Opens Mar 12
           The Science Behind Pixar.

Independence National Historical Park
Chestnut St. between 5th & 6th Sts., Philadelphia, 215-965-2305. Visitor Center: open daily 8:30-6, extended summer and holiday hours. For info on park buildings, hours and interpretive programs with park rangers, view or download app online at National Park website or Independence Visitor Center. The Park is home to Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and another dozen sites of historic importance, such as Carpenters' Hall, Old City Hall, Congress Hall and Franklin Court. The monthly Historic Philadelphia Gazette, available at Visitor Centers and online describes walking tours, plays and other daily events in the historical area. Learn about Ben Franklin's life as a private citizen and stateman at Franklin Court (Market & Chestnut Sts. between 3rd & 4th Sts.). Horse drawn carriage rides.
       Independence Hall Tours. Obtain free, timed tickets at the Independence Visitor Center at 6th & Market Sts. Tickets are given out beginning at 8:30am. Allow about 30 min. to go through security at 5th & Chestnut Sts. Tickets may be reserved up to one year in advance at 877-444-6777 (10am-10pm) or online for $1.50 per ticket. No tickets are required in Jan. and Feb. Tickets are not required for the Liberty Bell.
       NPS Independence Mobile App, for iOS and Android devices, includes a park map, sites, tours, and recurring program info.
       Junior Ranger for iPhone & iPad, download "NPS Independence" in the App Store, complete the activities to become a Junior Ranger.
       Cell Phone Tour, follow the "key" graphic in Independence Park and ring up historical stories at 15 different stops. 267-519-4295.

Independence Seaport Museum
Columbus Blvd at Walnut St., Philadelphia, 215-413-8655. Daily 10am-5pm. Extended summer hours: Thurs.-Sat. 10-7pm. Adults $15, children/students/srs. $10, under 2 free. Maritime history comes to life with interactive exhibits, hands-on activities, and tours of Cruiser Olympia from the Spanish-American War and Submarine Becuna from World War II. Winter outdoor skating on the waterfront at Blue Cross River Rink at Penn's Landing. Access to the RiverLink Ferry to New Jersey State Aquarium. Birthday parties; group tours; school programs; parents night out; overnights; summer camps.
       Seafarin' Saturdays, hands-on family activity or craft in the Museum galleries. 11-1pm.

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
A must-see for train enthusiasts of any age, the beautiful Pennsylvania Dutch countryside of Lancaster County is home to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, Strasburg Railroad (across the street) and National Toy Train Museum just down the road. For assistance in planning a trip, visit Pennsylvania Discover Lancaster.
• Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
Rt. 741, Strasburg, 717-687-8628. Tues.-Sat. 9-5, Sun. 12-5. April-Oct.: open daily. Adults $10, srs. $9, ages 3-11 $8, under 3 free. Housing one of the most significant collections of historic railroad artifacts in the world, the museum displays over 100 locomotives and cars from the mid-19th and 20th centuries.
• Strasburg Railroad
301 Gap Rd., Ronks, PA, 866-725-9666. Enjoy a 45-min. ride aboard an historic steam train to Paradise, PA, in your choice of five different railroad cars. Seasonal special events include train rides with Santa, the Easter Bunny, military reenactors or Thomas the Tank Engine. Station includes historic trains and rail cars, bookstore, trackside restaurant, dining car and gift shop.
• National Toy Train Museum
300 Paradise Lane, Paradise Twp., 717-687-8976. Jan.-Mar.: Closed. June-Aug.: Daily 10-5. Call or visit website link for spring and fall hours. Adults $7, srs. $6, ages 6-12 $4, under 6 free, family $22. A collection of hundreds of toy trains and accessories from mid-1800s to present are displayed in a modern museum built like an historic train station.

National Constitution Center
Independence Mall E, 525 Arch St., Philadelphia, 215-409-6600. Tickets 215-409-6700. Mon.-Fri. 9:30-5, Sat. 9:30-6, Sun. 12-5. Adults $14.50, srs./students/ages 13-18 $13, ages 4-12 $8, under 4 free. Established as an independent, nonpartisan, non-profit organization by Congress, this is the first museum dedicated to telling the story and illuminating the ideals of the U.S. Constitution through interactive and multimedia exhibits. Self-guided audio tour and interactive audio tour for grades 5-8 available. Freedom Rising, a 17-minute live multimedia show, traces the history of "We the People." Notable speakers; town halls; debates; scout days; home school week; summer and school break camps. Podcasts and recordings of town halls and discussions of significant issues related to the Constitution can be accessed online.
          Constituting Liberty, From the Declaration to the Bill of Rights, displays one of the 12 surviving copies of the Bill of Rights.

National Museum of American Jewish History
101 S. Independence Mall East, Philadelphia, 215-923-3811. Tues.-Fri. 10-5, Sat. & Sun. 10-5:30, open some holiday Mondays. Memorial Day-Labor Day, open Wed. until 8pm, pay-what-you-wish after 5pm. Adults $12, srs. and ages 13-21 $11, 12 and under free. Museum traces the history of Jewish life in America from 1654 to present through state-of-the-art interactive media, historical objects, photographs, films and hands-on walk-through period environments. Underlying their story is the central theme of America's promise of freedom, democracy and opportunity for immigrants. Docent tours and talks daily; cafe; gift shop on-site or online.

PA Performing Arts for Young Audiences(PAPAYA)
267-480-7090; Painted Bride Box Office 215-925-9914. Cultural organization partners with many Philadelphia arts institutions to present innovative international artists, multi-media performances, dance and inventive theater especially for family audiences.

Penn Museum
University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, 3260 South St., 215-898-4000. Tues.-Sun. 10-5, closed Mon. Open until 8pm the first Wed. of the month. Adults $15, srs. $13, ages 6-17 and full-time students $10, 5 & under free.
   Founded in 1887, the Museum has sent more than 400 archaeological and anthropological expeditions to all the inhabited continents of the world. Exhibits include 12-ton sphinx and architectural remains from the ancient Egyptian palace of Merenptah, mummies and other fascinating arti­facts from Asia, the Near East, Greece, Africa and the Americas. Adult and student programs, lectures, films; scout badge days; downloadable teacher resources; family activities include art and artifact workshops, World Culture Days, anthropology summer day camps for ages 7-13, and museum sleepovers.
          Penn Museum Highlights of the Galleries, audio tour available from the App Store.
          40 Winks with the Sphinx, overnight expedition in the museum's galleries for ages 6-12 and their parents or chaperones.
2nd Sun
         Family Second Sunday Workshops, Oct.-May. Drop in anytime 1-4pm for craft, touchable artifacts and gallery activities geared for families with children ages 5 and up. Contact, 215-898-4016. 
         P.M. @ Penn Museum, extended hours and activities first Wed. of the month, 5-8pm.

Pennsylvania Factory Tours
1425 Eden Rd., York, PA, 877-883-1450. Tour Center & Gift Shop: open Mon.-Fri. 8-4, select summer Sat. 9:30-2. One hour tours of the facility that produces the Touring family of motorcycles are offered Mon.-Fri. 9-2 (children must be age 12 and up). Tickets are distributed on a first come, first served basis. Purchase tickets for expanded 2-hr. Steel Toe Tours online. Kids Corner; gift shop.
Martin Guitar Museum & Visitor Center
510 Sycamore St., Nazareth, PA, 800-633-2060. Museum open Mon.-Fri. 8-5. Free factory guided tours Mon.-Fri. 11-2:30; 1833 Shop & Guitarmaker's Connection, site of original factory.
Herr Foods
20 Herr Dr., Nottingham, PA, 19362, 800-637-6225. One-hour snack factory tour Mon.-Thurs. 9-3, Fri. 9-11am, extended summer hours. Call or reserve online. Gift shop.
York County Made in America Tours
As the "Factory Tour Capital of the World," York County capitalizes on its manufacturing tradition. Visit websites for factories opening their doors to visitors.
Jun 15-18, 2016
         Made in America Tours, annual open house.

Pennypacker Mills
5 Haldeman Rd., Schwenksville, PA 19454, 610-287-9349. Tues.-Sat. 10-4, Sun. 1-4. Free guided tours. Set on 170 acres of farmland, the home of Pennsylvania Governor Samuel W. Pennypacker and his family from 1900-1916 and home to eight generations of Pennypackers represents a country-gentleman's estate of the early 20th century. Visitors tour two floors of the mansion and changing exhibit galleries. School programs; home school programs; children and family events are held year round.
Selected Family Events
Thru Jan 10
         Holiday Tours, tour the home decorated in Victorian splendor, shop in the Museum Shop.

Philadelphia Museum of Art
26th St. & Benjamin Franklin Pkwy., Philadelphia, 215-763-8100. Tues.-Sun. 10-5, Wed. & Fri. 'til 8:45. Closed Mon. and major holidays. Adults $20, srs. $18, ages 13-18 and students $14, 12 & under free. Pay what you wish on first Sun. and every Wed. after 5. Strollers are not permitted in special exhibitions on weekends or when galleries are crowded.
     Founded in 1876, the museum presents a full range of fine and applied arts from Asia, Europe and the U.S. spanning over 2,000 years with masterpieces in every medium. Family programs; art and gallery programs for babies to adults; children's art classes.
          Interactive Programs, designed for families with children ages 3-12, include intimate gallery tours, art-making activities, toddler playdates and family festivals. Tickets are first come, first served at the Visitor Services Desk. For schedule, call 215-684-7580 or visit Family Calendar online.
          Self-Guided Family Tours available at West Information Desk. Activity sheets explore a new theme in art each month. American Art Kids Tour audio guide, written for children ages 6-10, is available to rent for $5 at Visitor Services Desk in the East and West entrances.
          Free Audio Podcasts can be downloaded online.
          Art on Demand, paper and canvas prints and custom framing of favorite artworks from the museum can be ordered online.
         Stroller Tour,
gallery tour for parents and caregivers and their babies, 11am on select Wednesdays.
         After Hours, Wednesdays 5-8:45pm. Drop-in art-making, yoga, storytime, gallery events.
Selected Family Festivals
Family tours, activities and performances, 10-3. Free after museum admission.
Jan 18
           Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.
Feb 7
           Asian New Year.

Philadelphia Zoo
34th St. & Girard Ave. (exit 36 I-76), Philadelphia, 215-243-1100. Nov.-Feb.: Daily 9:30-4. Mar.-Oct.: Daily 9:30-5. Nov.-Feb.: discounted admission. Mar.-Nov.: Adults $20, ages 2-11 $18, under 2 free.
     Opened in 1874, this is America's first zoo and home to nearly 1,600 animals, many of them rare and endangered. Exhibits include KidZooU, a year-round children's zoo and education center; avian center; African Plains; small mammal house; Bear Country; rare animal conservation center, reptile house, Primate Reserve and Carnivore Kingdom. Zoo360, a campus-wide network of see-through mesh trails, allows animals to roam around and above zoo grounds. Trails include Gorilla Treeway, Treetop Trail, Great Ape Trail and Big Cat Crossing. The Education Dept. offers scout badge programs, summer camps, overnights for groups and families, and Zoo on Wheels outreach. For workshop information, call 215-243-5353.
        Camel, draft horse and pony rides; swan boat rides; carousel; train; Zooballoon rides in season.

Please Touch Museum

Memorial Hall, Fairmount Park, 4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia, 215-581-3181. Mon.-Sat. 9-5, Sun. 11-5. Adults and children 1 and over $17. The first museum in the country dedicated to providing ­cultural and educational hands-on experience for children ages 1-7 resides in Memorial Hall, a National Historic Landmark built in 1876 as part of the country's Centennial Exhibition. Totally interactive exhibit zones include Roadside Attractions, Flight Fantasy, City Capers, Wonderland, River Adventures and Rainforest Rhythms. The 1924 Dentzel Carousel is housed in a new glass and steel Carousel House ($3). Hands-on activities and special events are scheduled daily. Cafe; theater.
        Grown-Up Tours, guided tours of historic Memorial Hall are available Thurs., Sat. & Sun. at 2pm. $16. Self-guided tours anytime, pick up a map at admissions desk.
        Special Play without Boundaries, evening and early morning events for families of children with disabilities.

Sesame Place®
100 Sesame Rd., Langhorne, PA 19047, 215-752-7070, 1-866-GO-4-ELMO. See listing under Amusement & Water Parks.

Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse
Above Kelly Drive near the intersection of 33rd and Oxford in East Fairmount Park, 215-765-4325. Playground: April-Sept.: Tues.-Fri. 10-6, Sat. & Sun. 10-7; Oct.-Dec.: Fri.-Sun. 10-4. Playhouse (ages 5 and younger): Oct.-Mar.: Tues.-Sun. 10-4. Free. April-Sept.: Tues.-Fri. 10-4, Sat. & Sun. 10-7. Free.
   Six acre playground for children 10 and under includes a giant wooden slide and 50 pieces of accessible play equipment. The 24,000 sq. ft. playhouse gives children 5 and under a chance to "drive" a train, "cook" in the kitchen and ride tricycles.

United States Mint
5th & Arch Sts., Philadelphia, 215-408-0112, 800-USA-MINT. Gift Shop: 215-408-0230. Tours: Mon.-Fri. 9-4:30. Memorial Day-Labor Day: Mon.-Sat. 9-4:30. Free, self-guided tours are offered on a first-come, first served basis pending availability. Adults will be asked to provide government-issued photo identification and many items are prohibited including strollers. Visitors during spring and summer months may experience a brief line to enter. For special needs accommodations, 215-408-0110.