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Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Activities for Kids & Families

Philadelphia Visitors Center
ixth & 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 30 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 iTunes store to downland Philadelphia CVB's free app.

Academy of Natural Sciences
Logan Circle at 19th St. and Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, 215-299-1000. Mon.-Fri. 10-4:30, Sat., Sun. & holidays 10-5. Ages 13 & up $15, srs., ages 3-12 $13, 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; adult programs; summer camps; birthday parties; scout badges; Safari Overnights.
Sat & Sun
         Crafts, activities, presentations, demonstrations and meet live animals on weekends.
Ongoing
        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. 6:30pm-9am. Reservations, 215-299-1060.
Selected Exhibitions

Thru Sep 1
         Birds of Paradise, observe the unusual behaviors of New Guinea's Birds of Paradise.
Oct 11-Jan 24
         Chocolate: The Exhibition, traces the story of this "food of the gods."
Selected Special Events
Jul 10
         Mega-Bad Movie Night: Evolution, watch with witty experts. 5:30-9pm.
Aug 9-10
         Bug Fest, roach races, creepy-crawly cuisine, bug walk, meet Museum entomologists.
Oct 18-19
         Ocean Fest featuring the Philadelphia Shell Show, shell display and sale, crafts, behind-the-scenes tours.

The Barnes Foundation
2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, 888-616-0277. Sun.-Thurs. 10-6, Fri. 10-9, Sat. 10-8. Confirm hours online. Adults $22, srs. $20, ages 6-18 and full-time students $10, 5 and under free. Advance reservations recommended. Free admission 10-6 on the first Sun. of the month. Backpacks and backpack-type child-carriers must be checked; strollers are permitted.
   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 new 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, and family programs are offered.
Ongoing
        Docent-led Tours,
daily.
        Family Audio Tour, interactive audio game designed for ages 7-12, can be downloaded in advance from iTunes or Google Play.
        Riddle of the Room ArtSee Gallery Kit, borrow kid-friendly tote with art cards for ages 7-12.
        ArtSee Activities Drop-In Program, monthly drop in arts & crafts program for families.
        Artkids @ the Movies,
ages 6-12 and caregivers.
        ARTime Storytime, ages 3-5 and caregiver. 10:30-11am & 11:30-12 most Thurs.
        ARTime Pajama Tour, gallery exploration for ages 5 and under and caregivers.
         See "Programs" online for scheduled times.

Crayola Factory
Two Rivers Landing, 30 Centre Square, Easton, PA, 866-
875-5263. Memorial Day-Labor Day: Mon.-Sun. 9:30-5. Check hours online after Labor Day. Admission $17.99 ($15.99 online), srs. $15.99 ($13.99 online), under 2 free, group discounts. Learn how crayons are made, participate in hands-on activities. Scout programs, birthday parties, family workshops, homeschool programs, teacher workshops available. Admission includes entrance to National Canal Museum on 3rd floor.
   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 and the Locktender's House Museum.

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. Special limited engagement exhibitions may be open extended hours. Advance tickets available online or call 877-TFI-TIXS. Adults $16.50, military $15.50, ages 3-11 $14.
   Founded in honor of America's first scientist, Benjamin Franklin, the Franklin Institute is the pioneer of hands-on exhibits. The museum consists of the Science Center, Mandell Futures Center, IMAX Theater and Fels Planetarium. Traveling Science Show for groups; camp-ins; home school workshops; summer Discovery Camp.
Daily
        Interactive shows and demonstrations daily.
May-Sep
        Science Park, 30 interactive science-related exhibits and activities in outdoor park. Free with admission. 9:30-4, weather permitting.
Wed
       
Target Community Night, fun, educational events 5-8pm on the third Wed. of the month. Free admission and shows.
                Jul 16
Thurs
        Night Skies in the Observatory, see different planets and stars 2nd Thurs. of every month. Aug.-May 6-9pm, June-July 7-10pm.
                Jul 10
Ongoing
        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.
       Amazing Machine, highly interactive exhibit allows visitors to explore the inner workings of everyday machines.
Selected Special Exhibitions
Advance tickets can be purchased online.
Open Jun 14
         Your Brain, the Museum's newest and largest permanent exhibition opens. Travel through a two-story tall neural network climbing structure and find out how and why the brain is always changing.
         Circus! Science Under the Big Top; 101 Inventions That Changed the World; Ocean Soul, three traveling exhibitions open in the new Nicholas & Athena Karabots Pavilion.

Independence National Historical Park
Chestnut St. between 5th & 6th Sts., Philadelphia, 215-965-2305. Visitor Center: open daily 8:30-6. For info on park buildings, hours and free interpretive programs with park rangers, call the Visitor Center, 215-965-2305, visit National Park website or Independence Visitor Center online. 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 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 and printing at Franklin Court. Horse drawn carriage rides.
Ongoing
       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. Tickets are not required for the Liberty Bell.
       Cell Phone Tour, follow the "key" graphic in Independence Park and ring up historical stories at 15 different stops. 267-519-4295.
New
        Benjamin Franklin Museum, explores Franklin's life as a private citizen and statesman. Franklin Court, Market or Chestnut Sts., between 3rd & 4th Sts. Adults $5, ages 4-16 $2.

Independence Seaport Museum
Columbus Blvd at Walnut St., Philadelphia, 215-413-8655. Daily 10am-5pm. Extended summer hours: Thurs.-Sat. 10-7pm. Adults $13.50, 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; overnight programs; summer camp.
 Sat
       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 the Pennsylvania Dutch Country website.
• Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
Rt. 741, Strasburg, 717-687-8628. April-Oct.: Mon.-Sat. 9-5, Sun. 12-5. Nov.-Mar.: Tues.-Sat. 9-5, Sun. 12-5. 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
One Historic Dr. (off Rt. 896), Strasburg, 717-687-7522. Enjoy a 45-min. ride aboard an historic coal-burning 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. June-Aug.: Daily 10-5. Jan.-Mar.: Closed. Call for off season hours. Families $22, adults $7, srs. $6, ages 6-12 $4, under 6 free. A collection of hundreds of toy trains and accessories from mid-1800s to present are displayed in a modern museum built like a historic train station.

National Constitution Center
111 S. Independence Mall E, Philadelphia, 215-409-6600. Tickets 215-409-6700. Mon.-Fri. 9:30-5, Sat. 9:30-6, Sun. 12-5. Timed tickets are purchased for entry. 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." Scout days; home school week; summer and school break camps. The Constitution NewsWire online provides daily news about current issues related to the Constitution.
Selected Special Exhibitions
Thru Oct 19
         Slavery at Jefferson's Monticello, examines the dilemma of slavery in the U.S.
Selected Special Events
Jun 24
         The Roberts Court: Redrawing the Ground Rules of American Government, with constitutional lawyer and scholar Laurence Tribe. 6:30pm. Free, reservations recommended.
Jun 26
         IQ2US Debate on Campaign Finance, 6:30pm. $30, members $25, reservations required.
Jul 2-6
         An All-American Celebration on Independence Mall, scholarly talks, Colonial-era arts and crafts, Revolutionary War encampment, more.

National Museum of American Jewish History
101 S. Independence Mall East, Philadelphia, 215-923-3811. Tues.-Fri. 10-5, Sat. & Sun. 10-5:30. 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.
Selected Special Events
Thru Oct 26
         
Chasing Dreams: Baseball & Becoming American.

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 & 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.
Sun
        Something for Every Sunday
family programs include Early Bird Read & Look for ages 3-5, family gallery tour for ages 6-10, tours for tots ages 3-5, family drawing together and family art studio. Tickets are first come, first served at the Visitor Services Desks. For schedule, call 215-684-7580 or visit website.
Wed
       Stroller Tour,
gallery tour for parents and caregivers and their newborns-age 1, 11am on select Wednesdays.
Ongoing
        
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.
        Stroller Tours, call for dates, 215-684-7580.
        Free Audio Podcasts can be downloaded online.
Selected Exhibitions
Jul 1-Sep 1

         Making a Classic Modern: Frank Gehry's Master Plan for the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Thru Sep 30
         Vermeer's Young Woman Seated at a Virginal.
Apr 27-Nov 30
         Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love.
Oct 21-Jan 4
         Paul Strand: Master of Modern Photography.

Philadelphia Zoo
34th St. & Girard Ave. (exit 36 I-76), Philadelphia, 215-
243-1100. Mar.-Oct.: Daily 9:30-5. Nov.-Feb.: Daily 9:30-4. April-Nov.: Adults $20, ages 2-11 $18. Nov.-Feb.: discounted admission.
   Opened in 1874, this is America's first zoo and home to nearly 1,600 animals, many of which are rare and endangered. Exhibits include KidZooU, year-round children's zoo and education center, avian center, African Plains, small mammal house, Bear Country, rare animal conservation center and Carnivore Kingdom. Animals move above, across and along visitor pathways on the new animal trail system. Indoor play center; petting zoo; carousel; lorikeet feeding and free-flight bird show in season. The Education Dept. offers scout badge programs, summer camps, overnights for groups and families, Zoo on Wheels outreach. For workshop information, call 215-243-5353.
Apr-Oct
        Birds of Australia, feed colorful lorikeets inside outdoor aviary. Camel, draft horse & pony rides; swan boat rides; carousel; train; Zooballoon.
Ongoing
        KidZooU, year-round children's zoo with a farm theme is designed for children ages 2-13. Indoor and outdoor areas are completely accessible, have dedicated quiet spaces and utilize universal design.

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 now resides in Memorial Hall, a National Historic Landmark built in 1876 as part of the country's Centennial Exhibition. Six totally interactive exhibit zones include Roadside Attractions, Flight Fantasy, City Capers, Wonderland, River Adventures and Centennial Exploration. The 1924 Dentzel Carousel is housed in a new glass and steel Carousel House. Hands-on activities and special events are scheduled daily. Cafe; theater.
Ongoing
        Grown-Up Tours, guided tours of historic Memorial Hall are available Tues., Thurs., Sat. & Sun. at 2pm. $15. Self-guided tours anytime, pick up a map at admissions desk.

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. April-Sept. 30: Playground open Tues.-Fri. 10-6, Sat. & Sun. 10-7. Playhouse open April-Sept. 30: 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. Storytimes and special activities are offered frequently.

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. Line up at visitor entrance on 5th St. between Arch and Race Sts. Adults will be asked to provide government-issued photo identification and many items are prohibited including strollers. For special needs accommodations, 215-408-0110. A tour brochure can be downloaded online.

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. Guided gallery tours offered most Sat. & Sun. at 1:30pm. Adults $15, srs. $13, ages 6-17 $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; downloadable teacher resources; family activities include art and artifact workshops, World Culture Days, anthropology summer day camps for ages 7-13 and museum sleepovers.
2nd Sun
         Family Second Sunday Workshops, Sept.-May. Drop in anytime 1-4pm for craft, touchable artifacts and gallery activities geared for ­families with children ages 5 and up. Contact education@pennmuseum.org, 215-898-4016.
Wed
         P.M. @ Penn Museum, extended hours and activities first Wed. of the month, 5-8pm.
Sat
         Gallery Romps, stories, crafts and play for ages 3-6 with adult on select Saturdays. Free with museum admission, advance registration.
Ongoing
         40 Winks with the Sphinx, overnight expedition in the museum's galleries for ages 6-12 and their parents or chaperones.
Selected Exhibitions
Ongoing
         Native American Voices: The People–Here & Now.
Summer Wonder 2014
Diverse performances for ages 6-13 and families 11-noon Wednesdays in July. Free with Museum admission.
Jul 2
         Belly Dance by Meesha.
Jul 9
         A Journey to Ancient China, Chinese music.
Jul 16
         Aesop's Fables, Steve Abrams.
Jul 23
         Earth Makers, Earth Shakers: Creation Stories from Around the World, Blue Deer Storytelling.
Jul 30
         Spice Route Ensemble.

York County
York County Convention & Visitors Bureau, 155 W. Market St., York, 888-858-YORK. As the "Factory Tour Capital of the World," York County capitalizes on its manufacturing tradition. From Harley-Davidson to Herr Foods, Hope Acres Dairy Farm to the Martin Guitar Company, many factories open their doors to visitors so they can learn about the production and assembly process. Age restrictions may apply on factory floors. Consult website for details.
Jun 18-21

       Made in America Tours, annual open house.