Philadelphia- The City of Brotherly Love
We went shortly after the Pope visit and really took in everything we possibly could in two days. It was an action packed, history filled, fun excursion with the children. The city had so much to offer and much of it was within walking distance to each other downtown. Philadelphia had a big city feel but with small town hospitality. Be sure to fit in a greasy and cheesy Philadelphia Cheese Steak while in town to get the full flavor of this great city.
Here are some of the places on our itinerary…
Valley Forge– This was one of the favorites for not only the adults but the children. It gave them a chance to run the beautiful grounds and explore the forts. A highlight for us was going down the steps and being told that George Washington’s hands were on that very banister once that we were using. There were many overlook areas that the children could get out and reenact war scenes with large canons and hideaway spots. The park was stunning especially in the fall when we went and we heard it is a popular spot to find deer in the dawn and dusk hours. There were guided tours which we did not have time to do but they looked very interesting.
Liberty Bell– The Liberty Bell was a must see for us as it is a staple for Philadelphia and one of it’s most famous landmarks. The line moved fairly quick and we were able to get a photo of us with the Bell which was nice. There were a lot of historical documents and was a tour once again but we had a jam packed schedule and forged on.
Horse Drawn Carriage Ride– This was a nice way to relax and take in the sites. We learned a lot from the guide and got to get our photos in front of Liberty Hall. It was amazing to find out that the most important documents in U.S. history were signed right there in the lower level room that we were standing near as well as some of the most impactful men from our past had graced those areas. The Carriage Ride included a blanket to cozy up and keep warm and had room for the 6 of us which was nice.
Betsy Ross House– I think this attraction probably had the most impact on my children and will be one that they remember for a long time. It was neat to walk through her home and go on a self guided tour that ended with Betsy herself (actress obviously) talking with the children about how life was (as if it were just a year or so after she created the first American Flag). There was a gift shop and area to relax outside of the house. This was worth the walk on our tour of Philadelphia and in our eyes is a Do Not Miss place to visit in Philly.
Ben Franklin’s Grave- There was a small charge to get in but was worth the money to be surrounded by such history once again. This was interesting for the children to really look in detail at a graveyard and see how far back the dates went. They can also figure out who had money and who didn’t by the size of the tombstones. It was a cool moment to see my children placing pennies on Ben Franklin’s Grave and something I think they will enjoy being able to tell their classmates they did one day.
Sesame Place- This was such a fun way to end our day and we wish we had more time to spend there. Our kids were on the older spectrum of age for Sesame Place and still had a great time. They were running from one ride to another and loved the net rope attraction that allowed them to climb and play to their heart’s content. There were a ton of rides all with the Sesame Street theme of course and opportunities to meet the characters throughout the day. I personally liked how many of the rides were very close to each other which allowed us to split up and let the kids ride what they wanted without being too far from each other.
Hershey Park/Chocolate World- The sweetest way to end our trip! It is probably about an hour or so from Philly but was on our way home back to Ohio so we just had to stop. I have a picture of my daughter with both feet in the air running to get to Chocolate World. It smelled delicious and didn’t cost anything to get in. You could even take a free ride and learn about how Hershey’s began and how the chocolate is made. We were going to do the Create Your Own Bar tour but it was pretty backed up so one of the employees suggested we go upstairs and visit the dessert bar. You could choose from a Cupcake Bar, Smore’s Station, Ice Cream Dessert Creation and more. All of the options were amazing and the prices were much lower then the original tour we were going to do. We couldn’t leave without buying some souvenirs as the gift shop was huge and they had a very large food court as well.
All in all we had a fantastic time in Philadelphia and got to do so much in a short amount of time because the layout of the city was really perfect for tourists. If we go back we want to visit the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia Art Museum (ROCKY!), Amish Country (near Hershey), the Aquarium and of course have another Cheese Steak! www.visitphilly.com was a great resource.