PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Heavy rain is not stopping tourists from visiting our historical landmarks.
Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell are open this weekend despite the government shutdown.
“We’ve never been to Philadelphia before so we thought we’d come and have a look,” said Jonathan Gidish.
Gidish and Steven Vankerken traveled from as far as South Africa to see the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia’s Old City at Independence Mall.
“It was cool. They even showed a picture of Mandela. It was awesome,” said Vankerken.
Walking in Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were adopted and inside this center for an up-close view of the Liberty Bell almost didn’t happen.
The government shutdown forced the closure of the two sites during the Christmas holiday break.
Earlier this week, hundreds had to view the Liberty Bell from outside.
“It’s semi-depressing to look at a bell from a window,” Vankerken said.
Now, thanks to $32,000 worth of donations by the city’s tourism marketing agency, Visit Philly, the sites have reopened for the weekend from Friday until Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. No tickets are required.
City officials say the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is the second busiest time of year at Independence National Historical Park.
Despite the temporary quick fix, some tourists like Makenzie Phillips and Wyatt Schroeder, who traveled from Idaho, are uneasy.
“We planned this trip months ago, before we also knew what the federal government would be up to,” said Schroeder.
“Still frustrated that it very well could’ve been a different situation a couple of days ago,” Phillips says.