Philadelphia’s Top Attractions For Kids

March 12, 2014 9:00 AM

(The rotunda of the Please Touch Museum, in Fairmount Park, which hosts a noontime New Year’s Eve celebration. Photo by Lauren Lipton)

The City of Brotherly Love offers something for everyone, but sometimes it’s a challenge to find things that will keep the little ones occupied. Fortunately, Philadelphia has a number of kid-friendly attractions that will keep children busy for hours. Not only are these activities fun, but most offer learning opportunities as well so that parents will feel good about visiting. Check out one or all of them and you may even find something that will bring out the kid in you!

Adventure Aquarium
1 Riverside Drive
Camden, NJ 08103
(856) 365-3300

Hippos, frogs, penguins, sharks and more fill the two million gallons of water at Adventure Aquarium in Camden. The aquarium changes its exhibits regularly and even offers hands-on experience that families with children will enjoy, with a special area for children under the age of six. Adventure Aquarium’s website offers an interactive site map that allows you to preplan your visit and highlight any creatures you must see during your visit. Tickets may also be purchased online.

Related: Family Fun In The Snow

The Franklin Institute
222 N. 20th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 448-1200

With numerous educational programs and hands-on, interactive exhibits, the Franklin Institute is one of Philly’s most fun places to visit if you have kids. Visitors can spend time watching a movie in the Institute’s state-of-the-art IMAX theater, check out a show on space or sea exploration at the Fels Planetarium and test the laws of physics in Sir Isaac’s Loft. Be sure to stop by the gift shop before leaving so you can take a little bit of science fun home with you.

Related: Top Day Care in Philadelphia

The Independence Seaport Museum
211 S. Columbus Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 413-8655

The Independence Seaport Museum offers the opportunity to learn about the maritime and naval history of waterways in the Philadelphia region, and you can explore historical ships and fire a mock cannon while doing it. Young children will especially enjoy exploring the USS Becuna, a submarine they can pretend to command. In addition to a number of warships that are a permanent part of the museum, there are several exhibit galleries that change regularly. Seasonal river tours of the Delaware River and kayak and rowboat rentals are available, too.

Please Touch Museum

4231 Ave. of the Republic
Philadelphia, PA 19131
(215) 581-3181

One of the best places in Philadelphia for families with children ages one to seven, the Please Touch Museum encourages learning through play. The Please Touch Museum boasts six interactive exhibit zones across 157,000 square feet, with four areas specifically designed for children three and younger. The museum is totally hands-on and has several different themes as visitors navigate from one section to another. Children and adults alike will enjoy riding the restored carousel.

Smith Memorial Playhouse and Playground
3500 Reservoir Drive
Philadelphia, PA 19121
(215) 765-4325

Located in Fairmount Park, Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse opened in 1899, thanks to funding from a wealthy family who dedicated it in honor of their son. Today, the Playground sits on six acres that may be enjoyed free by children under 10 years old and is specifically designed for children ages five and under. There’s a tumbling room, a book nook and a mini-town made just for kids. The historic mansion offers architectural details that will be enjoyed by adults as well.

Maddie Wagner is a freelance writer covering all things Philadelphia. Her work can be found on

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