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Things to do for families, kids activities in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia

Philadelphia Visitors Center
Sixth & Market Sts., 800-537-7676. Opens daily at 8:30am. Other Centers: City Hall Visitor Center: Broad and Market Sts. (east end of City Hall Courtyard), 215-686-2840; Sister Cities Park, 200 N. 18th St.; Fairmount Park, 1599 JFK Blvd.; Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch St.
    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 Philadelphia Visitor Center online.
      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 App store to download Philadelphia CVB's free app.

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA, 215-299-1000
    Mon.-Fri. 10-4:30, weekends and holidays 10-5. General weekend admission: Adults $19.95, srs. & students $16.95, ages 3-12 $15.95, under 3 free. Save by purchasing online.
    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; teen and adult programs.
Sat & Sun
          Crafts, activities, presentations and demonstrations, meet live animals on selected weekends and holidays.
Ongoing
          Night in the Museum, sleep in the galleries for ages 6-14. Special dates for scouts and adults.
          Access to Science: Opening Doors to Autism, special hours for children on the autism spectrum and families. 215-299-1060 for info.
Selected Exhibitions
May 26-Jan 21
           Xtreme Bugs.
Selected Special Events
Aug TBA
           Bug Fest, annual celebration of insects.

America On Wheels Museum
5 North Front St, Allentown, PA 18102, 610-432-4200
    Jan.-Mar.: Wed.-Sat. 10-4, Sun. 12-4. April-Dec.: Tues.-Sat. 10-5, Sun. 12-5. Adults $10, srs. $8, ages 6-16 $6, 5 and under free. Children 12 and under free on Sundays, although there may be a charge for special exhibits.
     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, PA, 215-278-7000
    Wed.-Mon. 11-5, Fri. 6-9 every first Fri., extended summer hours. Adults $30, srs. $28, ages 13-18 and college students $5, 12 and under free. Free admission and programs the first Sun. of every month. 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. School programs, educator workshops, performances, lectures, group tours, story­times, children and family art programs are offered. See "What's On" online for schedule.
Ongoing
         Family Audio Tour, interactive audio game designed for ages 7-12, can be downloaded in advance from iTunes or Google Play.
Selected Special Exhibitions
May 6- Sep 3
         Renoir: Father and Son / Painting and Cinema.
Oct 20-Jan 14
         Berthe Morisot: Woman Impressionist.

Crayola Factory
30 Centre Square, Easton, PA, 610-515-8000
    Hours vary by season, check online link. Admission ages 3+ $19.99, under 3 free. Ticket discounts online. 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, 2750 Hugh Moore Park Rd., Easton.

DaVinci Science Center
3145 Hamilton Blvd. Bypass, Allentown, PA, 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.
Ongoing
         Hands-On Activities & Demonstrations, weekends, summer weekdays and school holidays.

The Franklin Institute Science Museum
222 N. 20th St., Philadelphia, PA, 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 $20, ages 3-11 $16; 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. Museum app, available for iPhone or Android devices, offers a free library of virtual reality content. Traveling Science Show; camp-ins; home school workshops; sensory-friendly hours; Schools Out Camp and summer Discovery Camp; adult science after hours; professional development.
Daily
          Live science shows and demonstrations daily. Consult daily programs online or upon arrival.
May-Sept
          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 unless noted. Free admission and shows.
Ongoing
          Electricity, the exhibit most closely identified with the Franklin Institute, features fun, hands-on experiments with electricity.
          The Giant Heart: A Healthy Interactive Experience, walk through a giant heart.
          The Train Factory, climb aboard a steam locomotive and explore physical science.
          SportsZone, 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.
New
          Escape Rooms. Experience the thrill of escape and the excitement of adventure in the all-new Escape Rooms at The Franklin Institute. Using the most advanced cutting-edge technology and immersive design, Escape Rooms at The Franklin Institute transports guests to one of two fantastical worlds where a series of clues, codes, puzzles, and tasks lead teams to achieve an ultimate goal—all within 60 minutes or less. Best experienced with a group, these games challenge, amuse, and befuddle guests of all ages, encouraging collaboration and creative problem solving in a fast-paced, live-action setting.
          3D Printing The Future, learn the story behind the 3D printing craze.
Selected Special Exhibitions
Advance tickets can be purchased online.
Thru Sep 4
          Game Masters. Showcasing the work of over 30 innovative game designers, Game Masters takes visitors on an interactive journey inside their favorite video games—from the trailblazing arcade era through today's web and console games. Challenge yourself to achieve a high score on more than 100 playable games as you learn how the most beloved characters—from Sonic to the Sims—came to life, and follow the remarkable transformations that video games have undergone over time through the 100 objects and original artworks featured within the exhibit.
         Visitors will have the unique opportunity to play in multi-player immersive experiences as well as on classic arcade games from the 1970s and '80s while discovering the stories of the designers who have pushed the limits of gaming.
        Programming from Scratch: A Beginners Workshop to Coding with Games, is offered selected Saturdays from 11am-1pm, (ages 10-13).

Independence National Historical Park
Visitor Center: 6th & Market Sts., Philadelphia, PA
215-965-2305, City concierge staff: 800-537-7676
    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 at www.phlvisitorcenter.com (under National Park), 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.
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 six months in advance at 877-444-6777 (10am-10pm) or online for $1.50 per ticket. No tickets are required in Jan. and Feb. and after 5pm during summer hours. 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
211 S. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia, PA, 215-413-8655
    Daily 10am-5pm. Extended summer hours. Adults $16, children/students/srs. $12, 2 and under 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 and scout programs; parents night out; overnights; summer camps.
Ongoing
          Swan Boat Paddleboats, Rowboats, Kayaks for rent spring-fall.
Sat
          Seafarin' Saturday, nautical activities for the whole family. 11-1. Free with admission.

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 Discover Lancaster.
• Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
300 Gap Rd., Strasburg, PA, 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, kids play area and gift shop.
• National Toy Train Museum
300 Paradise Lane, Paradise Twp., 717-687-8976
    June-Aug.: Daily 10-5. Call or visit website link for spring and fall hours. Jan.-Mar.: Closed. 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.

Legoland Discovery Center Philadelphia
Plymouth Meeting Mall, Unit #1055
500 W. Germantown Pike, Plymouth Meeting, PA
    Mon.-Thurs. 10-5, Fri.-Sat. 10-5:30, Sun. 10-4. Extended holiday hours. Discount online tickets: Ages 3+ $19. Mon.-Fri. Toddler Time ticket for parent and child: $24.
    Lego® indoor playground features an interactive Lego-themed ride, 4D cinema, and 10 Lego-themed play areas.

National Constitution Center
525 Arch St., Philadelphia, PA, 215-409-6600
    Mon.-Sat. 9:30-5, Sun. 12-5. Adults $14.50, srs. and college students $13, ages 6-18 $11, 5 and under free.
    Established as an independent, non-partisan, 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 under "Debate."
Jul 17
          
America's Town Hall,
fall season tickets on sale to the public.

National Museum of American Jewish History
101 S. Independence Mall East, Philadelphia, 215-923-3811
    Wed.-Fri. 10-5, Sat. & Sun. 10-5:30. Memorial Day-Labor Day, open Wed. until 8pm, pay-what-you-wish after 5pm. Adults $15, srs. and ages 13-21 $13, 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; family days; cafe; gift shop on-site or online.
Thru Sep 2
          Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music, celebrates the centennial birthday of one of the 20th century's most influential cultural figures.

Penn Museum
3260 South St., Philadelphia, PA, 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 and under free. Additional fee for special exhibitions.
    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 World Culture Days, family workshops, museum playdates, storytime and evening expeditions, anthropology summer day camps, and museum sleepovers.
Ongoing
         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 11-4pm 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 for adults.

Pennsylvania Factory Tours
Harley-Davidson
1425 Eden Rd., York, PA, 877-883-1450
    Tour Center & Gift Shop: open Mon.-Fri. 8-4, select summer Sat. 9:30-1. One hour tours of the facility that produces the Touring family of motorcycles are offered Mon.-Fri. 9-2 (children must be 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. Audio tours available for $2 per person. Free factory guided tours Mon.-Fri. 11-2:30, first-come, first-served; 1833 Shop. Guitarmaker's Connection, site of the original Martin factory and old Martin Homestead, is open for visiting at 10 W. North St. in Nazareth, Mon.-Fri. 9-4.
Herr Foods
20 Herr Dr., Nottingham, PA, 800-284-7488
    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 13-16, 2018
         Made in America Tours, annual open house.

Pennypacker Mills
5 Haldeman Rd., Schwenksville, PA, 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.

Philadelphia Museum of Art
2600 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. 10-5 and every Wed. 5-8:45. 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. Sunday family programs; art and gallery programs for babies to adults; children's art classes. For schedule, call 215-684-7580 or visit Family Calendar online.
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 at Visitor Services Desk in the East and West entrances.
          Free Audio Podcasts can be downloaded from website.
          Art on Demand, paper and canvas prints and custom framing of favorite artworks from the museum can be ordered online.
Sun
          Family Festivals, family tours, art activities and performances 10-3 on select Sundays. Free after pay-what-you-wish admission.
          Family Art Cart, drop in 12-3 most Sundays to play games, sketch, make art. All ages.
          Family Tours, monthly themed tours for ages 3-5 and 6-10 most Sundays.
Wed
          Stroller Tours, monthly 11-12 on select Wed. Free after admission.
          After Hours, Wednesdays 5-8:45pm. Drop-in art-making, yoga, storytime, gallery events.
Fri
          Art After 5, entertainment from 5-8:45 in the Great Stair Hall and guided gallery tours.
Selected Exhibitions
Thru Sep 3
          Modern Times: American Art 1910-1950.


Philadelphia Zoo
3400 W. Girard Ave., Philadelphia, PA, 215-243-1100
    Nov.-Feb.: Daily 9:30-4. Mar.-Oct.: Daily 9:30-5. Nov.-Feb.: discounted admission. Mar.-Nov.: Adults $23, ages 2-11 $19, under 2 free. Pre-paid parking $16.
    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.
Mar-Nov
          Camel, draft horse and pony rides; swan boat rides; carousel; train; Zooballoon 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 older $19. First Wed. of each month 4-7pm: $2.
    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.
Ongoing
          Special Play without Boundaries, evening and early morning events for families of children with disabilities.
                    Jun 3, Aug 5

Sesame Place®
100 Sesame Rd., Langhorne, PA 19047.
          Before little kids become big kids, come whirl on rides, splash down slides and get big hugs from everyone's favorite furry friends. Go before they grow® to the nation's only theme park based entirely on Sesame Street.®

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.: Tues.-Thurs. 10-4, Fri.-Sun. 10-4. Playhouse (ages 5 and younger): April-Sept.: Tues.-Fri. 10-4, Sat. & Sun. 10-6. Oct.-Mar.: Tues.-Sun. 10-4. 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
151 N. Independence Mall East, Philadelphia, 215-408-0112 800-USA-MINT
    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. Tour handbook is available to download online. 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. Gift Shop: 215-408-0230.