Philadelphia: Embassy Suites with Kids Review

**This is part of a series on Philadelphia with kids. Please see all the posts in the series here, or check the bottom for individual links.**

The two times we’ve visited Philly with the kids we stayed at the Embassy Suites in Center City Philadelphia. As I mentioned in my intro Philadelphia post, our ideal hotel is one offering economical suites (so we don’t have to share the bedroom with the kids), one with a free happy hour, free breakfast and a hotel that’s convenient to the sites or public transportation. The Embassy Suites is all that in Philadelphia (and FYI – we are not receiving any compensation for posting this, and we paid full freight for our room).

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The hotel is on the Ben Franklin Parkway, in close walking distance to everything we did on the trip. It’s close to the Franklin Institute (kids’ hands-on science museum), Barnes Foundation and Rodin Museum. It was walkable to Independence Mall (about 20 minutes at a good pace), the Eastern State Penitentiary (maybe 20 minutes? We stopped en route at the Rodin Museum) and if you like walking (we do), you can walk to South Philly from there too. Continue reading “Philadelphia: Embassy Suites with Kids Review”

Philly: Reading Terminal Market – Philly

–This is part of our series on Philadelphia with kids. See all the posts in the series at the bottom.–

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Out of everything we saw and did in Philadelphia, this was the family favorite. We went twice, and would have gone more if time permitted.

The Reading Terminal Market has been in Philadelphia in one form since the 1850s, but in its current form since 1892. The string of shops (known as a Jersey market, since that’s where vendors came from) went indoors, with 78,000 feet and 800 vendor slots. Let me repeat that. 800 vendors slots. Like then, it’s still full of food and produce vendors, and a smattering of other stores selling kitchen wares and other goods.  Now there are 80 vendors. Read more about the market’s history here – it’s interesting. Continue reading “Philly: Reading Terminal Market – Philly”

Philadelphia: Treat of the Day – Franklin Fountain and Shane Confectionary

–This is part of our series on Philadelphia with kids. See all the posts in the series at the bottom.–

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We look for special daily treats on vacation, and the Franklin Fountain was a definite on our list. Since it’s downtown near the historic sites (Independence Mall area) there were many opportunities. We finally went on a chilly afternoon on our last day in Philly.

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Philadelphia Art

This is part of our series on Philadelphia with Kids. You can see a full list of posts at the bottom.

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Ben Franklin Craftsman statue in Philadelphia. Made in 1981.

One of the first things we noticed in Philadealphia was how much public art there was. It’s everywhere! Here I”ll feature some that we saw. This Ben Franklin Craftsman statue is at Broad and JFK Blvd in Philly. As you probably know, Franklin was a man of many talents and printing was his occupation.

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Philadelphia: Ben Franklin Museum with Kids

–This is part of our series on Philadelphia with kids. See all the posts in the series at the bottom.–

We had to rush through the Ben Franklin Museum, which is unfortunate because we really liked it. It was also one of the more interactive and kid-friendly places we went.

It’s owned by the park service, so you’ll see rangers inside. The museum was recently renovated and it shows. Here’s the front of the museum. Outside is a “ghost house” using the footprint of Franklin’s original house and print shop.

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They have a scavenger hunt inside, and for completing it, they give you some trading cards with patriots on it.

Ben was one of 17 kids in his family. At age 12, he apprenticed to his old brother James, who was a printer.  James was a bit demanding, so he ran away from him, but stayed in touch with the family. Continue reading “Philadelphia: Ben Franklin Museum with Kids”

Philadelphia for Families – the series begins

This is the first post in a long series on Philadelphia with kids. We went over the New Jersey teachers’ convention break and it’s taken  this long to get the posts together because there was so much to write about.

As a starter, I went to college in Philadelphia (go Quakers) and in our four day trip, in no way did I feel like I was retreading old steps. There is So. Much. To. See. Not kidding. I’ll give you our itinerary and tell you what we skipped.

To organize the trip, here were my ground rules. Everyone got at least one meal or attraction they’d want to go to during the trip. We got at least one planned treat a day, no more than two museums a day, free hotel happy hour, and a hotel with a suite, so we’d have extra space. The Embassy Suites served the latter purpose quite well.

I’ll go into more detail on specific venues in coming posts. This one is more of an overview.

Our itinerary:

Day One: arrive mid-morning, park and check into hotel. Walk to Reading Terminal Market for lunch. Walk to/visit National Constitution Center. Walk back to the hotel for happy hour. Two of us stayed in the room (still full from lunch/happy hour), two grabbed a bite at the nearby pub.

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Philadelphia: National Constitution Center with Kids

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–This is part of our series on Philadelphia with kids. See all the posts in the series at the bottom.–

One of the newer additions to Independence Mall is the National Constitution Center. Heard of it? I hadn’t until recently, when a friend told me her daughter loved it. We headed there on our first day. The center is a nonprofit museum dedicated to all things U.S. Constitution (duh!).  Continue reading “Philadelphia: National Constitution Center with Kids”

Philadelphia: Rodin Museum with Kids

–This part of our series on Philadelphia with kids. See more in the series at the bottom.–

We were passing by the Rodin Museum en route to the Eastern State Penitentiary, and I couldn’t resist dragging everyone over for a quick glance. It’s free (well, the garden is), and it’s not difficult to walk in and out of. Plus, it has the famed Thinker (see picture below) and the Gates of Hell, there since 1929.

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Sleepover at the Philly Zoo

Many zoos have sleepover programs you can attend with a group (like scouts) or on your own. We went to the Philly Zoo with our Cub Scout pack and thought we’d share our experience here. One of the great things about the sleepover program, is you can get a lot more “show and tell” type of experiences. Animal shows, some behind-the-scenes activities, early access to exhibits, and additional tours. By the way, the Treehouse is open to the public at some times, and only to members at others. You can see some grand arches inside – the building was designed by a church architect and is one of the oldest zoo buildings.

Our host talks to the kids

We spent much of the evening in the Treehouse (one of two indoor spaces you can sign up for). The space was awesome, with a large tree the kids could explore, dinosaur shells they could climb into, a large-scale beehive they could climb in, and more. Our host for the evening, Kaitlyn, was excellent at keeping the boys in line (something we parents have a hard time doing). Continue reading “Sleepover at the Philly Zoo”