Philadelphia: Magic Gardens

–This is part of our series on Philadelphia with kids. For more in the series, see the bottom of the post.–

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My daughter and I were very excited to see Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, a nonprofit space that artist Isaiah Zagar created in an empty row house spot. It now extends inside the adjacent row house.

Unfortunately the day we showed up, we didn’t realize they were closing early for a wedding, so we had to make do with peeking through the gate, and walking around the neighborhood. The good news is  that you can still see a lot even when it’s closed. And just by wandering around South Street, within a few blocks of the gardens, we could still see a lot of large scale murals. There’s a list in the brochure you can get on site and probably in other tourist locations as well.

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This mosaic mural was around the corner from the Magic Gardens.

I think the biggest question for us was Continue reading “Philadelphia: Magic Gardens”

Philadelphia: Eastern State Penitentiary with Kids

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

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The Eastern State Penitentiary was one of the places at the top of the list for my husband on our trip to Philadelphia with the kids. I went to college in Philadelphia and hadn’t heard of it when in school there. Turns out, there’s a good reason. It only opened to the public in the years since then.

In fact, the penitentiary started making its renewal with fundraising efforts you’ve probably heard of: the Terror Behind the Walls, one of the most haunted, spooky type Halloween experiences in the country. Continue reading “Philadelphia: Eastern State Penitentiary with Kids”

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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