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A Day Out with the Kids in Philadelphia

August 9, 2011
Just a few short hours from Brooklyn lies one of the country’s great cities, Philadelphia.  Philly is a simple weekend trip any time of the year and summer is no exception.  There is so much to do within the city limits, and it’s an extremely stroller-friendly, walkable town.  Everything is accessible and it’s relatively inexpensive for a family outing.   You can book a hotel rather painlessly, and there is no shortage of museums, historic sites or restaurants. It’s just a matter of doing your research before you go and then deciding on what you want to do.  It’s a big city, and as you know, traveling with kids requires organization and detail.
Of course, there are the fascinating historic sites in Philadelphia like the Benjamin Franklin Memorial, Betsy Ross House, Independence Hall and Liberty Bell. You can find information on all those sites here. I decided to write about a different kind of day out with kids in Philadelphia- a tour of what a real family in Philadelphia might do on a day out in the city.  This can be for kids of any ages, but the ones who did go on this particular adventure were ages six and eight:

9am Venture to the Headhouse Farmer’s Market in the the Headhouse Shambles at 2nd and Lombard streets in the Society Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia for some yummy smorgasbord of cheese, fruits, vegetables, wine, chocolate and more.  Kids will love gazing at the fresh food and sampling delicacies unique to the area.

11am Visit Homemade Goodies by Roz (510 S. 5th Street, Tel: 215-592-9616) for a tour of the kitchen, which was made Kosher three years ago.  Roz personally will take kids on a tour of her dairy kitchen to show kids what goes into making baked goods.  At the end of the tour, kids can munch on red velvet cupcakes, babka, apple cake or cookies….and they’ll want to!

12pm Kids will love a trip to the Expressive Hand (622 South 9th Street, Tel: 267-519-2926) to paint a piece of pottery of their choice.  Pieces range from $8 to $60 each.
2-5pm Visit the Franklin Institute (20th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway),  a terrific science museum named after its namesake, with a huge focus on interactivity and exploration. It’s fascinating to walk through a “human heart”, learn about the history of electricity, play in the Sports Challenge, which uses virtual-reality technology to illustrate the physics of sports, hop into the Train Factory’s climb-aboard steam engine, explore the Space Command’s simulated earth-orbit research station or ride a Sky Bike.  If you go this summer, you can also catch the current special exhibit, Mummies of the World. It’s an impressive collection of 150 objects, including real human and animal mummies, as well as related artifacts from South America, Europe, Asia, Oceania and Ancient Egypt.
5:30 pm For dinner, visit this great restaurant called Sakura Mandarin (1038 Race Street, Tel: 215-873-8338).  My son wanted scallion pancakes, and we went to a place we knew would have delicious scallion pancakes.  Not only is their Chinese food top notch, but so is there Japanese food.  Their sushi/maki combos come with special rolls that are out of this world.  They also have udon, dumplings, sweet and sour chicken, rice dishes that are top quality and our bill came to just $80 for six people.
After dinner, you can head home and be home for a late bedtime.  Expect a bit of traffic, but you can still be home within 2-2-1/2 hours.
To get there: Take the New Jersey Turnpike to Cherry Hill and follow the signs to the Benjamin Franklin Bridge which takes you all the way into the center of Philadelphia.