Before we had kids, Matt and I prided ourselves on making regular trips into Philadelphia, which is about 30 miles from where we live. We were determined not to get locked into spending all our time in the suburbs. But despite this resolve and my attempts to take regular day trips, since the kids arrived our trips into the city have been much more sporadic.
Of course, there are several of places in Philly that I’ve written about. The Please Touch Museum is one fabulous favorite. As is the Philadelphia Zoo. I’m also a big fan of the Franklin Institute, with its giant model of the human heart that you can walk through and the Academy of Natural Sciences, which has enough dino bones and taxidermied animals to satisfy my little Victorian explorer.
And although I was unfortunate enough to lose the photos I had of this outing due to computer problems, I also endorse a trip to the top of the tower of City Hall, one of those hidden gems of an adventure that most people don’t even know is there. Philadelphia isn’t a city of amazing views, but it’s really cool to ride in the rickety old elevator right behind the huge clock (which you can see from behind as you go past it) and to stand immediately underneath the even huger statue of William Penn. This unsung daytrip can be capped off with an easy walk over to see the world’s largest television at the new Comcast Center – which is completely mesmerizing – and then lunch at the Reading Terminal Market. Someday I’ll get back to do all those things again and will get new pictures, but for now you’ll have to take my word for it without visual aid. (If you want tickets for the elevator ride, visit the City Hall gift shop.)
Today is a dreaming day though, so I’m thinking of all the things in Philadelphia which I haven’t done since before I had children, like visiting the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, seeing the opera at The Academy of Music, eating cheese steak at Jim’s on South Street (I like mine with whiz), or going to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
And then there are those things I’ve never done, although I’ve lived in the area for twelve years. The latter list includes:
- Visiting the National Constitution Center. We are a family of history buffs, and I know all of us will enjoy learning about the Constitution and voting for our “all-time favorite president.”
- Strolling through the Italian Market in South Philadelphia (made famous in the movie Rocky).
- Learning about the maritime history of the area at the Philadelphia Seaport Museum. Since my kids are fascinated by the Delaware River, which parallels our drive into Philadelphia, I know that this museum would be really interesting to them. Plus there’s a submarine and the nation’s oldest steel warship to explore.
- Checking out the amazing collection at the Barnes Foundation. This museum, which has the world’s largest collection of French Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings in the world, is actually in Lower Merion. But with court permission, it will be moving into the city at some undefined point in the future. Whether we visit it in its old or new digs, I can’t wait to see it myself and to show the kids.
It is with new resolve that I move forward today – I need to get myself into Philadelphia more routinely. No excuses – it’s a 45-minute drive if the traffic isn’t bad! This is one dream I can (and should) easily realize on a regular basis.
And on an unrelated note – my journey as a traveling mom officially began seven years ago today with Tommy’s birth. He loves travel as much as I do; see his musings about Paris, titled “The Best Day of My Life.”
Photo of Philadelphia City Hall used courtesy of gamillos.
Photo of Liberty Bell used courtesy of Lisa Andres.