Explore Philadelphia

Top Things to Do in Philly With Kids

Family vacations take work. Spontaneous, figure-it-out-as-you-go adventures have turned into trips that take a few weeks (or months) of pre-planning and preparation. And it’s not just the attractions that need to be scheduled—transportation and food also need advance thinking to keep things running smoothly.

Lucky for you, most of the attractions below are walkable from the city center or easily accessible by public transit: check out the PHLASH for ultimate transportation ease.

Whether your family consists of toddlers with short attention spans (the Crayola Experience will keep them focused), kids with a need for excitement (they won’t get bored with the multiple kid-friendly rides at Sesame Place) or teenagers only interested in taking a good Instagram photo (even you’ll want to post a picture of the view from the One Liberty Observation Deck), Philadelphia has attractions to make everyone—including you!—happy.

Please Touch Museum

Located in the renovated Memorial Hall, this children’s museum provides learning opportunities through play. Hands-on experiences include "Adventure Camp" (indoor treehouse), "Rocket Room" (build and launch rockets), "River Adventures" (mini Schuylkill River). $19. Open daily.

Philadelphia Zoo

America's first zoo is a Victorian-landscaped, 42-acre area housing more than 1,300 animals in naturalistic habitats. Attractions include the WildWorks Ropes Course, a children's zoo, a butterfly habitat and more. $19.95-$24.95. Open daily (hours vary by season).

The Franklin Institute

The city’s celebrated, family-friendly science museum explores the history and future of science through hands-on exhibits such as "Your Brain," "Changing Earth," "Electricity" and even a walk-through "Giant Heart." Immersive special exhibitions often sell out. $23, children (ages 3-11) $19 (special exhibitions more).

The Franklin Fountain

An old timey ice cream parlor and soda fountain dishing out handmade ice cream in sundaes, splits and cones, plus fudge, candy and 25 flavors of phosphates and ice cream sodas. Cash only. L, D (daily).

Penn's Landing

Philadelphia’s Delaware River waterfront is the site of William Penn’s arrival in 1682. Attractions include the Independence Seaport Museum, the Moshulu restaurant, a marina, restaurants, nightlife and historic ships.

Philadelphia's Magic Gardens

Created by mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar, this mesmerizing, maze-like “garden” is actually an outdoor installation complemented by indoor gallery space that was built from glass and ceramic fragments, discarded wheels, bottles and other ephemera. $5-$10. W-M 11 am-6 pm.

Adventure Aquarium

Get up close and personal to sea creatures and wildlife in nearly 200,000 square feet of space at this aquarium, located just across the Delaware River on the Camden waterfront. See hippos in the West African River Experience, watch penguins swim on Penguin Island, and marvel at sharks in a 40-foot walkthrough tunnel.

Reading Terminal Market

Founded in 1893, Reading Terminal Market has evolved into one of Philadelphia’s major dining destinations, a food mecca where you can taste international and local specialties, including cheesesteaks and Pennsylvania Dutch treats.

Crayola Experience

This fun-filled center is ideal for families with children ages 2 to 12. Colorful activities, such as the Color Playground and Be a Star, keep everyone busy for hours. Live factory shows and the latest Crayola products are featured each day. $21.99, children under 3 free. Open daily.

One Liberty Observation Deck

This site offers 360-degree vistas of the entire city and beyond. On clear days, views extend to New Jersey and Delaware to the east, past University City to the west, down to Philly’s stadiums to the south, and up to the neighboring suburbs to the north. High-tech touch-screens let visitors zoom in. $10-$15.

Sesame Place

This theme park transports visitors to the fictional neighborhood featured on PBS' long-running children's show. Find rides, roller coasters and slides, a water park (in season), musical performances and frequent parades. Kids can even have a meal with their favorite character. $74.99 (check online for discounts).