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10 Places to Take Your Kids during #LGBTDNC

Welcome to all the #LGBTDNC delegates visiting Philadelphia this week. If you brought your kids, Philly Family Pride, the regional LGBTQ parents group, has a few tips for you on where to take the little (and not so little) ones. All are LGBT-parent friendly. First we’ll go through 5 indoor places under and then five places for the older kids.

Feel free to email PFP director Stephanie Haynes with questions at

5 places for under the under 5 set

It’s HOT, so we’re starting with three indoor places to beat the heat and have fun.

  1. Please Touch Museum – This is Philly’s children’s museum, located in the historic Memorial Hall in Philly’s Fairmount Park. It’s a little ways from the hustle and bustle of Center City, but well worth the trip for the miniature grocery store, carousel, real bus to “drive” and much, much more. For parents interested in history, be sure to check out the Centennial exhibit downstairs for lots on the 1876 Centennial celebration in Philadelphia. (Memorial Hall is one of the last surviving buildings constructed for that HUGE event.) Check out the GROUPON before it expires for a discounted rates.
  2. Academy of Natural Sciences – Find this gem of a natural history museum on the Ben Franklin Parkway across from the Swann Memorial Fountain at 19th Street. Your little dinosaur enthusiasts will find a lot to love in the Dinosaur Hall, but as an added bonus, their current temporary exhibit is Dinosaurs Unearthed! It has animatronic/realistic dinosaurs – not just bones – so the special exhibit is not for those easily scared. The best spot for the five and unders here is the third floor and their “Outside In” area where there’s lots to touch and explore including a rotating cast of live animals.
  3. NEST Center City – Check out the air-conditioned, eco-friendly, and safe playspace at the corner of 13th and Locust Streets. Non-member day passes to NEST are offered for $15 for the first child, and $5 for each additional child. The playspace is open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The 3,000 square foot playspace is designated for kids ranging from 6 months to 6 years.
  4. 3854068351_c0ea121e2e_bSmith Memorial Plaground & Playhouse – The five and under set in Philly LOVE the Smith Playhouse for indoor, hot day play. This spacious three floor historic building is worth the drive to Fairmount Park. (Be sure to use their directions.) Although they do ask for people to donate on their way in or out, Smith Playhouse is free with free parking. As an outdoor bonus, if it’s not too hot, there’s a HUGE playground outside as well with a 100 year-old wooden slide and a big toddler playground including baby swings. The playground is for for 10 and under.
  5. Sister Cites Park – This wonderful little park has been host to many PFP gatherings for parents with little kids. Find it at 18th and the Parkway, bring the kids’ swimsuits and change of clothes and get ready to watch your little one splash in the shallow boat pond, climb over a rock path in the Children’s Discovery Garden (over and over). There’s also a cafe to grab an iced coffee or snack. (A bonus place to splash and play is in Dilworth Park on the west side of City Hall when they have the fountains on there.)

5 places for the 6 and up crowd

  1. Franklin Institute – This is our science museum, located at 20th and the Ben Franklin Parkway, right near both the Academy of Natural Sciences and Sister Cities Park. Older kids will love the new brain exhibit where you climb up and through neural pathways as well as trick your brain with a whole series of optical illusions. The IMAX movies are always fun, and there are two great special exhibits there now as well: The Science Behind Pixar and Lost Egypt. Finally, don’t miss a walk (or run) through the giant heart – it’s showing its age, but it’s a right of passage for all Philly-area kids. Check the web site for extended summer hours. Most days they are open until 7pm.
  2. Independence Hall & the Liberty Bell – Especially if you are traveling from far away, your school-aged kids should see these historic places. Get your timed tickets in advance to minimize waiting for the Hall. Both are located at 6th and Market Streets. Summer hours 9am-7pm. Visitors should arrive at the security screening area approximately 30 minutes prior to the time on their timed entry ticket. The tour begins at the time on your timed entry ticket. Independence Hall tickets are FREE. There is no charge for same day distribution (non-reserved) tickets obtained at the Independence Visitor Center on the day of your visit. There is a handling fee of $1.50 per ticket for advance reservations. For the Liberty Bell, no tickets are required. It is also free and right across the street from Independence Hall.
  3. U.S. Mint – Want to see coins being made? This is only one of two places in the country where you can see it in person! Take a free, self-guided tour in 45 minutes, right next to Independence Hall. Open in the summer, weekdays 9am-4:30pm.
  4. National Constitution Center – Lots to see and do here for older kids, including watching yourself take the Presidential Oath of Office on TV and the “Headed to the White House” exhibit. Experience Headed to the White House the only exhibit of its kind, uniquely created to engage visitors of all ages with the excitement of the election season. Join the race, earn the nomination and win the election as artifacts, interactives and hands-on activities take you from the campaign trail and into the Oval Office – all in one visit. The museum is right up Independence Mall from the Liberty Bell, so an easy one to add on to a day of history tours.
  5.  Penn’s Landing Trifecta – First visit the Independence Seaport Museum and tour a wooden battle ship and a submarine at this museum located at Penn’s Landing along the Delaware River. Next have lunch, play games, lay in a hammock and visit the “beach” at the Spruce Street Harbor Park (open 11am-11pm). There are games and fountains for kids, hammocks for adults, food, floating gardens and even a boardwalk arcade. The final piece of this three-fer at Penn’s Landing is the roller skating rink – located at the BlueCross River Rink at 101 S. Columbus Boulevard, a short walk from both of the other attractions listed. The rink opens at 1pm weekdays.

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