After graduating from college, I lived in the Philadelphia area for about 10 years before moving back to the Hudson Valley. There are so many things to do in and around Philadelphia that when I decided to take a surprise family trip to celebrate the last day of school, and didn’t want to travel too far, I immediately thought of going there.
For anyone who is on a budget, who has more things to do in New Jersey, or who would just prefer not to stay in the city, a great option is right over the bridge in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. There are many less expensive hotel options there while still being very convenient to everything.
Here’s a list of some of the many family friendly things to do in the Philadelphia area.
- Adventure Aquarium
Riverside Drive Camden, NJ 08103
Located on the Delaware River Camden Waterfront in New Jersey, the Adventure Aquarium has some of the most unique exhibits in the country. It is the only aquarium in the world to exhibit hippos, it is home to the largest collection of sharks on the East Coast, and it is one of only six places in the country to have Little Blue penguins as permanent residents. There are special events going on throughout the year, and there are several touch exhibits, including one where you can touch a shark!
- Philadelphia Zoo
3400 W Girard Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19104
From bears and lions to monkeys and reptiles, the Philadelphia Zoo has an extensive list of exhibits to see. They also have interactive attractions such as an amazon rain forest carousel, pony rides, swan boats, even balloon rides! For those who love Pokemon, the zoo has over 35 Pokestops and 3 Gyms. Check out the zoo’s website for a list of all of them.
- The Franklin Institute
271 North 71st Street Philadelphia, PA 19103
Going to The Franklin Institute is a fun way for the whole family to explore science, with exhibits ranging from connecting science to sports, to a planetarium, to virtual reality stations. Walking through the Giant Heart while you’re there is a must! Escape rooms are becoming increasingly popular and are all-new at the museum – challenge yourselves and put your problem-solving skills into action.
- Please Touch Museum
4231 Avenue of the Republic Philadelphia, PA 19131
The Please Touch Museum is a great place to take the kids! The interactive exhibits here are designed to stimulate your creativity and imagination. Let your kids take the lead when exploring the museum. Where else can you find a giant kid-size city or dress up and join the Mad Hatter for tea?
For any art lovers, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is a wonderful place to visit. There are numerous exhibitions inside the museum as well as a beautiful one-acre sculpture garden outside. For those that may not be into art, the stairs leading to the East Entrance of the museum are known as “The Rocky Steps”, made famous in the Rocky movies starring Sylvester Stallone. The Rocky Statue is located at the bottom of the stairs. Make sure to run up these famous steps and take your picture next to the statue!
- Historic Philadelphia
Various locations throughout the city
Philadelphia is a city rich with history. Visit the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall (where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed), Betsy Ross House (birthplace of the first American Flag), Elfreth’s Alley (referred to as “Our nation’s oldest residential street”), and more. You can even throw a penny on Benjamin Franklin’s grave!
There are numerous beaches along the New Jersey coast. Some are as close to Philadelphia as just over an hour away, perfect for a day trip getaway to the ocean! Check our list of top New Jersey Beaches for Families to find the perfect spot for your crew.
There is an endless list of restaurants in and around Philadelphia, with something for everyone. Some of my personal favorites are:
We were only in the area for a few days and weren’t able to cover everything on our list, so we will definitely be going back again!