As I compose this post, it’s snowing outside and the schools are closed and Lower Merion Township has declared a state of emergency. So, although it’s technically the first day of spring, I thought it might not be a bad idea to compose a list of local indoor activities to do with kids. For many people who live here, my suggestions will be mostly familiar. However, I was actually thinking about people who have recently moved here or relocators who may be visiting in order to house hunt and need to entertain their kids while they are here. (On a side note, if you are going to be relocating, if, prior to the move, you have the opportunity to bring your kids here and familiarize them with their new stomping grounds, it can really ease the transition. One of the suggestions I make to transplants is to try to establish new “haunts” before the move, so that, once they arrive, their kids can look forwad to going to places they know.)
We have an impressive number of museums in the Philadelphia Metropolitan area, and while any of them might be a great match for your individual child, I tried to stick with the ones with the widest appeal here. I also tried to keep my list to within an hour of the city. There are always places like Sesame Place, The Crayola Factory, Herr’s Prezel Factory, etc. that are a bit farther afield, but, again, I was thinking mostly of soon-to-be relocators who may only be here for a few days and may not have an entire day for adventuring.
- Please Touch Museum–this one is only for kids up to 7 years old, but I’ve included it because it is such a great museum.
- The Franklin Institute–I’m extremely partial to this one; don’t miss the Giant Heart.
- University of Pennsylvania Museum–often called the “Mummy Museum”, this is “stuff”: archeological items, as opposed to paintings and kids tend to really love it. It has a great museum store, too.
- Camden Adventure Aquarium–for anyone who loves aquariums, this one is terrific. It’s also adjacent to the Camden Children’s Garden which is fabulous, but that’s outdoors, so if it’s a strictly “inside” day, you might have to come back!
- Bowling (really)–Lucky Strike is a unique experience and there are also diehard fans of North Bowl in Northern Liberties.
- The Mercer Museum–totally worth the drive to Doylestown, this museum born of Henry Mercer’s collections of Americana is amazing. You can look at a historic apothecary, blacksmith shop, etc., all within an amazing building.
- Skyzone–kids need to bounce out some energy? This trampoline park should do the trick.
- The National Constitution Center–a fairly recent addition to the Philadelphia museum landscape, the NCC was truly well thought-out and it is more engaging than you would think.
- Independence Seaport Museum–great way to see the river and climb around a scale model of a ship and learn a bit of history at the same time.
- Longwood Gardens–while, obviously a great outdoor activity, Longwood is so big and its greenhouses so extensive that just walking through the interior spaces is a good two-hour activity. Longwood is internationally known; it is spectacular.
- Academy of Natural Sciences Museum–my mother always referred to this one as ‘The Stuffed Animal Museum”. Great for animal (especially dinosaur) lovers.
- Keystone Mini Golf–an inside mini-golf course in Kensington which is great in bad weather.
- Legoland Discovery Center–for those of you with kids who like Legos. you’ll be parent of the year!
- Philadelphia Rock Gym–if you have kids who are climbers, or would like to try it, I’d recommend this spot.
- Museum of the American Revolution–if you’re going to live in or around Philadelphia, this one is a must. At least once.
As far as “kids” goes, this list is meant for the elementary-high school aged group, not necessarily the pre-school crowd. We do have plenty of “rainy day” places that cater to the younger set, but this post was meant to be about specific destinations that your kids would get excited about visiting and less about “stay and play” options (but contact me if you need a list of those!).
If you are relocating to the Philadelphia/Main Line area, please go to my relocation tab. If you’d like to and read other blog entries related to relocation, please scroll down a couple of lines and click on RELOCATION (to the right of FILED UNDER). Thanks!