Philadelphia Travel with Kids
Under 13 Thrill wee ones with a trip to Sesame Place (100 Sesame Rd.) in nearby Langhorne. Rides and waterslides entertain tots, as do Sesame Street friends like Big Bird, Elmo and Cookie Monster. For an educational and fun experience, attend the Neighborhood Street Party parade.
Ages 5-12 will have fun at The Franklin Institute (222 N. 20th St.), one of the most exciting things to do in Philadelphia. The Train Factory mesmerizes young conductors as they learn about operating a 350-ton locomotive, while aspiring astronauts can command a mission and examine space expedition equipment. Every vacation with kids should include a walk through a two-story giant heart with sound and lighting effects or a peek through a telescope in the fourth-floor observatory.
The Please Touch Museum (in Fairmount Park at 4231 Avenue of the Republic) amuses young children with interactive exhibits that stimulate learning through touching and playing. During your travel, explore a neighborhood in City Capers, experiment with movement at Space Station or wind through Wonderland's maze.
Teens love intrigue and fun things to do with friends, and they'll find it at Ghost Tours of Philadelphia (5th & Chestnut sts.). What's more, they'll be exposed to a little history in addition to pondering such dilemmas as whether Edgar Allan Poe's spirit lingers in the Old City. Guides conduct a candlelit stroll past Philly's spooky nooks and crannies, telling tales of haunted houses and ghostly encounters. Of course, there's the requisite cemetery stop.
Philadelphia is known for its iconic treats from local restaurants, and Reading Terminal Market (51 N. 12th St.) is the perfect place to sample the city's delectable tidbits. In this enclosed historic farmers market underneath the Reading Railroad's train shed, you'll find everything from cheesesteaks to soft pretzels to whoopie pies.
Guided tours aboard the cruiser Olympia and the World War II submarine Becuna at the Independence Seaport Museum (211 S. Columbus Blvd.) spark the imaginations of students as they investigate these historic vessels. The “Ship Via Philadelphia” display features hands-on activities—including a miniature cargo crane—that illustrate the concepts of commerce and trade.
Head to the Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion (8046 Frankford Ave.) a museum devoted entirely to creepy-crawlies and butterflies. You can handle some of the live creatures, but if you'd rather admire them from afar there are plenty of exhibits, including mounted specimens.
What to Do for All Ages
The 42-foot-long T. rex welcoming visitors into The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University (1900 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy.) makes a lasting impression, as do the other residents in Dinosaur Hall. Or, maybe it's The Big Dig, a fossil-finding activity for kid-sized anthropologists. An animal care center housing critters that have been injured or born in captivity provides a look into their care and a butterfly garden presents a palette of vibrant color.
Courtesy of Philadelphia Zoo
At the Philadelphia Zoo (3400 W. Girard Ave.), rides like the carousel, train and swan boats excite tots, while older kids are eager to saddle up a pony or camel. Habitats are plentiful, and you'll even come face to face with the endangered inhabitants.
Several Philly events bring joy to the entire crew and should be included in your trip. The Mummers Parade on New Year's Day is a merry extravaganza with colorful costumes, elaborate floats and entertainment. Odunde, held the second Sunday in June, is one of the country's largest African American festivals. Wawa Welcome America around July 4 has a number of fun activities leading up to its Independence Day festivities.
AAA’s in-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. To pass inspection, all hotels must meet the same rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. These hotels receive a AAA Diamond designation that tells members what type of experience to expect.
Pennsylvania's statewide sales tax is 6 percent. An additional 2 percent is collected by Philadelphia County, as is an 8.5 percent hotel tax.
Aria Health (Torresdale Campus), (215) 612-4000; Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, (215) 662-4000; Methodist Hospital, (215) 952-9000; Pennsylvania Hospital, (215) 829-3000; Roxborough Memorial Hospital, (215) 483-9900; Temple University Hospital, (215) 707-2000.
Philadelphia International Airport
Hertz, at the Philadelphia International Airport, (215) 492-7205 or (800) 654-3080, offers discounts to AAA members.
Amtrak trains pull into both the main 30th Street Station terminal at 30th and Market streets and the North Philadelphia Station at N. Broad Street and W. Glenwood Avenue. If your destination is mid-city, disembark at 30th Street Station. Phone (800) 872-7245, or TTY (800) 523-6590.
The major bus terminal is Greyhound Lines Inc., (215) 931-4075, at 10th and Filbert streets. Peter Pan Bus Lines, (800) 343-9999, also serves the city. New Jersey Transit buses, (973) 275-5555, depart for southern New Jersey and shore points.
Yellow Cab Co., (215) 333-8294, charges a $2.70 base rate plus $2.30 per mile. A fuel surcharge also may be added. One-way fares between the airport and central Philadelphia locations are a flat $49 fee.
A system of buses, trolleys, subways and regional rails serves Philadelphia. Operated by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), buses, trolleys and subways charge $2.50, plus $1 for a transfer; exact change is required. Senior citizens ride free with a valid Senior Fare Card. Regional rail fares vary by zone; phone (215) 580-7800 for fare information. RiverLink Ferry offers ferry service from Penn's Landing to the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, N.J.