Philadelphia is the city of brotherly love and family fun. Brimming with history, Philly has plenty of family activities to enjoy together. Whether you’ve got elementary-age children or teenagers, you’ll find plenty of family fun activities throughout the city.
While family activities in Philadelphia tend to be crowded on the weekends, many are open throughout the week. If your children go to school online, the greater flexibility in their schedules means you can all visit museums and recreational areas on weekdays when the crowds are thinner.
Let’s take a look at a few fun family activities near Philadelphia and things you can do in the city of brotherly love itself!
1. Visit the Philadelphia Zoo
Pack up the family and head to America’s first zoo.
The zoo’s campus was once the country home of the grandson of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania. Stretched across 42 acres, the Philly zoo is home to nearly 1,300 animals and showcases the garden’s nearly 500 species of plants. As you stroll along the zoo’s pathways, you’ll see animals and plenty of trees, shrubs and flora.
One of the zoo’s highlights is the Zoo360 exhibition, which brings big cats and primates out of their cages and gives them room to roam. The animals can saunter along enclosed mesh tubes above the zoo’s walkways. Zoo360 creates a more immersive and interactive zoo experience, as it allows you to come across animals throughout the zoo instead of only in designated zones.
The Nature Blazer Scavenger Hunt activity gives kids a chance to learn more about the animals that live at the zoo. When you buy tickets for the zoo, you can purchase wristbands with a built-in compass that take you on an adventure throughout your visit. If you complete the scavenger hunt, you — and your kids — will get a prize.
A visit to the Philly Zoo lets your kids experience nature up close and personal, giving them a chance to engage with animals they aren’t likely to encounter in everyday life. Younger children can have fun learning to name the different animals, while older children have a chance to practice their map-reading skills.
The zoo is open daily, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Advanced tickets may be required.
2. Experience the Please Touch Museum
The Please Touch Museum, located in the heart of Fairmount Park, is tailor-made for kids under the age of seven. The museum is a must-visit if you have preschool, kindergarten or early elementary school-age children in your family.
The museum has six interactive zones, letting kids get up close and hands-on with the exhibitions. Several areas of the museum are designed explicitly for the under-three set, so even the youngest members of your family can participate in an interactive experience.
The Market Experience, which opened at the end of 2021, is one of the museum’s highlights. This exhibition gives children a chance to act as if they are at the supermarket, taking on the role of shopper or employee. The Market stimulates children’s imagination and encourages creative role-playing.
The Kindergarten Readiness Experience (KRE) is worth checking out if you have preschool-age kids. The program runs for two weeks and meets twice a week. Children aged four and five, plus their caregivers, are welcome to participate. During KRE, children develop the skills they’ll need in kindergarten and see what it’ll be like to have schoolwork, responsibilities and routines. The program gives children who’ll be attending cyber school or in-person school a taste of what it’s like to be a student.
The Please Touch Museum is open Wednesdays through Sundays, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m and until 7 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the month. Advanced reservations may be required.
3. Explore Wissahickon Valley Park
Philly is home to Fairmount Park, one of the largest municipal park systems in the country. Fairmount Park consists of more than 2,000 acres of parkland, creating a natural oasis amid a bustling urban area.
Wissahickon Valley Park is part of this park system, located in northwest Philadephia and home to more than 50 miles of trails. You’ll find plenty of local flora and fauna along the woodland trails in the park.
When hiking along the trails, you’ll come across several species of trees, including the Great Beech and meadows full of wild plants and birds.
A visit to the park provides more than an opportunity to teach your kids about plants and wildlife — it’s also good for your family’s health and wellbeing. Spending time in nature is connected to increased cognitive abilities and better moods. So put on your walking or hiking shoes, pack a picnic and take your kids to the park today!
4. Live Like a Tourist
Maybe you don’t have time or the budget to take the family to a remote location for your vacation this year. Luckily for you, Philly has plenty of activities that let you live like a tourist in your hometown. As a bonus, you don’t have to worry about booking a hotel and no one will get carsick.
Philadelphia played a significant role in the founding of the U.S. and many historic landmarks remain accessible in the city. Bring the kids to visit the Liberty Bell, then take them on a tour of Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were both signed. You need to book tickets in advance for the tours.
If your family loves the movies, take them on a tour of famous landmarks featured in Philly-filmed classics. Retrace Rocky’s course through the Italian Market in South Philly up the steps of the Art Museum (aka the Rocky Steps). At the base of the Art Museum’s stairs, pose for a photo by the Rocky statue.
You can also take in some great art by popping into the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Children under the age of 18 are always free at the museum. Adults can take advantage of pay-what-you-wish tickets on the first Sunday of the month and Fridays after 5 p.m.
There are plenty of family fun activities near Philadelphia, too! Take a quick trip across the Delaware River to Adventure Aquarium or head north to Plymouth Meeting to visit LEGOLAND Discovery Center.
5. Check Out the Franklin Institute
If you’ve got budding scientists in your family, bring them for a day of hands-on exploration at the Franklin Institute. It’s one of the oldest science museums in the country and has one of the best collections of student activities in Philadelphia. Your kids can walk through the giant heart, watch live science demos and see the stars in the renowned Fels Planetarium.
The Franklin Institute also hosts regular events and special exhibitions.
Philadelphia Families Can Make the Most Out of Cyber School
When you live in a place as steeped in history and culture as Philadephia, the entire city can be your classroom. Online schooling lets you make the most of your child’s education by providing them with flexible, tuition-free education that lets you make the most of Philadelphia. If you’re not happy with the quality of the schools in your catchment area, CCA provides a high-quality alternative.
CCA is a fully accredited, online charter school free for families in Philly and across Pennsylvania. To learn more about our programs and how to enroll your child, request information today.