For a weekend getaway that packs in the family fun, look no further than the City of Brotherly Love. With exciting animal encounters, playgrounds with canopies that suspend 50 feet in the air and of course, a fair amount of interactive history, Philadelphia is a great family vacation destination. Read on for the best things to see, eat and do in Philly with kids.

Please Touch Museum

The name of this children’s museum says it all as your kids will learn through touch and interactive play. Featured exhibits include Thomas & Friends: Explore the Railroad through Jan. 6, 2019 and American to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far, debuting Feb. 2019. Check out the permanent play areas where your kids can go camping, role play at the grocery store, navigate through a maze, discover the properties of water and much more. Don’t forget to take a spin on the 100-year-old carousel. Online:

Smith Memorial Playground

For unstructured free play during your weekend getaway, head to Smith Memorial Playground. This 6.5 acre playground features a 16,000 square foot playhouse where kids can drive a train, cook in the kitchen and ride tricycles. You’ll also find a giant wooden slide and 50+ pieces of unique, age-appropriate play equipment. Be sure to check out their events calendar for special happenings like Kidchella music fest, Healthy Halloween and Winter Wonderland. Online:

Stay at a Marriott Hotel at Up to 20% Off

Your weekend getaway couldn't be easier to plan thanks to Marriott Hotels. They have 20+ hotels in the Philly area, which include Marriott, Starwood, Center City Hotels, Navy Yard hotels and much more. They're catering to families like you with their can't-be-beat winter getaway discount. Book directly and save 20% off with advance purchase using code ADP. Rates start at just $88/night with the ADP discount. Bonus: sign up to be a Reward member (if you aren't already) and you may receive even greater discounts on your trip to Philly.

Philadelphia Zoo

Here you’ll find more than 1,300 animals over 42 acres at the country’s oldest zoo. When you’re there be sure to look up! The Zoo’s see-through mesh trails—the first of its kind in the world—allow animals like gorillas, apes and meerkats to wander throughout the maze of trails, all above the Zoo’s grounds. Online:

The Franklin Institute

It’s all about science and tech at The Franklin Institute in Center City. Try your hand at one of the Museum’s new escape rooms, travel to outer space at the Planetarium or embrace a live science show. Be sure to make a pit stop at the Museum’s iconic giant heart. Fun fact: it’s the right size for 220-foot-tall person, which comes out to about twice as tall as Lady Liberty. Online:

Reading Terminal Market

Whether you’re looking for fresh produce, a pint of beer, prepared foods (grilled cheese! ice cream! pizza!) or gifts to take home with you, this public market has it all. Come here hungry and walk away with your cravings satisfied. It can get packed in the market so we suggest going at off hours (it’s open 8 a.m.-6 p.m. daily). Local mom Susan Banchek tells us not to miss Beiler's Donuts—they’re crazy good! Online:

Magic Gardens

Show your kiddos that art isn’t just confined to gallery walls. At Philly’s Magic Gardens, your kids will be wowed by the stunning and colorful mosaic art and murals. Play “I Spy” to see how many colors, shapes and textures you can spot. Be sure to buy your tickets in advance as they often sell out. Kids 5 and under are always free. Online:

Tildie’s Toy Box

South Philly’s Tildie Toy Box is a treasure trove of curated picks for every age and stage. Find science kits, well-made toys that are built to last, educational toys and much more. Make a day of it and stroll along Passyunk Avenue, a cute strip of shops with boutiques and restaurants.  Online:

Sister Cities Park

In the middle of Philly’s arts and culture district is Sister Cities Park, a destination with a little something for everyone. In the summer bring your swimsuits to run through the 10 geyser-like spouts that make up the splash pad. In the winter Imagination Playground is installed in the Boat Pond area of the Children’s Discovery Center. Here you’ll find tons of opportunities for unstructured play. Online:

Head House Books

Whether you need a good read for the trip home or simply want to get lost in one of the coziest book stores, Head House Books has you covered. Visit the kids and YA section and choose from their well-curated shelves of books. Not sure what to pick up? Ask the friendly staff for a rec. Online:

Grab a Slice

If there’s one food your kids can pretty much always agree on, it’s pizza. Dig in at Nomad Pizza for laid-back wood-fired pies or Square Pie, the tiny place with a tiny menu, according to local Susan Banchek. Both located in Bella Vista, the latter takes awhile for the pizza to cook but good news: there’s no shortage of coloring books if the wiggles strike. Online: and

Seger Park

You don’t have to leave Fido at home when visiting Seger Park. But, beyond Seger Park’s dog park, you’ll find basketball courts, tennis courts, a great playground for older kids and even a fenced in Tot Lot for the younger kiddos. Heading here in the summer? Be sure to bring a towel as the water fountains let loose for kids to splash around in. Online:

Museum of American Revolution

History comes to life at this museum that’s full of great historical stories, all presented in an interactive way. Make it a point to visit on a weekend when Revolution Place is open (11 a.m.-3 p.m.) where your kids can play dress up, play in tents, place replica objects on digital animated period maps, take a seat at a tavern table and more. Online:

Rocket Fizz

You stepped back in time at historic sites and museums; now travel back to an old timey soda pop and candy shop. From unusual soda flavors to British candy to sweets galore, this candy shop has it. Online:

Morris Arboretum

There’s no shortage of things to see and do at Morris Arboretum. But if you’re there for just a short while, don’t miss Out on a Limb, a roped canopy 50 feet above the ground. With bridges, walkways and roped canopies nestled amongst the trees, this is a can’t-miss feature at the Arboretum. Bonus: it’s fully accessible for all! There during the holidays? Check out their events calendar. We love the magical holiday garden railway. Online:

Linvilla Orchards

So many Philly families told us Linvilla Orchards is a must-visit. This farm, located about 30 minutes south of Downtown Philly, features seasonal family fun like hayrides, pumpkins, and corn mazes in the fall to u-pick Christmas trees and caroling during November and December months. They offer a farm market, garden center and made-to-order pies and desserts. Be sure to check Linvilla Orchards’ calendar for the full line-up of fun. Online:


The writer would like to thank Susan Banchek, Courtney Sochacki, Dana Cash and the countless other Philly parents who helped contribute ideas to this story. Featured photo: Colin M. Lenton Photography via The Franklin Institute 

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