Top 5 Kid-Friendly Attractions in Philadelphia

You may have had your heart set on sprinting up the Rocky Steps or joining the cool kids sunning themselves in Rittenhouse Square, but a little rain doesn’t have to completely put a damper on the day’s fun. Here’s a local’s guide to the best places to take the kids in Philadelphia when the weather outside isn’t exactly cooperating.

The Please Touch Museum

Housed in iconic Memorial Hall in Philly’s Fairmount Park, the massive Beaux Arts buildingbuilt for the first major World’s Fair in the US, offers hours upon hours of entertainment for your little ones. Attractions include a Wonderland-themed maze and tea room, a play grocery store, story and song hours, and dedicated spaces for toddlers three and under. Kids of all ages will enjoy a ride on the historical carousel, which features more than 50 hand-carved wooden animals and over 1,200 lights.

The Nest

This hidden gem located on the corner of 13th and Locust Streets is a boutique, snack bar, and 3,000 square-foot indoor playground all rolled into one. The playground features a play house, swings, a plethora of toys and games for babies and toddlers, and a space to park your double stroller while you take a load off and take advantage of the space’s free wifi. You can purchase a membership if you plan to visit the place often and participate in any one of the Nest’s enrichment classes for kids between six weeks and six years old, or you can purchase daily passes from the cashier. Tip: the play space is shoe-free, but you and your little ones will need to wear socks. If you forget a pair of socks in the chaos of getting all kids out of the door, they are available in the boutique for only a few dollars.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art

On rainy days, you can skip a climb up the famed Rocky Steps and pull around to the back of the museum to the stroller and wheelchair-accessible entrance. The museum offers a variety of children’s and family programming, most of which is included in the price of admission. Take your kids back to the dedicated art room behind the ticket counter, where they can work on magnets, ornaments, and paintings to take home as souvenirs, or sign up for a family tour around portions of the museum such as their extensive collection of Asian art and architecture. For the littlest art-lovers and their minders, the museum offers Baby Bird Playdates, which includes music, stories, and walks around the galleries with other stroller-pushing grown-ups.

Philly InMovement

Tucked behind Bainbridge Street in Philadelphia’s Queen Village neighborhood, this gymnasium offers open gymnastics hours several days a week where you can bring your wound-up little ones to run off some of that boundless energy. Check the website for open gym hours, and make sure to arrive early. This popular neighborhood spot can fill up quickly—especially on rainy days.

The Academy of Natural Sciences

Open to the public since 1828, this famed Philly institution in Logan Square is perhaps best known to most for giant dioramas of wild animals that line its dim corridors, but it’s up on the third floor where your kids can find a vibrant space of their own to learn, run, and explore. “Outside In” is designed for children ages three to eight years old, and offers a giant sandbox and several play areas to play dress-up, put on a puppet show, dig for shark’s teeth and fossils, or use a digital magnifying glass to inspect fossils, bugs, and feathers. At regular intervals throughout the day, staff bring out wild animals for children to touch should they choose—from giant hissing cockroaches to aged tortoises. Tip: arrive early to avoid the school and summer camp crowds which tend to spill into the space around late-morning.

Photo Credit: Liana Jackson

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