Kid-Friendly Philly Vacation Spots: Best Places For Young Children

Philadelphia is a city rich in historical attractions, and holds an important spot in the founding and growth of America. Historical attractions and kids may not sound like the best combo, but no worries, because this vibrant and exciting city has plenty to offer young children. Here are just a few spots that would make great additions to a family-friendly itinerary.

Franklin Square

Franklin Square, which used to be nothing more than a run-down park, is now one of the best spots to hang in Philly thanks to a recent renovation. Some particularly kid-friendly offerings include mini-golf, a carousel and a playground. There is a nice little picnic area, making it a great spot to spend a few hours with the family while enjoying a nice lunch.

Smith Playhouse and Playground

For more than a century, the Smith Playhouse and Playground has been entertaining children. Located in East Fairmount Park, it takes up six acres, and is home to a 24,000 square foot ‘’play mansion,’’ 44-foot slide, jungle gyms and a giant see-saw. And the best part is? Absolutely free. But, closed on Mondays.

Franklin Institute

If you want to throw in a little learning with the fun, the Franklin Institute is a must-visit attraction. Here kids can experience all sorts of hand-on exhibits, like the giant heart, learn all about electricity and much more. There is also the amazing IMAX theater, which is always showing something interesting.


There are a couple of great museums geared towards the younger set. You must absolutely visit the Please Touch Museum, which is the first in the country designed specifically for children aged 7 and younger. It is full of exhibits meant for touching, as well as the Playhouse Theater, where the whole family can get in on the fun.

Then we have the Independence Seaport Museum, where kids get an opportunity to check out a World War 2 submarine and an 1890’s Navy cruiser, along with a number of other interesting displays and exhibitions.

Animal Attractions

When it comes to keeping kids entertained on vacation, you can really never go wrong with anything animal. A trip to the Philadelphia Zoo, the country’s first, spans 42 acres and is home to over 1,300 animals, including many that are rare and endangered.  Some attractions particularly of note here are the Big Cat Falls, the Primate Reserver and the MacNeil Avian Center.  It also has some non-animal fun such as balloon rides, the Express train and a carousel. Parking can sometimes be challenging, so you might consider public transportation.

Sesame Place

A mere 30-minute drive from the city, Sesame Place is a great day-trip for families. Here, the iconic show comes to life, with all sorts of rides and activities. Not growing up far from the area, I have many fond memories of Sesame Place, and it should not be missed if you have younger children. They often have special events taking place, so be sure to check out their calendar for more information.

Reading Terminal Market

The bustle of activity here is enough to keep the kiddies entertained, and a fun place for the adults too. This enclosed public market houses hundreds of stores and eateries, and is a great place to find homemade treats the kids will love, such as the famous fudge at the Fudge Candy Shoppe. But, make sure to keep an eye on them because the place can get quite packed, and it would be easy to get separated.

Kelli Cooper loves blogging about all things travel; if you want to learn more about great spots for the kids in the City of Brotherly Love, check out the great post A Place for the Poppets in Philadelphia.