100 Things To Do in Philly with Kids Before They Grow Up

Challenge the rope bridge and zip line at Elmwood Park Zoo. Photo courtesy of the zoo
Challenge the rope bridge and zip line at Elmwood Park Zoo. Photo courtesy of the zoo

All parents know how quickly the years pass as we watch our babies grow into big kids. At Mommy Poppins Philadelphia, our mission is to help families make the most of this precious time, finding the best events and activities to enrich kids' lives and create special memories right here in the City of Brotherly Love.

That is why we have compiled a list of the top 100 things to do with kids in the Philly area before they grow up. With a city so rich in culture, history, recreation, world-class museums, theaters, zoos, parks, and annual festivals, the time to get out and start exploring is now!

Great Things to Do in the Philly Area with Kids

Our list of the best fun things (in no particular order): 

  1. Climb through the Franklin Institute's giant heart.
  2. Go down the giant wooden slide at Smith Memorial Playground.

    Enjoy fall fun at Linvilla Orchards. Photo courtesy of the orchards
  3. Take a hayride at Linvilla Orchards.
  4. Spend some time with the hippos, penguins, and sharks at the Adventure Aquarium.
  5. Feed the animals at the Elmwood Park Zoo.
  6. Attend a performance at the Arden Theatre for a new twist on children's shows.
  7. Visit Peddler's Village during one of the many festivals such as the Strawberry Festival.
  8. Spend the day learning about historic ships at the Independence Seaport Museum.
  9. Taste a potato chip fresh off the line on the Herr's Snack Factory tour. (As of July 2021, tours are still on hold due to the pandemic.)
  10. Gaze into the jaws of a T-Rex at the Academy of Natural Sciences.
  11. Discover the Totally Terrific Treehouses throughout Tyler Arboretum.

    RELATED: Summer Activity Guide for Philly Families

    Unleash your inner construction maven at Diggerland. Photo courtesy of Diggerland
  12. Drive some construction equipment at Diggerland.
  13. Bring a hammer to Ringing Rocks Park and make your own rock concert.
  14. Putt around Independence Hall and other miniaturized Philly landmarks at Franklin Square mini golf​.
  15. Explore the Children's Garden and watch the Longwood Gardens Fountain Show.
  16. Strut alongside the Fancy Brigades and the String Bands at the Mummers Parade on New Year's Day.
  17. Spend the day playing at Sesame Place with Elmo, Big Bird, and the Count.
  18. Skate at the pop up ice rink at Dilworth Park in the shadow of City Hall.
  19. Meet America's most famous flag maker at the Betsy Ross House.
  20. Dine as our Founding Fathers did at City Tavern.

    Take a ride on the Dentzel Carousel. Photo by M. Branscom, courtesy of Please Touch Museum
  21. Ride the historic Dentzel carousel and then play the day away at the Please Touch Museum.
  22. Shop the Italian Market's tempting food offerings.
  23. Stroll down Elfreth's Alley, America's oldest residential street.
  24. Take a free tour of the Fairmount Water Works.
  25. Experience a Philadelphia Orchestra Family Concert.
  26. Tour the Parkway Central Library and read a book in the Children's Department.
  27. Enjoy an outdoor summer concert and picnic on the lawn at the Mann.

    RELATED: 70 Things to Do with Kids at the Jersey Shore  

    Enjoy a family photo-op at the Liberty Bell. Photo by A. Ricketts for Visit Philadelphia
  28. Get up close with the Liberty Bell.
  29. Smell the roses at the Philadelphia Flower Show.
  30. Enjoy some of Philadelphia's best food vendors at the Reading Terminal Market.
  31. Follow the pathways through the Children's Discovery Garden at Sister Cities Park.
  32. Hear stories of inspirational leaders at the National Liberty Museum.
  33. Watch coins being made at the U.S. Mint. (As of July 2021 the Mint remains closed to visitors.)
  34. Spend an afternoon at Valley Forge National Park.
  35. Have a meal in Chinatown.
  36. Watch the professional soccer team the Philadelphia Union at Subaru Park. 
  37. Cheer on your favorites at the Devon Horse Show.
  38. Hear fascinating tales about our city's past at the Once Upon a Nation storytelling benches in the summer.
  39. Visit the collections at the National Museum of American Jewish History. ( programming is available online only.)
  40. Go maple sugaring just before spring.
  41. Race down the long tube slides at Manderach Memorial Playground.
  42. Visit the lions, tigers, and bears at America's first zoo.
  43. Tour the Mutter Museum's collection of medical oddities.
  44. Watch the 4th of July fireworks over the Ben Franklin Parkway.
  45. Take a photo-op under the iconic statue at LOVE Park.
  46. Hit the slopes this winter for some family skiing time.
  47. Spend a summer evening at a minor league baseball game.
  48. Go Out on a Limb at the Morris Arboretum.
  49. Join the BlobFest crowd as they run screaming from the Colonial Theatre, re-enacting the famous scene from the 1957 cult classic filmed there. (2021's event is virtual.)
  50. Tour Independence Hall, the birthplace of our nation.

    Learn about the Underground Railroad at the African American Museum. Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia
  51. Experience the rich culture and history on display at the African American Museum.
  52. Visit the American Helicopter Museum and take a real helicopter ride.
  53. Make like a tourist and run up the Art Museum steps, Rocky-style.
  54. Watch Thomas the Tank Engine pull into the Strasburg Rail Road.
  55. Get creative at the Crayola Factory.
  56. Tour Eastern State Penitentiary, especially frightful at Halloween.
  57. Watch a regatta on the Schuylkill River.
  58. Ride any of the 15 wild roller coasters at Hersheypark including the newest one, Candymonium.
  59. Ride the Turtle Whirl and other fun amusements at Dutch Wonderland.
  60. Climb up the massive play tower and down the twisting slide at Parkside Place in Upper Gwynedd.
  61. Taste a Philadelphia egg cream or homemade ice cream sundae at the Franklin Fountain.
  62. Build something spectacular at LEGOLAND Discovery Center.
  63. Explore the creative mosaic art of Philadelphia's Magic Gardens on South Street.
  64. Tour Fort Mifflin on the Delaware, which is said to be "haunted."
  65. Watch the Phillies play at Citizens Bank Park.
  66. Climb on the giant board game pieces of the "Your Move" art installation at the Municipal Services Building Plaza, JFK & Broad Street.

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    Enjoy free First Sunday family fun at the Barnes Foundation. Photo by Michael Perez
  67. Participate in one of the Barnes Foundation's family art programs.
  68. Experience the life of a sailor on a tour of the Battleship New Jersey.
  69. Venture out on the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk and see the city from a new perspective.
  70. Learn about the history of firefighting and try on some gear at Fireman's Hall, a hidden gem in Old City.
  71. Attend a free summer concert on the Delaware River Waterfront.
  72. Climb to the top of Bowman's Hill Tower for scenic views of the Delaware Valley, especially impressive for fall foliage.
  73. Attend a performance at the Kimmel Center.
  74. Pose for a photo with the Founding Fathers and become an expert on the Bill of Rights at the National Constitution Center.
  75. Take a Family Gallery Tour of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
  76. Go tubing on the Delaware River.
  77. Pick apples at an orchard in the fall.
  78. Try cheesesteaks at South Philly landmarks Pat's, Geno's and Jim's, then vote for your favorite.
  79. Sleep overnight at the Penn Museum. (Sleepovers are currently on a pause due to COVID.)
  80. Explore the Fairy Garden in Winterthur's Enchanted Woods.
  81. Satisfy your sweet tooth at Shane Confectionery, the oldest continuously operated candy shop in the U.S.
  82. Bike along Kelly Drive.
  83. Take a free tour of City Hall and get a spectacular view of the city from the observation deck.
  84. Drive through the Miracle on 13th Street neighborhood Christmas light display.
  85. Visit a local farm for a fall hayride.
  86. Celebrate Christmas anytime of year at the Byers' Choice visitor center.
  87. Follow a map through the city to find 14 representations of Ben Franklin.
  88. Go fishing in the Wissahickon Creek.
  89. See a show at the Walnut Street Theatre, America's oldest theater.
  90. Learn about the life of this Founding Father at the Benjamin Franklin Museum
  91. Take a holiday train ride.
  92. See the Pennsylvania Ballet perform The Nutcracker.
  93. Watch the Macy's Christmas Light Show and walk through Dickens Village.

    RELATED: Christmas Day Trips Worth the Drive from Philly 

    Enjoy a great holiday train show at Brandywine River Museum. Photo courtesy of the museum
  94. Marvel at the Brandywine River Museum's amazing train display over Christmas.
  95. Ice skate at the Blue Cross RiverRink on New Year's Eve and have a front row seat for the fireworks.
  96. Cool off on a hot summer day with water ice at locations throughout the city such as John's Water Ice, Pop's, and Tranzill's.
  97. Explore our city's past at the Philadelphia History Museum.
  98. Go for a hike in one of our many state parks.
  99. Visit the Venice Island Performing Arts Center in Manayunk.
  100. Attend a tea ceremony at Shofuso Japanese House & Gardens.

Enjoy this list? Be sure to subscribe to our free weekly newsletter for even more fun events. Writer Kristen Sullivan contributed to this 2021 update. 

Indoor Mini Golf at Linvilla
Linvilla Orchard - 9:00 AM Pick
Barnes Free First Sunday Family Day
The Barnes Foundation - 10:00 AM Pick
Leaders and Legends of Philadelphia: Black History Month Exhibit
Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse - various times Pick
Northern Liberties Restaurant Week
Northern Liberties - various times Pick
Black History Month at the National Constitution Center
National Constitution Center - various times Pick
Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides