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
7/28/23 - By Lori McManus

Check out these iconic things to do in Philadelphia with kids—including attractions, events, activities, museums, and more—that every native Philly kid really must experience.

All parents know how quickly the years pass as we watch our babies grow into big kids. Philadelphia is such a great place to raise kids; there are so many amazing events and activities to enrich kids' lives and create special memories right here in the City of Brotherly Love.

If you've lived here for a while, you may have already done many of these, but I bet you can still find some new ideas on this list. 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!


Exploring Philadelphia's Neighborhoods

If you're looking for something more local, we've got guides for all the suburbs too! From Delco to Montco and Bucks County and Chester County, or even Philadelphia proper, we've got you covered!

Money Saving Tips For Exploring Philly

You don't have to drop the big bucks to explore Philadelphia. Check out our list of what ages get in free at Philly museums and attractions. We've also got plenty of free museums, and museums that offer free admission days. Plus, did you know you can get free museum passes from your local library? Search museum pass on your library's catalog to see what's available! If you're looking for more free fun in the area? We've got a whole guide full of Free Fun!

Top Things To Do In Philadelphia for Visitors

There's no doubt about it, Philly is definitely one of the most essential cities to visit in the US. Whether you've got family in town, or you just feel like being a tourist for the day, there's plenty to see and do in one of America's first cities.

Best Things To Do In Philly with Kids By Age

And Now...

100 Top Things To Do In Philadelphia With Kids 

1. The Franklin Institute—Philadelphia

Climb through the Franklin Institute's giant heart.

2. Smith Memorial Playground—Philadelphia

Go down the giant wooden slide at Smith Memorial Playground.

Enjoy fall fun at Linvilla Orchards. Photo courtesy of the orchards

3. Linvilla Orchards—Media

Take a hayride, pet the animals, and pick apples at Linvilla Orchards.

4. Adventure Aquarium—Camden, NJ

Spend some time with the hippos, penguins, and sharks at the Adventure Aquarium.

5. Elmwood Park Zoo—Norristown

Feed the animals at the Elmwood Park Zoo.

6. The Arden Theatre—Philadelphia

Attend a performance at the Arden Theatre for a new twist on children's shows.

7. Peddler's Village—Lahaska

Visit Peddler's Village during one of the many festivals such as the Strawberry Festival.

8. Independence Seaport Museum—Philadelphia

Spend the day learning about historic ships at the Independence Seaport Museum.

9. Herr's Snack Factory Tour—Nottingham

Taste a potato chip fresh off the line on the Herr's Snack Factory tour. 

10. Academy of Natural Sciences—Philadelphia

Gaze into the jaws of a T-Rex at the Academy of Natural Sciences.

11. Tyler Arboretum—Media

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. Diggerland—West Berlin, NJ

Drive some construction equipment at Diggerland.

13. Ringing Rocks Park—Upper Black Eddy

Bring a hammer to Ringing Rocks Park and make your own rock concert.

14. Franklin Square—Philadelphia

Putt around Independence Hall and other miniaturized Philly landmarks at Franklin Square mini golf​.

15. Longwood Gardens—Kennett Square

Explore the Children's Garden and watch the Longwood Gardens Fountain Show.

16. Grounds for Sculpture—Hamilton, NJ

Pose with all the statues at New Jersey's indoor/outdoor Grounds for Sculpture Museum.

17. Sesame Place—Langhorne

Spend the day playing at Sesame Place with Elmo, Big Bird, and the Count.

18. Dilworth Park—Philadelphia

Skate at the pop up ice rink in the winter or the Rothman Orthopaedics Roller Rink in the summer at Dilworth Park in the shadow of City Hall.

19. Betsy Ross House—Philadelphia

Meet America's most famous flag maker at the Betsy Ross House.

20. Mercer Museum & Fonthill Castle—Doylestown

Check out two real life castles right in the heart of Bucks County at Mercer Museum & Fonthill Castle.

Take a ride on the Dentzel Carousel. Photo by M. Branscom, courtesy of Please Touch Museum

21. Please Touch Museum—Philadelphia

Ride the historic Dentzel carousel and then play the day away at the Please Touch Museum.

22. Italian Market—Philadelphia

Shop the Italian Market's tempting food offerings.

23. Elfreth's Alley—Philadelphia

Stroll down Elfreth's Alley, America's oldest residential street.

24. Fairmount Water Works—Philadelphia

Take a free tour of the Fairmount Water Works.

25. Philadelphia Orchestra—Philadelphia

Experience a Philadelphia Orchestra Family Concert or Film Concert.

26. Parkway Central Library—Philadelphia

Tour the Parkway Central Library and read a book in the Children's Department.

27. The Mann Center—Philadelphia

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. The Liberty Bell—Philadelphia

Get up close with the Liberty Bell.

29. The Philadelphia Flower Show—Philadelphia

Smell the roses at the Philadelphia Flower Show.

30. Reading Terminal Market—Philadelphia

Enjoy some of Philadelphia's best food vendors at the Reading Terminal Market.

31. Sister Cities Park—Philadelphia

Follow the pathways through the Children's Discovery Garden at Sister Cities Park.

32. National Liberty Museum—Philadelphia

Hear stories of inspirational leaders at the National Liberty Museum.

33. The U.S. Mint—Philadelphia

Watch coins being made at the U.S. Mint. 

34. Valley Forge National Park—King of Prussia

Spend an afternoon at Valley Forge National Park.

35. Kalmar Nyckel—Wilmington, DE

Take a tour of a pirate ship at Kalmar Nyckel Museum.

36. Philadelphia Union—Philadelphia

Watch the professional soccer team the Philadelphia Union at Subaru Park. 

37. Devon Horse Show—Devon

Cheer on your favorites at the Devon Horse Show.

38. Once Upon a Nation—Philadelphia

Hear fascinating tales about our city's past at the Once Upon a Nation storytelling benches in the summer.

39. National Museum of American Jewish History—Philadelphia

Visit the collections at the National Museum of American Jewish History. 

40. Maple Sugaring—Various Locations

Go maple sugaring just before spring.

41. Manderach Memorial Playground—Limerick

Race down the long tube slides at Manderach Memorial Playground.

42. Philadelphia Zoo—Philadelphia

Visit the lions, tigers, and bears at America's first zoo.

43. Mütter Museum—Philadelphia

Tour the Mutter Museum's collection of medical oddities.

44. Ben Franklin Parkway—Philadelphia

Watch the 4th of July fireworks over the Ben Franklin Parkway.

45. LOVE Park—Philadelphia

Take a photo-op under the iconic statue at LOVE Park.

46. Skiing at the Poconos—Various Locations

Hit the slopes this winter for some family skiing time.

47. Reading Phillies—Reading

Spend a summer evening at a minor league baseball game.

48. Morris Arboretum—Philadelphia

Go Out on a Limb at the Morris Arboretum.

49. BlobFest—Phoenixville

Join the BlobFest crowd as they run screaming from the Colonial Theatre, re-enacting the famous scene from the 1957 cult classic filmed there.

50. Independence Hall—Philadelphia

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. African American Museum—Philadelphia

Experience the rich culture and history on display at the African American Museum.

52. American Helicopter Museum—West Chester

Visit the American Helicopter Museum and take a real helicopter ride.

53. Six Flags Great Adventure—Jackson Township, NJ

Take a safari tour at Six Flags.

54. Strasburg Rail Road—Ronks

Watch Thomas the Tank Engine pull into the Strasburg Rail Road.

55. Crayola Factory—Easton

Get creative at the Crayola Factory.

56. Eastern State Penitentiary—Philadelphia

Tour Eastern State Penitentiary, especially frightful at Halloween. Non-spooky daytime tours are available year round.

57. Regatta on the Schuylkill River—Philadelphia

Watch a regatta on the Schuylkill River.

58. Hersheypark—Hershey

Ride any of the 15 wild roller coasters at Hersheypark.

59. Dutch Wonderland—Lancaster

Ride the Turtle Whirl and other fun amusements at Dutch Wonderland.

60. Parkside Place—Upper Gwynedd

Climb up the massive play tower and down the twisting slide at Parkside Place in Upper Gwynedd.

61. Franklin Fountain—Philadelphia

Taste a Philadelphia egg cream or homemade ice cream sundae at the Franklin Fountain.

62. LEGOLAND Discovery Center—Plymouth Meeting

Build something spectacular at LEGOLAND Discovery Center.

63. Philadelphia's Magic Gardens—Philadelphia

Explore the creative mosaic art of Philadelphia's Magic Gardens on South Street.

64. Fort Mifflin on the Delaware—Philadelphia

Tour Fort Mifflin on the Delaware, which is said to be "haunted."

65. Philadelphia Phillies—Philadelphia

Watch the Phillies play at Citizens Bank Park.

66. Kids Castle—Doylestown

Climb the turrets at Kids Castle Playground a wooden playground shaped like a giant castle in Doylestown.

RELATED: Family Road Trips Less Than 10 Hours from Philly

Enjoy free First Sunday family fun at the Barnes Foundation. Photo by Michael Perez

67. Barnes Foundation—Philadelphia

Participate in one of the Barnes Foundation's family art programs.

68. Battleship New Jersey—Camden, NJ

Experience the life of a sailor on a tour of the Battleship New Jersey.

69. Spruce Street Harbor Park—Philadelphia

Walk along the boardwalk at Penn's Landing and check out the hammocks in Spruce Street Harbor Park.

70. Fireman's Hall—Philadelphia

Learn about the history of firefighting and try on some gear at Fireman's Hall, a hidden gem in Old City.

71. Free Summer Concerts—Various Locations

Attend a free summer concert at one of the many awesome locations in the area.

72. Bowman's Hill Tower—New Hope

Climb to the top of Bowman's Hill Tower for scenic views of the Delaware Valley, especially impressive for fall foliage.

73. Kimmel Center—Philadelphia

Attend a performance at the Kimmel Center.

74. National Constitution Center—Philadelphia

Pose for a photo with the Founding Fathers and become an expert on the Bill of Rights at the National Constitution Center.

75. Philadelphia Museum of Art—Philadelphia

Take a Family Gallery Tour of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

76. Go Tubing—Various Locations

Go tubing with the family.

77. Apple Picking—Various Locations

Pick apples at an orchard in the fall.

78. Cheesesteak Tour—Various Locations

Try cheesesteaks at South Philly landmarks Pat's, Geno's and Jim's, then vote for your favorite.

79. Penn Museum—Philadelphia

Check out the sphinx at Penn Museum.

80. Winterthur Museum—Winterthur, DE

Explore the Fairy Garden in Winterthur's Enchanted Woods.

81. Shane Confectionery—Philadelphia

Satisfy your sweet tooth at Shane Confectionery, the oldest continuously operated candy shop in the U.S.

82. Kelly Drive Biking—Philadelphia

Take a bike ride or a walk along Kelly Drive.

83. City Hall—Philadelphia

Take a free tour of City Hall and get a spectacular view of the city from the observation deck.

84. Miracle on 13th Street—Philadelphia

Drive through the Miracle on 13th Street neighborhood Christmas light display.

85. Take a Hayride—Various Locations

Visit a local farm for a fall hayride.

86. Byers' Choice—Chalfont

Celebrate Christmas anytime of year at the Byers' Choice visitor center.

87. Philly Public Pools—Philadelphia

Take a dip in one of the many amazing free pools Philly has to offer over the summer.

88. Wissahickon Creek Fishing—Philadelphia

Go fishing in the Wissahickon Creek.

89. Walnut Street Theatre—Philadelphia

See a show at the Walnut Street Theatre, America's oldest theater.

90. Benjamin Franklin Museum—Philadelphia

Learn about the life of this Founding Father at the Benjamin Franklin Museum. 

91. Museum of Illusions—Philadelphia

Fool your kids with tricks of the eye at the Museum of Illusions.

92. Pennsylvania Ballet—Philadelphia

See the Pennsylvania Ballet perform The Nutcracker.

93. Macy's Dickens Village—Philadelphia

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. Brandywine River Museum—Chadds Ford

Marvel at the Brandywine River Museum's amazing train display over Christmas.

95. Blue Cross River Rink—Philadelphia

Ice skate at the Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest on New Year's Eve and have a front row seat for the fireworks. Over the summer, don't miss Summerfest with roller skating, rides, and carnival games.

96. Water Ice—Various Locations

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. Pizza Brain—Philadelphia

Check out this small muzeum dedicated to pizza. It's the world's first pizza museum. Have a yummy slice or two while you're there!

98. Hike at a State Park—Various Locations

Go for a hike in one of our many state parks.

99. Venice Island Performing Arts Center—Manayunk

Visit the Venice Island Performing Arts Center in Manayunk.

100. Shofuso Japanese House & Gardens—Philadelphia

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. This article was updated for 2023 by Cait Sumner.