10 Places in Philly That Are Free for Kids Under 12

Fun activities for kids around the city that won't break the bank!
Photo of Storytelling Benches courtesy of J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

They say the best things in life are free -- and that includes family fun here in Philly! As winter finally moves out and spring moves in, getting the family out of the house and out for some fun around the city becomes easier.

But finding activities in the City of Brotherly Love for the entire family can get a bit pricey...unless you know where to look. The good news? We do! So with all the things Philly has to offer, there's no reason to let money be the reason that you miss out on a day of family fun. Check out these 10 fun and free activities in the Philly area, perfect for kids under 12. 

1. Learn Interactive History with Once Upon a Nation Storytelling Benches

Gather 'round one of Historic Philadelphia's 13 Once Upon a Nation storytelling benches spread throughout the Historic District to enjoy a free, five-minute story about Philadelphia's rich history told by professional storytellers. (Bonus: kids who make their way to all 13 benches will receive a free Parx Liberty carousel ride in Franklin Square!) Be sure to regularly check Historic Philadelphia's website for additional free programming


2. Take the Kids Bowling for Free

Sign up for two free bowling games every day of the summer through the Kids Bowl Free program. Choose from three different Philadelphia area locations of the 1200+ participating bowling centers.


3. Find Family-Friendly Activities at the Barnes Foundation

Enjoy free admission to the Barnes Foundation every first Sunday of the month, courtesy of PECO. Choose from a variety of family activities, special performances, and more based on the season or monthly theme.


4. Check Out the Free Library of Philadelphia's Many Events

From Fantasy Roleplaying Club to Wii Wednesday, the Free Library of Philadelphia has a calendar of events that's jam-packed with free activities for kids of all ages.


5. Get Artsy with the Entire Family  

Head to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts for one of their Family Arts Academy workshops on Sunday afternoons from 2:00-4:00 p.m. These free, family-friendly programs will be sure to bring out everybody's artistic side with local artist meet-and-greets, art projects, and creative games. 


6. Learn How Money Is Made

Take the 45-minute self-guided tour through the U.S. Mint. Every weekday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., you can take a walk from 40-feet above the factory floor and watch the coin-making process in action.


7. Check Out All the Playgrounds Philly Has to Offer with Our Playground Crawl

What better way to spend the day than burning some energy at one of the city's many playgrounds? Take the Philly Playground Crawl challenge and see how many you can make your way to in one day! 


8. Discover How Close Nature Really Is at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

Free for all ages every day of the week, John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge offers a wide range of nature-filled activities the whole family can enjoy such as 10+ miles of hiking trails, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, wildlife observation, and environment education. 


9. Smith Memorial Playground. Need We Say More?

Visit the huge, free outdoor play space that is Smith Memorial Playground. With two different play areas spanning across 6.5 acres, one for kids ten and younger and one for kids five and younger, all of the kids will be sure to have a blast. 


10. Run the Art Museum Steps à la Rocky Balboa 

Kids can put themselves in the shoes of the famous Rocky Balboa and run up the "Rocky steps" at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. As an added bonus, you can visit the museum every Wednesday evening from 5:00-8:45 p.m for Pay What You Wish admission for another budget-friendly family outing. 


Once Upon a Nation
600 Chestnut Street
19106 Philadelphia , PA
Phone: 215-629-4026
39° 56' 56.9148" N, 75° 9' 3.5244" W
Erie Lanes
1310 East Erie Avenue
19124 Philadelphia , PA
Phone: 215-535-3500
40° 0' 19.08" N, 75° 6' 6.5664" W
Barnes Foundation
2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
19130 Philadelphia , PA
Phone: 215-278-7000
39° 57' 37.8684" N, 75° 10' 21.324" W
Free Library of Philadelphia - Parkway Central Library
1901 Vine Street (between 19th and 20th Streets on the Parkway) Children’s Department
19103 Philadelphia , PA
Phone: 215-686-5322
39° 57' 34.272" N, 75° 10' 15.7728" W
Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts Museum
118-128 N. Broad St.
19102 Philadelphia , PA
Phone: 215-972-7600
39° 57' 20.2824" N, 75° 9' 48.3804" W
Philadelphia Mint
151 North Independence Mall E
19106 Philadelphia , PA
Phone: 215-408-0112
39° 57' 12.2796" N, 75° 8' 50.6616" W
John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge
8601 Lindbergh Boulevard
19153 Philadelphia , PA
Phone: (215) 365 - 3118
39° 53' 29.7132" N, 75° 15' 25.578" W
Smith Memorial Playground
3500 Reservoir Drive
19121 Philadelphia , PA
Phone: 215-765-4325
39° 58' 54.2388" N, 75° 11' 44.484" W
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Art Museum Drive
19101 Philadelphia , PA
Phone: (215) 763 - 8100
39° 57' 49.68" N, 75° 10' 36.5448" W