Being a mom is a lot harder job than many people give us credit for. There’s late-night feedings and running ragged on just a few hours of sleep (if you’re lucky) – and that’s just the baby part. Coordinating play dates and other socially-stimulating activities, running to and from all sorts of practices, camps, and schools… it can feel like an uphill task. But for the steep price we pay – the hit to our social life, personal time, and fitness – we get the fun of exploring the world with our littles. That’s the fun part! Philadelphia is a great city in which to raise a family, and there’s always something cool to do. The following should give you an idea of how many choices you have when it comes to having a great day in the City of Brotherly Love with your tribe.
Philadelphia is renowned for its vibrant, gorgeous parks and green spaces, and they are a hit with families. Rainy days (or hot/cold ones) happen, however, and moms are forever searching for indoor places to play. Just across the Schuylkill in Fairmount Park is the beloved Please Touch Museum. Geared more towards the preschool to early elementary kids, the permanent and rotating exhibits make this a perennial favorite among Philly moms. As the name suggests, there are plenty of hands-on activities that will keep children ooh’ing and ahh’ing. On October 5th, 2019, an exhibit dedicated to Eric Carle (of The Very Hungry Caterpillar fame) will open.
Older kids (elementary and up) will be fascinated by the Franklin Institute, which stimulates scientific minds of all ages. One quintessential draw is the gigantic model of a human heart, which kids can walk through and peruse. (It makes for great Instagram pics as well, Mom!) An addition to the museum’s newest wing showcases an 18-foot-tall neural network that teaches kiddos about the brain.
Children of any age that appreciate art will be spoiled for choices in Philadelphia, where the cultural offerings are exquisite and plentiful. Show your kids the stair scene from Rocky a few times, and then take them to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Center City. For the price of admission, young explorers can pick up an activity map, or borrow a tablet for an art-themed scavenger hunt! The museum is immense, with over two hundred galleries housing art that ranges from 2,000 years ago until today. For younger children who appreciate brighter colors and less structure, the famed Magic Gardens in WashSquare West offer brightly-painted murals, columns, nooks, and crannies, as well as mirrors, glass, and plenty of diverse surfaces to touch and explore. Periodically hands-on activities and additional exhibits take place, so keep your eyes on their website.
The number one place to get meals and/or treats that are family-friendly, combined with a day out experience all by itself, is the Reading Terminal Market. Whether you enjoy noodle bowls, gourmet hot dogs, fat Dutch soft pretzels, cheesesteaks, or just about anything else, you can find it here in Old City. Open since 1893, the Market is like an enormous food court, but a place where you can also buy fresh produce, baked goods, and meats along with other wares. Another food hall/shopping favorite is the much newer Bourse, also located in Old City at Independence Mall. By The Bourse’s own description, they are:
a culinary incubator for local concepts as well as emerging and established chefs — creating a community that’s united by food and inspired by the neighborhood.
Indulge in some cheesy fries for your little guys and girls at #GetFried, while you enjoy some authentic Hawaiian poke – the choices are extensive.
Philly is acknowledged as one of the most walkable cities on the East Coast, and many residents don’t even have a car. One of the challenges of momming, however, is the fact that little feet often don’t have the stamina to walk long distances, and babies can’t walk at all. Maybe you are one of those mamas who is a champion babywearer, or maybe you have the dreaded stroller. If you have your baby on your person and your hands free, SEPTA’s bus lines go everywhere and are a cheap, good option. If you’re on wheels, consider the city’s subway option, which has plentiful stops and will also get you where you need to go. Going from one end of the city to the other? Try out the light rail.