One of the best parts of living here in Maryland is our access to great museums. I’ve enjoyed taking my kids to various ones in Baltimore, Annapolis and Washington, D.C.
But recently we took a road trip to Philadelphia to visit friends and decided to check out what fun, educational experiences were available there.
Originally, I had planned an entire morning of visiting the historical landmarks in downtown Philadelphia. Then we saw that temperatures would be above 100 degrees. Did I really want to stand around outside, waiting to see Constitution Hall, the Liberty Bell, and Betsy Ross’s house in 100-degree weather with two little boys and a baby? Nope. We decided on a day at the Please Touch Museum instead. I’m so glad we did!
The cost of admission took me a minute to swallow; $19 for every person over one year old. But I admit, I feel like it’s worth the cost! Here’s why:
• You can stay the whole day! We spent about four hours and didn’t even see half of the exhibits. I wish we could’ve stayed longer. For our next visit, I would probably encourage the kids to spend about twenty minutes exploring each exhibit, and then once we visited them all, go back to the ones they liked most to spend extra time there.
• You can bring the whole family. I was pleasantly surprised at the variety of exhibits for all different age groups. Our two boys, one almost six and the other seven, enjoyed everything from building elaborate structures with the blue foam blocks to navigating their way through the Alice in Wonderland maze. Even the exhibits that were geared more towards toddlers and preschoolers, like the vehicle and café exhibits, had opportunities for more advanced exploration perfect for imaginative and curious elementary schoolers like my boys. Their favorite spots included the water display and rocket room. I was especially excited to see multiple baby and toddler areas all throughout, perfect for little crawlers and early walkers to explore. Our 9-month old baby girl had just as much fun as her big brothers at the museum! I also saw lots of Grandparents enjoying the day there with their grandchildren. Most of the exhibits had benches nearby, which were helpful for us nursing moms and any tired grandparents.
• Plenty of parking. Though I love D.C. museums, I don’t love driving there and finding parking. But driving to the Please Touch Museum was easy and if you arrive early enough, there’s free parking along the street in front of the museum. And if you don’t arrive early enough, like us, the museum offers a convenient parking lot, though it costs $12.
• Variety of food options. Though the café did offer a nice variety of food, in hindsight I wish we had brought our own lunches. As with most museums, their café food was over-priced and it was very crowded. We had to wait a long time to purchase our meals and then wander a while to find a table to seat our family of five. We ended up eating at a table in the main entry hall and enjoyed playing ‘I Spy’ while looking at the large Statue of Liberty torch sculpture made out of recycled materials.
• Most everything is covered with your admission price, but I would suggest bringing some extra cash for the carousel ($3 per rider) and gift shop. We avoided both places during our visit as we were limited on time, but would definitely make stops at both next time!
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to The Please Touch Museum. The nice air-conditioned museum made for a great escape from the sweltering summer heat. But I think our next trip to there will be in the fall or spring we can enjoy their outdoor Please Touch Garden and visit some nearby local sights such as Fairmount Park and the Philadelphia Zoo . . . and perhaps grab cheesesteaks for dinner.
Mandy Watts is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Crownsville with her husband, Justin, who runs their family business, has two sons, and baby daughter. Click here to read more of her Mommy Daze blogs.