When it comes to finding family friendly activities, it pays to plan ahead – especially when you have small children. Everything goes smoother and more easily when you have a battle plan. Whether you need to fill some extra summer days around town or are traveling to the Philadelphia area and don’t know where to begin, I want to help you discover the best things to do in Philadelphia with kids.
My family and I love to spend time exploring and discovering local places we enjoy. It’s so much fun to find places where all three of can have a great time together. No matter your family’s interests or hobbies, there are fun spots in Philadelphia that you all will love, and I’m excited to show you my favorites! Keep reading to learn more about the best things for kids to do in Philadelphia for my favorite tips and tricks.
The 15 Best Things to Do in Philadelphia with Kids
Philadelphia is a great place to spend time with your kids. There are so many fun things to do, from museums to parks and more. As a Philadelphia local, I’ve cultivated a list of my 15 favorite things to do in Philadelphia with kids so you can plan your family’s next adventure.
1. Sesame Place
$43.99 for a day pass, or $54.99 for a two day pass
Talk about a full outdoor weekend adventure full of fun and smiles! Sesame Place is the one stop shop for all your family entertainment needs in Philadelphia. From the waterpark to rides and attractions, shows and parades, it will be an experience your family will never forget. Pack your tennis shoes for lots of walking around, and be sure to bring your swimsuit to enjoy all of the fun the waterpark has to offer. Your kids will be begging to come back before you know it!
If you are local and able to go during the week, Tuesday – Thursday are the slowest days of the week. By going during the weekday, there’s a high chance that you’ll deal with minimal crowds, less waits, and you’ll be able to experience much more in a shorter period of time. The best time of the day to visit the park is definitely as soon as the park opens. If you are able to get to the park 30 min before opening time that is most ideal for your day. Not only will you get a good parking spot by showing up early, but you’ll also be able to head directly to your must-do rides with little to no wait time. Additionally, you’ll also enjoy several hours of lighter crowds before the rest of the park begins filling up as the afternoon rolls around. So make sure to put this at the top of your list of best things to do in Philadelphia with kids.
2. Camden Children’s Garden
The Camden Children’s Garden is designed for children and families in beautiful Philadelphia. It is a special place to explore and discover the natural world. This four-acre garden provides horticultural experiences for creative and imaginative play. The gardens also offer birthday party packages for your little ones (season permitted). When preparing your family for this Philadelphia adventure, check out the online brochure to get everyone excited about the Garden Carousel, Arrow River Train, Dinosaur Garden, the Tree House and Splash Pad! With so many fun areas to explore, there’s something that everyone will enjoy.
The best time of the year to go to the gardens is the Spring and Summer while everything is blooming or in full bloom!
3. Museum of Illusions
Admission is $24 per adult and $19 per child when booked online
Are you ready to have your mind blown? Head over with your family to the Museum of Illusions in Philadelphia. This family date will have your kids using their full imagination and brain power to figure out how they put this amazing museum together making on the top of the list of things to do in Philadelphia with kids. Designed to amuse, amaze, and stimulate the senses, the Museum of Illusions features more than 60 unique visual and educational installations appealing to locals and tourists of all ages. The Museum of Illusions was designed with two aims: to educate and to entertain. Their exhibits unveil the mechanics behind mind-bending illusions while also shocking the senses and playing on perception.
If you are local it is most ideal to go during the week as the museum is most busy on the weekends. Either way, be sure to get there first thing in the morning to get a good parking spot as there is no parking affiliated with the museum. You can find parking meters on 4th and Market, and the Bourse Garage is located on 4th in between Market and Chestnut Street.
4. Legoland Discovery Center
Legoland Discovery Centre is an amazing hands-on indoor family attraction. The Legoland Discovery Centre includes models of local landmarks built with Lego bricks. Your family will learn how the Lego bricks are manufactured, and can have fun in building classes taught by a Master Model Builder or building on their own! There are a number of children’s attractions, such as small rides and play fortresses available. The Legoland Discovery Center can also host birthday parties, which is great for the whole friend group to keep their hands and minds busy!
The Legoland Discovery Center only accepts a certain number of admissions daily, so be sure to get your tickets online before your day trip. The best times to visit the center with your family are right when they open or, depending on the ages of your children, you may want to go after lunch when the extra little ones are down for a nap.
5. Kids’ Castle
This castle-themed playground in Doylestown is an eight-story wooden marvel that will thrill kids with its size. It is open 7 days a week from sunup to sundown. This park is completely free for your family to use, but if you would like to do your part, buy a family engraved brick to go in the park that will be timeless to see visit after visit.
The Kids Castle park is extremely special for more reasons than one, but I have to talk about how impressed I am by the play features that are included for children with visual impairment, hearing impairment, autism/SPD, mobility impairment, and cognitive disabilities. In addition to good old-fashioned fun and fostering new friendships, these play areas will also address the developmental needs of the whole child by intentionally providing opportunities for physical, cognitive, communicative, social/emotional, and sensory development. Be sure not to miss the twisty slide, the swings, and the children’s amphitheater.
The best time to go to the Kids Castle is any day the sun is shining! Spring, Summer and Fall are most ideal for warm conditions. The playground is fully outdoors so dress for whatever the weather will hold for the day.
6. Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania
Admission: $20 per adult and $10 per youth
Escape the asphalt with a trip to the classical English sculpture gardens at the 92-acre Morris Arboretum northwest of the city. Children will have a ball at Out on a Limb, a Tree Adventure exhibit that lets kids walk on bridges high in the canopy and scramble across large, hammock-like nets. The neat unique thing about the Morris Arboretum is the education they provide. Adults can sign up for a course in birding, horticulture, meditation, painting, and more. You can also sign your little one up for a course in journaling, succulents, bees, and more!
The best time of the year to go to the gardens is the spring and summer while everything is blooming or in full bloom! Bring your adventure spirit along for the ride to this beautiful garden! They are weather permitting so be sure to check the forecast before planning your day trip.
7. Treetop Quest Philly
This one is mostly for the older kids, and it’s likely to be a big hit. Treetop Quest is Philly’s first aerial adventure park, with zip lines and obstacle courses that run through the trees. While a lot of the activities are geared toward teens (and even adults!), there’s plenty of fun for kids as young as 4 years old. Children MUST have one on-ground supervisor for the duration of the activity, so be sure to have at least 2 adults with you when attending the park – one to do the activity alongside them and the other to be on the ground keeping watch. Safety is ensured by a continuous belay system where the child (and adults) is constantly attached to the lifeline throughout the course. However, adult supervision is mandatory (non-participating, free of charge).
The TreeTop Quest is only open during the summer, along with a few weekends in spring and fall. The best time to go is first thing in the morning while the temperatures are ideal. They are weather permitting so be sure to check the forecast before planning your day trip.
8. Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse
Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse offers a free, safe place to play for children (recommended for ages 12 and younger). The 6 1/2 acre playground includes the historic Ann Newman Giant Wooden Slide and more than 50 pieces of unique, age-appropriate and accessible pieces of play equipment. Kiddos won’t ever want to leave this East Fairmount Park, a staple in Philly for over a century. The historic 16,000-square-foot playhouse that even entertains children 5 and younger with imaginative play areas and loads of art projects which why it makes it on the list of top things to in Philadelphia with kids.
The park is only closed on Mondays, making it perfect for planning around your family’s schedules. They are weather permitting so be sure to check the forecast before planning your day trip. Within their strict hours of 10am to 5pm, any time of the day is a great time to go.
9. Please Touch Museum
Admission is $19 on weekdays, $22 on weekends. Buying tickets in advance is recommended!
One of the most popular spots in Fairmount Park, the Please Touch Museum provides something for children of all ages. Younger tots can crawl around a fairytale-themed forest or ride the carousel, while older kids will love the rocket room or the water-centric River Adventures exhibit. The Please Touch Museum has grown into one of the nation’s premier children’s museums by becoming experts in play. The mission of the museum is to enrich the lives of children by creating learning opportunities through play, laying the foundation for a lifetime of hands-on learning and cultural awareness.
The Please Touch Museum tends to be busier on rainy days. You may want to schedule your visit on fair weather days. Mornings are also a busy time with most school groups visiting during this period. Afternoons are a great time to visit the museum as well as Mondays when groups are not scheduled.
10. Philadelphia Zoo
Admission is $16-$25 for adults (ages 12+) and $16-$20 for children. It is highly recommended to reserve tickets ahead of time.
A trip to the oldest zoo in the country will not disappoint, with a new children’s zoo and plenty of places for kiddos to run. For the animal lover in you, it’s comforting to know that the Philadelphia Zoo continues to be a pioneer in animal care and conservation. Home to more than 1,700 rare and endangered animals, the zoo continues to reach new heights, offering award-winning animal exhibits, state-of-the-art healthcare facilities, award-winning education and conservation programs, and exceptional guest services, making it one of the most renowned zoos in the world. The best part is that the Philadelphia Zoo has implemented the Zoo360, a first-in-the-world system of see-through trails passing through treetops, crossing over pathways and connecting habitats, providing animals like amazing big cats, majestic primates, and marvelous monkeys more opportunities to travel and explore. From scavenger hunts and train rides to giraffe feedings and more, the zoo offers a number of attractions to make any visit to Philadelphia Zoo that much more special!
To have the best experience with the fewest crowds, visit the zoo in the early morning hours before school trips arrive and the animals are out enjoying the cooler weather. If you are unable to make it in the morning, the next best time is around 2pm. By then most of the school and camp trips have left as well as families with younger kids have usually thinned out for nap time.
11. Franklin Square
Entrance is free, but attractions require admission.
One of Philadelphia’s five original squares, Franklin Square is Center City’s favorite playtime oasis. Centered around its beautiful fountain with the new free Fountain Show featuring spectacular dancing water effects and colored lights choreographed to music (from spring to fall), Franklin Square also features the Parx Liberty Carousel, the one-of-a-kind Philly Mini Golf course, and the renowned SquareBurger.
It is great to visit on any beautiful weather permitting day when you are looking for things to do in Philadelphia with kids, but don’t forget the magic that happens at night once all the lights have lit up around the park!
12. Adventure Aquarium
Admission for adults is $27.99-$44.99 and children are $18.99-$34.99. Be sure to buy tickets ahead of time!
Explore the shores indoors! Located on the Camden Waterfront, this giant aquarium offers way more than 8,500 species of stunning fish and sea life. Adults and kids alike will enjoy the largest collection of sharks in the northeast, experience the only aquarium in the world to exhibit hippos, enjoy one of the only six facilities in the US to have Little Blue penguins as permanent residents and dare to do the longest Shark Bridge exhibit in the world, a unique V-shaped rope suspension bridge just inches over Shark Realm. My favorite feature of the Adventure Aquarium is that you get free entry on your birthday!
To have the best experience with the fewest crowds, visit the Adventures Aquarium first thing in the morning before school trips arrive. If you are unable to make it in the morning the next best time is around 2pm. By then most of the school and camp trips have left as well as families with younger kids have usually thinned out for nap time.
13. Independence Seaport Museum
Admission is $18 for adults and $14 for children.
Exploration and inspiration awaits you and your family for this unique museum! Hop to the Delaware River for a look at maritime history. An array of interactive exhibits exposes kiddos to the life of pirates, the history of river disasters and rescues, and descriptions of how sailors navigate the sea. If your family is looking for a little more hands-on experience, there are seasonal river tours of the Delaware River and kayaks/rowboat rentals available.
Independence Seaport Museum tends to be busier on rainy days but it one of the great things to do in Philadelphia with kids, so make your plans accordingly. You may want to schedule your visit on fair weather days. First thing in the morning or after lunch are the ideal times to visit the museum.
14. Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
Admission is $15 for adults and $6 for children.
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens (PMG) inspires creativity and community engagement by educating the public about folk, mosaic, and visionary art. This nonprofit museum displays the mosaic art and murals of artist Isaiah Zagar over half a city block. Kids will love the small details and the colorful pieces of glass, family friendly crafts, and a scavenger sheet that makes the journey through the museum quite magical!
It is highly recommended to be there right at opening time or towards late afternoon to give your family the best experience possible.
15. The Yard at Citizens Bank Park
Admission comes with a baseball game ticket price.
In an effort to attract more kids to their games at Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia’s baseball team—the Phillies—just opened a new family-friendly play area called the Yard. The Yard features a 13,000-square-foot interactive baseball experience complete with Citizens Phan Field (a 70-foot Astroturf-covered field), a Hatfield Franks Hot Dog Launcher, a 30-foot Phanatic Climbing Wall and The Bullpen pitching area.
Entry is unique with this family fun event. This is connected with the Phillies baseball games. Bringing little ones sometimes can be a hassle and finding ways to feed their energy can be a challenge at these adult catered events. The Yard is here just for that! The best times to see a game and visit The Yard are in April or May and September during the weekdays.