Cheesesteaks, soft pretzels, home of Super Bowl Champions the Philadelphia Eagles, climbing the museum steps from Rocky — these are just some of the things that come to mind when people think about Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and rightfully so. These are all things that Philadelphians hold dear; however, they aren’t the only things.
Outside of Philadelphia, in Chester County, is where I live with my husband and two daughters. This area offers so many family-friendly options for things to do, it would be impossible to list them all. However, I have done my best to provide a list that has entertained, educated and enlightened my family for the last few years.
Location: 1001 Longwood Rd, Kennett Square, PA 19348
Online: Longwood Gardens
Longwood Gardens, the personal estate of Pierre S. du Pont, is open year-round and offers many different attractions, sites and programs for people of all ages. Some attractions are open only part of the year, so make sure to visit the website for information on tickets, membership and parking. There is so much to see and explore, not to mention classes, workshops, seasonal events, concerts and more. Kids will love everything these gardens have to offer like Family Story Time and their Scouts program.
Location: 1000 Marshallton Thorndale Rd, West Chester, PA 19380
Online: Highland Orchards
This Chester County farm is open year-round. Not only does this orchard offer a small petting zoo and tot lot, the store is famous locally for its pressed apple cider and apple cider donuts. What’s more is that throughout the year, based on the season, the orchard offers pick-your-own fruits and vegetables.
We love to go in the fall, right when the air is crisp to pick pumpkins and apples. The variety available is astounding. Even if you aren’t into picking your own, there is a store on premises where the work is done for you. Just grab and go.
Please Touch Museum
Location: 4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia, PA 19131
Online: Please Touch Museum
If ever there was a museum made just for kids, this would be it. The Please Touch Museum is an interactive museum that offers two floors of fun activities encouraging kids to be hands-on. The concept here is learning through play and there is plenty of ways to do it here. From the Discovery Zone to the Innovate + Imagine workshop, there is so much to see and do. Check the website for tickets and special events throughout the year.
Marsh Creek Lake and Pool
Location: 675 Park Road, Downingtown, PA 19335
The lake at Marsh Creek offers all sorts of water activities. From pontoon lake tours to kayaking and paddle boarding, there is something for everyone if being in the water is your passion. Classes on how to sail, windsurf and more are available if you need to brush up on your skills.
Want to cool off in the summer but being in open water is not your jam? Look no further than Marsh Creek Pool where families can choose to visit throughout the summer with a seasonal membership or pay by the day. Kids will love running around the splash zone area or swimming in the almost half-acre-size pool.
Hurricane Hill Farm
Location: 704 E Reeceville Rd, West Brandywine Township, PA 19320
Online: Hurricane Hill Farm
Hurricane Hill Farm offers hayrides to their pumpkin and sunflower patches, a farmers market, and an epic corn maze. The 2018 corn maze will feature a tribute to Super Bowl Champions, the Philadelphia Eagles. The maze is over five acres and may take up to an hour to get through unless you get lost of course. Kids will appreciate the smaller Underdog Maze and the huge Pumpkin Jump Pad for bouncing around.
Location: 2249 Lincoln Hwy E, Lancaster, PA 17602
Online: Dutch Wonderland
Dutch Wonderland is the perfect attraction for families that have younger kids. Right in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, across the street from the Tanger Outlet Mall (Shopping opportunity!), Dutch Wonderland offers over 35 attractions and rides. Don’t forget the swimsuits so the kids can cool off at Duke’s Lagoon and water park area.
Location: 30 Centre Square, Easton, PA 18042
Online: Crayola Experience
Talk about fun for all ages, the Crayola Experience offers loads of hands-on fun and activities. From watching exactly how the crayons are made in a live demonstration to creating your very own crayon with your name printed right on it, Crayola offers all sorts of interactive and educational attractions.
Location: 3400 W Girard Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Online: Philadelphia Zoo
America’s first zoo is home to nearly 1,300 animals and works to educate over a million visitors annually. The Philadelphia Zoo offers the first-in-the-world animal travel and exploration trail system, called Zoo360. This offers the animals more room to roam. Children will love the KidZooU experience, which is a children’s zoo and education center that serves as a model for children’s zoos nationwide.
Location: 100 Hersheypark Dr, Hershey, PA 17033
If your family loves chocolate, Hershey, Pennsylvania is the place to be. This is the home of Hershey’s Chocolate World where families can take a tour to see how the chocolate is made. HersheyPark, itself, is full of rides, shows and attractions. The Boardwalk at HersheyPark lets the family cool off at the onsite water park, complete with water coasters and lazy river. If that wasn’t enough, entrance to ZooAmerica is included in your HersheyPark one-price admission. If you are able, book your stay onsite and stay at the beautiful Hotel Hershey or Hershey Lodge to get the full chocolate-lovers experience.
Location: 222 N 20th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Online: Franklin Institute
Founded in honor of America’s first scientist, Benjamin Franklin, the Franklin Institute helps people of all ages connect with science and technology. As one of the oldest centers for science and education in the country, the Franklin Institute provides creative ways for children to learn through hands-on, interactive exhibits. Make sure to take the kids through the famous, must-see exhibit, the Giant Heart. Check the website for information on tickets, exhibits and parking.
Philadelphia Art Museum
Location: 2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA 19130
Online: Philadelphia Art Museum
When it comes to landmarks in Philadelphia, none is as revered as the Art Museum thanks to a little movie called Rocky. The building itself is as famous as the art that is housed within its walls. It’s best to check the website to find out what exhibits are currently on display. The first Sunday of the month is always popular as the price of admission is whatever you wish. Kids will have a blast at the various family programs and festivals. There are even Children’s Art Classes available for registration.
Location: 100 Sesame Rd, Langhorne, PA 19047
Online: Sesame Place
Located outside of Philadelphia, Sesame Place is a family-oriented theme park. Kids will be delighted to see their favorite characters come to life. Be sure to check the website for special events and ticketing information.
Valley Forge Park
Location: 1400 N Outer Line Dr, King of Prussia, PA 19406
Online: Valley Forge Park
Valley Forge was the site of the 1777-78 winter encampment of the Continental Army and covers over 3,500 acres. Expect to find monuments, meadows, and woodlands to honor the tenacity of the citizens during the Revolutionary War. The park is picturesque in any season and is a wonderful place to walk, run or bike to experience the nature and history that Valley Forge has to offer. Pack a picnic lunch and bask in this historically-rich landscape.
Location: 1200 Wilson Dr, West Chester, PA 19380
Online: QVC Studios
Ever wonder how the shopping network, QVC, is produced? Well, wonder no more and visit the QVC Studio Park in West Chester, Pennsylvania. You can experience a live show by watching a program in progress or by being part of the studio audience. Tickets are available online. Be sure to sign up for these events well in advance. Many times, celebrities will come in to show their products and wares so it’s quite possible to see your favorite QVC host or guest in person.
Location: 301 Gap Rd, Ronks, PA 17572
Online: Strasburg Railroad
Do you have a little one who loves trains? Strasburg Railroad is the country’s oldest operating railroad so you can be sure to experience an authentic steam railroad first-hand. The trains are the real deal, having been restored and maintained onsite. One of the most popular events at Strasburg Railroad involves everyone’s favorite little blue engine, Thomas the Tank Engine. Visit the website to purchase a Day Out With Thomas prior to visiting the railroad to ensure that you get the time slot of your choosing.
Herr’s Snack Factory Tour
Location: 271 Old Baltimore Pike, Nottingham, PA 19362
Online: Herr’s Snack Factory Tour
Nottingham, Pennsylvania is home to the Herr’s Snack Factory and tours are available to experience the workings of a real food factory. Kids will learn what goes into making their favorite snacks, including potato and tortilla chips. Plus, expect to get a sample of chips fresh out of the fryer for a truly delicious taste experience.
Turkey Hill Experience
Location: 301 Linden St, Columbia, PA 17512
Online: Turkey Hill Experience
Another food-related attraction is the Turkey Hill Experience in Columbia, Pennsylvania. Though not an actual working factory, the experience features activities that are interactive as well as educational. Unlike a tour, families can spend as much time as they like exploring the various stations. Be sure to sample all the Turkey Hill products like lemonades, teas and of course, ice creams. Interested in learning how ice cream is made? Be sure to get reservations to the Taste Lab where you can create your own ice cream.
I hope that you and your family will make some time to check out one or more of these fun-filled, kid-friendly attractions. Please be sure to check the websites to plan your trip in advance.