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Top 10 family things to do in Philadelphia

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Interactive museums, costumed Colonials, a compact downtown and budget-friendly dining – book a Philadelphia hotel and find family fun around every corner in this small city with a big heart.

Hands-on fun at the Please Touch Museum

At this aptly named interactive museum, children can dress up like Maurice Sendak’s beloved Wild Things, “drive” a police motorcycle or go shopping at a pint-sized supermarket. Best of all, parents never have to utter the dreaded, “Don’t touch that.”

4231 Avenue of the Republic, Fairmont Park 19131

Walk through a heart at The Franklin Institute

Kids’ hearts beat a bit faster when they walk through the clubhouse-sized model of a human heart at The Franklin Institute. There is also a hair-raising electricity demonstration, touchable science displays and a Kidscience area aimed at children 5 to 8 years old.

222 North 20th St. 19103

Philly’s favorite foods at Reading Terminal Market

It’s a family food-fest at this 80-stall indoor farmers’ market. Budget-friendly eats include soft pretzels, cheese steaks, ice cream and Italian pastries. There’s also the diner-style Dutch Eating Place for massive blueberry pancakes and a local delicacy, scrapple, if you dare.

12th and Arch streets 19107

Meet history at Independence National Historical Park

In summer, pull up a storytelling bench to hear costumed Colonial performers bring the Revolution to life through oral history and activities. There are also 40 buildings on the 4-acre site. Top bets for families include the iconic cracked Liberty Bell and Independence Hall (free, but reserve a time slot with a ticket).

Independence Hall and Liberty Bell Center, Between Fifth and Sixth streets at Chestnut Street 19106

Family fun at Franklin Square

This park, one of five original squares designed by William Penn, the city’s founding father, has been transformed into a family fun zone that is open in the spring, summer and fall. Look for Philadelphia-themed miniature golf, a carousel, playgrounds and even free outdoor theater.

Between Sixth and Seventh streets on Race Street 19106

History under the stars with Lights of Liberty

Few family summer activities top this interactive walking tour, where building-sized projections combined with wireless headsets make you feel as though you’re immersed in the American Revolution.

PECO Energy Center, Sixth and Chestnut streets 19102

Lions (and Tigers and Bears) at the Philadelphia Zoo

The Big Cat Falls exhibit in the oldest zoo in the nation brings families face-to-face with the king of the jungle through floor-to-ceiling windows. Other top attractions include a swinging primate center and helium Zooballoon rides.

3400 West Girard Ave. 19104

Quack around on Ride the Ducks

It’s a bus. It’s a boat. It’s both. This amphibious vehicle "ducks" into and out of the water for the best riverside and street views of Philadelphia.

601 Chestnut St. 19106 

Shark encounters at Adventure Aquarium

A short ride on the Riverlink Ferry across the Delaware River into New Jersey brings you to this aquarium. A tunnel that takes you deep into a tank of sharks is popular, along with penguins, hippos, seals and a certain square-pants-wearing sponge in the 4-D theater. 

1 Riverside Drive, Camden New Jersey 08103 

World Series Champs at Citizens Bank Park

The Phillies baseball team has a loyal local following, and Citizens Bank Park rocks with excitement. The stadium has also reached out to families by installing a playground and offering kid-friendly meals. Home run! 

1 Citizens Bank Way 19148