When visiting Philadelphia with kids there’s one place every family wants to try and that’s the Please Touch Museum. Just the name screams family friendly, after all I’m sure we’ve all spent half an hour in an interesting museum whispering to our kids not to touch/run/play and finally given up and gone home. The Please Touch Museum is dedicated to teaching children through play and totally follows through on this promise. If you’re planning a visit read on for our full Please Touch Museum review.
Situated in Fairmont Park, in the historic Memorial Hall, the museum is easy to get to by taxi or bus from the city centre. We got totally lost trying to walk there, ending up on the wrong side of the river in Fairmont park and had to uber over – make sure you plan your trip before leaving your accommodation. I highly recommend the Phlash bus which runs every 5 minutes, runs to most parts of the city and is just $5 for a full days pass. Make sure you have cash to purchase your pass on the bus, it will save you a $1.50 online fee.
As you would expect from somewhere so kid friendly, the museum gets super busy in the holidays, weekends and when it rains so if you can, avoid those times or try to get there as soon as it opens.
When we visited they were holding a building event in the foyer, which meant we could get stuck into the fun straight away. All the staff were super friendly and helpful, taking time with Piper to design and build her structure, she could have stayed just doing this for hours but I wanted to see the rest of the museum so moved her on.
If you head right after purchasing your tickets you’ll enter the River Adventures Area a fab water play section based on Philadelphia’s own Schuylkill River where kids can explore pumps, dams and jets, figuring out how rivers flow by floating little boats and ducks down their river. Yes, they may get a bit wet but isn’t that part of the fun?!
Next visit Adventure Camp to play with gears, ring bells and don’t miss their huge elephant made totally of old toys!
We purchased additional tickets for the Woodside Park Dentzel carousel ($3 extra) which was built 100 years ago. I’m sure most kids love a carousel and this one is very pretty with interesting characters to ride but if you don’t fancy paying extra, you can easily head downstairs before your kids spot it!
After the carousel we popped into the Imagination Playground, which is an area full of blue foam blocks to build and explore, it was quite busy and Piper couldn’t get many blocks to herself so we quickly headed on.
Then it was down the ramp to Wonderland, an area based on Alice in Wonderland, you can take tea with the Mad Hatter, play dress up and explore the hedge maze.
This area had some lovely attention to detail, you can even paint the white roses red!
We spent time in the Centennial Exploration which explains the history of the beautiful Memorial Hall. We loved the huge model of the 1876 Centennial Exhibition.
After that it was straight into probably every childs favourite part of the museum, City Capers where kids get to play various adult roles, taking full advantage of their amazing imaginations.
There’s a hospital, restaurants, supermarket and various shops with all the props they will need to get fully into character.
In Roadside Attractions, they can drive a bus or trolley, explore a real car and play at being mechanics. There’s also the lovely City Park with some benches to take a break.
Whilst we were there, there was a temporary exhibit - Storyland: A Trip Through Childhood Favorites™ which featured all the characters from some well known favourite kids stories.
We ate at the onsite café which had quite a few healthy options and freshly prepped dishes. We opted for the pizza and a bowl of soup. The soup was super spicy so Piper couldn’t eat much but I really enjoyed the taste. There’s plenty of seating and it’s a good place to chill out.
I felt that the Please Touch Museum would be better suited to pre-school and reception kids as it’s so geared around imaginary play but my 6 year old absolutely loved it and would have liked to spend longer. There are lots of areas dedicated to little ones so toddlers can play safely without the risk of being knocked over by the larger ones.
Some of the exhibits are looking pretty old and tired, some don’t work at all and a lot of the props in City Capers were missing or in the wrong place. This didn’t bother me too much (and my daughter not at all!) it is after all the Please Touch museum and you would fully expect things to get tired and moved but I still think parts of it could do with a revamp considering how many people they get through their doors but then we have just come from the super swish (and hands on) museums of Boston.
4231 Avenue of the Republic
(formerly North Concourse Drive)
Philadelphia, PA 19131
Monday – Saturday: 9 am to 5 pm
Sunday: 11 am to 5 pm
Christmas Eve: 9 am to 3 pm
New Year’s Eve: 9 am to 3 pm
Thanksgiving and Christmas Day: CLOSED
Members and children under age 1: Free
Adults and children 1 and older: $19
Carousel Rides: 1 ride for $3 or unlimited for $5
First Wednesday nights of each month, 4 to 7 p.m.: only: $2
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