Philadelphia Museum Guide

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has many great museums, many of them centrally located in downtown Philadelphia. Some of Philadelphia’s most brilliant museums and exhibits are also fun for kids. These are the five best Philadelphia museums for kids.

Four of the five best Philadelphia museums for kids are located in the “Museum District”, within walking distance if one another. The fifth is just a short scenic ride away, to Fairmount Park.

The Please Touch Museum

The Please Touch is designed primarily for the under six set. If you have children between one and six years of age, head there first. The Please Touch Museum’s new, expansive facility is located at 4231 Avenue of the Republic in Fairmount Park. This museum is not in the “Museum District”, but, the short trip to Fairmount Park will definitely please your little ones.

The concept of the Please Touch is to allow your little ones to feel, touch, and think about items and concepts from real city life. One of the Exhibits, for example, is a “SEPTA” bus from Pennsylvania’s public transit system, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority. Your little ones can climb aboard and test all aspects of a city bus ride. Another exhibit, “Flight Fantasy” allows little tykes the opportunity to simulate flying and rowing. Another favorite exhibit is the “Supermarket” and “Kitchen” which allows little visitors to explore the basic concepts of a neighborhood supermarket and a well stocked kitchen.

If you allow them, your little ones will spend hours exploring the extraordinary wonders of your daily lives.

The Mutter Museum

The Mutter Museum will appeal to your teen aged children, and, may not be appropriate for your younger children. The official name for the Mutter Museum is the Mutter Museum of College of Physicians of Philadelphia. It is a couple of blocks beyond the “Museum District”, located at 19 South 22nd Street, Philadelphia, between two main Philadelphia transit ways, Market Street and Chestnut Street.

The Museum is relatively small and occupies just two floors of an architecturally impressive building.

The Museum bills itself as “Disturbingly Informative” and that is an understatement. The Museum chronicles the history of medicine and includes real human anatomy including a skull exhibit which takes up an entire wall. Other exhibits include the “original Siamese twins” and a dwarf and giant skeleton.

The Museum has a large array of medical tools covering the entire history of medicine and other useful medical history information and mysteries. A current exhibit involves the dangers of lead on health.

There is no place in the country like the Mutter Museum. This unique Museum is a “must see” in Philadelphia. After your visit to the Mutter Museum, the kids can skip to the next Museum, marveling at the wonders of their own anatomy.

The Franklin Institute

The Franklin Institute is located at 222 N. 20th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Its architecture and location are strikingly beautiful, the perfect frame for outside photographs.

Kids will love the museum because it has a wealth of hands on exhibits located through out the Museum along with experiments the kids can conduct themselves. Kids with an interest in science will especially enjoy your visit to the Franklin Institute. They have an interactive heart exhibit that is extremely popular.

In addition to the main Gallery, there are special exhibits in the IMAX Theater, a Planetarium, and Sir Isaac Newton’s play room.

One of the current “special exhibits” is “Star Trek: The Exhibit”. Other popular “special exhibits” have included “The King Tut” exhibit and “The Galileo and Astronomy” exhibit.

The Franklin Institute also has special astronomy weekends and night sky observations. Call ahead for the schedule of these activities.

The Academy of Natural Sciences

The Academy of Natural Sciences, located at 19th and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, has been in existence since on or about 1812. It is diagonally across from the Franklin Institute. Walk this scenic block bordered by the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, at 18th and the Parkway, the Moore Institute of Art, next door, and the Logan Square Fountain.

The Academy of Natural Sciences will put your children directly in touch with nature and the environment. The Museum has a series of changing exhibits as well as an exciting array of constant exhibits. The current changing exhibit focuses on “Geckos: Tails to Toepads”. No. Not the one in the commercial. This exhibit features real live “Geckos” as stars.

One of the favorite permanent exhibits is the one featuring real live butterflies. This exhibit allows visitors to walk through a field of beautiful live butterflies.

If your children are not connected to the environment, they certainly will be after their visit to the Academy of Natural Sciences.

The Museum is reasonably priced and has a cafeteria and store on site.

The Penn Museum

The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, referred to in the Philadelphia area, as the “Penn Museum” was just voted as “the best museum” in Philadelphia by the Philadelphia Magazine’s 2009 edition of the “Best of Philadelphia”. Once you are inside the Museum’s Gallery, it will be easy to see why.

You will immediately have the feel of being transported to an archaeological dig in the fields of Egypt or Greece.

A favorite activity for Philadelphia children is the Museum’s “40 winks with the Sphinx”. The children have the opportunity to have their sleep over, literally, at the foot of a gigantic Sphinx.

In addition to the Sphinx, the museum has a wealth of archaeological remains. A bit of coaching for your young ones on the reverence of life and after life traditions may be order. The mummies, after all, are actual human beings and entitled to respect, even though their final resting place is a museum.

The Penn Museum is located on the sprawling urban campus of the University of Pennsylvania at 3260 South Street, Philadelphia, PA.

The Penn Museum has an exceptional class of docents who are both friendly and knowledgeable.