On a Thursday off from school our family decided to embark on a day trip to Philadelphia. Our destination in the city of brotherly love was the Please Touch Museum housed in the old Memorial Hall in Fairmont Park. Door to door the mileage from Silver Spring was 132 miles getting us there in a little over two hours.
Please Touch is designed to entertain and educate kids 7 and under. Older kids may have a harder time finding an area that interests them but older siblings up to age 10 can enjoy their time here. One of the biggest reasons for our visit to the Please Touch Museum was to appease our 7 year olds love of all things Alice in Wonderland.
Located on the lower level, the Wonderland exhibit was a magical surprise for my first grader. Here you can dress as Alice, the Queen of Hearts or the Mad Hatter. You can “paint the roses”, have a tea party, play flamingo croquet and get lost in the hall of mirrors. This well designed area put smiles on a lot of young girls’ faces.
Just outside of the Alice area lies one of 4 play areas designated for kids three and under. Designed to simulate nursery rhyme scenery, a pond, a city block and a garden, these play spaces give the youngest visitors room to play without worrying about getting jostled by bigger kids. Other exhibit areas of the museum are the water play, outer space and road vehicle areas upstairs and the city capers exhibit downstairs.
While play grocery stores are commonplace in kids’ museums and play places in this day and age, Please Touch takes the cityscape a step further by allowing kids to “work” in a shoe store, McDonalds, Children’s Hospital and a construction site. Memorial Hall is a huge space so even on a crowded day you do not feel like you are on top of the other visitors.
Highlights for my 5 and 7 year old were:
- Running on the kid sized hamster wheel.
- Launching foam rockets in the Flying Machine area.
- “Gassing up” and filling the tires of a full size car in the Please Touch Garage.
- Playing pediatrician in the baby ward of the Philadelphia Children’s Hospital complete with doctor’s coats, scrubs, x ray machines and “check up kits”.
In addition to the interactive exhibit areas the Program Room offers a space for kids to create with blocks, read a book or paint a picture. The Please Touch Playhouse has daily theater offerings and the indoor Dentzel Carousel takes you for a spin for an additional $3 ticket.
The two floors of the Please Touch Museum are connected by ramps and an elevator making the entire building easily accessible by stroller. The museum has three sets of restrooms complete with family bathrooms, diaper pails and low sinks for kids. The Please Taste Cafe serves a variety of snack and lunch items including fruit, granola bars and cheese sticks with prices ranging from $1 for a juice box to $7 for a hamburger meal.
Admission to the museum is $15 per person ages 1 and up. Special $25 2-day tickets are available for purchase online and must be used within 15 days of one another. If you are visiting Philadelphia for a weekend or longer it may pay to purchase the CityPass for $39 per child and $59 per adult which gives you access to the Please Touch Museum as well as the Franklin Institute, Aquarium, Philadelphia Zoo and two other local museums. Members of many local Children’s Museums such as Port Discovery in Baltimore and the Children’s Museum of Richmond get free admission to Please Touch. Parking in the museum’s lot is $8 which you can pay for at the ticket booth. Free parking is available on the Avenue of the Republic.
Don’t miss this kid-friendly gem on your next visit to Philadelphia!
Know Before You Go:
- The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9 am to 5pm and Sundays from 11am to 5pm. It is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
- No field trips to the museums are scheduled on Monday mornings making this a quiet time to visit.
- If you visit on a day off from school or weekend schedule your visit for the afternoon. We arrived just before 2pm and the crowds really emptied out by 3pm.
- Special events and “celebrity” appearances may alter the crowds. Nina from the Sprout Goodnight Show was visiting on the day of our visit causing long lines in the lobby.
- Use the old address on N. Concourse Drive if getting directions by GPS.
- Pack a picnic if you are visiting on a nice day. The grounds of Fairmount Park are huge and beautiful!