Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fun weekend in Philly

@ Touch Museum - Milking the cow
Highlight this weekend is Philaldephia.  Also known as Philly or The City of the Brotherly Love from the literal greek translation. Is less than 2hr from NYC depending on traffic. Is amazing how much there is to do in Philly.  We been to Philly many times and each time gets even better.  Many times before the kids and a few times when Megan was younger.  Each visit brings a new discovery.  I'm a sucker for retro and anything that tells a story.  Love the rich history the place holds and beautiful historic architecture.  More and more bohemian and artisant are flocking to the city - opening shops and galleries. It's a nice place.  Anyhow, this time it was more for my kids than for my selfish satifaction.  My husband differs on that note, he thinks these trips I plan are still more design for my ego!

There are many attractions for children in this beautiful city - some right in the city and others not too far from Philly center.  If you plan on staying for more than 3 days, I highly suggest you purchase the City Pass.  Philly City Pass for $59/adult admission to 6 attractions.  

We stayed at the Hyatt Summerfields Suits in Mount Laurel, NJ with another family of 4 - infant and toddler like us.  Fantastic bargain - 2 King bedroom suite with kitchen for $150/night or $110 for 1 bedroom.  Not your 5 star hotel but clean with modern furnishing.  Is about 25 minutes away from Philly and 15 minutes from the Aquarium.  The place is on the small side but big enough for all of us to be comfortable.  Wyatt slept in the pack n play and daughter slept with us in the king size bed.  Breakfast included.  The breakfast had a pretty decent selection to choose from.  Even took a few fruits on the go in case the kids wanted to snack later.   

We spend our first day at the Touch Museum.  Took my daughter there when she was 15 monhts.  I think she enjoyed it much more than she did  then.  She was able to fully enjoyed all the activity the museum offered.  If you never been here, the museum is pretty impressive and looks like just like a grown-up museum.  It's got 2 floors of  exhibits - spread out in 38,000 sq ft with interactive activities.  I have to say - is one of the best museum we have gone so far.  Most likely if you are member to a Children's Museum, they probably a participant in the ACM reciprocal program which means you can attend the Touch Museum for free.  Otherwise do check out City Pass for discount. We spent our whole day there and then we headed down to Reading Market Terminal for an early evening dinner/snack!

On the way to Reading Market Terminal, we stopped by Smith Playhouse.  My daughter felt asleep in the car but my friend's daughter did get to check the place out. Smith Playhouse is dedicated playarea for children under 5.  Recently renovated and updated.  They've got an indoor play and a nice outdoor playground with modern equipment.  Even also have one of those old fashion wooden slide.  Admission is free but they do suggested $5 donation per family. Glad we stopped by and check the place out.  It was a nice detour. 

Reading Market Terminal, to best avoid crowds go before the rush, around 5 o'clock.  I don't suggest strollers.  If you have young infants, is best to sport them on a baby carrier. Parking can be kind of tricky.  You can street/meter parking and if not you can park at Filbert Garage for $4 - 2hr limit - with minimum purchase of $10 which you can easily be done.  Before you set your eyes on a stall, do get a quick tour or grab a map to see all the offerings available.  I started at Tommy DiNic's for a savory kick for their delicious pulled pork sandwiches and husband had the pastrami sandwich, grab a nice cold beer to wash down the grease at the Beer Garden, then walk around and browse the stalls for groceries to bring back to the hotel/home, have ice-cream at Bassetts' and lastly if you get full like I was - pick up some whoopie pies at the Flying Monkey and cookies to go.  Megan was on a sugar high the whole evening!

 On our 2nd and last day of our weekend, we went to the Adventure Aquarium in Camden NJ.  Way better than New York Aquarium in Brooklyn.  Do check out the seal performance however do prepare to get there 20 minutes before showing.  The seats do get fill very fast. Also do know that there is no shades and it can very hot.  So be careful if your kids are sensitive to heat and sun.  The best part was watching the hippos.  I don't think I ever seen them so close and it was amazing watching swim in the water. Is definitely a sight not to be missed.  If decide not to get the City Pass, I read somewhere that you can pick a $4-5 coupon at the ACM Hardware in Bayonne.

I think I had more fun than the kids.  My husband may have been right.  ;-)  If you get the Philly City Pass, do ride the trolley, check out the Zoo and take the ferry to or from the Camden Adventure Aquarium.  If you intend on extending your trip and want to venture further out, you can also include Sesame Place, Dutch wonderland and/or Crayolla Factory!

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