En­joy a sum­mer Cen­ter City ex­pe­ri­ence

The Review - - OPINION - Dr. Joe Gi­ampalmi Con­ver­sa­tions In Ed­u­ca­tion

As a par­ent of young chil­dren, you may be count­ing the days un­til the be­gin­ning of the new school year. But your chil­dren are count­ing the days re­main­ing for ad­ven­ture and sum­mer fun.

A day trip into Cen­ter City Philadelphia can sat­isfy the fun needs of your chil­dren while pro­vid­ing the ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­nity to tran­si­tion into the new school year.

Since most Cen­ter City at­trac­tions are open week­days, co­or­di­nate your trip with sun and warm tem­per­a­tures; re­mem­ber the sun­screen. Main­tain the fun theme by plan­ning train trans­porta­tion. You also avoid the ex­pense of park­ing and risk of tow­ing by the Philadelphia Park­ing Author­ity (PPA) from mis­un­der­stand­ing lan­guage on park­ing signs.

Trains from the sub­urbs con­nect with Jef­fer­son Sta­tion on Mar­ket Street and even more con­ve­niently ar­rive at City Hall Sta­tion. As­cend­ing through the iconic glass struc­ture to City Hall ground level at Dil­worth Plaza, the acre of pro­gram­mable foun­tains will at­tract your chil­dren like a golden re­triever at­tracted to wa­ter. You can safely mon­i­tor your chil­dren by sit­ting at a nearby ta­ble shaded by the world’s tallest ma­sonry struc­ture with­out a steel frame and the largest mu­nic­i­pal struc­ture in the coun- try. En­joy your chil­dren as they run through the foun­tains and in­ter­act with chil­dren shar­ing sim­i­lar in­ter­ests.

When wa­ter play be­comes bor­ing, walk in­side the City Hall court­yard and look up 548 feet at the 27-ton, 37-feet-tall statue of Wil­liam Penn. Then look down at the land­mark des­ig­nat­ing the ge­o­graph­i­cal cen­ter of Philadelphia at the time. Con­sider an in­te­rior tour and an el­e­va­tor tower tour to the glass-en­closed ob­ser­va­tion deck at the base of the statue and inches be­low the shoes of Wil­liam Penn. The most cen­tral­ized 360-de­gree view of Philadelphia looks east and west on Mar­ket Street and north and south on Broad Street.

Your kids will also see the grid-shaped city en­vi­sioned by Penn and the pa­rade routes of the Phillies in 2008 and the Ea­gles in 2018. The vis­i­ble Ben­jamin Franklin Park­way will show at­trac­tions for another day’s visit which in­cludes the Philadelphia Mu­seum of Art, The Franklin In­sti­tute, The Barnes Foun­da­tion, the Academy of Nat­u­ral Sciences and LOVE Park.

Plan lunch a few block’s walk from City Hall at Read­ing Ter­mi­nal, the most vis­ited at­trac­tion in Philadelphia and one of the old­est and largest pub­lic mar­kets in the coun­try.

Be­fore or af­ter lunch, con­sider another short walk to Shops at Lib­erty Place, the lo­ca­tion of a 40-ton sand sculp­ture com­mem­o­rat­ing the cen­ten­nial cel­e­bra­tion of the Park- way. World-renowned sand sculp­tors John Gowdy and Matt Deib­ert cre­ated four mas­sive hand-carved scenes repli­cat­ing scenes from the Park­way. The sculp­ture is lo­cated in the Rotanda of Lib­erty Place. The sky­scraper com­plex at Lib­erty Place was the first build­ing in the city to vi­o­late an un­writ­ten agree­ment not to ex­ceed the height of City Hall.

Ad­di­tional Cen­ter City day trips in­cludes Old City and the his­tor­i­cal sec­tion of Philadelphia, which of­fers In­de­pen­dence Hall, the Lib­erty Bell, Old Christ Church, Betsy Ross House, El­freth’s Al­ley, the African Amer­i­can Mu­seum, Mu­se­u­mof the Amer­i­can Revo­lu­tion, the Na­tional Mu­seum of Amer­i­can Jewish His­tory, Pres­i­dent’s House and Franklin’s Grave. Also lo­cated in this area at 116 Mar­ket St. is The Franklin Foun­tain, one of the toprated ice cream stores in the coun­try.

Days re­main­ing for sum­mer fun may be de­clin­ing, but days for fun and learn­ing con­tinue a life­time. Don’t for­get your books to read on the train.

Dr. Joe Gi­ampalmi, an as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor at Rowan Univer­sity’s Depart­ment of Writ­ing Arts, has been teach­ing writ­ing for 52 years and is the au­thor of five books and dozens of ed­u­ca­tional ar­ti­cles for na­tional mag­a­zines. Gi­ampalmi reg­u­larly presents writ­ing work­shops for schools and busi­nesses. Please ad­dress ques­tions and com­ments to Gi­ampalmi@Rowan.edu.

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