Enjoy a summer Center City experience
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.