Frequently Asked Questions from Teachers
Do you have any school programs for specific grade levels that I can reserve before I arrive with my class?
Yes! A menu of school programs organized by grade level and curriculum goals is available. We are currently taking reservations for these hands-on, interactive education programs.
Is there an admission fee to get into the park?
Admission to most park buildings is free. There is a fee for our curriculum-based educational programs. There is also a fee to enter the Benjamin Franklin Museum, but school groups are eligible for free admission to the museum. Teachers must bring a signed letter on school letterhead requesting a fee waiver. For school group reservations for the Benjamin Franklin Museum, please call 215-597-7122 (Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) at least two weeks prior to your visit.
How many adults do we need for each student?
We ask that you bring at least one chaperone for every 8 students. This ratio is for the safety of the students as well as the preservation of park resources.
Where are the bus drop-offs?
Groups participating in Independence Park Institute (IPI) school programs are asked to use the bus drop-off location on the east side of 3rd Street, between Walnut and Chestnut Streets. This location is the closest bus drop-off location to the IPI classrooms.
Other bus drop-off locations include:
- Independence Transportation Center located just off 5th Street at the National Constitution Center
- in front of Christ Church on 2nd Street, between Arch and Market Streets
- in front of the Betsy Ross House on Arch Street, between 2nd and 3rd Streets
- in front of City Tavern, just before 2nd and Walnut Streets
After dropping off, the drivers can proceed to the parking facility on Callowhill Street, between Front and 2nd Streets. This designated bus parking facility provides a secure, convenient and comfortable location for bus drivers to wait while their groups explore the area. The driver can park in one of 40 secured spaces and enjoy a waiting area that features showers, televisions, lounges, and vending machines. The driver will also receive coupons for local restaurants and entertainment venues. Philadelphia's official convention and visitors site has the latest Philadelphia bus parking information.
What time of year is best to bring my students to the park?
Whenever possible, try to arrange your visit to the park during the months of September through March. The park has fewer visitors during these months, and the absence of crowds will make your visit more enjoyable and more educational. Weekdays (especially Fridays) in April, May and early June from 9 AM to 3 PM are traditionally times of the heaviest visitation by school groups. Consider scheduling your class visit for other seasons to avoid the crowds. During January and February, visitation decreases dramatically and your class will be able to experience the park's resources more fully while receiving individualized attention from park staff.
Do I need tickets for an Independence Hall tour?
Yes. To improve the visitor experience at Independence National Historical Park, a timed and dated ticket system is in place for tours of Independence Hall except during the months of January and February. All visitors need a free ticket for the Independence Hall tour from March through December.
You can reserve tickets as early as 12 months before your visit. Tickets are available from the ticket counter at the Independence Visitor Center on a first come, first served basis if you do not have reservations. It is recommended that you reserve tickets in advance if you are planning on coming with a large group. Reserve tickets online, or by phone at 1-877-444-6777 from 10 AM to 10 PM daily (EST). The tickets are free, but there is a $1.50 per ticket handling fee when reserved in advance.
How long does the tour of Independence Hall take?
The tour of Independence Hall is approximately 30 minutes. Please arrive at the Independence Square entrance 30 minutes prior to the time printed on your Independence Hall tour ticket to allow time for your group to pass through the security screening. NOTE: There are no restrooms on Independence Square. Plan ahead!
How should I prepare my group to go through security?
To visit Independence Square or the Liberty Bell Center, you will be asked to open all bags for a visual search. The Independence Square entrance is located on the corner of 5th and Chestnut Streets and opens at 8:30 AM. The Liberty Bell Center entrance is located on 6th Street between Market and Chestnut Streets and opens at 9 AM daily. The last visitors will be screened at 4:45 PM at both locations.
Be prepared to open all bags for a visual search. Weapons, including pocket knives, laser pointers and pepper spray, are not allowed through security. You can help your group to move through security in a timely manner by limiting the size and number of items brought into the park. Please arrive at the Independence Square entrance 30 minutes prior to the time printed on your Independence Hall tour ticket to allow time for your group to pass through this security screening.
Are there restrooms within the park?
There are several restroom facilities within the park. They are located at the Independence Visitor Center, the Portrait Gallery in the Second Bank, and on the corner of 5th and Chestnut Streets.
There are NO restrooms within the security areas of Independence Square and the Liberty Bell Center. Please plan for this and have your students and chaperones use the restrooms before entering these areas.
Will my school have a tour guide while they are in the park?
Groups registered for an Independence Park Institute program will have a ranger leading that program. In addition, the Independence Hall tour is also a guided program. Congress Hall tours are guided from March through December. The rest of the park is self-guided, although there are rangers in every building to answer any questions your group may have.
What kind of behavior is expected when my students are visiting the park?
Teachers and chaperones are responsible for ensuring that students are supervised and well behaved at all times. We ask that you bring at least one chaperone for every 8 students. Students should be instructed not to talk during the ranger presentations except to ask or answer questions. There are frequently large crowds visiting these sites and good listening skills are essential so that everyone can enjoy learning about Independence National Historical Park.
Are there lunch facilities or somewhere to eat if we bring bag lunches?
The park does not have any indoor space for students to eat lunch. There are numerous dining establishments located adjacent to the park. The Bourse has a food court and is located on 5th Street between Market and Chestnut Streets. There is also a food court in the Gallery Mall which is at 10th and Market Streets. The National Constitution Center (NCC) has a cafeteria available for school groups who visit the NCC. Picnicking is permitted in the park, provided that care is taken to discard trash in the receptacles provided. Please remember that open containers of food and drink are not permitted in any of the park buildings.
Is there somewhere to buy souvenirs?
- The Independence Visitor Center Museum Shop
This store has a large selection of books and objects relating to Historic Philadelphia and the Philadelphia region. Located in the Independence Visitor Center at 6th and Market Streets.
- Franklin Museum Gift Shop (operated by park partner Eastern National)
This store carries a selection of books and objects related to Benjamin Franklin.
- Old City Hall Gift Shop (operated by park partner Eastern National)
A small gift shop is located within Old City Hall at 5th and Chestnut Streets.
- The Franklin Court Printing Office
This site has items for sale that were printed on the reproduction printing press. Located at 320 Market Street.
Where can I find out more information about guided education programs?
The park's education center, the Independence Park Institute (IPI), offers education programs that connect participants of all ages to the resources and stories of Independence National Historical Park. Learn more about our interactive educational programs. For questions about our education program, please contact the Independence Park Institute at 215-597-2760 or via e-mail.
Where can I find your building hours?
Building hours change seasonally, so be sure to consult the operating hours when planning your group's visit.
Where can I find a map of the park?
Consult park and area maps to plan out a route for exploring the park.