Things to See and Do - for Families

Color photo of female park ranger looking at a screen on an exhibit table with a young girl; exhibit panel with the words "What Good Have I Done Today" is visible behind them.
Discover the top things to do and see in the park for your whole family. Also download our FREE mobile app, "NPS Independence," to help with trip planning. Learn more about park activities on the park's Facebook page. The park is family-friendly, rich in history, and free to explore.

Photo by R. Kennedy for GPTMC

 

Independence Visitor Center
6th and Market Streets

This is the best place to begin your visit. The Independence Visitor Center opens at 8:30 am daily. Here you will find exhibits and films that offer an overview of Philadelphia's key role in early American history. Go to the park ranger's desk to pick up a map of the park and a seasonal schedule of events and programs. Before you leave, ask the ranger for free timed tickets for the Independence Hall tour. Ticketed tours run from 9:00am until 4:30pm (March through December) with a limited amount of tickets available. Also encourage children to ask a ranger about the Junior Ranger program (paper and digital), and ask how to earn trading cards throughout the park. Make sure you ask about any special seasonal family programs, or see the listing of Park Fun programs on the park's website.

Here you will find restrooms, including a family restroom. If you need a wheelchair, ask the park rangers for a free loaner. (All of the sites listed are wheelchair accessible.)

Use the free WiFi in the building to download the park's FREE mobile app, "NPS Independence." Or, search the App Store for "Independence Junior Ranger" and download the FREE app that lets you ring the Liberty Bell on your own iPhone or iPad.

Check out these photos of the Independence Visitor Center.

  • Family Fun:
    In the exhibit area, use the iPads to find out what happened on this day in history.
  • Tip:
    Carry a bottled drink with a cap as you enter our historic buildings. All other drinks will have to be thrown away before entering.
 
President's House Site
6th and Market Streets (across from the visitor center)

This is the site of Robert Morris' house, used by George Washington and John Adams as President of the United States. View the archaeological remains of the home and learn about those who lived here: free, indentured, and enslaved.

See photos of the President's House Site.

  • Family Fun:
    Walk in Oney Judge's footsteps. Where is she going?
 

Liberty Bell Center
6th and Market Streets (adjacent to the President's House Site)

A security check point is located at the north end of the Liberty Bell Center. This is where tens of thousands of people have come to see the Liberty Bell, an international icon of freedom and liberty. Explore the exhibits, and learn the history of the Liberty Bell, what group first called it the "Liberty Bell" and how it represents liberty for people around the world. After learning about the Liberty Bell, see the real thing at the south end of the building. Rangers throughout the building are happy to answer any questions you may have.

Don't miss these photos of the Liberty Bell Center.

  • Family Fun:
    While we never want to touch the Liberty Bell itself, you can find a casting of the inscription near the video. Touch the casting! Also, remember to save the memory and take a family photo at the Liberty Bell, or take a selfie and use #Bellfie and #LibertyBell to share it on social media.
  • Tip:
    Running out of time? Look through a window on the south east side of the building at any time to see the Liberty Bell (even after dark!)
 

Old City Hall
5th and Chestnut Streets

This is where the U.S. Supreme Court met from 1791-1800. Just inside, there is an Eastern National Gift Shop, a portion of whose proceeds goes to support the park.

See these photos of Old City Hall.

  • Tip:
    Most park buildings are accessible for wheelchairs and strollers. Here, there is a ramp at the side entrance.
 

Independence Square
5th and Chestnut Streets

A security check point is located at the side of Old City Hall. All visitors going to Independence Hall and the West Wing Great Essentials Exhibit must first pass through this security check point. Please note the closest restroom is inside the Independence Visitor Center at 6th and Market Streets.

  • Independence Hall
    Construction began in 1732, the same year that George Washington was born. A park ranger leads guided tours of the building highlighting the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. Entrance is by tour only. Pick up your free timed tickets (March through December) at the Independence Visitor Center on the morning of your visit. Tickets are limited in quantity. Explore Independence Hall in photos.
    • Family Fun:
      Look for the half sun on the chair used by George Washington during the Constitutional Convention. Is it rising or setting? What did Benjamin Franklin think?
    • Tip:
      If little ones get fussy, feel free to take them to the back tower room where you will find benches near the door. Your group will exit the building through these doors when the tour is over. When planning your visit, keep in mind that the tour lasts 30-45 minutes (depending on the season).
  • Great Essentials Exhibit in the West Wing
    This exhibit is in a small building immediately to the west of Independence Hall. Here you will find 18th century printings of the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and George Washington's copy of the Constitution. Also look for the Syng inkstand used to sign the handwritten documents. Curious about those letters that look like "f"s? Wondering about the difference between the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution? This is a wonderful place to talk one-on-one with a park ranger! Explore the Great Essential exhibit in photos.
    • Family Fun:
      Discuss whether you would or would not have signed the Declaration of Independence, why, and how your decision would affect each member of your family.
 

Signers Garden
5th and Chestnut Streets (across from Old City Hall)

This statue represents the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

  • Family Fun:
    Pose like the statue for a fun photo op.
 

Franklin Court
Enter from Chestnut or Market Street, between 3rd and 4th Streets

This is the site of Benjamin Franklin's home. Although the structure no longer stands, you can easily imagine him walking from the market on High Street (now called Market Street), through the brick passageway, toward his home. The two ghost structures outline his grandson's printing office and Ben's home. Check out these photos of Franklin Court.

Can you find the basement remains of Franklin's home? Thanks to careful work by archaeologists, we were able to identify the exact location of his home. Read the descriptions on the pavement at the house site and imagine what his house must have looked like inside and out. Find the 4 privy pits, 1 well and 1 ice pit used in the 18th century.

  • Benjamin Franklin Museum
    Enter through the glass doors on the west side of the courtyard.
    $5 for adults / $2 children ages 4-16
    School and homeschool groups may qualify for free admission.

    The Benjamin Franklin Museum engages the entire family with hands-on exhibits, high-tech interactive stations, and 18th century artifacts. Explore many facets of Franklin's life and character traits, and learn more about his family, politics, and inventions. This museum is definitely a family favorite! (On the ground floor, there is an Eastern National Gift Shop, a portion of whose proceeds goes to support the park). See photos of the Benjamin Franklin Museum.

    • Family Fun:
      Ask a park ranger about Ben's pet squirrel, Skuggs, and complete a scavenger hunt for a special prize.
    • Tip:
      After you enter the museum you have access to restrooms including a family restroom.
 
  • Franklin Court Printing Office
    Stand in the courtyard and look towards the brick archway. The entrance door is the second one to the left of the archway.

    Rangers work a reproduction 18th century printing press and talk about how Benjamin Franklin took on the printing trade and earned his wealth. You can also see the type cases (ask about upper case and lower case), the bindery, and sales office.

    • Family Fun:
      Find you favorite Ben Franklin quote and make up one of your own.
    • Tip:
      Here you can purchase a reproduction of the Declaration of Independence printed on our press just like John Dunlap printed on July 4, 1776.
 

Share Your Adventure

Don't forget to share your experiences with others as your family discovers the stories of E Pluribus Unum - out of many, one. Use #FindYourPark on social media. But, most of all, we hope you will make long-lasting memories of laughing and learning together in the birthplace of America.

Last updated: March 25, 2018

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143 S. 3rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Phone:

(215) 965-2305

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