Social Studies Field Trip

Color image showing a group of students looking at a wall with mounted 18th-century portraits while a female ranger speaks.
Some teachers opt to participate in the park's curriculum-based, hands-on educational programs.

NPS photo

There are many ways for school groups to tour the historic area of Philadelphia. You'll find sites to enhance your curriculum - whether it's history or science - and stories to engage learners of all ages. Planning is key to a successful experience. Consult the building hours on the park's website, and download the park's FREE mobile app, "NPS Independence," to help with trip planning and on-site logistics.

Independence Hall
enter at 5th and Chestnut Streets

Independence Hall is a "must see" for your trip to Philadelphia. It is the original building where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were both signed. Entrance is by tour only, and tickets are required 10 months of the year. See photos of Independence Hall.

  • Timed entry tickets are required from March through December; no tickets are necessary in January and February.
  • Free tickets are available from the Independence Visitor Center each morning on a first come, first-served basis.
  • Tickets are limited in quantity, and on many days (particularly in April and May), these tickets are all gone by mid-morning.
  • Reserved tickets are available in advance for small processing fee ($1.00 per ticket).
  • Read more about ticketing options for school groups.
  • To visit Independence Hall, everyone must pass through a security screening area at 5th and Chestnut Streets. Plan to arrive at security screening at least 20 minutes before your tour.

Congress Hall
enter at 5th and Chestnut Streets

Congress Hall is where the U.S. Congress met from 1790 to 1800. This building served as the Capitol of the United States. George Washington and John Adams were both inaugurated president here. Tours of Congress Hall begin every 20 or 30 minutes, depending on the season. Entrance is by ranger-led tour only; no tickets are required. See photos of Congress Hall.

Visitors to Congress Hall must pass through security screening at the corner of 5th and Chestnut Streets.


Great Essentials Exhibit in the West Wing
enter at 5th and Chestnut Streets

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. A park ranger is stationed in the building to answer questions. No tickets are necessary to visit. See photos of the Great Essentials exhibit.

Entrance to the West Wing is through the security screening area at 5th and Chestnut Streets.


Liberty Bell Center
6th and Market Streets

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 and learn the history of the Liberty Bell. 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. No tickets are needed. See photos of the Liberty Bell Center. *Note: the Liberty Bell Center is undergoing renovations in winter and spring 2019. The exhibits may be closed, but the Liberty Bell chamber (where you can see the actual Liberty Bell) will remain open regular hours.

Don't despair if you see a line. It usually moves quickly.


President's House Site Exhibit - Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation
6th and Market Streets

This outdoor exhibit presents personal stories of freedom and slavery in President Washington's household. Look for the foundations of the house, and find the footprints symbolizing one woman's journey to freedom. See photos of the President's House Site exhibit.


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 Franklin 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. See
photos of Franklin Court.

Challenge your students to 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.

  • 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.

    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. On the ground floor, there is an Eastern National Gift Shop, a portion of whose proceeds goes to support the park.

  • 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, the bindery, and newspaper office.


Last updated: February 28, 2019

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143 S. 3rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106


(215) 965-2305

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