Truly, no visit to Philadelphia is complete without taking in the sights and attractions of Philadelphia’s historic district. As the birthplace of the nation, there are so many historic locales worthy of experiencing.
To ease engagement with Philadelphia’s historic attractions and characters — and make history fun for the pint-sized set — check out the current and upcoming interpretive and interactive offerings from Historic Philadelphia.
History feels timely at ongoing exhibits and attractions, during the many immersive walking tours, storytelling experiences and at special seasonal events throughout the historic district and in Valley Forge.
Read on for more on Historic Philadelphia’s current programs and upcoming events, and check online for additional information and tickets.
• Daily Attractions: A number of sites in the historic district offer ongoing ways to check out this city’s storied past. At the Historic Philadelphia Center, a 360-degree 3D film Liberty 360 is a year-round indoor attraction shown in the PECO Theater. Nearby, Franklin Square offers a seasonal family-friendly outdoor play place with mini golf, a carousel and SquareBurger, a burger shack famous for its milkshakes and more. And of course, the Betsy Ross House takes visitors inside the historic home of America’s most famous flagmaker — currently featuring the special exhibitions Flags to Riches: The Stories of Rebecca Franks and Betsy Ross, on view through the summer.
• Interactive Tours: In addition to the continuous attractions, a duo of terrific tours invites visitors to discover the past. On after-dark Independence After Hours tours, attendees walk around seven blocks of the district and have the opportunity to visit Independence Hall after the final regular tour is done for the day. Additionally, the after-hours tour includes a prix-fixe dinner at City Tavern and all gratuities for an adult ticket price of $85. For a more casual and beer-infused tour, check out the weekly Tippler’s Tour, offered every Thursday through December. A Colonial host leads tipplers on a four-stop tavern crawl — expect singing and storytelling — for a $40 adult ticket.
• Seasonal Special Events: A full calendar of special events mark holidays and more in the historic district at both Franklin Square and the Betsy Ross House. In Franklin Square, first up is a Mother’s Day Sunday brunch on May 12, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Next to take over the square is the always-magical An Evening in Franklin Square event on May 16, 5:30 p.m. Get tickets now for this night of fun fundraising.
On Memorial Day weekend, visit the square May 25-27 for a festive events of carnival games and the Lightning Bolt Express Train ($5 adults, $4 children). On July 1, hear storytelling during the free Go 4th & Learn/Wawa Dairy Day as part of the Wawa Welcome America celebration, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. On June 16, spend Father’s Day in Franklin Square with mini-golf and SquareBurger for two for $30. The 4th of July brings Independence Day Family Fun, and come July 31 celebrate Franklin Square’s 7th Birthday Party.
At the Betsy Ross House, come out for a Saturday afternoon tea with Betsy for Mother’s Day this weekend, May 11. Once a month, the family-friendly First Friday Movie Series on the first Friday of every summer month, which includes a tour of the Betsy Ross House and a movie in the courtyard for $5. From June 9 to 15, celebrate the 2013 Flag Festival with free family-friendly activities all week. On Independence Day, look forward to a free day of fun during Betsy’s Bash, with a children’s naturalization ceremony at 1:30 p.m. and a ceremonial bell ringing at 2 p.m.
• Once Upon A Nation Storytelling: Beginning on Memorial Day weekend, May 25, bring the brood to the 10 free Once Upon A Nation Storytelling Benches scattered throughout the historic district. Hear from well-trained storytellers at each location throughout the day, with different stories at each locale.
The free five-minute tales can be heard at benches at such spots at the Independence Visitor Center, Christ Church and the National Constitution Center. After Memorial Day, look for the benches to populate on Fridays and Saturdays at the beginning and end of the summer, May 31-June 15 and August 16-31. Mid-season, visit the benches on Tuesdays through Saturdays, June 18-August 10. Finally, the last days are September 1 and 2.
• History Maker Events: Also starting Memorial Day weekend, look out for daily free programming featuring costumed characters, including a reading of the Declaration of Independence and the interactive recruiting routine Military Muster. Both programs begin May 25 and run on a sporadic schedule through September 2. After Memorial Day, look for the events on Fridays and Saturdays at the beginning and end of the summer, May 31-June 15 and August 16-31. Mid-season, the events play more frequently, on Tuesdays through Saturdays, June 18-August 10. Finally, the last days are September 1 and 2. The Declaration reading is once a day, at 3:45, and the military play is twice daily at 2 and 3 p.m.
Historic Philadelphia 2013 Season
Where: Historic Philadelphia
More info: www.historicphiladelphia.org