What: The Independence Seaport Museum — which overlooks the Delaware River on Penn’s Landing — doesn’t look like much from the outside. Don’t let that fool you; this place is great for a half-day family outing.
What the kids will love: This museum is spacious, so there’s lots of room for them to stretch their sea legs. There is plenty to look at and play with, including a great remote controlled boat in a pool of water that kids can drive, touch screen games and a new boat, where they can raise sails, turn steering wheels, haul treasure and more. The museum is two levels inside, and at two different spots, the kids will get to interact with real people. First, in the model ship builder’s shack, where a real live dude is building model ships (so cool) and then again in the warehouse, where carpenters are actually building boats. They love to chat with museum goers. After you’ve explored the inside, you can walk outside and tour the two docked boats, both with incredible histories. (Note: my toddler — okay, and I — were not huge fans of the submarine, so we waited outside for that one. But that’s really my issue.)
What you will love: Since this museum flies under the radar, it’s never packed the way Please Touch or the Franklin Institute can be. It’s also way cheaper — $13.50 for adults, and free for kids under 2. It’s open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and only closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. It’s perfect for toddlers and easy for babies, but I would say it might be a little boring for kids who are older than eight that are used to in-your-face entertainment. You’ll also love the history, including an impressive exhibits on slavery, immigration, and special historical artifacts.
Some other stuff to know: The museum has some creative, fun and free programming. Every Saturday is Seafarin Saturday, where they have different group activities and themes for the kids (totally free). They also have a holiday boat parade, a New Year’s Eve family party, and creative birthday party options.