Autumn Family Fun in Philadelphia

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Philadelphia's Magic Gardens
Elaborately designed pathways at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens. Photo courtesy of


This fall, consider planning your client’s family vacation to Philadelphia, where they can take walks through “enchanted” forests and along whimsical pathways, then break bread over dinner with the nation’s founding fathers.

Creatively Speaking
Arts and creativity is a big part of child development—and a nice way to spend an afternoon, no matter what your age. A trip a few miles outside of Greater Philadelphia to Chestnut Hill is highly recommended for families visiting the area. There, they can get close to nature at the Morris Arboretum, an excellent outdoor affair showcasing a sculpture garden and Victorian landscapes. Kids and adults alike are guaranteed to have a good time at the new Tree Adventure exhibit: a sprawling above-ground playground featuring a giant bird’s nest and robin’s eggs, a “Squirrel Scramble” netting area to play in, and a 450-ft.-long walkway that features a bird’s-eye view of the forest floor, 50-ft. below. Rates are $16 for adults and $7 for children.

But if your clients prefer to stay local, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens provide the kind of whimsical public art that will inspire a child’s imagination. Seemingly straight out of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” visitors are invited to walk through mosaic walls, halls and tunnels decorated in fabulous form, with recycled glass, ceramic, bottles and other found objects. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for kids and free for children ages 5 and under.

Historical Roots
Meanwhile, with a founding dating all the way back to 1682, you can bet Philadelphia has plenty of history to be explored. In fact, Historic Philadelphia—an organization devoted to making America’s history relevant and real—offers a variety of tours this fall and winter for your clients to delve into the past.

Through Oct. 27, an Independence After Hours tour will have your clients “sneaking in” to Independence Hall for an exclusive tour, where they’ll meet some of the nation’s founding fathers as they debate the Declaration of Independence. Following the tour, participants will enjoy a prix-fixe colonial-style dinner at the City Tavern. Independence After Hours lasts about 2.5 hours, with rates at $50 per child and $80 per adult.

Open year-round, the Betsy Ross House is another popular spot, where guests can meet Betsy herself or listen to a storyteller in the courtyard. Self-guided tour tickets cost $4 for children and $5 for adults, or have clients spend an extra two dollars each for the audio tour. Meanwhile, the Liberty 360 3D experience—also available year-round at the Historic Philadelphia Center’s PECO Theater—takes viewers for a 15-minute journey, exploring various symbols of American freedom in a 360-degree state-of-the-art theater. Tickets are $5 for children, $6 for adults or $20 for a Family Four Pack.

Sleep It Off
Supplement your client’s historical tourism with the American Jewish History package offered at nearby Omni Hotel at Independence Park. In addition to providing deluxe accommodations, the package also provides two tickets to the National Museum of American Jewish History, breakfast for two through room service or at the on-property Azalea Restaurant, complimentary valet parking and, at the end of the day, a cookies and milk delivery straight to their room.

Located near Philadelphia’s historic district—and not too far from the previously mentioned galleries, either—the Omni Hotel at Independence Park provides a luxurious respite for guests young and old—fitting, as Omni Hotels was recently named one of the 10 Best Hotel Chains for Families by Parents magazine.

Standard rates over the fall and winter seasons range between $189 and $269 per night, while American Jewish History package rates start at $264 per night. For more information, call (215) 925-0000 or visit

For more information on selling family travel to Philadelphia, call (215) 599-0776 or visit the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation at

For more information on family travel in general, don’t miss the September family issue.