We visited the Philadelphia Please Touch Museum last week. The museum is located in an absolutely gorgeous building with an impressive front entry way. Two massive winged horses stand guard in front of the museum. The museum was once intended to be the city Art Museum and showcased art during the 1876 Centennial. The children's museum felt surprisingly at home in such historic digs. The open spaces and soaring ceilings added to the experience. Where else could they have housed a massive sculpture of the Statue of Liberty's torch.
We went during the week and the museum was relatively quiet and not too crowded (yeah!) The staff was friendly and quick to make a joke with our girls or take a picture. There were hand sanitizer stations located around the museum and the exhibits were well cared for and clean. The museum offers hands on exhibits that appealed to my youngest who is 2 years old to kids visiting from a local leadership camp who were 10 years old. Every where I looked kids and parents were smiling and having fun. Which was a completely different story from our experience at Sesame Place (tomorrows post.)
The exhibits flowed nicely into the next and there was a feeling of space which is important when you've got so many kiddos and parents in a confined area.
Both girls enjoyed the River Adventures Exhibit which had a huge Waterway Play area complete with a huge water wheel and a duck pond. There were plenty of knobs to turn and boats to play with. We even managed to get out of there with out any wet clothes thanks in part to the smocks they offer you and the child high hand dryers that were quiet! Usually hand dryers freak out my girls because they are so loud. These were surprisingly quiet.
I liked that there were designated play spaces (toddler areas) for children under 3 that were interactive and allowed for open ended play. See pictures below. The Nature's Pond (toddler area) where they had a large swan to climb on, lily pads to jump on and a log slide.
Next stop Wonderland! We had fun running around the Hall of Doors & Mirrors, exploring the hedge Maze, the Mad Hatters Tea Party, and the Fairy Tale Garden (toddler area.) Lulu got to dress up like Alice (who she didn't know who she was...I need to find an introductory picture book for her now.) Neither girl would sit next to the Mad hatter for a photo op. Too freaky!
City Capers is a series of hands on exhibits that every single kid (all ages) I saw seemed to be enjoying. Em loved the Supermarket & Medical Center. Lu loved the Busy Build Construction area and making burgers at the mini McDonalds. We of course took a breather at the Front Step (toddler area.) Of all the exhibits the Supermarket was the most chaotic due to the nature of giving kids free reign with grocery carts! Regardless it was fun and there was staff restocking the shelves making it a less chaotic experience.
The Flights of Fancy exhibits was a big hit with Lulu. She got to go inside a giant hamster wheel and turn it. Plus she got to build a foam flying machine and launch it by turning the wheel you see in the picture to the left.
Then a quick walk through of the Roadside attractions area. Which didn't interest the girls except for this digger. Lu said this was her favorite thing in the whole museum. She got to operate a digger that picked up balls. There was so much to see and do. We could have stayed much longer but Emme's was fading and her nap was calling. We stayed from 10:30 am to 1:30 am. We brought the girls lunch which they ate on the steps of the museum. It was a beautiful day and the girls got to run around a bit in the front courtyard. On our way out we stopped over at Pat's Steaks for a grown up lunch of cheese steaks and fries! Yum!
We highly recommend the museum and had a wonderful time!