We recently had the opportunity to visit the Please Touch Museum, The Children’s Museum of Philadelphia. The first museum in the nation designed for children ages seven and under, it’s “learning through play” philosophy is evident throughout the 156,000 square foot of space it occupies in Memorial Hall, a grand building and new home of Please Touch since 2008. Founded in 1976′ it now houses six exhibit zones in addition to the restored Woodside Park Dentzel Carousel dating back to 1908.
We started our day in River Adventures where the kids donned water-resistant smocks and played in an elaborate water table exhibit racing boats, rubber ducks and getting their hands wet. Next door in Rainforest Rhythm our preschoolers ran from one instrument to the next, likely amazed we were letting them touch everything in sight. A ride on the carousel and quick bite at the Please Taste Cafe, and we were ready to roll.
Heading downstairs to two of our favorite exhibit spaces, Wonderland and City Capers, the kids we’re already asking to come back. A maze of hedges, mirrors, maxing flowers and a Mad Hatter Tea Party invited parents to chase their children a la Alice in Wonderland. As with many exhibits, a special area designed for tots three and under allowed the little ones to explore their separate areas. The biggest hit of the day and area whre we spent the most time, City Capers, was in itself worth the two hour trip. A pretend play paradise, we snapped pictures of out little doctors giving X-rays, construction workers building a wall and fast food workers ringingly burgers. Replacing “don’t touch” and “put that back” with “here’s your cart” and “what else are you going to buy?” in a mini-grocery store made me promise myself to start saving old grocery boxes so we could play at home too. We made the day trip to Please Touch with another family, and as we roamed from exhibit to exhibit the kids could not have been having more fun.
A brand new exhibit, Railway Play, sponsored by Century Foundation, is the first new permanent exhibit at the Museum since moving to Memorial Hall in 2008. Celebrating the 1876 World’s Fair in Phaldelphia, this rail-themed space is a child train lovers paradise. My son enjoyed ringing the train bell and shoveling “coal” as he mostly ignored my mini-lesson on fossil fuels. Rounding out our day was a visit to Roadside Attractions. With a real bus, mini-tram and cars galore, our little drivers had the time of their lives getting behind the wheel.
If ony we lived closer to take advantage of special events such as the Storybook Ball on April 21st or even for an extra special kids’ birthday party. If you do plan a visit with your preschoolers (highly recommended!) check out these visiting tips.