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Written By: Marci Smith
**In the Interest of Full Disclosure: Our visit to the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia was not affiliated with the Disney Social Media Moms event in any way. We were invited to tour the museum and our visit was complimentary. Our thoughts are our own.**
While in Philadelphia for the Disney Social Media Moms Conference, my family and I had the opportunity to visit the Please Touch Museum. I’ve always wanted to bring my kids here, and this was a perfect opportunity to check it out.
The building itself is massive and gorgeous from the outside. We’ve visited several museums in NYC and Washington DC and from the looks of this one I knew it wasn’t going to disappoint as far as space and architecture. It was very nice that although these exhibits are in a large space, the museum did not seem overwhelming, and when visiting with young children, that is an important thing!
Upon entering the museum, my kids (ages 5 and 7) saw water and immediately ran to it. The River Adventures section was a huge hit, featuring several water tables with currents, bubbles, sailboats and rubber ducks. As a mom I really appreciated the fact that there were smocks available for the kids to put over their clothes. The last thing I wanted was for my kids to get soaked at the first thing we saw! Another part of River Adventures was an interactive rainforest where the kids could play instruments. They loved it!
After riding a pig and a rabbit on a gorgeous Dentzel carousel (separate admission is required), we headed downstairs where I found my absolute favorite area in the entire museum: Wonderland. I LOVE Alice in Wonderland and I seriously want this in my house. We followed a spinning Alice down the rabbit hole and into an incredibly themed maze. There were some really fun visual illusions, mirrors and classic scenes from the story. Costumes were provided for kids who wanted to dress up and play Alice, a playing card, the Mad Hatter and others. We painted the roses red (loved it!), sat for tea and even had a Caucus Race!! Seriously, I loved it. I would come back just for this.
Our next stop was the Centennial Exploration exhibit. If your kids love trains, this is the place for you. Again, the theming is absolutely great. The space is made to look like a train station from the late 1800’s and features a tribute to the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia – a HUGE model of the Exhibition grounds. My kids had a great time playing in the railway themed area, selling tickets, shoveling coal and riding on the train. This is also the place where the party rooms are, and each one is made to look like a train car from the outside. Super cute!
Once we were done with the trains, we headed over to City Capers, which is a miniature city made just for the kids! There was so much to do here, and we all had a lot of fun. The kids were able to dress up as construction workers and haul foam ‘bricks’ to and from a huge truck. They also tried on shoes at the shoe store, gave each other ‘check ups’ at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and (my favorite) went shopping at ShopRite! I really feel that kids love when experiences are made with them in mind, and this one definitely hit the nail on the head. I also wanted to mention that I did notice in many of the sections there were areas specifically allocated for toddlers and younger children. For those of you may have kids of varying ages, the museum made a conscious effort to accommodate multiple age groups and that was something I really appreciated.
Returning to finish what we began upstairs, we visited Flight Fantasy; a Space Station where guests can launch rockets and interact with fun physics experiments. My son is a huge space fan so he especially loved this area. One piece of advice – watch out when you enter the rocket launching room. The bins in the center of the room that hold pieces to build your own rocket is actually a prime target for landing!! (I was hit twice)
Our last exhibit was Roadside Attractions, focusing on different modes of transportation. The SEPTA Bus was especially impressive, and my kids loved taking turns riding and becoming the ‘driver’. In the City Park they became vendors, selling lunch from a food truck and colorful Italian ice from a cart. They also had a great time pumping gas and fixing cars at the Please Touch Garage.
All in all, each of the six interactive exhibits at the Please Touch Museum really engaged our entire family. We spent about two hours in the museum and since it wasn’t crowded that day, we were able to do just about everything. We did not get to experience the Please Touch Playhouse, which offer 20-minute performances of puppetry, music and folklore throughout the day. There is also a museum shop for souvenirs and food available at the Please Taste Café. My kids really enjoyed themselves and are already asking when we can go back and visit again.
The Please Touch museum is open Monday-Saturday from 9:00am to 5:00pm and on Sundays from 11:00am to 5:00pm. Admission for everyone over the age of 1 year is $17 per person and parking is $8 per car. Memberships start at $150 for a family of four and include free parking as well as other discounts. If you would like more information, please visit the Please Touch Museum online at www.pleasetouchmuseum.org.