Summer in the City: Philly Style

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons.

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons.

by sue downey

The City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, has hundreds of options for fun summer activities for nannies and their charges. Here are just a few of my favorites ways to check out Philly with the little ones.

Elmwood Park Zoo

This small zoo in Norristown is super for a morning visit, especially for preschoolers and early grade levels. The zoo has many animals indigenous to North America, such as bobcats and donkeys, plus more exotic wildlife like a jaguar. There’s also a playground and plenty of climbing structures for the kids to burn off a little steam. This summer, the zoo has a special treat: you can hand feed some visiting giraffes!

Herron Spray Park

Head to Herron Spray Park to check out the interesting and different playground equipment and a wonderful spray park with water zooming by in every which way! Despite budget cuts that minimize the hours during which the water is turned on, this summer hot spot is still worth checking out.

Once Upon a Nation

Want to take advantage of the amazing historical sights in Philly but not sure how much your younger charges will enjoy them? Try these great benches all throughout Old City. Costumed actors tell amazing stories about people and events, teaching history to youngsters in an engaging, fun way. The actors have multiple stories and encourage the kids to interact by asking questions and participating by contributing sound effects. Grab some ice cream and sit on a few benches this summer!

Upper Darby Summer Stage

This is a gem for those hot summer days: the Upper Darby Summer Theatre program puts together a bunch of plays designed for younger audiences. These plays are put on by kids for kids and are appropriate for even the youngest of audiences. They are shorter than traditional programs and have productions like The Little Mermaid and Frog and Toad. The price is right too!

Eakins Oval Beach

Photo courtesy Sue Downey.
Photo courtesy Sue Downey.

One of the most exciting things in Philly this summer is the Eakins Oval Beach! From July 17 through August 20, the area in front of the Art Museum, Eakins Oval, will be transformed into a giant play and entertainment area jam packed with sandboxes; giant game space complete with chess, twister, and checkers; beach chairs; and a food truck cafe. There will be a stage for live music and all sorts of exciting activities planned. All this will be brought to you from the city’s parks and recreation department.

Quick Picks

The Wheaton Arts Center offers free admission this July with great demonstrations in Millville, New Jersey.

The Insectarium in Philadelphia never fails to excite young ones who love the creepy crawlies.

Any firehouse is a fun trip, but the Fireman’s Hall Museum adds a layer of history by sharing a number of antique fire trucks and equipment.

The new Museum of Jewish American History is hosting the first major exhibit of the work of Ezra Jack Keats (“The Snowy Day” and others) July 19 through October 20th.

What summer fun will you and your charges be scoping out in Philadelphia?