Shannon & Jason's Wedding

October 9th, 2005

Things to Do — Philadelphia

Historic Philadelphia/Center City

Independence National Historical Park, located in downtown (called "Center City"), Philadelphia, is often referred to as the birthplace of our nation. At the park, visitors can see the Liberty Bell, an international symbol of freedom, and Independence Hall, a World Heritage Site where both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were created. In addition, the park interprets events and the lives of the diverse population during the years when Philadelphia was the capital of the United States from 1790 to 1800. A section of the park where Benjamin Franklin's home once stood is dedicated to teaching about Franklin's life and accomplishments. Spanning approximately 45 acres, the park has about 20 buildings open to the public. It is administered by the National Park Service.

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Always wanted to run up the museum stairs like Rocky? Now's your chance. (Oh, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art has really cool art stuff, too!)

  • Location: 26th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19130 (Directions, map and parking info here.)
  • Hours: Tues-Sun 10am-5pm, Friday evenings until 8:45 p.m.
  • Admission: Adults $10, Seniors, Students with ID, and children between 13-18 years $7. Children 12 and under free. Sundays: pay what you wish all day!

The Franklin Institute

The Franklin Institute is a wonderful museum of science designed for kids and curious adults. Named after one of Philadelphia's favorite sons, Benjamin Franklin, it houses The Benjamin Franklin National Memorial and an exhibit of Franklin's possessions. The Institute's most famous exhibit is The Giant Human Heart is a Philadelphia icon which has been at the Institute since it opened in 1954. The Franklin Air Show exhibit was just renovated, and features interactive activities on aerospace technology. The gem of the Franklin Air Show is the 1911 Wright Model B Flyer and other artifacts willed to the Institute by Orville Wright. The Franklin Institute also has an Imax theater, which requires a separate admission fee.

  • Location: 220 North 20th St, Philadelphia, PA, 19103, T: 215-448-1200. (Directions and parking info can be found here.)
  • Hours: 9:30am-5pm daily
  • Admission: Adults - $13.75, Children - $11.00

Mütter Museum

Interested in medicine? (If you're coming to this wedding, there's a 50% chance that the answer is "yes"!) Then don't miss the College of Physicians of Philadelphia's Mütter Museum, full of weird, cool, and gross stuff! The Museum's collections include over 20,000 objects, including fluid-preserved anatomical and pathological specimens, medical instruments, anatomical and pathological models, items of memorabilia of famous scientists and physicians, and medical illustrations. View the Museum's new OB-GYN instrument collection database, developed with a Museum Project grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

  • Location: 19 South 22nd Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19103, T: 215-563-3737 ×211.
  • Hours: 10AM - 5PM, Monday through Sunday, every day of the year except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.
  • Admission: Adults $10, Children ages 6-18, Seniors and College students with ID $7.

National Constitution Center

On July 4, 2003, the elegant, two-story National Constitution Center opened its doors to an estimated one million visitors a year. Located on the third block of Independence Mall and serving as the northernmost anchor of the Mall complex, the Center tells the story of the U.S. Constitution through more than 100 interactive and multimedia exhibits, photographs, sculpture, text, film and artifacts. The tour begins with a multimedia presentation featuring a live actor, film and video projection — here you will be oriented to the major themes of the Constitution from 1787 to the present day. In the DeVos Hall's American Experience, you will enjoy interactive exhibits that show the significant role the Constitution has played throughout history. You'll take your vote for your all-time favorite President, take the Presidential Oath-of-Office, take the seat of a Supreme Court Justice and honor the service people who have fought for and defended the Constitution. And if you visit the Constitution Center in the fall, you'll be able to see an exhibit on Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War.

  • Location: 525 Arch Street, Independence Mall, Philadelphia, PA 19106, T: (215) 409-6600 (Directions can be found here.)
  • Hours: Sun-Fri 9:30am-5pm, Sat 9:30am-6pm
  • Admission: Adults - $9, Children (4-12), Seniors, College Students, Active Military - $7, Children under 4 - free! You can buy tickets at the museum, or buy them in advance by calling (215) 409-6700 or (866) 917-1787 between 10am and 5pm. You may also purchase tickets online.

Philadelphia Zoo

Come visit America's first zoo! The Philadelphia Zoo has more than 1,600 rare and exotic animals from around the world, 42 acres of picturesque Victorian gardens, outstanding art and historical architecture. You can see the PECO Primate Reserve, Rare Animal Conservation Center, Reptile and Amphibian House and much, much more!

  • Location: 3400 W Girard Ave (On the corner of 34th Street and Girard Avenue), Philadelphia, PA 19104 (Maps, directions, and info about parking can be found here.)
  • Hours: 9:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m. daily
  • Admission: Adult $16.95, Children ages 2–11 $13.95, Children under 2 are free! (Some activities have separate admission fees. See site for details!)

Museum of the Academy of Natural Sciences

The Museum of the Academy of Natural Sciences is located on Philadelphia's beautiful Museum Mile on Benjamin Franklin Parkway. There, you'll find permanent exhibits on Dinosaurs , Dioramas , and Academy research as well as a space for traveling exhibits. Educational exhibits and programs interpret the results of Academy research in ways that have relevance and meaning for the audiences. The events listing will give you a better sense of the wide range of programs currently underway at the museum. Anybody who spent their childhood in the Philadelphia area will remember this museum as the one with the big dinosaurs!

  • Location: 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19103 T: 215-299-1000 (Maps, directions, and parking info here.)
  • Hours: Mon-Fri 10am-4:30pm, Sat, Sun & Holidays 10am-5pm
  • Admission: Adult- $9, Child ages 3-12 - $8, Seniors and military - $8.25, College students get $1 discount with ID

Betsy Ross House

Betsy Ross is best known as the legendary maker of the first American flag, but her story is an inspirational one that goes well beyond her association with the flag. One day in 1776 General George Washington and two members of the Continental Congress walked through the door of Ross' upholstery shop. They told her they wanted Betsy to make a flag for the new nation. A year after she completed the first flag, on June 14, 1777, Congress passed the Flag Resolution, making the Stars and Stripes the official flag of the United States. Betsy Ross was a courageous and spirited woman whose life was filled with hardships. Come see her story — and the story of Old Glory — at the Betsy Ross House!

  • Location: 239 Arch Street, Philadelphia PA 19106, T: 215.686.1252 (Directions can be found here.)
  • Hours: 10 am–5 pm, Tuesday - Sunday (Open all holiday Mondays)
  • Admission:
    • Self-guided Tour (Suggested): $3 for adults and seniors, $2 for children and students
    • Audio Guide and admission: $5 per person

The United States Mint in Philadelphia

Touring the United States Mint is a fascinating experience for those of all ages and one that will be remembered for a lifetime. Self-guided tours cover both the present state of coin manufacturing as well as the history of the Mint. Learn about the craftsmanship required at all stages of the minting process, from the original designs and sculptures to the actual striking of the coins.

  • Location: 151 North Independence Mall East, Philadelphia, PA 19106, T: (215) 408-0112. (Directions and parking info can be found toward the bottom of this page.)
  • Hours: Mon-Fri, 9:00am to 3:00pm
  • Admission: Free, but adults must show government-issued ID.

Ghost Tour of Philadelphia

Is Ben Franklin still roaming the streets of his "City of Brotherly Love"? Do the very souls of our forefathers still frequent Independence Hall? Does Benedict Arnold have unfinished business at the Powel House? Hear the chilling tales of America's most historic...and most haunted city on this candlelight walking tour through Independence Park and Society Hill!

  • Times: Tour begins at 7:30 pm at 5th & Chestnut Streets in the Signer's Garden and lasts approximately 1 1/4 hours. During the month of October there are tours every evening — and an additional 9:30 tour added Oct 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, 29, and 30!
  • Prices: $15 per adult ($8 ages 4-12)
  • Tickets: There are three ways to make sure you get a ticket for the tour.
    • Call 215-413-1997 to reserve space on the tour;
    • Purchase tickets at CremaLita ice cream shop, 401A Chestnut Street (between 4th & 5th Streets next to Omni Hotel) until tour time, OR at Independence Visitor Center, 6th & Market Streets, until 5:00 pm;
    • Purchase tickets online and get a discount (click on the yellow "ClicknPrint Tickets" button)

Eastern State Penitentiary

Opened in 1829 as part of a controversial movement to change the behavior of inmates through "confinement in solitude with labor," Eastern State Penitentiary quickly became one of the most expensive and most copied buildings in the young United States. It is estimated that more than 300 prisons worldwide are based on the Penitentiary's wagon-wheel, or "radial" floor plan. Some of America's most notorious criminals were held in the Penitentiary's vaulted, sky-lit cells ,including bank robber Willie Sutton and Al Capone. After 142 years of consecutive use, Eastern State Penitentiary was completely abandoned in 1971, and now stands, a lost world of crumbling cell blocks and empty guard towers.

After the last prisoners left Eastern State Penitentiary in 1971, the prison stood for over twenty years with absolutely no maintenance. By the time the tour program began in 1994, the buildings were in a terrible state of deterioration so severe that the Penitentiary was labeled a semi-ruin. As a result, Eastern State was named annually to the National Park Services' list of Endangered Landmarks before Congress, and was one of only five US sites listed on the 100 Most Endangered Sites Lists of 1996 and 2000 by the World Monuments Watch. Because of stabilization efforts, the site was removed from this list in 2002.

The goal of the preservation is a "stabilized ruin"; to stop the deterioration and to make the tour route safe for visitors. Plans are underway to restore some places, places that help visitors better understand how the building was designed and how it changed over time.

Admission includes the Voices of Eastern State audio tour, critically acclaimed Art Installations and one of two guided tours. (The "Escape!" tour begins weekdays at 2:30 pm and Sat & Sun at 11:30, 2:30 and 3:30. It includes the central rotunda, restored cells, the solitary confinement yards, the baseball diamond, death row and Al Capone's Cell. The alternative, "Kids' Tours" begins Sat & Sun: 10:30 am. NOTE: Children under the age of 7 cannot be admitted to the penitentiary.)

There is no better time than the fall to visit the penitentiary. It's haunted spectacular, Terror Behind the Walls (billed as "one ticket, eleven acres of terror"), was ranked the Ninth Best Haunted Attraction in the United States by the Fall 2004 issue of HauntWorld Magazine . This year it runs from September 23 – October 31.

  • Location: 2124 Fairmount Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19130 (22nd Street and Fairmount Avenue, just five blocks from the Philadelphia Museum of Art) (Maps, directions, and parking info here.)
  • Hours: Wed-Sun, 10am-5pm (Last entry 4 pm)
  • Admission: Adults $9, Students and Senior Citizens $7, Kids ages 7-12 $4. Children under the age of 7 cannot be admitted to the site.

University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (UPM)

Note: The UPM is under construction, but will remain open while work is ongoing!

  • Location: 3260 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, T: 215-898-4000 (Map, directions and parking info here.)
  • Hours: Tues-Sat, 10am-4:30pm
  • Admission: Adults $8, Children, Full-time students with ID, and seniors $5.

Elfreths' Alley: America's Oldest Residential Street

Elfreth's Alley is like no other place in America. Tucked among hip art galleries, funky coffeehouses and fashionable restaurants, many of the Alley's 33 houses were built prior to our nation's birth. In those 300-plus-years, the Alley has been home to thousands - from Franklin's colleagues to families of four, from immigrants to esquires - reflecting the diversity of Philadelphia itself.

Located in the heart of Philadelphia's history-rich Old City neighborhood, Elfreth's Alley is a National Historic Landmark and the nation's oldest residential street. Each year the Alley welcomes thousands of visitors to stroll along the cobblestones and experience the 18th century homes - still private residences today - and to encourage their support of this American treasure. The Elfreth's Alley Museum welcomes visitors for guided tours - plan to spend a half-hour enjoying the living history of the Alley.

  • Location: On 2nd Street, between Race and Arch. (Directions are here.)
  • Hours: Monday to Saturday - 10 am to 5pm, Sunday - noon to 5pm
  • Admission: Visit the Chairmakers House (#124) for Free. Guided tour of the Museum House and Garden — $2 for adults, $1 for children over 6, FREE for children under age 6.

Independence Seaport Museum

The Independence Seaport Museum offers an opportunity to explore historic ships! The Cruiser Olympia, a Spanish-American War veteran, and the Submarine Becuna, a WWII veteran, are permanently on exhibit. The seaport museum and Penn's Landing host scores of visiting ships every year. Tall ships, Coast Guard cutters, tugboats and schooners come from near and far — and tours are usually available! Check here as the wedding weekend approaches to see what ships will be there!

  • Location: Penns Landing in Philadelphia, PA (See here for directions.)
  • Hours: Daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m
  • Admission: Adults - $9, Children 3-12 years - $6, Seniors & Students - $8
  • FREE Admission on Sunday mornings from 10am to 12pm (Just make sure you're back for the wedding!)

National Liberty Museum

The National Liberty Museum is located in the heart of historic Philadelphia. It was created to celebrate our nation's heritage of freedom and the wonderful diverse society it has produced. It has four major exhibits:

  • Honoring Heroes: The National Liberty Museum honors 1000 men, women and young people of all walks of life who dared to step beyond their comfort zones to help make the world a better place... from world leaders to the firefighters and police who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.
  • Presenting Peaceful Ways to Resolve Conflict: With so much violence in the world today, it's important to experience a place in America that celebrates the alternative. The museum provides an array of hands-on exhibits that demonstrate easy, practical and fun ways to resolve conflicts peacefully.
  • Exploring the Concept of Freedom: For over 300 years immigrants from around the world have come to America seeking freedom and opportunities not available to them in their homelands. The museum has developed a gallery called "Coming to America" as well as numerous exhibits on the rights and responsibilities of living in a free society.
  • Comparing Liberty to Glass: The museum presents a collection of more than 100 world-renowned works of fine art which reflect its message. The overriding theme is the fragility of liberty, illustrated through contemporary art by artists from around the world.

321 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19106, T: 215-925-2800.

  • Location: 321 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19106, T: 215-925-2800.
  • Hours: Tues-Sun, 10am - 5pm
  • Admission: Adults - $5, Seniors - $4, Students - $3, Children - $1.00 when accompanied by their family, Children 5 and under - free.