In the desperate search for something to do during this 100 degree weather that involves air conditioning, Soren and I met a friend and her daughter at the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia yesterday.
All I can say is "Wow!" It was an incredible place housed in a 100+ year old building. The building was constructed in 1876 for the United States' centennial, and about 2 years ago the Please Touch Museum moved from its Center City location to this building in Fairmount Park, after major renovations, of course.
The main hall really shows off its incredible architectural, while at the same time incorporating a twist of contemporary design. I was impressed with the replica of the Statue of Liberty's hand and torch, made by local artist Leo Sewell from toys, games, road signs and other found objects.
SoJo's favorite spot was the River Adventures area, because you can play in water! It's an interactive water display with boats, rubber ducks and squirting water that kids of all ages were enjoying.
I love that they also provide smocks to keep kids a little dryer than just their clothes.
The staff in this area was extremely friendly and helpful, interacting with Soren and showing him how things work. Not that mama was too busy taking photos to help. :)
There was also a river themed play space for toddlers, with a slide and a tree with foam sticks for making a "fire" inside. He liked stepping on the lily pads which made sounds when you walked on them.
I like that it was limited to kids under 3, and actually enforced (kindly) by staff.
He also liked the Roadside Attractions area, where one could climb on cars and trucks
and even a city bus! After years of riding these in Philly, it was fun to get behind the drivers seat.
Kids could take a turn at building their own cars too, using foam wheels with magnetic tabs on the back.
There was also a place for them to use a backhoe to dig up balls from a pit. It was too challenging for Soren, but I helped control the scoop while he sat on the back and helped.
Downstairs, we checked out the Alice in Wonderland area. Here we are traveling down the rabbit hole (aka, a ramp down to the area) where I stopped to snap a photo of us in a mirror.
We visited the tea party area inside a tree. There were cute costumes to try on too, like an Alice dress. There were faux hedges and even a croquet game with flamingos.
We also spent a lot of time in the City Capers section downstairs, where there's a kid-oriented city of sorts, including a doctor's office, a shoestore, a McDonalds, a front porch and lawn, a construction zone with foam bricks and a dump truck,
and a super-amazing grocery store where kids can shop for food and check it out themselves. It was really a popular and well-done space.
In addition to all the exhibits, they had DIY face painting in the craft room in honor of Frida Kahlo's birthday. Around lunchtime there was also a story hour with a singer/guitarist and a chance for kids to play instruments too.
After spending 6 hours there, it was hard to pry S away from all the fun. He keeps talking about "Please Touch" and wants to return--Soon! If you're anywhere near Philly this summer, I promise you that this is the best place to be with your young ones. I can't wait to go back again--we didn't even get a chance to ride the carousel there.