Step foot onto the lush landscaped grounds of the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion, and you're instantly transported to the Victorian era—a time when ladies toted lacy parasols, gentlemen sported tall silk hats, and children played with coal-powered Game Boys. Beyond the stately mansion's immaculately manicured lawns and brick façade lie 17 restored rooms, replete with lavish Rococo and Renaissance revival furnishings, elaborate ceiling designs, and Victorian-era appliances such as cast-iron stoves and gas-lit chandeliers.
This museum of Victorian architecture and culture hosts weekly tours, as well as a monthly Upstairs Downstairs tour that explores the lives and challenges of women in Victorian-era Philadelphia. The mansion also stages theater performances throughout the year, featuring the works of Victorian-era greats including Charles Dickens, Bram Stoker, and Louisa May Alcott.
It’s nighttime along the Schuylkill River. Philly’s skyline sparkles in the distance. You are but 1 of 400 canoeing spectators on stage for a guided history of the area. This is CONSTANTS: a performance journey in history along the Schuylkill River—just one of the many interactive theatrical events featuring song, dance, and vivid visualizations. The show comes to life thanks to the tireless work of Alie Vidich and her envelope-pushing dance company, The Brigade. Founded in 2009, The Brigade straddles the border between dance company, acting troupe, and interactive arts collective.
Children with parents in tow come in droves to squeal with delight at the amazingly expansive Please Touch Museum, housed in the soaring Memorial Hall that was built in 1876 for the Centennial Exhibition. The hands-on play areas are clever, cute and decidedly age-appropriate. On the main floor, kids can bang on musical instruments in a rainforest-themed space, race sailboats in rivers (splash aprons provided!), build and launch foam rockets or pretend to drive a bus. The lower floor features an Alice in Wonderland-themed area, complete with distortion mirrors and mazes, plus a foam-block construction zone, a tiny grocery store and a little hospital. A few areas are set aside for toddlers three and younger, and an extra three dollars at the entrance buys a ticket to ride the more than century-old restored carousel.
As America’s first zoo and current home to more than 1,300 creatures, the Philadelphia Zoo hosts a cavalcade of winged avians, furry friends, aquatic characters, and slithering showboats on 42 sprawling acres. Gauge the ferocity of your roar at the Big Cat Falls, or visit the snow-strewn habitats of polar bears, snow leopards, penguins, and the Cheetos-dusted Amur tigers. Exercise your bipedality over to the primate reserve and speak firsthand with the trainers and conservationists working to save and protect endangered primates worldwide from the violence of video games and reckless taxis. The Philadelphia Zoo also features rides and attractions (at additional costs), allowing revelers to twirl about the Amazon rainforest carousel, paddle the swan boats, or take a ride in the iconic Zooballoon, where, from the comfort of the skies, the bearded pig's questionable facial hair is only turning children’s tears into raindrops.
Staff Size: 2–10 people
Average Duration of Services: 30–60 minutes
Pro Tip: Be prepared to remove your shoes. Visitors should wear or bring socks to tour the Japanese House.
Handicap Accessible: No
Parking: Parking lot
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Feeding the koi fish in the pond.
Recommended Age Group: All Ages
I'm a first-timer. How do you get me ready for the experience?
Visitors should be prepared to remove their shoes to enter the Japanese House. Bring or wear socks, or we can provide peds.
What is the one feature of your business that you're most proud of?
Shofuso is the embodiment of friendship between Japan and Philadelphia from 1876 to present day.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
Maintaining the Japanese garden to the highest standards.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
We have the third-ranked Japanese garden in North America, according to the Journal of Japanese Gardening.
Entering their 85th season, the Harlem Globetrotters have entertained millions of parents, children, and general basketball admirers with a unique brand of athletic precision and showmanship. For their latest “4 Times the Fun” North American tour, the Globetrotters will add a new 4-point shot spots located 35 feet from the basket, which is 12 feet further than the official three-point line but several thousand miles closer than the prime meridian. See the arch-nemesis Generals try to keep up as the Harlem hardwood sorcerers evade gravity’s oppressive clutches and court clairvoyants distribute unassailable alley-oops. Youngsters can learn about the benefits of teamwork while laughing along with the jovial jocks as they perform classic routines of unconventional passing and sudden transmutations of water into confetti.