After every trip, I always intend, but inevitably forget, to document what we've done. Mostly because before I travel, I do a ton of research and I always look for first hand accounts of what happened, what worked, and what didn't.
Our stop in Philadelphia wasn't an ordinary trip because we were visiting my in-laws, which meant we had a place to stay and most meals were covered. Also, our trip was divided. We arrived in Philly on a Saturday night, left via Amtrak to Washington, D.C. on Monday morning, returning to Philly on Wednesday afternoon, where we stayed until flying home on Friday afternoon. Flying on the Friday before Easter, during Spring Break, was not one of my wisest decisions. The airport was a hot mess.
Our first full day was spent at The Franklin Institute (which I want to call The Edison Museum, thanks to They Might Be Giants and my confused mind). Everyone talks about the giant heart model, but the thing is dated, plus, for someone who can feel claustrophobic, it was a freak out. The kids liked The Sports Challenge on the third floor, mostly because it was hands on and active. They kicked soccer balls, surfed, climbed a rock wall, jumped, threw a baseball, raced wheelchairs, and more.
Another favorite exhibit was Sir Isaac's Loft, which had more hands on science fun. We saw an IMAX movie too - Flying Monsters - which I'd never experienced before. It was fine, the kids enjoyed it, but it didn't make or break the visit.
Back from D.C., we spent a day doing the touristy thing. We walked Old City, stopping in Elfreth's Alley, Brave New Worlds comics (comics for the flight home), Christ Church (while killing time waiting for the comic store to open), and the surrounding neighborhood. We parked right in front of Paddy's Pub, which made me laugh because I love It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The Old City Paddy's isn't the one in the show (which supposedly would be located in South Philly, around 3rd and Dickinson), but that doesn't stop the tie in. They've got shirts for sale, noting that It's Always Sunny at Paddy's. Awesome.
We drove over to Geno's Steaks for lunch, which we picked over Pat's because at that particular time, Geno's had tables in the sun, and we were cold. After all the hype I've heard about real Philly cheesesteaks, this totally lived up. It was awesome. We bought one for the kids to split, especially because Rocket is a vegetarian when convenient for him, but both kids chowed down. They could have eaten more. Wiz is the way to go.
We went to Federal Donuts but didn't buy anything. The fancy donuts - actually what they call them - are only made early morning and sell out by 10 a.m. They have a few plain types for the rest of the day and one with lavender looked the best, but the flavors were too complex for kids, so we left, saving dessert for Capogiro, a gelato place near Penn where the girl scooping corrected my pronunciation a few times. I did not take a foreign language at an Ivy League school and I was punished for it.
We stopped at Reading Terminal Market at precisely the worst time: lunch. We had eaten, and we tried to walk around, but it was extremely crowded. It would have been a better stop in the morning, for coffee and pastries, or late afternoon, but the lunch rush was hard to fight. We ducked into Sweet as Fudge, a little Amish candy shop, which was fun. The kids picked out candies (bubble gum flecks for Clover and gummy fruit for Rocket), plus chocolate covered gummy bears for me, gummy carrots for Easter, and a small bag of chocolate and toffee pretzels, mostly because I had a grad school roommate from New Jersey who would say that chocolate covered pretzels were a "delicacy" in New Jersey. They must be a delicacy in Philly too because a lot of shops sold them.
The remainder of our day and some of the next was spent at The University of Pennsylvania. We bought shirts, climbed the Split Button, took myriad pictures of the Love statue, abused the Love statue, went to the turtle filled biopond, and walked around.