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Top Ten Attractions in the Greater Philadelphia Area

Part 1: Family Fun, Historic Places, Museums

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Whether you're a resident of the Philadelphia area or a visitor to the city where America began, there is so much to see and do in the Greater Philadelphia area that it's hard to come up with a top ten list of Philadelphia area attractions.

In order to present the most diverse selection of attractions possible we've decided to break this list into five major categories and give you our top two choices in each.

Our list of the top ten attractions in Philadelphia includes the following categories: family fun places, historic places, museums, natural settings, and places to shop. At the end of the article we've included a link to a page that provides information about the official websites of the various places included in our list.

Family Fun

Philadelphia Zoo
3400 West Girard Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19104-1196 USA
(215) 243-1100

Located in Fairmount Park and easily accessible from the Schuylkill Expressway, the Philadelphia Zoo is America's first zoo. It was opened to the public on July 1, 1874. In recent years the zoo has been undergoing major construction in an effort to house its animals in more natural settings. The PECO Primate Reserve which opened in 1999 is an excellent example of this effort to present the zoo's animals in a more respectful manner.

Sesame Place
100 Sesame Rd
Langhorne, PA 19047
(215) 752-7070

America's only theme park based on "Sesame Street" celebrated its 20th Birthday Bash in 2000. This unique family park features 15 water attractions, the Vapor Trail roller coaster, a musical parade and plenty of opportunities to rub shoulders with Elmo, Cookie Monster, and other Sesame Street characters. Arriving May 12, 2001 when Sesame Place officially re-opens for the 2001 season will be the brand new show Elmo's World - Live, based on the popular Elmo's World segment as seen on Sesame Street. Season passes are available for $89.95.

Historic Places

Independence National Historical Park
Visitor Center
3rd and Chestnut Streets
Philadelphia, PA
(215) 597-8974

Our nation began in Philadelphia when on July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was ratified by members of the Second Continental Congress. Philadelphia is home to some of the most historic buildings and symbols of our liberty. In Independence National Historical Park you can tour Independence Hall, view the Liberty Bell, explore Franklin Court - the site of the home of Benjamin Franklin and visit the house where Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag.

Valley Forge National Historic Park
Visitor Center
Rt. 23 and North Gulph Rd.
Valley Forge, PA 19482
(610) 783-1077

Valley Forge National Historical Park consists of numerous farmsteads north and south of the Schuylkill River that served as the 1777-1778 winter encampment for General Washington's troops. Various parcels of land were obtained by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, creating Pennsylvania's first state park in 1893. In 1976, the park was transferred to the National Park Service, which expanded its parklands to include more of the encampment grounds. There are approximately one dozen encampment buildings in the park as well as numerous recreations of original cabins. A visit to Valley Forge can take as little as a few hours up to a full day depending on how much of the park you wish to see. You should be sure to bring a camera, since the views of the historic buildings and Pennsylvania countryside offer many photo opportunities.

Museums

Franklin Institute and Science Museum
222 North 20th Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103
(215) 448 -1200

Founded on February 5, 1824 and opened to the public on January 1, 1934, the Franklin Institute's original purpose was to honor Ben Franklin and advance the usefulness of his inventions. It has long since expanded to become one of the nation's premier science museums. The Museum's hands-on approach to science and technology, combined with the Fels Planetarium, make the Institute a popular spot. The Mandell Center, Tuttleman IMAX Theater, and Musser Theater have added greatly to the size and appeal of The Franklin Institute. The new exhibits, exciting Omnimax films, and interactive presentations continue the Institute's long tradition of making science and technology fun.

Philadelphia Museum of Art
26th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19130
(215) 763-8100

Rising majestically at the end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Philadelphia Museum of Art stands among the great art institutions of the world. In the almost 125 years since its founding, the museum has grown far beyond the goals originally set for it. Today the Museum houses over 300,000 works of art encompassing some of the greatest achievements of human creativity, and offers a wealth of exhibitions and education programs for the public of all ages.

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