If you want to get your kids out for some quality time with a family-friendly day trip, the Philly area has no shortage of kid-focused destinations, whether that means a low-key outdoor adventure or a full-on amusement park. Here are the best.Less
Valley Forge is the place for an outdoor history lesson, thanks to its past as a winter encampment for the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. Set across 3,500 acres, the park features plenty of space for biking, wildlife-watching, and hiking — but check out the Mount Misery trail if you want to see some old ruins. Nearby: If the kids are hiked out but still want some nature, consider a trip to the Elmwood Park Zoo, about nine miles from the park.
Construction-obsessed kids are due for a trip to New Jersey’s Diggerland, the only construction-themed amusement park in the United States. There, your future craftsman can get hands-on experience with a variety of construction vehicles, all without having to fill out a W-2. Nearby: Go aquatic with a trip to Adventure Aquarium in Camden, which is on the way to (or from) Diggerland from Center City.
It’s tough to beat a Sesame Street-themed day trip for the kiddos. The Langhorne amusement park is open with COVID-19 precautions in place. Still, there are more than a dozen rides to check out, plus chances at sighting classic characters like Elmo and Cookie Monster. Nearby: Got a little artist in tow? The New Jersey Grounds for Sculpture, which is now open to the public and features tons of massive outdoor statues, is only a 15-minute drive away.
Parents of future pilots (or just aviation-obsessed kids), take note — this West Chester-based museum is a must-see. Here, there are more than 35 helicopter, drones, and autogryros on display indoors and out, all presented as a hands-on starting point to STEM education for youngsters. Masks and social distancing required. Nearby: Get outdoors at Treehouse World, a kid-friendly, treehouse-centric attraction just 10 minutes away from the helicopter museum.
To get in a whimsical outdoor experience, head to Delaware’s Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library. Youngsters can check out a three-acre fairytale garden known as the Enchanted Woods, which showcases magical landscapes, fairy houses, and other bewitching sights. Nearby: Head back into Pennsylvania for even more breathtaking horticulture at Longwood Gardens, seven miles north of Winterthur — or get in a little more nature about three miles away at Brandywine Creek State Park.
Want an epic wildlife experience all without leaving the comfort of your vehicle? Head over to Jersey for Six Flags’ Wild Safari Drive-Thru Adventure, which features some 1,200 animals, all of which can be seen from your car on its 350-acre preserve, which can take up to three hours to traverse (reservations required). Nearby: To get a completely different animal experience, check out the wolves and wolf dogs at Howling Woods Farm (by appointment only), about eight miles from Six Flags.
If you’re looking for an outdoorsy escape, Quakertown’s Nockamixon State Park has plenty to offer for kids of all ages, from hiking and biking to fishing and swimming. Young hikers would do well to stick to the park’s lake-centric trails, like Old Haycock Road, while older kids can hit more strenuous jaunts like Old Mill Trail. Nearby: For something a little more thrilling, it’s a half-hour ride to Dorney Park.
It doesn’t get much more family-friendly than this beloved Lancaster County amusement park, which opened in 1963. Featuring some 35 rides and attractions like the Merlin’s Mayhem roller coaster and the Wonderland Special train ride, Dutch Wonderland is a great stop for families with younger kids. COVID-19 protocols in place. Nearby: Give the kids a taste of the real Amish way of life with a tour at the Amish Village, about three miles from Dutch Wonderland.
For railroad lovers young and old, this classic Lancaster County destination offers authentic steam train rides through Amish Country that last about 45 minutes per round-trip. COVID-19 precautions are in place. Nearby: Still need to scratch that locomotive itch? The Choo Choo Barn, a 1,700-square-foot model train layout, is less than a mile away from Strasburg Rail Road.
Got a budding artist on your crew? At it since 1996, this Easton spot features about two dozen artsy, kid-friendly activities aimed at letting out your tyke’s creativity, from naming and wrapping their own Crayola crayon to playing a game of sidewalk chalk twister. COVID-19 precautions are in place. Nearby: If you’re looking for something a little more natural, Lost River Caverns — a natural limestone cavern that is open for tours — is in Hellertown, about 12 miles away.