Philadelphia surprised us with one of the best art museums in the country. The Philadelphia Museum of Art building itself is impressive: located in Fairmont Park (not downtown), the historic building towers over the adjacent Spring Garden neighborhood. While planning a Philly trip with kids, families will want to start out by running up the imposing museum steps a la Rocky (the movie was filmed here). I hear many visitors come only for this, which is ridiculous: the museum houses over 2,000 years of art ranging from sculpture and photography to painting and tapestry.
We started on the 1st floor to hit the biggies before the kids faded: here, you’ll find van Gogh’s Sunflowers and several works by Picasso in the European Art galleries. In the American Art gallery, Winslow Homer is the biggest draw (no pun intended!) but we ended up spending a great deal of time here looking at the various contemporary art pieces and 20th century art. We found this section of the museum to be particularly kid-friendly.
Save the upstairs for after you’ve seen what you want to see as a parent, because once kids get into the Arms and Armor wing, you may never leave. Honestly, I was fascinated, too. This impressive gallery features full knight armor, knights on horseback, armor from just about every period, and weaponry of all kinds. Our kids played a game of picking out what they’d want for battle during various periods of European and Asian history (a made-up game of their own), which took the better part of an hour. When you finally pull the kids away, the Asian Art wing waits, and an impressive section of early European Art featuring full rooms from various periods (we liked the English drawing room).
Date last visited:
Distance from the interstate:
A few seconds from I-95.
Tickets are $20 for adults, $14 for youth (13-17) and free for kids 12 and under.
There is a museum cafe, located at the bottom level, as well as Granite Hill, a critically-acclaimed restaurant. Outside the museum, Fairmont Park offers space for picnics, and food trucks are often in the vicinity (though at the time of our visit, we only saw ice cream trucks).
Hours of operation:
Open Tuesday through Sunday 10 am to 5 pm. Late hours Wednesday and Friday nights (until 8:45 pm, with ‘pay what you wish’ starting after 5 pm).
The museum is located at 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
As I disclose whenever applicable, our visit to the museum was complimentary, for the purpose of review. Without complimentary entry, we wouldn’t be able to bring as many reviews to Pit Stops for Kids.