The Please Touch Museum at Memorial Hall
Since 1976, Please Touch Museum has been the Children’s Museum of Philadelphia. Over three decades and more than two million visitors later, Please Touch Museum has grown into one of the nation’s premier children’s museums by becoming experts in play. The mission of the museum is to enrich the lives of children by creating learning opportunities through play, laying the foundation for a lifetime of hands-on learning and cultural awareness.
Located in historic Memorial Hall – a National Historic Landmark built in 1876 for the Centennial Exhibition celebrating the country’s 100th birthday – the Please Touch Museum aims to bring together the past, present and future through six interactive exhibit zones across 157,000 square feet, including four areas specifically designed for children 3 and younger.
Kids and their grown-ups will also delight in riding the meticulously restored 1908 Woodside Park Dentzel Carousel, originally built in Philadelphia and after more than 40 years in storage, returned to its hometown in its own 9,000 square-foot glass pavilion on the east side of Memorial Hall.
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The city’s award-winning children’s museum is fun-filled, totally hands-on, and so delightful that adults are entertained, too. Each nook and cranny has a different theme — from the fantastic to the practical. In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, kids can play croquet with the Queen and sip tea with the Mad Hatter.
Kids can take the wheel of a real bus and sail a boat on a mini-Delaware River; in “Nature’s Pond,” the youngest visitors (age 3 and under) can discover animals nestled among high grass and a lily pond, or enjoy stories and nursery rhymes in “Fairytale Garden.” Please Touch is also a first live theater experience for young children — Please Touch Playhouse performances are original and interactive and take place daily!
One of the lasting museums from the tourist upgrade of Philadelphia that coincided with the 1976 Bicentennial celebration, Please Touch Museum® filled a gap in the city’s cultural scene. Other museums in the area certainly have sections for children, but Please Touch Museum’s new home not only offers four toddler areas, but also exciting exhibit components for older siblings (for ages 7 and up) including the “Centennial Exploration” exhibit, exploring the history of Memorial Hall and the 1876 Centennial Exhibition.
Please Touch Museum tends to be busier on rainy days. You may want to schedule your visit on fair weather days. Mornings are also a busy time with most school groups visiting during this time. Afternoons are a great time to visit the museum as well as Mondays when groups are not scheduled.
The museum has a full schedule of craft activities and music, dance and storytelling performances, which are entertaining for both kids and adults.
Great Kids’ Stuff
In The Supermarket, kids take control: They can stock the shelves, load their cart and ring up the order.