It only made sense that if we were driving towards New York that we pass through Philly since it is literally the midpoint between WDC and NY. We also figured it would be a great way to continue the historical tie ins by visiting the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall for the kids. When would we get a chance to do all of this again like this?
Road trips are always cool, but when a road trip can take through a series of 6 or more states all in a few hours time...you can check them all off your list right? The kids loved that.
Travel Tips- So in my research I found out a few things:
- The Independence Visitor Center, the Liberty Bell Center, and Independence Hall were all within the the same area- making it easy to visit all at once
- The Liberty Bell was a free exhibit and did not require tickets to visit it- Woohoo!
- The Independence Hall Tour tickets were free at the Visitor Center but only if you got there early enough to reserve them (which we wouldn't be)
- But for $1.50/per person (a minimal cost) you could pre-order tickets and pick your tour date and time. So in planning and knowing that we would get to Philadelphia later in the afternoon I went on line here and picked the 4:15pm tour (2nd to last tour of that day) and bought our tickets to make sure we'd give ourselves sometime to get there and still make it.
The Liberty Bell
The Liberty Bell was surreal to see. You hear so much about it and what it symbolizes, but again to see it in person is always more impacting. It is much bigger than I had expected and there was a security guard who explained the story of how it cracked for the kids to hear and I love that they have it displayed in the middle of this room with Independence Hall in view.
Independence hall tour was once again surreal in that you are walking into a building that at one point housed one of the most important events that helped our founding fathers shape our nation. You can feel it in the air as you walked in.
The park ranger explained the story of this picture and how it depicts the Assembly room in which the actual Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were drafted and signed. Then he actually walked us into the that exact Assembly room. Can you see it?
Wow! Its just like the picture and the chair in the middle is the original chair George Washington used during that time. They also had Thomas Jefferson's original cane. I personally couldn't help but stare and take in the room to just imagine what it must have looked like with all of these men arguing and scrambling to get these historical moments done.
Also a couple of small blocks away from Independence Hall, we found the burial spot of Benjamin Franklin. The Christ Church cemetery is located two blocks away, and Ben Franklin's gravestone can be seen just on the other side of an iron gate on the south-east corner of the cemetery. Its simplicity and lack of grandeur was its beauty and spoke volumes to me of how simple of a man he must have held himself to be. He is buried with his wife and a his son who died at 4 years old from small pox.
The Rocky Steps
After all this American history intake, we had a some time to spare so we went off to look for the Philadelphia Art Museum which is the location of the famous "Rocky steps." And yes...we became the corny tourists and ran the stairs ourselves. Another check off the bucket-list for sure ;)
Driving on out of state highways...Hated It!!
I have to say that this following part of the road trip was the most frustrating of our trip for me. We were "supposed" to have a philly cheese steak dinner IN Philadelphia. However... because the highway system out there is designed the way it is (engineers are fired!) and because Jerry and the GPS system were not getting along so well that night, he missed the proper exit by 1/2 a mile, and we ended up unceremoniously leaving Philadelphia and ended up in New Jersey 5 miles later! Uugghh! Let's just say this was one of those things I wished would have been different but in looking back it has definitely made for some hysterical memories and its become part of the story of our trip.
Soo good-bye Philly... New York is next.
Thanks for stopping by,