The Philadelphia big bus pass. A card which gives you access to a hop on hop off tour bus. Free entry to lots of sites of interest and discounts at other places and eateries.
- The Liberty Bell Center. A must-see. It was nice.
- Christ Church Burial Ground. Tossed our pennies on Ben Franklin’s grave; I guess it’s supposed to be good luck or something.
- Philadelphia Museum of Art . I am by no means an art scholar or connoisseur. I do have some favorite works and artists from various eras. This museum gave me thrills and an emotional high. It contains over 200,000 works from all over the world. Not just pictures, but also statuary, furniture, and objects of all kinds. I really like the weapons rooms—appeals to the romance author in me. I am not impressed by all the Rocky movie references (Tsteps? They have a statue of him at the bottom and dozens of tourists posing with their arms in the air at the top), but the museum is beautiful, huge, inspiring, soothing, educational.
- Eastern State Penitentiary. Known for its gothic architecture and strict discipline, it was the world’s first true penitentiary, designed to inspire true penitence in the prisoners. In 1829, it was a step up from jail norms and was the most expensive prison of it’s time. I guess it was partly the weather (cold and cloudy) but I was depressed by its grimness. (Can’t imagine how it was to live there for two or three years.) You get earphones and a player with voices of a narrator and some actual inmates to tour at your own pace. The cells are so small and dismal. The people who created it had such righteous intentions but it just seems horrible now. Even some of their contemporaries criticized the principles of solitude and silence. I bet these memories may help me with descriptions and/or atmosphere in my writing someday.
- Franklin Institute – A huge statue of Ben Franklin seated in a chair sits out front. The museum claims to be one of the top 100 places to take your family.” It has so many activities for adults and kids alike to participate in. It’s definitely a hands-on kind of place. The electricity room was a favorite display, of course, where they could absorb a charge and shock one another. (Favorite place for many judging by the squeals and laughter.) But mine and their favorite of all was the planetarium show. There’s also the Giant Walk-through Heart, the Train Factory, a Flight simulator, and an IMAX theater for a little extra money.
- City Hall Observation Deck. I felt like I was on top of the world! I usually don’t ‘do’ heights. But this was worth the tiny, ratchety, slow elevator ride to get 500 and some feet above the city and walk the deck. You see the city laid out in William Penn’s symmetrical plan, teeming with life and movement, modern architecture mixing with the historical. View from the top.