• Best Place to Set Tots Loose, Indoors: With its ample parking lot and even ampler variety of activity rooms -- from an Alice in Wonderland maze to a safety-first construction site and vintage carousel, Fairmount Park's Please Touch Museum is a no-brainer for the nursery-to-elementary-school set.
  • Best Place to Let Them Play Outdoors: On the edge of Old City and Chinatown, the recently revived Franklin Square Park has the city's coolest jungle gym, U.S. history-inspired putt-putt course, merry-go-round, balloon artists, and an excellent shack for burgers and shakes.
  • Best Toy Shop: The by-appointment-only shops of Pine Street's Antique Row are full of no-touching rules. The one exception: sweet little Happily Ever After, a boutique for classic games, books, dolls and so forth, manned by a couple of the city's foremost experts in fun.
  • Best Places to Teach them Science Without Seeming Like You're Teaching them Science: Logan Square's neighboring Academy of Natural Sciences, with its Butterfly Zone and dinosaur bones, and Franklin Institute, with its walk-through heart and unerring IMAX theater, are the perfect places to take wee Discovery Channel watchers and Harry Potter wannabes.
  • Best Place to Gross Out (big kids): Not everyone can stomach (ew!) the organs in jars and antique surgical instruments at the College of Physicians' creepily educational Mutter Museum. But even the most blasé teen will perk up when he comes face-to-face with "horned Steve" and a giant colon.
  • Best History Lesson: From Memorial Day through Labor Day, 11am to 4pm, Once Upon a Nation's colonial characters tell stories on park benches, organize kids into "military" musters, and answer questions in character -- all free of charge, throughout Independence Park and surrounding sites.
  • Best Spot to Reward Good Behavior: Front and Market Street's old-timey Franklin Fountain, with its enormous sundaes, classic ice cream flavors, and handmade candy, shows us that even in the olden days, obedient children reaped sweet rewards.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.