Wednesday, August 15, 2012

1st day in Philadelphia

In front of the Betsy Ross house
 The day after our trip to Valley Forge we decided to just have a pool day-she LOVES to swim! So the day after I took her into Philadelphia. As soon as we drove into the big city, I thought what was I thinking taking my rambunctious toddler into a big city by myself!? And there were times that it was difficult, I definitely had to assess what was age appropriate for her. I am so glad I took her though, she had a ball and I learned a lot about traveling with a little one. It made me reflect on one of my favorite words 'wanderlust' it has the most absolutely perfect definition and evokes such strong sentiments....I think there should be a similar word for 'traveling with a toddler'. It will be one word that conjures up feelings of anxiety, frustration, impatience, and the realization that the desire to travel is so strong that it is completely worth dealing with the difficult aspects of sightseeing with a small child.'

Independence Hall-to the right the elusive Liberty Bell
 I was so excited to visit Philadelphia because SEEING THE LIBERTY BELL has been on my life list for years! I tried to see it about 5 years ago when I was in Philadelphia visiting a friend but there was a snow storm and it ended up being too late in the day to visit any sites. It occurred to me that had I seen the Liberty Bell on that trip 4 years ago, I probably wouldn't not have gone on this trip. I was so excited to finally get a chance to see it, BUT as soon as I saw the line around the building I knew there was no way I could keep my little one contained long enough to withstand the long wait. I tried later that day hoping she would be tired enough-no dice-no big deal we would be back in Pittsburgh in a few days.

I LOVED seeing these guys walking around town-just heading towards their next destination  I do not typically visit 'visitor centers' but I'm finding that they are a great place to use a hub, i.e. they have clean bathrooms, food, water, obviously if you have questions people are available. I do not usually like to be ultra touristy but there's traveling and then there's traveling with a 2 year old, so it's a whole new ball game and I've had to change my approach.

A historical cemetery is probably the worst place to take a small child-now I know.  

Above B Franklin's gravestone- I really liked what it said.

Benjamin Franklin's gravestone

  The first thing we did was visit the grave of Ben Franklin, it was only $2 to enter the graveyard which is reasonable enough. I just wanted to get a picture and see it. We did not stay long there, as it turns out it is not an appropriate place to take a toddler. She wanted to run around and did not understand why I would not let her.

What is believed to be the house Betsy Ross lived in.

The impostor.

The reader.
Then we went to the Betsy Ross house-the woman who it credited with having created the American Flag   which was only $5 for me and free for toddlers-it was really interesting to see, personally I just enjoyed the architecture of the house and my baby enjoyed the Betsy Ross impostor who was well playing the part. Outside of the house there was a courtyard with one of the many free story tellers around the city. It was such a nice bonus and certainly wonderful for the kids though I also saw many adults sitting around the story tellers as well, they are prepared for several age groups and they each handed out a small gift to each child, usually a little flag.

    Also one of these story tellers tipped me off to Franklin Square Park which was not too far away and it was a lovely little park where we got ice cream, played in the playground, and we rode the carousel-which she completely loved! They also had mini golf which looked like fun but was certainly out of the question for us.

    Our last item for the day was to take a tour of Independence Hall where the constitution was signed (tickets are free but you have to get them in advance either online or at the visitor center) after waiting in a total of 3 different lines with a very tired, antsy, hungry child-(for those of you who do not have children waiting in a line is unimaginably exhausting!) Then it was our turn to go in, which I thought it would be a casual tour where you could go at your own pace, nope- we were shuffeled into a holding cell with rows of chairs. Instantly I knew this was not going to go well, we hesitantly sat down in the back row after I had to schlub the stroller inside down stairs and find a place for it that was out of the way. We sat down and a guide started talking...and so did my daughter, she was not being bad by any means, she just likes to chat, and she's usually pretty loud-and by that I just mean too loud in a room filled with 100 people all focused on one person speaking- every second that went by I was anticipating a major melt down  and could only pray for this guy to shut up! I would have been very interested to see what he had to say under normal conditions but I knew it was time to get out before we had a very embarrassing moment to present itself, so I decided we would sneak out...yes, sneak out, with a little girl talking loudly while she's on one hip, a bag on the other and trying to get the stroller out of this awkward space...and then the speaker addressed the issue and ultimately had to interrupt his spiel to help me with the doors and stroller . One thing about having a child, there's no such thing any longer as 'flying under the radar'- I can feel all eyes on me all the time! After that it was time to go- it was a trying day but I am so glad I took her, we did have fun as well-she just wants to do what she wants to do...and can I totally empathize-the ONLY difference is that when I don't get my way I do not generally scream bloody murder and hurl myself onto the ground.....not in public anyhow.
Little girl in a big city and too much trouble to get into.


  1. Last line--funny! It is great to hear about, and be reminded of, the joys and trials of traveling with a small child. You describe the day in delightful details, keep writing, your stories are wonderful to read.

    1. Thank you so much for the beautiful comment- you traveled a lot with nate to florida, remind me to ask you if he had any tsunami like tantrums!

  2. Thanks for the insight. Sounds like it was a good day but some trying times and like you said, we all like to get our own way, the difference is children express themselves differently when they don't get theirs! Good for you for still going and i'm sure over time you will get used to what you can and can't do. I do remember once going somewhere and someone had brought their child and this elderly gentleman got in such a mood because he couldn't hear the guide so well. It's not fair on the parent or child, children can't be locked away!

    1. I know, and shamefully I used to be that person who quickly got irritated with children in public but now I only sympathize...

  3. Lol that last photo summed it up so well.

    1. It really did. LOL!! Really a historical city is not the best travel destination for a 2 year old but I wanted to go and she did get to do some fun stuff that was age appropriate like riding the carousel, but ultimately i just think it's so good for her brain to see different things, smells, talk to new people-I think it all really makes a difference.


I'd really love to hear your thoughts! Comments will post after moderation.

You might also like....