Schuylkill Nature Center

Situated on 400-acres — the largest privately owned green space in the city limits- the Schuylkill Nature Center offers great programming for curious naturalists-to-be and their parents. For instance, every third Thursday from 1:30pm to 3pm, Nature Tots introduces 2 to 4 year-olds to outdoor adventure through stories, songs and crafts. A range of hiking trails — some as short as 1/4 mile — wind through wetlands, meadows, and forests. The colorful Discovery Center is the hands on place to learn about honeybees, insects, and birdcalls. There’s even a bird blind overlooking courtyard feeders.

Contact number: (215) 482-7200

Location: 8480 Hagys Mill Road, Philadelphia, PA 19128

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Morris Arboretum

This 92-acre horticulture display garden features a spectacular collection of mature trees in a Victorian landscape. You’ll love the roses, gorgeous perennial gardens, and graceful fernery; the children will adore the swan pond, wildflower meadows, and the viewing platform high in the canopy of a redwood grove. Don’t miss the Garden Railway, model trains on a quarter mile track in a miniature world of detailed historic buildings and landscape.

Contact number: (215) 247-5777

Location: 100 Northwestern Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118

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Philadelphia Zoo

America’s first zoo gives you and the children the chance to go on safari in the big city. For the little ones, the children’s zoo offers animals to pet, ponies to ride ($5) and a tree house for climbing. Wowing exhibits include Big Cat Falls, a lush landscape in which a dozen endangered cats prowl, including the occasional baby puma or snow leopard cub. The dimly lit reptile house can be a bit spooky for sensitive tykes, but the chance to see a gator, croc or viper up close is very cool. The Rock and Roar concert series entertains every other Tuesday at 11am during the summer. For an extra $5, take a camel ride or a paddle on a swan boat along Bird Lake.

Contact number: (215) 243-1100

Location: 3400 West Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19104

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John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum

This 1,000-acre preserve, located just one mile from the Philadelphia airport, is a great place to get away from the high tech world with your children. The refuge is a way station for more than 300 species of birds (including bald eagles), along with fox, deer, muskrat, turtles, fish, frogs, and swaths of beautiful wildflowers. Established to protect the last 200-acres of freshwater tidal marsh in Pennsylvania, it’s a terrific place for a walk along shady, well-maintained trails. There are exhibits on wetlands and local history at the visitor center and guided walks on weekends.

Contact number: (215) 365-3118

Location: 8601 Lindbergh Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19153

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Fairmount Park

The world’s largest urban park, Fairmount Park sprawls more than 4,400 leafy acres, with extensive hiking, walking, and biking trails, the city’s first art museum, Memorial Hall, and the soon-to-be home of the Please Touch Museum. Take the children to feed the ducks in Valley Green, do some trout fishing (with a license) in Wissahickon Creek or mountain bike along scenic Forbidden Drive. Tricycles are better suited to West River Drive, which is closed to car traffic weekends from April through September. If you really want to impress the kids, don’t miss the Whispering Benches that flank Memorial Hall, two serpentine benches which magically conduct sound from one end to the other, even at the level of a whisper.

Contact number: (215) 683-0200

Location: 4231 North Concourse Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19131

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Bartram Gardens

Follow in the footsteps of early visitors George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson to America’s oldest botanical garden, a 45-acre horticultural gem not far from downtown. This National Historic Landmark overlooks the Schuylkill River and includes the 18th century home, barn and farm buildings of naturalist, botanist, and explorer John Bartram. The children will have fun going on a treasure hunt for the oldest living Gingko tree, or spying the different buildings that mark the Philadelphia skyline which you’ll see from the riverside meadow trail.

Contact number: (215) 729-5281

Location: 54th Street and Lindbergh Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19143

Learn more here.