The Insectarium

Located in the northeast section of the city, the Insectarium is a guaranteed gross-out experience — in a good way! Creepy crawly exhibitions include thousands of live and mounted insects, tons of interactive displays, a movie room and the horror movie-esque Roach Kitchen; a life size room crawling with swarms of the icky pests. A seven foot plexiglas wall is still too close for comfort. Hands-on displays let fearless children tickle a live Madagascar hissing roach which shoots out air when danger is near. You’ll understand how he feels.

Contact number: (215) 338-3000

Location: 8046 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19136

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The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology

Penn’s archaeological and anthropological collection is world renowned, and with good reason. An outstanding schedule of family programming includes story telling, music, dance, and theater performances from around the globe. The children will be fascinated by the ancient Egyptian mummies, including a mummified cat from the second century B.C.

Contact number: (215) 898-4001

Location: 3260 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147

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The Philadelphia Museum of Art

This world class collection of Renaissance, American, Impressionist, and Modern art doesn’t leave kids out of the picture. On Sundays, the museum offers a full schedule of activities for little ones, including drawing classes, readings, gallery tours, and a “pay what you wish” policy (that’s more for the parents). There are even tours for 3 to 5 year olds, and drawing workshops for the whole family. A recent Japanese Children’s Day celebration featured fun crafts and a dance performance.

Contact number: (215) 763-8100

Location: 00 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19130

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Please Touch Museum

The nation’s first museum for ages 7 and younger set includes plenty of interactive play that just happens to be educational. Your younger children will love the Supermarket, where they can pretend to shop for groceries, or stock shelves. An area devoted to Maurice Sendak’s art brings the pages of Where the Wild Things Are to life. There is a regular schedule of crafts and fun activities, so check online before you visit. A daily show takes place at the Playhouse at 11am and 1pm. The museum moved to Memorial Hall in Fairmount Park and officially opened on October 18, 2008.

Contact number: (215) 581-3181

Location: 4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia, PA 19131

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Philadelphia Doll Museum

With an emphasis on black dolls, this collection showcases more than 300 dolls that portray the history of dolls of color. Besides African, European, and American Folk Art dolls, your children will see other varieties including Barbie, Cabbage Patch, rag dolls, and action dolls that move and speak. There’s even some 60s memorabilia — although chances are, the kids won’t recognize Diahann Carroll and Flip Wilson.

Contact number: (215) 787-0220

Location: 2253 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19132

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National Liberty Museum

This unassuming storefront on Chestnut Street, located steps away from Independence National Historic Park is devoted to some small and large acts of courage that inspire us all. Highlights include a recreation of Anne Frank’s hiding place, a visit with Nelson Mandela in prison, and a striking monument to the heroes of 9/11. Colorful art glass sculptures make the point that liberty is as fragile as glass, a vivid statement that starts with the museum’s centerpiece, the fiery Flame of Liberty by Dale Chihuly.

Contact number: (215) 925-2800

Location: 321 Chestnut Street , Philadelphia, PA 19106

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Academy of Natural Science

Dem bones, dem bones, dem big bones. That’s part of what you’ll see at this venerable natural science museum, home to more than a dozen dinosaur skeletons, including the dreaded T-Rex. A tropical butterfly exhibition and ample specimens of geology and gems round out an impressive collection. In the Outside-In hands-on nature center, children can touch a hissing Madagascar cockroach or a snake, crawl through a tree trunk and examine fossils under a microscope.

Contact number: (215) 299-1000

Location: 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19103

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Mütter Museum

Although not for the squeamish, the Mütter Museum is a big hit with children interested in medicine and the human body, thanks to its macabre collection of more than 20,000 medical artifacts and oddities. This chronicle of medical history at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia is based on Dr. Thomas Mütter’s 19th century array of bones and specimens, including President Grover Cleveland’s jawbone, Chief Justice John Marshall’s gallstones and John Wilkes Booth’s thorax. Fetuses and organs float in viscous liquid, and a nearby wall of skulls used in medical research is especially creepy.

Contact number: (215) 563-3737

Location: 19 South 22nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

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Franklin Institute Science Museum

The children will love this hands-on science wonderland, a place where kids are invited to touch, jump, run, ride, and climb while they discover the wonders of science. Start with a visit to the Science Center with its three floors of interactive exhibits including KidScience, an exhibit which takes children ages 5 to 8 on a journey across The Island of the Elements. Space Command lets kids locate their houses using a satellite home-tracking device. And walking through the hugely popular Giant Heart gives you and your children the chance to actually climb through an oversized ticker. There’s also an IMAX theater and a planetarium.

Contact number: (215) 448-1200

Location: 222 North 20th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

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National Constitution Center

The world’s only museum dedicated to the U.S. constitution brings this amazing document to life through high-tech exhibits, artifacts, and interactive displays. An upbeat show in the Kimmel Theater uses music, a live actor and 360 degree multimedia images to tell the constitution’s story. The children are involved in the process along the way, from donning judicial robes and taking a seat on the Supreme Court to voting for president and even taking the presidential oath of office. They can even email their elected officials with questions and comments.

Contact number: (215) 409-6700

Location: 525 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Learn more here.