This post finishes up our road trip to Philadelphia, PA during our family vacation to Hershey and starts on a rather somber note at the Christ Church Burial Ground. Since they closed the gate an hour earlier than we expected, we had a quick 5 minutes to fit in this rather important stop – which was not enough to pay homage to the folks who are buried here. This is a Colonial and Revolution-era graveyard, with 1,400 markers on two acres in the heart of historic Philadelphia and belongs to Christ Church. Check out Philly Part 2 for some beautiful photos of the church and of course, more history!
“Christ Church Burial Ground is most famous as the final resting place of Benjamin Franklin, a man who captured the spirit of his age and of the city. Franklin’s genius touched nearly every aspect of Philadelphia life and produced many achievements. Franklin had an international reputation as a scientist because of his pioneering study of electricity.” – READ MORE on the photo of the plaque below.
“The Christ Church Burial Ground serves as the final resting place for five signers of the Declaration of Independence, including Benjamin Franklin.” – READ MORE about a guided tour of the Christ Church Burial Ground here.
“The cemetery belongs to Christ Church, the Episcopal church founded in 1695 and place of worship for many of the famous Revolutionary War participants, including George Washington. The burial ground is located at 5th and Arch Streets, across from the Visitors Center and National Constitution Center. The Burial Ground was started in 1719, and it is still an active cemetery. The Burial Ground is open to the public for a small fee, weather permitting; about 100,000 tourists visit each year. When the Burial Ground is closed, one can still view Benjamin Franklin’s gravesite from the sidewalk at the corner of 5th and Arch through a set of iron rails. The iron rails in the brick wall were added for public viewing at the request of Franklin’s descendants in 1858. Leaving pennies on Franklin’s grave is an old Philadelphia tradition.” – READ MORE about Christ Church Burial Ground
National Constitution Center
Next stop was just down the block and according to the gentleman at the Independence Visitor Center, a stop at the National Constitution Center made the price of the Historic Philadelphia Passes well worth the money. If you love the Constitution (and who doesn’t) and want to absorb the wealth of information they share on the subject, I’d suggest spending three or four hours here. We were near closing time when we arrived and could only eek out about 45 minutes, which is nowhere near enough to see all of the elements. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to visit Signers’ Hall, where we could “walk among 42 life-sized bronze statues of the Founding Fathers” (photo at left from constitutioncenter.org). This is one of the museum’s most iconic attractions and I’m sure the kiddos would have loved that part. Next time!
“The National Constitution Center is the first and only museum dedicated to the U.S. Constitution. Through must-see exhibits, timely America’s Town Hall programs, and the engaging educational resources, we inspire active citizenship and bring the Constitution to life for visitors of all ages.” – READ MORE about the National Constitution Center
The goal of this place is to get you to see for yourself why the U.S. Constitution is as important today as it was over 200 years ago. Each of the Articles of the Constitution are printed on panels and they all hang around the perimeter of a circle with more information beneath to read and ponder. In the center are lots of interactive activities, so anyone interested in nearly any period in American history would love this place and I’d highly recommend a visit.
Liberty Bell Center
Not far away was Liberty Bell Center, which houses the State House bell (now known as the Liberty Bell). The Center also includes a number of displays about the Bell’s history and how it is viewed as a symbol of our freedoms as Americans. Abolitionists, women’s suffrage advocates and Civil Rights leaders all took inspiration from the words inscribed: “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof.”
“From Signal to Symbol. The State House bell, now known as the Liberty Bell, rang in the tower of the Pennsylvania State House. Today, we call that building Independence Hall. Speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly Isaac Norris first ordered a bell for the bell tower in 1751 from the Whitechapel Foundry in London. That bell cracked on the first test ring. Local metalworkers John Pass and John Stow melted down that bell and cast a new one right here in Philadelphia. It’s this bell that would ring to call lawmakers to their meetings and the townspeople together to hear the reading of the news. It’s not until the 1830’s that the old State House bell would begin to take on significance as a symbol of liberty. Listen to the story of the Liberty Bell in this audio podcast.” – READ MORE about the Liberty Bell
Some inspirational quotes are displayed in a beautiful and unique way. The Center was quite crowded and it was difficult to catch a photo of the Bell without people swarming and taking photos of their own, but we shuffled through the Center, saw the Bell and Independence Hall through the window behind and emerged, just a little more humble having spent a wonderful day immersed in the history of our country.
We quick grabbed the Phlash Bus one more time before it shut down for the day to venture to Penn’s Landing. – “A hub of family-friendly activity throughout the year”. It was a wonderful place to unwind after all that history! With great views of the Delaware River and plenty of things for the kids to stay occupied, this would be a great place to come back and spend the afternoon.
“Open daily through early September, the Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest creates an outdoor entertainment haven, encompassing a roller rink, a boathouse-styled lodge, a play area for kids, food and drink options and events throughout the season. Lace up your skates and head out for some fun before unwinding with a drink and delicious bite to eat after working up an appetite.” – READ MORE about fun stuff to do at Penn’s Landing
After a short while on the Landing, we decided it was time for some dinner and remembered a place we passed earlier called the Revolution House. “At the corner of 2nd and Market Street in Philadelphia’s historic Old City district stands a multi-story bar/restaurant with food and drink that will provide you the strength for any revolution.” It had a great variety suitable for our eightsome and I was ready for my first official Philly cheesesteak. Our son-in-law got his second, since he broke down earlier when we passed a sign and he couldn’t resist (Campo’s, pictured below).
Everything was delicious and after sitting for a spell, we realized we were all exhausted! Time to head back to Hershey. Luckily the traffic was a piece of cake and we all arrived home safe and sound in record time, but not before one of our cars (not ours) stopped at the Rocky Steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Next up: Dutch Wonderland