I am so overwhelmed by the response that our blog post on the Mural Mile in Philadelphia received from travelers and travel bloggers. Some of the non-US residents as well as travelers who have never been were surprised to learn of the city's rich street culture. I suppose most people think of Historic Philadelphia, the Old City neighborhood, with 18th century structures, cobblestones and venue for significant events. After all, Philadelphia is coined the birthplace of American Democracy.
Historic Philadelphia is home to the Independence Hall, which is the very place where the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were both signed. I had the opportunity to learn more about these pivotal moments in American history when I chaperoned my daughter's fourth grade class field trip two years ago.
On the first floor are the Entrance Hall, where we were initially gathered for introductions and given some ground rules, the Assembly Room, the Supreme Court Room and the Tower Stair Hall. In the Assembly Room, I particularly loved how involved the children were in the discussions. From the Second Continental Congress, which they had just learned prior to the trip, to Abraham Lincoln's body laying in repose in the room after his assassination, to the minute details like the fireplace, the arrangement of the tables and chairs, the windows, and the Rising Sun Armchair. The adjacent courtroom drew as much intrigued as the Assembly Room, but I felt a sense of pride beamed from the children as our guide narrated how a group of Pennsylvania militiamen stormed the room and tore down King George III's coat of arms.
The timing of our visit was less than perfect, at least for me, as the second floor was closed for some maintenance work. Our guide did talk about the different rooms on the floor above us like the Long Gallery, the Committee of Assembly Chamber and the Governor's Council Chamber; but no matter how vivid the descriptions were, the children weren't as engaged without the visuals.
The Independence Hall has more tidbits of information to share other than the foundations of American government. The design, for one, is a great and no less significant talking point. It would be remiss of any guide not to talk about it. Though the audience were mostly 10- and 11-year-olds, our guide did discuss the Independence Hall's Georgian style. He implored the children (and the grown-ups) to observe the sense of proportion, balance and symmetry of the building.
The Independence Hall is open for visitors all year long, except Christmas Day, for FREE. Bear in mind that timed tickets are required for entry to control the volume of visitors and keep occupancy on the safe side. You can get on-the-day tickets at the Independence Visitor Center, which opens at 8:30 a.m. Arrive early during the peak seasons or if you're visiting with a large group as tickets tend to run out by 1:00 p.m., sometimes even before noon. I highly recommend not running on any ticketing drama and purchase tickets online or by phone for $1.50 to guarantee your timed entry. Having a set schedule for your Independence Hall tour beforehand will also help you plan the rest of your Philadelphia itinerary.
Carol is one of the founders of get there | get lost. She is a New Jersey-based content producer and social media specialist, and a digital nomad wannabe. With regards to travel, she writes mostly about getaways with her family, and is a strong advocate of the “experience over things” mantra. Follow her everyday adventures @fcbsantiago.