The Colonial Kids' Quest to help Colonial Philadelphia personality Phineas Bell find his copy of the Declaration of Independence begins Saturday at the Independence Living Center.

Transported back in time, families can try a one-hour detective route to various historic sites searching for the clues that will help them find and preserve the Philadelphia treasure, to be read by Colonel Nixon publicly for the first time on July 8, 1776.

Along the way, junior detectives will be challenged to find Bell's runaway dog, Freedom, and will meet characters such as Hannah Lee and her puppet frog Francois; Cuban Cook Isabel from City Tavern with her pet goose, Graciela; and Sister Elizabeth, a Quaker woman with her pet mouse Nibbles, along with Sansom the Printer and his cat Broadside.

Beginning at 10:30 a.m., children also can enjoy the Historical Storytellings, which will be held daily throughout the summer at 13 bench stations in Philadelphia's Historic District.

Uniformed storytellers will provide brief, five-minute recaps of historical events that occurred at the very locations where visitors can learn about them. Children will be able to pick up Story Flags at any bench location and collect 13 stars to redeem for a History Heroes Certificate and coupon book.

Colonial Kids' Quest, 11 a.m. Saturdays through June 14, 11 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays June 20-Aug. 30, and 11 a.m. July 3-5 departing from the Independence Living Center, Third and Chestnut Sts. Admission: $15, free for children 2 and under. Information: 215-629-4026 or

Historical Storytellings, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday through Sept. 1 (daily) at 13 storytelling bench locations throughout Philadelphia, including the Independence Visitor Center, One N. Independence Mall West; the Independence Living History Center, Third and Chestnut Streets; the Betsy Ross House, 239 Arch St.; and Franklin Square, 200 N. Sixth St. Free. Information: 215-629-4026 or Recommended for children 10 and under.

Discover Mexican culture amid the bookshelves

Montgomery County-Norristown Public Library will explore traditions of Mexico on Saturday with historical teachings, story readings, and Mexican-style crafts to coincide with the library's Passports to the World program.

The monthly program, presented by the library's Youth Services Department, was created for school-age children and their families to learn about world cultures. Past editions have focused on India, Ireland and Greece.

Passports to the World: Mexico, 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Montgomery County-Norristown Library, 1001 Powell St., Norristown. Free. Information: 610-278-5100 or

Registration required.

Philadelphia Zoo celebrates children

The Philadelphia Zoo will mark the end of spring on Saturday and Sunday with talks and activities during Children's Zoo Kickoff Weekend.

Families can pet and brush goats and sheep and learn about armadillos, macaws, birds of prey, and chinchillas, all "animal ambassadors" during several talks involving live animals. In the Children's Zoo, visitors also can learn about animal care and why zookeepers think rats can make great pets.

Teachings about invertebrates will take place in the Backyard Bugs area, and newly hatched chicks and ducklings can be found in the hatchery. Activity and coloring tables will be set up for children. The annual sheep-shearing demonstrations will be held Saturday only. The new Chicken Challenge, where trained chickens compete in an obstacle course, will be held throughout the weekend in the Children's Theater.

Children's Zoo Kickoff Weekend, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Philadelphia Zoo, 3400 W. Girard Ave. Admission: $17.95, $14.95 for children 2-11, and free for children under 2 and members (related attractions and activities included in admission). Information: 215-243-1100 or The first 1,000 children members to arrive Saturday will receive a free plush toy.

Contact Kristin Granero at kgranero@