Summer is starting to wind down, but if you want to get your kids out for a family-friendly day trip before they head back to school (virtually or otherwise), we’ve got you covered.
The Philadelphia area has no shortage of kid-focused outings and destinations, whether that means a low-key outdoor experience or a full-on amusement-park trip — if you’re comfortable with that, of course. But, naturally, you’ll want to wear your mask, practice social distancing, and regularly wash your (and your kids') hands to help protect from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
We’ve rounded up a some kid-friendly day trips, all within about 100 miles of Center City, ranging from hikes and horticulture to amusement parks and museums (all of which are taking COVID-19 precautions). Check out the list below:
Valley Forge is the place for an outdoor history lesson, thanks to its past as a winter encampment for the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. Set across 3,500 acres, the park features plenty of space for biking, wildlife-watching, and hiking — but check out the Mount Misery trail if you want to see some old ruins.
Don’t miss: If the kids are hiked out but still want some nature, consider a trip to the Elmwood Park Zoo, about nine miles from the park.
1400 N. Outer Line Dr., King of Prussia, 21 miles from Center City, 610-783-1000, nps.gov/vafo
Don’t miss: Go aquatic with a trip to Adventure Aquarium in Camden, which is accepting visitors by reservation only and is on the way to (or from) Diggerland from Center City.
100 Pinedge Dr., West Berlin, N.J., 22 miles from Center City, 856-318-4970, diggerlandusa.com
It’s tough to beat a Sesame Street-themed day trip for the kiddos. The Langhorne amusement park is open, though masks are required, some rides are temporarily closed or on a different schedule to make social distancing possible, and reservations required for limited capacity in the park. Still, there are more than a dozen rides to check out, plus chances at sighting classic characters like Elmo and Cookie Monster.
100 Sesame Rd., Langhorne, 27 miles from Center City, 215-702-3566, sesameplace.com
Parents of future pilots (or just aviation-obsessed kids), take note — this West Chester-based museum is a must-see. Here, there are more than 35 helicopter, drones, and autogryros on display indoors and out, all presented as a hands-on starting point to STEM education for youngsters. Masks and social distancing are required at the museum.
1220 American Blvd., West Chester, 35 miles from Center City, 610-436-9600, americanhelicopter.museum
To get in a whimsical outdoor experience this summer, head to Delaware’s Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library. There, youngsters can check out a three-acre fairytale garden known as the Enchanted Woods, which showcases magical landscapes, fairy houses, and other bewitching sights. The indoor spaces are closed, but the gardens remain open (reservations required).
5105 Kennett Pike, Winterthur, Del., 36 miles from Center City, 302-888-4600, winterthur.org
Want an epic wildlife experience all without leaving the comfort of your vehicle? Head over to Jersey for Six Flags’ Wild Safari Drive-Thru Adventure, which features some 1,200 animals, all of which can be seen from your car on its 350-acre preserve, which can take up to three hours to traverse (reservations required).
Don’t miss: To get a completely different animal experience, check out the wolves and wolf dogs at Howling Woods Farm (by appointment only), about eight miles from Six Flags.
1 Six Flags Blvd., Jackson Township, N.J., 52 miles from Center City, 732-928-2000, sixflags.com/greatadventure
If you’re looking for an outdoorsy escape, Quakertown’s Nockamixon State Park has plenty to offer for kids of all ages, from hiking and biking to fishing and swimming. Young hikers would do well to stick to the park’s lake-centric trails, like Old Haycock Road, while older kids can hit more strenuous jaunts like Old Mill Trail.
1542 Mountain View Dr., Quakertown, 54 miles from Center City, 215-529-7300, dcnr.pa.gov//stateparks/findapark/nockamixonstatepark
It doesn’t get much more family-friendly than this beloved Lancaster County amusement park, which opened in 1963. Featuring some 35 rides and attractions like the Merlin’s Mayhem roller coaster and the Wonderland Special train ride, Dutch Wonderland is a great stop for families with younger kids. Masks are required at the park, which is also enforcing social distancing and temperature checks for all guests.
Don’t miss: Give the kids a taste of the real Amish way of life with a tour at the Amish Village, about three miles from Dutch Wonderland.
2249 Lincoln Hwy. E., Lancaster, 65 miles from Center City, 1-866-386-2839, dutchwonderland.com
For railroad lovers young and old, this classic Lancaster County destination offers authentic steam train rides through Amish Country that last about 45 minutes per round-trip (reservations required). Plus, for the real young ’uns, Strasburg will feature rides aboard a fully operational Thomas the Tank Engine starting later this month. Train capacity is limited to allow for social distancing, and masks and temperature checks are required.
Don’t miss: Still need to scratch that locomotive itch? The Choo Choo Barn, a 1,700-square-foot model train layout, is less than a mile away from Strasburg Rail Road.
301 Gap Rd., Ronks, 68 miles from Center City, 1-866-725-9666, strasburgrailroad.com
Got a budding artist on your crew? At it since 1996, this Easton spot reopened for visitors earlier this month and features about two dozen artsy, kid-friendly activities aimed at letting out your tyke’s creativity, from naming and wrapping their own Crayola crayon to playing a game of sidewalk chalk twister. The museum has limited capacity and now requires timed ticket entry and face masks.
Don’t miss: If you’re looking for something a little more natural, Lost River Caverns — a natural limestone cavern that is open for tours — is in Hellertown, about 12 miles away.
30 Centre Square, Easton, 70 miles from Center City, 610-515-8000, crayolaexperience.com
Sure, the name sounds intimidating, but don’t let it fool you. This hiking trail at Hickory Run State Park is fairly mellow (if a little rocky), and great for school-age kids thanks to the waterfalls, streams, wildlife, and rhododendron thickets along its 1.5-mile route.