On the Bus and Down the Rabbit Hole: Philadelphia’s Please Touch Children’s Museum

Photo: Picture of Chesire Cat from Alice in Wonderland and big card; text: "Philadelphia's Please Touch Children's Museum; We'll Eat You Up, We Love You So"

The heavy lion statues in front of the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia belie the raucous energy of the smallest visitors inside. Visiting Philly for our friends’ wedding, we made a full trip of it and visited both the Liberty Bell and this renowned children’s museum. (We’re working our way through the children’s museums of the Northeast U.S.) Despite some whining, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

The museum is split into several sections, each of which focuses on a childhood theme: transportation, construction, water, fairy tales, and pretending to be an adult.

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Apple Picking, Hay Bales and Llamas at Homestead Farm

Photo: Rows of apple trees at Homestead Farm; text: "Apple Picking, Hay Bales, and Llamas at Homestead Farm; We'll Eat You Up, We Love You So"

As a native upstate New Yorker, apple picking runs in my blood. In my fourth grade class, not just one, but two of my classmates’  families owned apple orchards. While the picking – and especially the cider – isn’t as good in Maryland as New York, it’s still one of my favorite fall traditions. So for the final day of the Outdoors Family Challenge, focusing on “local food,” I wanted to pick apples at Homestead Farm. Even though my anxiety got the best of me on the way there, the crunch of apples, a friendly llama, and Sprout’s enthusiasm lifted my spirits by the time we finished.

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Outdoors Family Challenge: Day 7 – Eat local!


Welcome to Day 7 of the Outdoors Family Challenge! This is a seven day challenge to help get you and your kids outside, living more sustainably, and connecting more with nature and each other. You can read about our experience yesterday or check out the archived prompts on the Outdoors Family Challenge pageIf you would like updates each morning with the activities, sign up for the email list or like my Facebook page.


Visit a farmers market, farm stand, local farm or pick-your-own.

One of our biggest but most overlooked connections to nature is our food. More than any other industry, agriculture is intimately connected to natural cycles, influenced by the weather and ecosystems. Unfortunately, most people are quite disconnected from what ends up on their plate. But with the growth of interest in local and regional agriculture, it’s the easiest it’s been in decades to connect with where your food comes from, even if you live in a city.

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Lily Pads and Marshes in Washington D.C.: Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens

Photo of large lily pads in a pond; text: "Lily Pads and Marshes: Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens"

Dark pink blooms swayed over my son, their long, thin stems rising up from the muck. Lily pads the size of platters floated on the pond, their curved sides forming miniature walls. Blue dasher dragonflies flitted across the water, their wings nearly transparent. And a big, green tractor hauled dirt back and forth for a landscaping project. These were just a few of the wonders we saw at the Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens in Washington D.C. this past weekend, when we visited with the kids and my parents. The tractor was my son’s favorite.

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From Icebergs to Foam Blocks: The National Building Museum with Kids

From Icebergs to Foam Blocks_ The National Building Museum with Kids

When Chris and I house-sat for a rather eccentric couple several years ago, we routinely got newsletters for the National Building Museum. “Who would go to the National Building Museum?” I’d say. “That sounds incredibly boring.” Eight years later, the answer to that question is “My family.” This past weekend, we escaped the heat by visiting the National Building Museum’s Icebergs exhibit, as well as their Play Work Build and Building Zone areas. Contrary to my initial assessment, the National Building Museum is a great place to bring kids that’s rather different from the usual museum crawl.

The big draw for us this summer was the Icebergs exhibit, one of the museum’s signature summer art events. While it wasn’t as over-the-top as last year’s The Beach – where they covered their massive atrium with one million white balls – it still had some serious grandeur.

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Resources for Family Biking and Biking with Kids

Family Biking Resources


As promised, here’s the post on family biking resources, albeit two weeks late.

Like anything with kids, family biking is a bit more complicated than the adult-only version. Fortunately, the family biking community is generous and loves to share stories, tips and advice. Here are some of the best resources about family biking I’ve seen

Kidical Mass Rides
Kidical Mass rides are the cutest bike rides around! These rides focus on encouraging families to ride together, especially for transportation. They include both kids on their own bikes and adults carrying kids on their bikes (via bike seats, cargo bikes, trailers and tag-a-longs). They are typically 1-4 miles, go to somewhere fun (like a park or ice cream), and ridiculously slow. I lead the ones in Rockville, but there are 47 cities in North America with Kidical Mass rides, six of which are in the DC region alone!

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