Exploring with the Philadelphia CityPASS

I’m no stranger to CityPASS. Previous times I’ve used it provided me with such an in-depth look into a new-to-me place. When I was headed to Philadelphia, I was thrilled to see that they offer a Philly CityPASS and that all of my must-sees were included.

With CityPASS, visitors pay a flat rate for their passes and select from several popular attractions in the city. I’ve had the pleasure of utilizing them in Atlanta, Seattle, and next up, San Diego. Since it was my first time in Philly, I didn’t know a lot of the ins and outs or what not to miss. This is another reason CityPASS is so brilliant. They easily take the guesswork out of where to go. I always know that the choices are for the top spots.

Philadelphia CityPASS conveniently offers three, four, or five picks. This is especially helpful as it ensures there’s a suitable option for any duration of a visit. I was able to see four exhibits and each outdid the last. Read on to learn more.

Philadelphia Zoo

It was an overcast Saturday morning with an expected rainstorm at any moment. What better time to take a stroll through the Philadelphia Zoo? I’m not one to necessarily seek out or love zoos but this is the first in the country and visitors can get up close and personal with the animals. Having a tiger cross a bridge over my head was definitely a highlight. So was hearing a lion roar within 10 feet of me.

Along with their Big Cat Falls exhibit, I loved the petting zoo, aviary, and the opportunity to get up close and personal with dinosaurs. OK, so, maybe the dinos were animatronics, but still. I saw rhinos, giraffes, and hippos, and appreciated how educated the staff was.

The Barnes Foundation

I was wide-eyed at the Barnes Foundation. Their vast collection of Renoir, Cezanne, Matisse, Van Gogh, Picasso, and Modigliani left me in awe. Given the seemingly large capacity, I expected the galleries to be more ample. Despite this, they have filled their space with some incredible works of art. No larger space is necessary.

Instead of individual placards under the art, they have reference books in each exhibit. It helped me truly immerse in the work rather than squinting at cards the whole time. They also have a beautiful promenade with Reflections Cafe. An ideal nook with grab-and-go foods and good coffee/tea drinks.

Hanging out with a lion at the Philadelphia Zoo. (c) Mary Farah

Just a small look at the art of the Barnes Foundation. (c) Mary Farah

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

Remember that predicted rainstorm at the zoo? By the time I arrived at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, it was raining buckets. It was the perfect time to take my time and absorb all there was to see here.

Their Dinosaur Hall greeted me as I entered. This is a great chance to see life-size dinosaur replicas and even get a glimpse of archaeologists at work. They were currently working with fossils fresh in from Montana. How cool is that? Upstairs I was able to sit by a window as I let my phone charge and watch some of the storm. Directly below me was the T-Rex. Since he stands at 42 feet tall, he’s hard to miss.

Moving on they have nearly 40 dioramas with taxidermy animals, science exhibits, and the interactive Outside In. This section is very kid-oriented and I know Mabel would love it.

Museum of the American Revolution

Since this is Philadelphia, so many places are drenched in early American history. Just walking the streets you can feel the past. My first night in town I stayed at the historic Independence Park Hotel in Old City. Within 10 minutes of me was the Betsy Ross House, Ben Franklin’s grave, and the Museum of the American Revolution.

The Black Founders of Philadelphia is their current exhibit. It’s open through November 26th and I truly hope they extend that or make some of it permanent. It chronicles the Forten family and their impact as African Americans during the American Revolution. It’s such an important message to remind us that this country was not “created” or even “founded” solely by Caucasians. It goes so much deeper and this gallery gives a small glimpse into that and some of the Black people who played a role.

The T-Rex at Academy of Natural Sciences. (c) Mary Farah

The fascinating Museum of the American Revolution. (c) Mary Farah

Book Your Philadelphia CityPASS

I’m so glad I’m “in the know” that CityPASS is an excellent way to see the sights and for such a great price. See all the cities and attractions they offer HERE and learn more about Visit Philly right over HERE. To hear more about this trip, check out my podcast segment with Big Blend Radio. xo

(Special thanks to CityPASS for providing mine in support of this story.)