Recently I got to go see my friend Gloria at her home in Philadelphia. She tried to show me as much of her beautiful, exciting city as possible. She knew that I like history so we went to see a lot of the historic sites, but we also took a day and went "down the shore". It was funny to hear her say that, but I learned that in the Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey area, they do not call it going to the beach. They go down the shore.
Our adventures in Philadelphia started with a ride on a SEPTA bus. SEPTA is the
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.
We took the bus the Philadelphia Art Museum. It was such a nice day that we decided not to spend the day in the museum. Gloria told me all about the beautiful paintings and sculptures and I want to go back and see it another time. It was fun seeing the outside of the Art Museum because the steps are famous. They are the steps that Rocky ran up in the movie. I also got to take my picture with the Rocky statue.
We walked back into Center City (downtown) on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. It is very pretty with parks and fountains along the length. It is also a very good spot to see the Philadelphia skyline. See how pretty it is.
Our walk down the Parkway took us through Center City and into the historic part of Philadelphia. This area is called Old City because it is where the city originally started. Several of the buildings are over 200 years old and there are even some streets that still have cobblestones. Philadelphia is an interesting city because there will be a little tiny very old building right next to a big skyscraper.
We started our tour of the historic district at Penn's Landing. This is the spot where William Penn landed when he came up the Delaware River and established the city of Philadelphia. From Penn's Landing you can see the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. It was the first bridge that crosses the Delaware River between New Jersey and Philadelphia.
Also at Penn's Landing, I got to see the Tall Ship Gazella. The ship is very pretty with its very tall masts and sails. There is a group in Philadelphia that works very hard on preserving the original ship. It was very interesting to find out that they still sail this ship even though it was built in the 1800's.
. From Penn's Landing we crossed a bridge over the highway onto Market Street. This led us into Old City and we started exploring all of the historic sites. Gloria was very nice and explained all of the history to me while we "playing tourist" as she called it.
One of the things I learned is that there are some beautiful parks scattered throughout
the city. We visited one next to Christ's Church. Christ Church was founded in 1695.
That's over 300 years ago! Several of the signers of the Declaration of Independence
were members of the church and for a very long time, it's steeple was the tallest thing
in the city of Philadelphia. Our next stop was Elfreth's Alley. It was like stepping
backwards into Colonial times. Gloria told me that it is the oldest continuously
inhabited residential street in the country, There are people who still live there now.
From Elfreth's Alley, we walked around the
corner to Betsy Ross' house. It is the
house where she sewed the
original flag. I never realized how
tiny Colonial houses were, even for
short people like Gloria and I.
Betsy Ross was nice enough to take
a picture with me. I also got to take a picture with a nice
Colonial lady named Mary who showed me how to knit.
Just down the street from Betsy Ross' house is the Christ Church burial yard. It is were Benjamin Franklin is buried. In my picture you can see the pennies that people throw on his grave for good luck. Gloria says it is kind of funny that they do that since Ben Franklin is the one who said a penny saved is a penny earned. Across the street from the cemetary is the Free Quaker Meeting House. A meeting house is the Quaker version of a church. It also served as a community meeting hall. There was a very nice man named William who was telling everyone about the meeting house. He showed me how to play the glass armonica (no, I did not mis-spell it) that you can see in my picture. The glass armonica was one of Ben Franklin's many inventions. It makes really beautiful music.
Across the street from the meeting house is the US Mint and the National Constitution Center. We couldn't take pictures in the Mint, but it was really cool to watch them make coins. They were making pennies the day we were there. Our penny adventures continued! The National Constitution Center was just built in 2000 and it is the only museum in the United States dedicated solely to the Constitution. At the time we were there, we got to see exhibits about the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and how the Constitution has changed throughout the history of the United States. It was really interesting and fun.
We saved the most historic places in the city for last, but before we walked over to them, Gloria wanted me to see a SEPTA subway station. We walked down underground to the subway station. It was a little scary, but I it was really cool too. All of those trains running for miles underneath the city.
After a quick lunch, Gloria took me to see the last
two stops on my tour of Philadelphia. Independence Hall
and the Liberty Bell. We had to go through some really tight
security but it was really worth it. The Bell is a lot bigger than I thought it would be.
Independence Hall is very impressive. It looks just like it did in Colonial times.
It was very cool to stand in the same room where they signed the Declaration of Independence.
Wow, we had a very full day and got to see a lot of interesting and fun places. I was really tired, but I couldn't wait for the next day. We were going down the shore with Gloria's sons, Drew and Sean.
We went to Ocean City, New Jersey. It is in Southern New Jersey. Gloria explained to me that New Jersey residents are either from North Jersey, Central Jersey or South Jersey. They say this because all three areas of the state are very different. North Jersey is very industrial and suburbs of New York. South Jersey is a lot of suburbs of Philadelphia and is more agricultural. Central Jersey is a combination of the other two. Ocean City is south of Atlantic City and is on an island. The drive down to the shore was fun. I got to meet and talk to Drew and Sean. For teenagers, they are really cool and funny. We did a lot of very fun things. It was a very sunny day and there were a lot of people on the beach and the boardwalk. We went on the beach for a little while, but the water was still too cold to go into the waves. We walked on the boardwalk, had pizza and french fries that were really good. We stopped in the arcade and played skeeball. There is a part of the boardwalk that has rides. We didn't ride any because the ones that were not too scary for me were too little for Drew and Sean. It was fun watching everyone else on the rides. Gloria told me stories about when Drew and Sean were little and the rides they used to ride on this same boardwalk. A lot of the rides were the same and we giggled about how silly it would be to see them trying to ride them now. Drew and Sean's grandmother has a house in Ocean City so they have spent almost every summer at the shore. The last thing we did before heading back home was to play miniature golf. I actually made a hole in one!
I had a great visit to Philadelphia! There was so much more that I wanted to see, but Gloria promised I can come back anytime I want. I can't wait!
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