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Imagine for a moment that you can travel back in time! Walk along with a family that has just arrived at the docks of Philadelphia in the 1680s. They are drawn by the hope that William Penn’s new City of Brotherly Love will be the place where they will be able to practice their faith freely and build a future for their children. Those early days were fraught with hardship, but also adventure.


Welcome to Philadelphia! You’ve teleported in time to the shores of the Delaware River where newly arrived colonists—tired after a long journey aboard the ship “Welcome”—prepare to face great adventures in this New World. They will spend their time settling in and contributing to the city’s growth, but maybe one child could have imagined that today, families can enjoy games, an urban beach, or an ice-skating rink in that same spot: Penn’s Landing.


The family you’re watching has built a hut somewhere in the area between Market and Dock streets. The mother cooks over an open fire on the bare earth while her children play and tell stories. Sugar is a luxury they rarely taste, and ice cream is unimaginable! Lucky for you, back in the 21st century you can treat yourself at The Franklin Fountain. That colonial family would be super jealous … if they even knew what a soda shop was.


As time passes and the city grows, that family’s descendants would live alongside great Americans like Benjamin Franklin who made his home in the heart of the city as he researched electricity and contributed to the drafting of the American Constitution. The site where Franklin’s house once stood hosts a museum you can visit to learn more about his life. And a couple of blocks away you can also visit the interactive Museum of the American Revolution.


As America settled into its identity as a free nation, Philadelphia continued to grow with a desire to be a great place for families to live. Beautiful parks like Franklin Square became centers of social life and places to relax and enjoy. Follow up a long day of walking and learning with some rest and fun. You’ve earned it!

Employ your time well, if you mean to get leisure.

attributed to Benjamin Franklin

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