Vol. 27 • Issue 8
• Page 12
> Independence Hall
5th and Chestnut Streets
Open daily, 9-5
56 independent-thinking men gathered at the Pennsylvania State House in the summer of 1776 and courageously defied the King of England. Eleven long and hard-fought years later, representatives from 12 states gathered to create the U.S. Constitution. The result? One unified nation, our United States of America. And it all happened at Independence Hall.
Take a guided tour, led by National Park rangers, through the courtroom where lawyers from opposing sides shared tables and law books. See the Assembly Room, which is arranged as it was during the Constitutional Convention. Observe the original inkstand used to sign the Declaration and an original draft of the Constitution.
Admission is free, but tickets are required. They are distributed daily at Independence Visitors Center (525 Market Street GPS address) on a first come, first served basis.
Set against the dramatic backdrop of Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell Center provides a fitting setting for the icon of freedom, and for the first time allows visitors to view exhibits focusing on the bell's origins and its modern day role as an international icon of freedom. photo by R. Kennedy for GPTMC
> The Liberty Bell Center
600 Chestnut Street
Open daily, 9-5
The Liberty Bell's inscription - "Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the Land unto all the inhabitants thereof" - conveys a message of freedom that colonists were proud of when the bell was created in 1753 and that Americans still cherish today. The expansive, light-filled center that houses the Liberty Bell is also home to historic documents and graphic images that explore the facts and the myths surrounding the bell.
Visitors can view the bell's crack through x-ray. Quiet alcoves house a History Channel film that traces how abolitionists, suffragists and other groups adopted the bell as a symbol of freedom. And exhibits show how the bell's image was used on everything from ice cream molds to wind chimes.
Admission is free.
> National Constitution Center
525 Arch Street
Open Mon.-Fri. 9:30-5; Sat. 9:30-6; Sun. 12-5
While only four pages long, the U.S. Constitution is among the most influential and important documents in the history of the world. And the world's only museum dedicated to the document is right here in Philadelphia, where one of the rare original public copies of the Constitution is on display.
The National Constitution Center explores the U.S. Constitution through high-tech exhibits, artifacts, and interactive displays. Render your opinion on key Supreme Court cases, take the Presidential Oath of Office, and choose whether to sign or dissent along with historical key figures in Signers' Hall, where life-size bronze statues of the Constitution's signers and dissenters are displayed.
Admission is $12 for adults; $11 for seniors; and $11 for students.
> The Betsy Ross House
239 Arch Street
Open daily, 10-5
Whether Betsy Ross had a role in making the first American flag or not may still be up for debate, but she was unquestionably the nation's best known seamstress. While Betsy ultimately lost three husbands in the war for Independence, she had her skills as a seamstress to support herself and her seven children. As a furniture upholsterer, Betsy rented the now famous 1740 home. She operated her business well past age 70 and died at age 84.
The home gives a good portrayal of a working class woman's life in colonial America.
Take a tour of the workroom, two bedrooms and kitchen. Wander the exhibit area in the house's extensive gift shop where family treasures include Betsy's family bible, snuff box, and other artifacts.
And pay tribute to Betsy Ross, who is buried beneath the giant elm and sycamore trees that shade the courtyard.
Admission to self guided tours is $4 for adults and $3 for students. Audio tours are $6 for adults and $5 for students.
Love Statue: Arguably the most popular sculpture in Philadelphia, Love, by artist Robert Indiana, debuted in John F. Kennedy Plaza during the 1976 bicentennial celebration. Philadelphians were incensed when it was removed and returned to the artist. In response, F. Eugene Dixon, former owner of the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team, bought the sculpture and donated it to the city in 1978. photo by B. Krist for GPTMC
MUSEUMS AND ATTRACTIONS
> Philadelphia Museum of Art
2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Open Tue.-Sun., 10-5; Fri. until 8:45
Founded during the nation's first centennial in 1876, the museum was designed to pay homage to Greek temples; it is Philadelphia's own Parthenon, now an iconic symbol of the city, much in part due to its appearance in the ever-popular Rocky movies in which Rocky runs up the famous museum steps while training).
With its impressive collection of Renaissance, American, impressionist and modern art, it is the third-largest art museum in the country and is a must-see on the city's cultural circuit.
Admission: $16 for adults; $14 for seniors; $12 for students.
> Franklin Institute
222 N. 20th Street
Open daily, 9:30-5
One of the oldest and most beloved science museums in the country, the Franklin Institute opened in 1824 in Independence Hall to honor inventor Benjamin Franklin. The museum moved in 1934 to its current building, where it became a hands-on science museum. An IMAX Theater and the Mandell Center were added in 1990.
Explore technological wonders in the Mandell Center through a number of fascinating, hands-on exhibits. Find out how a microchip is made; visit a 37-foot model of a space station; feel the simulated effects of acid rain and the greenhouse effect; and observe near-future products.
Galaxies are formed and deep space explored in North America's second-oldest planetarium with the continent's most advanced technology.
Lastly, be sure to course through the walk-through museum's first and most popular attraction-a human heart replica that is 15,000 times life size!
Admission is $15.50 for adults; $14.50 for students. Admission includes museum exhibits, live science demonstrations and one show in the Fels Planetarium.
> The Philadelphia Zoo
3400 West Girard Avenue
Open daily, 9:30-5
Visit the nation's first zoo! Opened in 1874, the Philadelphia Zoo is one of the best laid-out and most animal-packed zoos in the country. Among the zoo's many "firsts" are the first orangutan and chimp births in a U.S. zoo (1928), the world's first Children's Zoo (1957), and the first U.S. exhibit of white lions (1993).
Lions, leopards, jaguars, pumas, ti-gers and seven new cubs are today's star attractions at Big Cat Falls. The new exhibit features waterfalls, pools, authentic plantings and a simulated research station for aspiring zoologists.
The Primate Reserve, Carnivore Kingdom, and Rare Animal Conservation Center are all popular with visitors. And in addition to its animals, the zoo is also known for its historic country home of William Penn's grandson, its botanical collections of more than 500 plant species, and its groundbreaking research and veterinary facilities.
Philadelphia's beloved Benjamin Franklin (played here by Ralph Archbold) is considered one of the greatest public figures in the history of the United States. He arrived in Philadelphia as a runaway apprentice from Boston in 1723, and for nearly 70 years, he served the country as a printer, scientist, journalist, lawmaker, inventor, businessman and philosopher. Here, Ben is standing along Elfreth's Alley, the nation's oldest oldest continuously occupied residential block. photo by B. Krist for GPTMC
Admission is $18 for adults.
> The Gallery at Market East
9th & Market Streets
Open Mon.-Thur. & Sat., 10-7; Fri. until 8; and Sun., 12-5
Located in the heart of Philadelphia's thriving Center City, more than 40,000 people enter The Gallery each day for great stores and eateries. Accessible through one of the city's busiest transportation hubs, The Gallery is one of the city's premier shopping destinations.
> Pat's King of Steaks
1237 E. Passyunk Avenue
Pat's claim to fame is that its founder, Pat Olivieri, invented the steak sandwich in 1930, making it one of the most famous places to order up a cheese steak in the world.
Celebrities, politicians, musicians and athletes are always sure to stop by Pat's when in Philly. Don't be deterred by long lines-they move fast-but be sure to know what you want when you make it to the counter. What type of cheese do you want? Fried onions or no onions? It is a Philly faux pas to dilly dally over your order!
> Geno's Steaks
1219 S. 9th Street
While Pat's King of Steaks owner Pat Olivieri may have invented the steak sandwich, it is an infamous debate over who actually added the cheese years later. Many natives believe it was Joe Vento, owner of Geno's, who added the cheese when he opened his steak sandwich business in 1966 directly across the street from Pat's.
Geno's has been slinging cheese steaks from the same location for more than 40 years now, competing with Pat's for the title of "best cheese steak." Try both! But just as at Pat's, be prepared to order as soon it's your turn. Geno's cashiers and cooks are famous for speedily handing customers!
At Philadelphia's Buddakan, a towering gilded statue of Buddha generates elegant calm in this 175-seat, Pan Asian restaurant owned by famed local restaurateur Stephen Starr. photo by B. Krist for GPTMC
723 Chestnut Street
Open for Lunch Mon.-Sat., 11:30-2;
Open for dinner Sun.-Wed., 5-10; Thurs. until 11; Fri.-Sat. until Midnight.
The Iron Chef's first American restaurant, Morimoto's offers the very best in contemporary Japanese cuisine. Regulars flock to the Stephen Starr restaurant for the exquisitely prepared sushi, but the menu covers a broad spectrum of flavors beyond nigiri and sashimi. Recently, the restaurant has made it into Gourmet magazine's "Best Restaurants in America" list and Conde Nast Traveler magazine's "50 Hot Tables in America." Be sure to call ahead for reservations.
217-219 Chestnut Street
Open for lunch Mon.-Sat., 11:30-2:30
Open for dinner Mon.-Thurs., 5-10; Fri. & Sat., 5-midnight; Sun., 4-10.
Enjoy the essence of a traditional Spanish tapas bar with a hip and stylish European/Bohemian vibe. Amada, which means "loved one," is an authentic Spanish tapas restaurant. There are more than 60 tapas to choose from, varying from the traditional (tortilla Española, Spanish olives and warm fava bean salad) to the "edgy" (foie gras flatbreads and artichoke and spinach).
> Reading Terminal
12th and Arch Streets
Open Sun., 9-5
Established in 1892, the Reading Terminal Market is the nation's oldest continuously operating farmers' market. Enjoy virtually every type of cuisine, from soul food and Asian and Middle Eastern dishes to authentic Philly Cheese steaks and traditional Pennsylvania Dutch fare. The Market, operating for more than 110 years, is officially home to more than 80 unique merchants.