After leaving our house at 6:00AM and spending a little more than three hours in the car, I figured that the kids would enjoy making our first stop at the Please Touch Museum. This is a great indoor activity center filled with things for children to do. The moment I entered the doors, my eyes immediately went up. I couldn't help but wonder what this building was before becoming a museum; the vaulted ceilings and architectural details are very impressive. The museum itself is wonderful. It features giant sculptures made entirely of toys, a rainforest of musical instruments, an Alice In Wonderland garden complete with a two-story tree house, a miniature layout of old Philadelphia, a monorail, a rocket ship, and so much more. My kids loved it and I really did too.
Aside from being a popular cinematic landmark, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is every bit as spectacular on the inside. There is an entire wing of the building dedicated to Asian artifacts, statues, and pottery that included an indoor Japanese tea house and a Hindu temple. Another section showcased armor, shields, and weapons dating back as far as the 1400s. This was my favorite area; the suits of armor are magnificent. Of course, the museum is also a veritable cornucopia of works from the great painters throughout history -- Monet, Renoir, Picasso, Gauguin, etc.
Our next stop was at the Philadelphia Insectarium, a place dedicated to all things octoped and creepy-crawly. There are rows of tanks showing scorpions, spiders, beetles and bugs of all shapes and sizes. I have to admit that I, like so many other people, have always had an unwarranted fear of spiders. When I think about it, a spider is really no threat to a human, yet, for some reason, it gets a bad rap. It's probably because of the way it looks, spindly legs and all, and it usually ends up being unduly squashed beneath a shoe. This fear is something that I'm now trying to overcome. The last few times that I've encountered a spider in my house, I let it walk on my hand. Once I was able to fight off the initial knee-jerk reaction, I found that it wasn't a horrifying experience in the least. I'm hoping that eventually I won't mind spiders at all. I heard that the Philadelphia Insectarium has an area set aside for allowing guests to hold tarantulas and scorpions. I was looking forward to this, but, unfortunately, this part of the tour wasn't being offered during my visit.
The last stop on our first day of Philadelphia adventures was to be the Simeone Automotive Museum. This facility features a fantastic array of classic racing sports cars -- Alfa Romeos, Bentleys, Bugattis, Aston Martins, Hudson Hornets, etc. All of these former pinnacles of automotive excellence are in sparkling condition. Very impressive.
"Be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen your heart,
all ye that hope in the Lord."