September 29, 2010

Day 12--Philadelphia

Yesterday evening was cloudy, but this morning dawned bright and beautiful, just perfect for spending a day in the city!  We left in good time.  I read several chapters out loud from Book 2 of the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series, which we are still enjoying immensely.  Crossing the bridge from New Jersey into Philadelphia was exciting!  I've always wanted to visit this city but never really expected to get there!  We knew our time would be limited, and we also knew we needed to be extra patient with the kids, who have probably been museum-ed out and are definitely getting on each others' nerves (and, truth be told, on our nerves, too!).

So we had a few ideas in mind of what we would see, but we did not set a definite agenda, deciding to play things by ear and see how much of a wait it would be for the two places that were must-sees:  Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.  Wonder of wonders, we got our timed tickets immediately to see Independence Hall!  We simply walked across the street from the visitors' center, went through security, and merged with our group, who tromped inside the first building to listen to a brief talk from the park ranger.  Our ranger was very good, and she involved our kids (who were pretty much the only ones in this group of 85 or so people) with her questions and explanations.  Charis impressed a number of people with her previous knowledge of the historical situation, so it was a proud homeschool mom moment to be able to explain when people asked that we were on a homeschool journey to kick off our year of American History!

After the background discussion, we actually went inside Independence Hall and got to see the courtroom and the room where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were actually signed.  Wow!  So cool. 

And guess where we went next?  Yup...across the street to see the Liberty Bell!  Amazing.

We walked a few blocks away to Franklin Square, where the kids played on the playground while Ted walked to a vendor to purchase Philly cheese steak sandwiches.  (You knew that was on the agenda, right?!)  We enjoyed our picnic lunch, let the kids play on the playground some more, and then walked past Franklin's grave and to the Benjamin Franklin museum.  We watched the old Disney animated film "Ben and Me," which the kids really enjoyed (we did, too), and then we puttered around the museum just a short while before deciding that we really needed to be done.

The kids had time to play on the playground near the TLF while I worked on dinner, and now we're winding down another day of vacation.  Tomorrow will be our last--and longest!--day, as we will pack up and leave for home, stopping (Lord willing) at Valley Forge and the Flight 93 memorial on the way.  Originally we had thought we might camp outside Gettysburg, but after our last disastrous attempt at camping, we decided we would rather drive all night and just get HOME rather than try that again, LOL!

For pictures of our day in Philly, go here!

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