Top Picks for Family-Friendly Museums with Free and Discounted Admission

The Philadelphia area is home to numerous family-friendly museums and historical sites to explore. And the best part is many are free or offer discounted admission on select days and seasons. Read on for art museums, science museums, historical sites and more!


Academy of Natural Sciences

1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Dinos After Dark: Pay as you wish one Friday evening per month, 5pm – 8pm. See website for more info.  Enjoy a festive, family-friendly atmosphere and the Dino Drafts Beer Garden in Dinosaur Hall on select nights. Founded in 1812, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is the oldest natural history museum in the Americas. The Academy has more than 19 million specimens, all carefully documented and well-preserved for future generations.


Barnes Foundation

2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 

Free admission on the first Sunday of every month, 10am-5pm. The Barnes offers family-friendly activities and free admission on the first Sunday of the month. There is a new theme each month, featuring different art activities and guest artists. Advance registration is required and opens the Thursday prior to the event.


Bartram’s Gardens

5400 Lindbergh Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19143

Admission is free, Open daily, sunrise to sunset. Bartram’s Garden is the oldest surviving botanic garden in North America and also a home for horticulture and an ancient riverfront. At its core, it is a public park spanning nearly 50 acres offering peace, rest and connection.


Institute of Contemporary Art, at the University of Pennsylvania

118 S. 36th St Philadelphia, PA 19104

Free Admission always. Hours are Wednesday through Sunday 12pm-6pm. An interesting fact about the ICA – Andy Warhol had his first solo museum show here in 1965. The mission of the ICA is “to create transformative experiences with art across disciplines and encourage bold experimentation, deep connection, and boundless curiosity among artists and audiences alike.”


Philadelphia Museum of Art 

2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Free for children 18 and under. Adults – Pay what you wish admission on the first Sunday of every month and every Friday evening. Check out the many different collections on exhibit at the Art Museum. Guided tours offered daily and free with admission or explore at your own pace with a self-guided audio tour. Also check out the Art Kids Tour, Art Kids Studio and the Family Festivals. Don’t forget to get outside and explore the outdoor sculpture garden!


Carpenters’ Hall of Philadelphia

320 Chestnut St. Philadelphia, PA 19106

Admission is free, Open daily 10am-4pm; Closed Mondays year-round; Closed Tuesdays in January and February.  Visit Carpenter’s Hall in the historic Philadelphia area and you can walk through an 18th-century mansion to see furniture, architecture and art dating back hundreds of years. The building hosted the first Continental Congress, Franklin’s Library Company and the First and Second Banks of the United States.


Edgar Allen Poe National Historic Site

532 N 7th St., Philadelphia, PA 19123

Admission is free: Open Friday through Sunday 9am-5pm. Located in the historic district of Philadelphia, take a tour of the home where Edgar Allen Poe lived in the 1840s.


Fireman’s Hall Museum

147 N 2nd St. Philadelphia, PA 19106

Admission is free: Open Tuesday through Saturday, 10am-4pm. This museum is housed in a renovated 1898 firehouse. Fireman’s Hall Museum is one of the nation’s premier fire museums focused on the preservation of Philly fire history and promoting fire safety. Philadelphia is the birthplace of the first volunteer fire companies.


Independence Hall

520 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19106

Admission is free: Open daily, 9am-5pm; Hours of operation change seasonally. In 1776, the Second Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence here at the iconic Independence Hall. The United States Constitution was also created and signed here. Although known today as Independence Hall, the building was constructed to be the Pennsylvania State House and once housed all three branches of Pennsylvania’s colonial government.


The Liberty Bell 

526 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19106

Admission is free: Open daily 9am-5pm. Of course, you will want to know the REAL story behind the Liberty Bell’s well-known crack. During your visit, be sure to talk to the park rangers to hear the full story of the Liberty Bell. The building also offers self-guided exhibits about this now famous symbol of liberty, right in Philadelphia.


Please Touch Museum

4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia, PA 19131

First Wednesdays: $2 admission on select first Wednesdays of the month, 4pm-7pm. Every day is an adventure at The Please Touch Museum. Kids are encouraged to explore and learn through play.Curiosity is always encouraged and every child is always welcome.


Polish American Cultural Center Museum

308 Walnut St Philadelphia, PA 19106

Admission is free: January- April- open Monday to Friday; May- December- open  Monday to Saturday. Experience Polish history, culture and pride at the Polish American Cultural Center and Museum Exhibit Hall. As the focal point for many Polish American affairs in the greater Philadelphia area, they welcome tourists from around the world and the center hosts meetings, lectures and other events to promote public awareness and appreciation of Polish heritage.


Rodin Museum

2151 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Admission is always Pay what you wish; the garden is free year-round. Hours: Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon 10am-5pm. Learn about sculptor Auguste Rodin and his large body of work in one of the most comprehensive public collections of Rodin’s work outside of Paris. The Rodin Museum offers a beautiful, intimate setting in which to enjoy some of the world’s most renowned masterpieces of sculpture.


Ryerss Museum

7370 Central Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19111

Admission is free (Donations welcomed) Friday through Sunday 10am-4pm. Located in Burholme Park, the Ryerss Museum houses an extraordinary and eclectic collection that includes generations of family heirlooms, paintings, sculpture, decorative art, and a vast array of Asian art and artifacts. The Ryerss Library has a children’s section with an area stocked with coloring sheets, markers, crayons, and board games. The library also hosts our monthly Crafty Kids activities. 


Science History Institute

315 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19106

Free admission every day. Hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 10am-5pm. Founded in 1982, the Science History Institute “tells the stories behind the science.” It shares the history of science by exploring lesser-known and sometimes overlooked stories from the history of science and technology. It is unique in that it also explores the history of scientific successes and failures, with a focus on expanding knowledge and broadening the understanding of how science and society intersect.


Temple University Shoe Museum

148 N. 8th St. Philadelphia, PA 19107

Admission is free, Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm. Perhaps one of the lesser-known museums in the city, The Shoe Museum offers self-guided tours of their exhibits to interested visitors. There are approximately 1,000 shoes in 14 exhibits currently on display. Tour appointments are made online.


United States Mint

151 N. Independence Mall East, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Admission is free. Hours: Monday through Friday, 9am-4:30pm, (Open on Saturdays in the summer.) Visitors can learn how coins are made at the United States Mint.  Expect to see the factory, view the first coin press and meet Peter the Mint Eagle. Tours are self-guided.


Wagner Free Institute of Science

1700 W. Montgomery Ave. Philadelphia PA 19121

Free admission every day when open, Tuesday through Friday, 9:30am – 4:30pm and the 1st Saturday of the month (February-June & September-December, noon – 4:00pm) The Wagner Free Institute was founded by William Wagner in 1855, and is dedicated to free education in science. The building is a National Historic Landmark, and offers the rare experience of a Victorian natural history museum that remains nearly unchanged from the nineteenth century in both the arrangement of its specimens and in its mission. Tours are self-guided and museum collections include rocks, minerals, fossils, taxidermy animals, mounted skeletons, and more.


Weitzman Nation Museum of American Jewish History

101 S. Independence Mall East, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Admission is free, Friday through Sunday, 10am-5pm The Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History presents experiences and  educational programs that preserve, explore, and celebrate the history of Jews in America. Its purpose is to connect Jews more closely to their heritage and to inspire in people of all backgrounds a greater appreciation for the diversity of the American Jewish experience. 


Woodmere Art Museum

9201 Germantown Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19118

Children are always free; Free admission for adults on Sundays, 10am – 5pm. Housed in a stunning building in Chestnut Hill, the Woodmere Art Museum is also home to The Helen Millard Children’s Gallery, which features art produced by students who attend Philadelphia area schools and studios. New and different exhibitions are frequently featured. Don’t miss the outdoor sculptures across the museum’s grounds. Classes for children and teens are also offered. See website for details.


Photo Courtesy of the Wagner Free Institute of Science