Thursday, May 31, 2012

What I have in common with The Fresh Prince....

Really not a whole lot, but every time I even think the word Philadelphia, all I hear is... "in West Philadelphia born and raised on the playground is where I spent most of my days..."  I am sorry that you will also now have that song suck in your head A L L  D A Y  L O N G!!!!  

So back to the subject at hand, the trip to Philly!  It all started when my dad mentioned a year ago that he wanted to go to Philadelphia, well plans get made and stuff happens and it had been almost a year and I had memorial day weekend free, so I decided we could take a trip then, taking advantage of the extra day off work.  Well bus tickets were expensive and then my friend CJ figured she could ride (rather drive--cause she is oh so good at driving) up with us and see her friend and take our car for the weekend so we did not have to pay the $38/night to park in the city.

Us driving up to Philly
Well we arrived in Philadelphia on Saturday around 2pm and got started right away with a trip to the Mutter Museum.  It is a museum that has a whole bunch of crazy bones and weird diseased body parts in it.  It is rather weird to be honest, but my dad enjoyed it so that was good.
Mutter Museum
We then went and stopped in at Comcast Center, it is this huge building that looks like a flash drive and inside it has a huge wall that is a bunch of TVs put together and makes an amazing picture, we goofed off in there for a bit.
Comcast Center--looks like a flash drive

Dad with the 'people' inside comcast center
The Huge TV screens in Comcast Center

Saturday night we had dinner at the Reading Terminal Market.  I decided to enjoy some lovely Greek cuisine while Tom went with the traditional Philly Cheese steak sandwich---with the whiz!!!  It was quite yummy; since we had a big day planned, we decided to head back to the hotel for some exploring and an early night.  We enjoyed some TV and our cookies that we snagged from the Reading Terminal Market as well.

Sunday was jam packed with activities.

First we went to Independence Hall, then we walked through the area around there, seeing Betsy Ross' House, the tomb of the unknown solider, Constitution Center, and Elfreth's Alley; and that was ALL before lunch!
Dad "holding up" Independence Hall
Where the Declaration of Independence was signed.

Betsy Ross' House/Flag

At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, I loved this!

Elfreth's Alley--the oldest continuously inhabited street in the U.S.

Benjamin Franklin's Grave

Constitution Center
Tom King for President 2012!

China Town Friendship Gate
After we finished up, we took the Trolley around town to get to the other side of town, were we stopped off at the Franklin Institute, the Barnes Institute (most was closed off to us because it had just opened, but we got to see a little bit inside) and then the Eastern State Penitentiary.  
Dad riding a bike on that wire in the middle of the air at the Franklin Institute.  (the bike is counter weighted but it still freaked me out)

Eastern State Penitentiary

What a room would have looked like when the Penitentiary was first built.  It was pretty much solitary confinement inside your cell for 23 hours a day, you were allowed 'outside' for 1 hour and the area outside was walled in, so there was NO human contact (in fact outside times were synchronized so no two prisoners next to each other would be out at the same time).  The outside area was smaller than the size of a cell and prisoners were allowed one book--the bible.   They were supposed to think about their crime and feel regret and penitence for their crime.  The prison was advanced for its time with running water and electricity (even the white house did not have either at the time the prison was opened).  All prisoners were brought in with a hood over their heads so they could not see anyone else and the penalties for trying to communicate with other prisoners were harsh.  Most prisoners did not stay longer than 2 years and many died of TB during their stay there. The prison did away with the solitary system in 1913 and was closed in 1970, which the exception of its brief use after the Holmesburg prison riots in 1971.  So for 20+ years it was abandoned and during that time a lot of damaged happened because of the lack of up-keep, they have done a lot to improve the area for tours, but it was my favorite thing in Philly and definitely a must see!

A later cell block, notice this one has 3 floors, versus the original ones that only had 1 floor.
Sunday night we were quite exhausted, but we still managed a dinner at Maggiano's and a night time trolley tour of the city, where we got to see the boathouse at night time.

On Monday morning, we got up and went to the Zoo for the day before heading home.  

I could not resist, look at that face!

This was the momma of the family!

A sloth bear, I thought he was so cute, except for the whole, he could rip my face off part!



This polar bear was so entertaining to watch as he played with his ball toy!



Lastly, Tom doing the Rocky pose at the BOTTOM of the steps, yeah not exactly the same but we  were in between two buses so we only had like 2 minutes to spare.

All in all, it was a fabulous trip.  On the way home, CJ and Tom humored me by stopping for a late lunch in Delaware (a state I had never been to), so I could have a meal there and cross it off the is the proof that it happened:
Lunch at the Charcoal Pit, it was actually quite (VERY) tasty!
There you have it folks, Philadelphia in 2.5 days, should you desire to take an action packed trip there, I have the top picks, so let me know!

1 comment:

  1. I laughed out loud when I saw the picture of Tom and the "people" hahahaha You guys are so silly! I'm so glad you had a wonderful time :)