Taking the Kids to Historic Philadelphia
The Liberty Bell
More than 30 recruits stand at attention, arms at the ready.
"They may be young but they are brave," observes the sergeant training them.
Very young -- some not even in kindergarten yet, some who don't know their right from their left when the sergeant commands them to turn.
"Hip, Hip Huzzah!" the crowd cheers as the group is inducted into the Continental Army.
That's right. The Continental Army. Here in the heart of historic
"Who is brave enough to join our fight," "Major David Salisbury Franks" bellows at the growing crowd in Signer's Garden -- much as we imagine he really did when General Washington was badly in need of more recruits -- before they are marched to a nearby grassy area to "train" with wooden muskets.
"This does make history fun," offered 10-year-old Caitlan Tsarouh, visiting from
"A great way for them to remember history," adds
That's the idea, of course. And it's all free all summer long -- which isn't the case when visiting some of the country's stellar living-history museums like Mystic Seaport (www.mysticseaport.org) in
And this summer, as the nation commemorates the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, there are also Civil War-era stories (hear the tale of
You will also find free programs outside the city, too, at
Stop in at
Take time for a short film told from a kids' perspective on whether they wanted to remain loyal, rebel against the king of
The kids will lead you from storyteller to storyteller because this outstanding crew -- actors, teachers and even opera singers -- don't just tell stories they perform as if on stage, even belting out songs. We hear how the bald eagle, and not the turkey, came to be the national bird and how some Continental soldiers thought they were about to confront a ghost, only to discover it was a white horse that had somehow wandered inside and up the stairs of their barracks. In Elfreth's Alley -- America's oldest street in continuous use -- kids discover that the very first
The littlest history buffs -- or those you'd like to become history buffs -- can sign on for the special "Valley Forge Secrets & Spies Tour" where General Washington enlists children to join his American Spy network to uncover traitors, learning 18th-century spy techniques in the process (yes, they did use invisible ink). While in
When you need a break, head over to
Don't try to see everything in one day either -- not when
There's just so much history a kid -- or grown-ups -- can take at one time, after all.
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