Emceed by puppet conductor, Pickles and his Please Touch Museum Friends, the kid-friendly Grand Opening Ceremony kicked off at 2:00 pm and culminated with a big “ALL ABOARD” from the audience before the ribbon was cut by Please Touch Museum CEO, Laura Foster.
Railway Play was a HUGE hit with the children. The “hot spot” was the replica train complete with a bell for the engineer to ring! Other parts of the exhibit include:
- Ticket booth and departure table
- Thomas the Train dress-up area and wooden Thomas the Train tables
- Late 19th Century Kindergarten classroom (the idea of Kindergarten was introduced at the 1876 World’s Fair)
- Froebel wooden blocks used in Montessori teaching
- Various displays of inventions introduced at the World’s Fair (including the telephone and the stereoscope)
- 20’x30’ scale model built in 1889 depicting the 1876 Exhibition grounds
Here’s my video tour of the Railway Play Exhibit area.
Both my boys enjoyed playing throughout the Railway Play (as well as the rest of the museum!) and I even enjoyed walking around and learning about life in Philadelphia in 1876. Some things that I learned from the 1876 Centennial Exhibition were:
- Nearly 10 million people visited the Exhibition
- It was open from May 10, 1876 to November, 1876
- Admission to the Centennial cost 50 cents
- Kindergarten was introduced to the majority of Americans here
- The majority of visitors arrived to the Exhibition by train
- The banana was first introduced to the U.S. at the 1876 Centennial, where it was wrapped in foil and sold for a dime as an exotic treat
- Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated an early version of the telephone at the Exhibition
- Charles Hires, a Philadelphia pharmacist, introduced his now famous beverage, Root Beer, at the Centennial
Of course, the Please Touch Museum also houses seven other play areas (plus three toddler-specific areas) spread throughout its two stories. And if you stay until closing, do NOT miss the End of the Day Parade (honestly, I don’t think you could if you tried)!
You can see learn more about the Please Touch Museum here.