2013 Gratitude Project – Travel: Philadelphia
This month will be a celebration of travel. I am so grateful for the many opportunities I’ve had over my nearly thirty years to explore the world. Click here to read about my 2013 November Gratitude Project – Travelnote on the photos: they are mine, but because of the great demise of my storage devise that was charged with care of my photos in China, I have had to scrape a few together that aren’t the best quality
In my project’s introductory post I shared three collages of pictures from the three PRSSA National Conferences I attended while studying at BYU. Each conference provided, in addition to the knowledge, wisdom and camaraderie of the official agenda, many opportunities for adventures in the host cities. However, Philadelphia was special. So, I thought my first post could be about my experiences in the City of Brotherly Love during the 2007 PRSSA National Conference.
Philly is such a fantastic city with so much culture and history. I will spare you the details of the conference other than meeting Ben Franklin at one of the social events. There are of course a few must-see places in Philadelphia. Our conference was right in the middle of downtown, so all were readily accessible.
One evening, we made our way down Benjamin Franklin Parkway to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It was after hours, so we couldn’t go in, but we climbed the steps like Rocky and found his statue on the grounds. As we walked back to our hotel, we found fun public art including the famous LOVE statue and some giant board game pieces.
Walking around this old and magnificent city I marveled at the architecture. I couldn’t help staring at City Hall as I walked around it. The details are amazing. Down the street the other direction from our hotel was another historic building of simpler design, but greater importance. Of course I’m talking about Independence Hall.
Lights of Liberty
We visited this hallowed site twice during the few days we were there. The first time was on a fantastic walking tour of the historic district called Lights of Liberty. This is a night walking tour that tells the story of the birth of The United States of America.
The story is told through audio headsets with actors playing the roles of prominent figures such as Benjamin Franklin as you walk through the historic streets and buildings that they once called home. In addition to the narration there is a light show of projections on the sides of buildings. You watch battles and see fantastic things take place all while listening to beautiful music and the actors.
This was a wonderful way to take in the history of this grand city and nation. However, after perusing VisitPhiladelphia.com, I learned that this tour is currently being revamped with new music, lights and more. So, make sure you check the website to see if it is back if you visit. I’m sure it will be even better when they are done with the new version.
We also visited Independence National Historic Park during the day. We had to make reservations ahead of time to ensure we could get in. There are multiple places to start your visit such as the visitor center, the Constitution Center, and the building housing the Liberty Bell. There are no fees for those sites and you can enter whenever.
However, you must get a reservation to go across the street into Independence Hall. That ticket is also free. It reserves a specific time so they can regulate how many people are in at once. Be sure to plan ahead since there can be lines for the Liberty Bell and you don’t want to miss your entry time to Independence Hall.
Inside Independence Hall, they have it set up as it was in the late 1700s as it was during the Constitutional Conventions that signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. There are rangers inside to tell you all about it. After visiting the main building, be sure to go to the auxiliary buildings to see some of the original documents.
Had there been more time, I would have explored the Benjamin Franklin Museum, the National Constitution Center and more. Someday I’ll return and explore the rich history in more depth. If you’re planning on a trip to Philadelphia and Independence National Historic Park, I would recommend brushing up on your revolution-era history by watching the HBO special “John Adams.”
I am extremely grateful for my trip to Philadelphia and for my involvement in PRSSA that took me there. It was enlightening, empowering and fun.