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An Easy Daytrip from Philadelphia Delivers Sea Life, History and More to Families

by Teresa Bitler

Mar 5, 2020

Photo: Teresa Bitler

Destinations / North America

Don’t limit your family’s visit to attractions in the City of Brotherly Love when you visit Philadelphia. Just across the Delaware River, Camden, New Jersey, has a World War II-era battleship, an impressive aquarium and enough to keep the keep the entire family entertained for the day.


Battleship New Jersey

America’s most decorated battleship, the USS New Jersey is docked at the Camden Waterfront. You can use the Philadelphia CityPass to visit Battleship New Jersey or purchase tickets online for one of the three tour options: the Fire Power Self-Guided Tour, Turrett II Tour or the Engineering Steam to Speed Tour.


USS New Jersey. Photo: Teresa Bitler


On the Fire Power Self-Guided Tour, you’ll follow colored lines through the ship five levels up and two below to see the bridge, crew’s mess, communications room and other areas. Along the way, learn how the battleship, launched Dec. 7, 1942, operated during World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam War as well as throughout the world until it was decommissioned in 1991. The 90-minute, guided Turret II Tour culminates in the simulated firing of a tomahawk missile while the Engineering Steam to Speed Tour visits the battleship’s engine room.


USS New Jersey. Photo: Teresa Bitler


Strollers are not allowed on the tour, and front carriers are required for infants and toddlers. There’s a play area on board for preschoolers if they need a break.


Adventure Aquarium

Within walking distance of Battleship New Jersey and also an option on the Philadelphia CityPass, Adventure Aquarium showcases the largest collection of sharks on the East Coast. It’s also the only aquarium in the United States to have a Great Hammerhead Shark on exhibit and boasts an exhibit featuring live hippos, Genny and Button.


Adventure Aquarium Camden. Photo: Teresa Bitler


Adventure Aquarium has tons of hands-on and interactive exhibits to engage kids of all ages, too, plus daily feedings of the penguins and hippos, interactions with biologists and up-close animal experiences. If that weren’t enough, you can purchase a tray of fresh fish for $4 to feed the stingrays at Stingray Beach Club Experience.


Make a point to visit the 760,000-gallon Ocean Realm, home to more than 400 animals, and Shark Bridge, where you can walk inches above sand tiger, sandbar and nurse sharks on a V-shaped rope suspension bridge.


Walk over the shark tank at Adventure Aquarium Camden. Photo: Teresa Bitler


Camden Children’s Garden

Next door to the aquarium, the four-acre Camden Children’s Garden features themed gardens, playgrounds, a treehouse, a 1,200-square-foot butterfly house and rides, including a carousel and a train. Kids can learn about gardening at the Cityscapes Garden exhibit and in the Potting Shed’s three areas: the farm, the farm market and the family kitchen.


Camden Children’s Garden is open April through December; it is closed during the winter. During the spring and summer months, kids can play on the splashpad at the Main Plaza.


Walt Whitman House

Those with an interest in literature will get a kick out of visiting American poet Walt Whitman’s home, roughly a 10-minute walk from the Camden attractions mentioned above. Visits are by guided tour only and tour size and hours are limited, so be sure to call before to confirm you’ll be able to get inside to see his writings, photographs and memorabilia.


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