We love to see the temple. The Philadelphia Temple is having an open house right now. Six hours didn’t seem very far on paper so we made our reservations for a tour and packed our bags for a three day trip to Pennsylvania.
Eliza was a perfect angel. She slept in the car and woke up for snacks that fit in when we needed a break to stretch legs too. The kids were very good in the car. Napping and reading, chatting, dropping toys, and snacking. On the way up we stopped in Winchester since there was a children’s museum there. It was a welcome break from traveling. Anna enjoyed sneaky places for climbing. Isaac liked playing with the apple buckets and ball rollercoasters.
Then Eliza left Virginia for the first time and visited three new states in an hour. In Pennsylvania we visited Valley Forge. Just a little visit before heading to the mall for dinner and running around.
Wednesday was our big Philadelphia day. We started in the historic district at the US Mint. Much to our surprise, the kids loved it! I’m not sure why we didn’t expect our kids to be just as nerdy as us. It was one of our favorite stops when we visited Philadelphia before we had kids, back in the age of dinosaurs. Anna wanted to read all the signs and design her own coins. Isaac needed to be lifted to enjoy the view of the manufacturing floor. Jacob kindly did it again and again even though Isaac would only hold my hand when his feet were back on the ground.
Afterwards, we visited the Liberty Bell. It was the week of the national parks service 100th birthday. The kids enjoyed the side family room that had games and they earned a special pin.
Then we switched sides of town and enjoyed the museum district. We visited Drexel’s natural history museum where the animatronic dinosaurs terrified Isaac and Anna loved running on the treadmill that powered a dinosaur. We walked through the Franklin Institute. It was overburdened with summer camps, but we loved the walk-through heart, even though this babywearing mom was a tad claustrophobic in those tight stairwells of the heart chambers. My mom told me that when she lived in New Jersey as a child her dad would take her to the same museum every Friday night. She even walked through the same heart. So cool!
From the steps of the Franklin Institute we could see the temple. We walked over to the public library to see their rare book collection containing early Mormon books and pamphlets as well as some neat Beatrix Potter manuscripts. Then we continued over to the temple.
The grounds were lovely of course. They stopped us in every room to explain the doctrine behind each room and its use. My kids both tried to dip toes into the baptistry. Anna said the celestial room was her favorite, so beautiful. Even Isaac maintained a quiet reverence while we were in there.
I liked being with my family in the sealing room, with Jacob holding our third little baby, and telling Anna about our wedding and showing her the mirrors and alter. The temple has a visitors center with a garden roof to take in a view of the temple.
We ended our trip with one stop at the Washington DC temple. Forgetting it was in its maintenance window, we had made mental plans. But pulling around the parkway, we saw a crane. Look the temple! Oh no that’s just a crane. Wait, it’s a crane working on the temple! The visitors center was open so we stopped by anyway and enjoyed the Book of Mormon activities and the new cut open temple model/dollhouse.
We learned in our trip that Isaac is scared of dark and enclosed places. Parking garages scared him, “let’s get out of here.” And his happy place is home. Any time the day got long or he tired of the current situation he would say, “let’s go home.” Us too bud, let’s go home.