So when I found out that the Philadelphia Zoo was only 12 miles from where we were staying on Nick’s belated birthday celebration weekend, it was a given that we would visit it.
I mean, seriously. My kids + animals = no brainer.
And when we were renting a stroller at the zoo because we seriously had to walk like a mile just to get to the entrance, I asked the friendly stroller rental girl how far exactly the Liberty Bell was from the zoo.
“Less than 15 minutes.”
So it stands to reason that we couldn’t NOT visit the Liberty Bell.
And I could have totally taken this line of rationale until we ended up somewhere in the middle of the country looking for other national treasures. But four kids, busy weekend, I didn’t want to overdo it, you know?
I mean, a girl’s gotta know her limits.
Which means another trip to Philadelphia is definitely in the offing because there’s still so much to see and do.
But the Liberty Bell? I don’t know, for some reason I was fixated on it.
I’m 42 years old. And, doing some rough math, we’ve lived under two hours from the Liberty Bell for about 30 years of my life.
And I’ve never seen it.
And little facts like those are how my future bucket lists with the kids (oh you should see the things we want to do together!) get made.
Because while I have been to Brussels, and Crete, and Scotland, and Paris. I haven’t seen the Grand Canyon. Niagara Falls. And a million other places in the good US of A.
Growing up, with my Dad’s old job, there was a lot of international travel, not so much domestic.
So there is a lot of ground to cover.
So the bell.
When we left the zoo, it was after 3 pm on Sunday. I seriously debated. Go find the bell or just go home. Should we? Shouldn’t we?
We went for it. I told the kids, who really wanted to go see it, that we would see if we could find it, how busy it was, and the parking situation. We would give it a go.
Using the GPS, I found the area and went up and down the streets. Partially because the Google’d address wasn’t specific. I could tell the general area of where the bell was supposed to be, but couldn’t tell specifically. As in there it is and here’s where I should park.
And part of the problem? Because for some wild reason, in my mind’s eye, I pictured the bell being at the top of some grassy plain, open and out. I know, weird.
Because it’s clearly not.
Which is why I was having trouble figuring out where exactly the darn thing was.
So I deduced it was in a building (for all you future Liberty Bell hunters!) and decided to look for parking. I really wanted to avoid paying for a parking garage (even though it was pretty cheap – $12 or so), and ended up finding a side street right across the street from where the bell was.
With one lone space. That was only slightly illegal. Like it said “no parking,” but not in the technically the very exact spot where I, um, parked. So as we got out and I ushered the kids to the sidewalk, I mostly said a silent prayer that the car would be there when we got it.
And, spoiler alert, phew, it was.
We got in the line outside the bell’s building, making our way to the inside, through security guards who made us turn around and do the hokey pokey while they looked through my bag.
And if you’ve ever held my purse, you know what a trip that was.
And then Nick wanted to know why we had to spin around and why they wanted to look at our backsides.
The line moved super quickly, and we were inside in minutes, reading the panels, and totally taking in the history. Madeline was too young to really take it all in, the enormity of it, and I did my best to break it down. For the boys, it was more important, because they knew some of the history behind the bell.
And for me, it was a good refresher. And a check off the bucket list.
After reading all the background and getting our history on, there it was.
The bell. Something so big in our history books was suddenly much smaller right in front of us. But wow, how cool to be there, and step into the pages of the history.
And there were five of us, age 4 to 42, and it was the first time any of us had see the Liberty Bell. How cool is that?
The kids asked if they could touch it.
Um, no. And thank goodness it was cordoned off a bit and there was a security guard or six.
Because you never know.
So we read. And stood in awe. And took it all in. Got our pictures.
And exited stage right, into the crisp clear, blue sky’d afternoon. Walking past the horse and carriage rides.
And thankfully to the car, which was still right where I left it.
If you visit the Liberty Bell, Coco Key is less than 15 minutes away, so you can easily make a fun little weekend out of it.
And the zoo? Coming soon!Pin ItCoCo Key, day trips, history, Liberty Bell, Philadelphia, Revolutionary War, things to do in Philadelphia, vacation