“California is the most beautiful state, but Pennsylvania is the most historic.”
Thus spoke my 10-year-old California boy at the end of a day that had him reading the Constitution aloud at the National Constitution Center, strolling past Independence Hall where the Constitution was crafted, watching “Liberty 360” — “the first 360 degree 3D movie about our nation’s founding!” – and, not to be entirely serious, playing a round of mini-golf surrounded by miniature emblems of Philadelphia.
Our first stop, the National Constitution Center, is a temple to America’s foundational document and history. As a daughter of a constitutional lawyer, I was raised to revere the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. As I listened to the core exhibit’s presentation “Freedom Rising”, I was moved to tears by the audacity of the men (yes, only men, but we’re fixing that) who wrestled with the creation of a new government.I was astounded again by their idealism, their indefatigable tenacity, for nearly a decade debating the language of what would become our American bible.
For that moment I forgave them their human imperfections and hypocrisies, and thanked them for creating a governing document that left room for improvement in every generation. We are holding true to our tradition when we argue in every generation about what is meant by equal protection of the laws. Whether the issue is women’s suffrage or gay marriage (or whatever it will be 50 years from now), we can be mindful that we are all Americans, we are entitled to different opinions, and our legacy is one of debate, resolution and moving on as one country.
I could have spent hours more in the many interactive exhibits at the National Constitution Center (and will absolutely return), but time was short and I’d promised them mini-golf. I have my priorities straight. And so do the planners of the many activities that make up Historic Philadelphia, who know that you gotta give the kids something sweet to get the medicine to go down.
Our golf-putting took us past mini Art Museum, Ben Franklin Bridge, Independence Hall and even miniature people rowing crew on mini Boathouse Row.
There are so many inventive and interactive activities for families in Historic Philadelphia, we could have spent a full week. But we’d only allotted the day, which means we will be back. Fifth grade field trip, anyone?
FamilyGal Laura Diamond of Southern California is in the midst of a two-month adventure on the East Coast with her husband and two sons, ages 7 and 11. This is her third installment; here’s her first dispatch from Six Flags Wild Animal Safari in New Jersey and her second from a float trip on the Delaware River.