Pennsylvania's largest city, Philadelphia stands abreast with Boston when it comes to discussing the most historically significant US cities. After all, this is where the "Declaration of Independence" and the Constitution were drafted, revised and signed.
source: http://www.10best.com/itineraries/2007_philadelphia/locationDetails.html
Philadelphia, a dynamic place where big city excitement meets hometown charm, awaits your arrival. Famous as the birthplace of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the cradle of liberty offers much more than cobblestone streets and historical landmarks. The greatest concentration of American history can be found just blocks away at Independence National Historical Park, including the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. Best of all, Philadelphia's compact downtown places all of this and so much more within a short walk or cab ride from the Pennsylvania Convention Center and any downtown hotel.
source: http://www.philadelphiausa.travel/ab_phil/index.asp
From Wikipedia: The city of Philadelphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania and the sixth most populous city in the US. It is colloquially referred to as The City of Brotherly Love (from Greek, "brotherly love" from philos "love" and adelphos "brother").
Day 1. Drive To Maryland   (23 December 2007 Sunday)
6am drive to De Luna Family residence in Germantown, MD
      Total distance is 450 miles and extimated driving time of 7 hours 50 minutes
4pm arrive at the De Luna Family residence
Day 2. Day with the De Luna's
  (24 December 2007 Monday)
      Unstructured Day.   No scheduled activity for this day.
Day 3. Christmas with the De Luna's and Padilla's
  (25 December 2007 Tuesday)
      Unstructured Day   No scheduled activity for this day.
Day 4. In Philadelpia, PA (26 December 2007 Wednesday)
9am depart Germantown, MD for Philadelphia, PA
  Estimated distance is 153 miles and driving time of about 2 hours 50 minutes.
1pm arrive at Philadelphia, PA / hotel check-in
Hilton Garden Inn Philadelphia
1100 Arch Street, Philadelphia PA 19107
Phone (215) 923-0100
Rate for 2 nights $319.90 + Taxes $44.78 = Total $364.68
On-site self-parking fee extra: $21 / day
Check-in 4pm (booked for early check-in) Check-out 12pm
The Hilton Garden Inn Philadelphia Center City hotel of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is adjacent to the Pennsylvania Convention Center and is part of the Gallery Mall with over 100 shops and restaurants. Reading Terminal Market, the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and the theatre district are all within walking distance of the Hilton Garden Inn Philadelphia Center City hotel in Pennsylvania. Deluxe accommodations, friendly Pennsylvania style service and a relaxed atmosphere await our guests.
  • 2 double beds
  • complimentary High-Speed Internet Access!
  • complimentary Color Printing in our Business Center
  • in-room hospitality center with a microwave, refrigerator and coffeemaker
  • convenient self parking 6'3''max
    website: http://hiltongardeninn.hilton.com/en/gi/hotels/index.jhtml?moreDesc=true&ctyhocn=PHLGIGI
  • Independence Visitor Center
    Located on America’s Most Historic Square Mile, across from the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall in Independence National Historical Park. The Center provides the millions of visitors who travel to Philadelphia with a FREE comprehensive orientation to the culture, history, shopping and dining options available throughout the Greater Philadelphia region in an environment that is welcoming and convenient for travelers. After stopping at the Independence Visitor Center, visitors will know where to go, what to see and how to get there.
    website: http://www.independencevisitorcenter.com/
    area map: http://www.nps.gov/inde/planyourvisit/upload/INDEmap1.pdf
    Independence Hall
    Independence Hall is, by every estimate, the birthplace of the United States. It was within its walls that the Declaration of Independence was adopted. It was here that the Constitution of the United States was debated, drafted and signed. That document is the oldest federal constitution in existence and was framed by a convention of delegates from 12 of the original 13 colonies. Rhode Island did not send a delegate. George Washington presided over the debate which ran from May to September 1787.
    Obtain timed tickets at the Independence Visitors Center on the day of your visit starting at 8:30am. source: http://www.ushistory.org/tour/tour_indhall.htm
    It was in the Assembly Room of this building that George Washington was appointed commander in chief of the Continental Army in 1775 and the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776. In the same room the design of the American flag was agreed upon in 1777, the Articles of Confederation were adopted in 1781, and the U. S. Constitution was drafted in 1787. The building, inside and out, has been restored whenever possible to its original late-18th century appearance. Most of the furnishing are period pieces. The "rising sun" chair used by George Washington as he presided over the Constitutional Convention is original.
    source: http://www.nps.gov/inde/independence-hall-1.htm
    Liberty Bell
    The Liberty Bell Center offers a video presentation and exhibits about the Liberty Bell, focusing on its origins and its modern day role as an international icon of freedom. Taped presentations about the history of the Liberty Bell are offered in a dozen languages for the convenience of foreign visitors. The Liberty Bell itself is displayed in a magnificant glass chamber with Independence Hall in the background.
    The bell weighs about 2000 pounds. It is made of 70% copper, 25% tin, and small amounts of lead, zinc, arsenic, gold, and silver. It hangs from what is believed to be its original yoke, made from American elm, also known as slippery elm.
    website: http://www.nps.gov/inde/liberty-bell-center.htm
    Skating at Blue Cross RiverRink (in Penn's Landing)
    The Blue Cross RiverRink has a regulation Olympic hockey sized ice skating rink, a warming pavilion, food and beverage concessions, skate rentals, viewing areas, a private party room, video game room, skating lessons, special events, and weekend activities that make the Blue Cross RiverRink the ultimate ice skating experience!
    The RiverRink is the perfect place to ice skate outdoors and enjoy scenic views of the Ben Franklin Bridge. Featuring monthly special events with fun family activities for skaters. The rink is public and open to those of us who merely circle the rink holding onto the rail. Open until 9pm. Skating Admission $6.
    website: http://www.riverrink.com/index.php
    Day 5. Philadelpia and Atlantic City   (27 December 2007 Thursday)
    morning - Franklin Institute
    Franklin Institute Science Museum is located at the intersection of 20th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
  • Heart Anatomy and Physiology features the "Giant Walk-Through Heart," originally built in 1954 as a temporary exhibit entitled "The Engine of Life." The two-story heart, the largest walk-through heart in the country, would be the accurate size for a 220-foot tall person.
  • Space Command - Visit a research station right here on Earth! Locate your house using a satellite home-tracking device! Travel through time to uncover what our ancestry thought about space! Embark on a mission to discover a lost, unmanned space probe! Check out equipment used by real astronauts to explore space!
  • The Benjamin Franklin National Memorial is located in the rotunda of The Franklin Institute. The Memorial Hall houses many of Franklin's original possessions, including his composing table and several of his original publications. The electrostatic machine that he used to perform his scientific experiments is now on display in Franklin Gallery. A gift that he received while he was in Paris, a mystery clock, has been preserved.
  • Explore how the physical, psychological and social elements in your life create Identity: An Exhibition of You. This unique exhibit takes the science behind identity and makes it personal, engaging you and your students with hands-on interactive components that challenge us all to see ourselves from a different perspective. Identity is divided into three areas. Explore the extent to which inherited genes determine our physical identity. Observe how chemical balances in the brain affect our psychological identity. Evaluate how the people around us modify our social identity. Students can compare their fingerprints, measure whether they are introverted or extroverted, and rethink the ways they interact and identify with particular social groups. Take another look at yourself at Identity...you might be surprised by what you see.
  • Franklin . . He's Electric! the exhibit explores Franklin's scientific genius: from meteorology and music, to electricity, optics, and aquatics. It also offers new insight into the inventive minds of other great scientists whom Franklin inspired, such as the Wright Brothers and Thomas Edison. Objects with historical significance are featured, including rare 18th Century artifacts from the Institute's curatorial collections and Franklin's own inventions and models, including his lightning rod and a reproduction of his bifocals.
    Open 9:30am to 5pm. Admission $14. website: http://www2.fi.edu/
  • afternoon - US Mint
    The primary mission of the United States Mint is to produce an adequate volume of circulating coinage for the nation to conduct its trade and commerce. In recent history circulating coin production has varied between 11 billion and 20 billion coins annually.
    All tours are free and self-guided; no reservations are necessary. Visitors can see actual coin production. Exhibits and audio/video stations provide information about the United States Mint and its history, coinage and current programs. The tour takes about 45 minutes. The visitors' entrance is on the corner of Fifth and Arch Streets. Adults will be asked to provide government-issued photo identification for security purposes. Photography, smoking, eating and drinking are not allowed in the building. Open for public tours Monday through Friday 9am-3pm (closed on federal holidays).
    official website: http://www.usmint.gov/mint_tours/index.cfm?flash=yes&action=philadelphia
    The largest coining facility in the world, the Philadelphia Mint can produce a million coins in thirty minutes. In addition to striking coins, the Mint also manufactures awards for military heroes (Bronze Star and Purple Heart, for example) and other official government medals, such as the Congressional Gold Medal. Tourists can learn about the craftsmanship required at all stages of the minting process, from the original design to die making, bonding, blanking, striking, inspecting, counting, and bagging. It's quite a sight to see millions of coins just a few feet away!
    source: http://www.us-coin-values-advisor.com/us-philadelphia-mint.html
    Day 6. Drive Back Home   (28 December 2007 Friday)
    8am hotel check-out / drive to Norfolk, MA
        Total distance is 300 miles and estimated driving time of about 5 1/2 hours.
    3pm Home Sweet Home
    Download printer-friendly PDF version:
    (black letters on white background)