The best season for refreshing outdoor activities is summertime, and there are plenty of them in Philadelphia that are suited for older residents. The area literally has hundreds of venues for seniors to enjoy, and many of them are either free or very inexpensive. Activities in the Steel City include anything from alfresco painting classes to free outside movies in the park. The following guide lists ten things seniors can do in and around the sixth-largest city of the United States.
1. Walk & Learn at Longwood Gardens
Nothing beats communing with nature in beautiful Longwood Gardens. And, no matter what your age, learning keeps the mind fresh. Besides the sweet smells and beautiful sights of the blooms in their featured gardens, you’ll find wonderful learning experiences there.
The tours at Longwood teach meaningful lessons that help broaden your understanding of the gardens. While walking on senior-friendly trails, the tour guide lets you in on the organization’s bluebird conservation efforts, historic carnivorous plant collection and more.
1001 Longwood Road,
Kennett Square, PA 19348
Phone: (610) 388-1000
Located 30 miles south of Pennsylvania, seniors ages 62+ get $2 off the $25 admission.
2. Bird Watch at Valley Forge National Historical Park
There are various forms of wildlife in the state of Pennsylvania. Still, you pretty much need to travel a few hours from Philadelphia to parks such as Sinnemahoning State Park to observe them in their natural habitat. Not so in the case of birdwatching, and there are 227 bird species and counting at Valley Forge National Historical Park.
Valley Forge is located about 30 minutes by car from Philly, and it is particularly notable for the songbirds that nest there. There are beautiful viewpoints to watch Philadelphia birds of prey at the park, too. Seniors can grab a pair of binoculars to spot Peregrine falcons and bald and golden eagles who make the park their home.
Valley Forge National Historical Park
1400 North Outer Line Drive
King of Prussia, PA 19406
Phone: (610) 783-1008
Park admission is free.
3. Be Humbled at Liberty Bell Center
The Liberty Bell is a part of our nation’s beginnings, and no visit to Philly is complete without visiting the ‘cracked one.’ The bell is an extraordinary symbol of freedom. Its inscription, “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof,” is an impassioned cry that abolitionists gave who wanted to end slavery.
You’ll learn about that and other bell facts during your walkthrough at Liberty Bell Center. When planning a visit, allow time to watch the film, see the exhibits and gaze upon the famed bell that means so much to Philadelphia and the rest of our country.
Liberty Bell Center
143 S. 3rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone: (215) 965-2305
No tickets required for entry and the hours vary by season
4. Stargaze at Fairmount Park
Light pollution is not conducive to stargazing in many places of Philly. However, the lawns in front of Mount Pleasant Mansion and Belmont Mansion in Fairmount Park are excellent spots to catch what the night sky has to offer.
Fairmount Park offers prime stargazing conditions of its location along the banks of the Schuylkill River. That’s because the natural boundary of green space there negates the effects of light pollution. Other places to view celestial bodies in Philadelphia include the Joseph R. Lynch Observatory at Drexel University and the Joel N. Bloom Observatory at the Franklin Institute Science Museum.
1 Boathouse Row,
Philadelphia, PA 19130
Phone: (215) 988-9334
Admission is free.
5. Meet Furry Friends at the Philadelphia Zoo
For a multi-sensory experience, seniors can find it at the Philadelphia Zoo. Like the Liberty Bell, the Philadelphia Zoo has lots of history behind it. It is America’s first zoo, opening officially on July 1, 1874. The zoo hosts about 1,300 animals, many of them being rare and endangered. Here, you can find African lions, Gorillas, Amur tigers, rhinos, giraffes and more.
The Philadelphia Zoo educates more than 1.2 million people about the conservation of animals and the environment during visits. The animals will be out more in the summertime than they will in winter, and it is a smaller zoo with plenty of places to sit if needed. The zoo is senior-friendly and an excellent choice for the elderly with limited mobility. They offer wheelchair and electric scooter rentals on a first-come/first-serve basis.
The Philadelphia Zoo
3400 W. Girard Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Phone: (215) 243-1100
Admission is $23 for adults. However, there are ways you can get coupons and discounts to slash the price of getting in, including ones you can find from Groupon or with the Philadelphia City and Sightseeing Passes.
6. Practice Tai Chi at Benjamin Rush State Park
Older adults can learn Tai Chi and other exercise and health activities through the Healing Arts Center or the Philadelphia Parks & Recreation department. The program at the Philadelphia Parks & Rec also offers healthy meals, transportation and social services to adults 55 and older.
Once you master Tai Chi, then you can head over to Benjamin Rush State Park to practice among its gorgeous scenery and beaches. If you are strolling through the park one day, you may encounter the Philly Flyers, a group of model airplane enthusiasts who fly their vividly colored mini-aircraft high. It’s quite a sight to behold!
Benjamin Rush State Park
15001 Roosevelt Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19154
Phone: (215) 639-4538
7. Visit the Philly Farmers Markets
One popular pastime for everyone in the summertime is visiting and seeing the kaleidoscope of fresh produce, jams and jellies, local honey and more at the Farmers Markets in Philadelphia. There are dozens of them scattered all around town, and they beckon you to go there.
Vendors in the popups change seasonally, but they rarely come from over 100 miles away. However, a few urban farms are located only a few blocks away. You can find Farmers Markets downtown, in public squares, parks and even on some college campuses. Adults over 55 can often get farmers market food vouchers at older adult centers throughout Philadelphia.
8. Celebrate America’s Birthplace with an Outdoor Concert
You would be hard-pressed to find a better place to ring in America’s 244th birthday than Philadelphia. After all, it’s the birthplace of independence! And, as evidenced in the upcoming weeklong Fourth of July celebrations, there will be plenty of places to ring in America’s birthplace, and many of them are events suitable for seniors.
One that is popular among older Philly residents is the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” Concert and Fireworks. Pershing’s Own has played uplifting and moving renditions of contemporary hits and patriotic tunes to Philly crowds since 1922. Seniors can stick around afterward to see a breathtaking fireworks display over the Delaware River Waterfront.
U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” Concert and Fireworks
101 S. Columbus Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Toll Free Phone: 1 (800) 537-7676 (Independence Visitor’s Center)
9. Walk the Gorgeous Pennypack Trail
There are senior safe walking trails in and around Philly, including a fine one at Pennypack Trail in eastern Montgomery County. The 5.4-mile path is tailor-made for aging adults, and it can be accessed from several streets. Older residents who travel on it east from Roosevelt Boulevard will be pleased to know that this is the easiest section to walk since it is flat.
Pennypack Trail begins at Rockledge Borough Park, where Robbins and Rockledge Avenues intersect. The trail boasts bubbling streams, historic bridges and animal life frolics within its borders. In fact, you may even spot a deer or two during your stroll. There is also plenty of helpful signage to help seniors choose the path that is best suited to their fitness level. Other senior-friendly walking trails include Tacony Creek Park and Schuylkill Banks.
10. Enjoy Outdoor Recreation Activities
Summertime signals warm sunshine and extended days where you can linger outdoors. During this time, recreation activities for seniors abound. With that in mind, several older adult centers in Philadelphia offer anything from alfresco painting classes to senior Olympic golf games outdoors.
For the cooler nights, older adults can attend outside movies at Clark Park in August. For four Fridays that month, seniors can pull up a lawn chair and enjoy watching free movies in the fresh, nighttime air. There is a friendly atmosphere at this western Philly Park, and you can find bargains at the flea markets and farmers market located there before the cinema experience starts.
4300-4398 Baltimore Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Premier Senior Care Services
We at FirstLight Home Care hope you enjoyed our list of activities that seniors can participate in and around Philadelphia. Many activities listed can be attended by seniors alone or in the company of one of our experienced Philadelphia caregivers. Located in Narberth, PA, our care services help seniors, the elderly and others in need of companionship. Contact us by calling (610) 616-0604 to find out more.