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By: Emily Shoemake on

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3 Things Every Adventurous Senior Needs to do in Philly (At Least Once)

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Having a day where you are itching for something to do but just can't think of anything? We've all been there. If you're around Philadelphia, you're in luck! Philadelphia's rich history and vibrant downtown make it great for all ages. The city is full of such a wide variety of activities it's almost impossible to run out of new things to do and try. Here are 3 neat spots that are entertaining and accessible for fairly active to adventurous seniors.

1. Eastern State Penitentiary

The Eastern State Penitentiary (ESP) is known as America's most historic prison. The prison was operated from 1829 to 1971 and held within its cells some of America's most notorious criminals such as "Slick Willie" Sutton and "Scarface" Al Capone. According to the ESP site, it was opened as part of a controversial movement to change the behavior of inmates through "confinement in solitude with labor."

Fun Senior Activities in Philadelphia -Eastern State Penitentiary

The massive structure that once held 1,700 prisoners in its prime now sits in ruins. Not only is the ESP a location for adventure seekers to explore the remains of a historically crude justice system, but it is also a structure of architectural significance.

Today, the ESP offers guided tours 7 days a week, year round. Tickets for the daytime tour include "The Voices of Eastern State" audio tour, hands-on history interactive experiences, history exhibits and art installations.

Fun Senior Activities in Philadelphia -Eastern State Penitentiary 2In addition to day tours, each year during the Halloween season the ESP hosts its annual Terror Behind the Walls interactive experience. According to the ESP website, Terror Behind the Walls is Americas largest haunted house and has been coined "perfect for Halloween" by the New York Times. The goal of the attraction is to terrify each guest, so this tour is not for the faint of heart.

The tour is mostly ADA compliant but does have one small section that is not accessible but can be easily bypassed. Because it is a National Historic Landmark, there are sections of the penitentiary that will never be fully accessible, but the majority of the structure meets ADA guidelines.

2. Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania

Known as the best-kept secret in Philadelphia by visitors, the Morris Arboretum is a historic public garden that aims to integrate science, art and the humanities. This public garden gives you a break from the urban area in surrounding Philadelphia and gives you space to navigate through scenic trails riddled with pieces of art.

Fun Senior Activities in Philadelphia- Morris Arboretum 1

The park is full of ADA compliant paths and sculpture gardens that will have you stopping in admiration at every turn. From fountains to model trains, to life-sized sculptures, there is something sure to fascinate everyone.

Fun Senior Activities in Philadelphia-Morris Arboretum 2

Morris Arboretum also features the Out on a Limb exhibit that gives you a bird's eye view of the forest from 50 feet up, which is also fully accessible.

Get out and stretch your legs on a walk while searching for native bird species and grab lunch at the Compton Café, which features locally sourced gourmet cuisine from Chef Josh Hunter.

3. Authentic Philly Food Tour in Manayunk
Immerse yourself in all that is Philly with this Authentic Philly Food Tour in Manayunk. Perfect for the "foodies" of this world, this tour in the heart of the City of Brotherly Love provides you with an opportunity to try a wide variety of tastings, bites and sips throughout the 300-year-old neighborhood.

Fun Senior Activities in Philadelphia- Food Tour Manayunk 1

Not only will you try foods that are unique to Philadelphia like tomato pie and Philly cheesesteak, but you will also gain knowledge on Philadelphia's culture, food and learn local secrets of Manayunk's history.

During the food tour along the Schuylkill River, you will visit 6 different locations with an extensive variety sure to please your palette.

Fun Senior Activities in Philadelphia- Schuylkill River

Bonus: Adventure Aquarium

Fun Senior Activities in Philadelphia- Penguin Park- Adventure AquariumLooking for an afternoon activity to take your grandkids? Look no further than the Adventure Aquarium, located just a short drive away from the heart of Philadelphia! This aquarium has activities to please all ages. Some popular exhibits include:

  • Penguin Park, where there are daily demonstrations on feeding and charting of each bird.
  • Pirhana Falls, an Amazon experience that simulates a day in the Amazon rainforest from both above and below the water.
  • Shark Bridge, which allows you to take a walk only a few feet above the 550,000-gallon shark tank home to sand tiger, sandbar and nurse sharks.
  • Hippo Haven, an exhibit that allows you to come up close to two Nile hippos and watch them eat pounds and pounds of veggies with their massive and powerful jaws.

The aquarium also includes a wide array of touch-and-feel exhibits that make the experience very interactive and informative.


Are you considering retiring in the Philadelphia area? Let us show you what life is like at Cathedral Village, an independent living community in Philly. Comment down below some of your favorite things to do in the City of Brotherly Love!

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About Emily Shoemake

As the Digital Content Assistant at Presbyterian Senior Living, Emily produces content for the PSL blog and engages with our audience on social media. Emily is a Shippensburg University and Delta Zeta alumna from Bedford County, Pennsylvania.

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