Field Trips - FAQs

Wondering what there is to see, or how to visit the park? Don't worry, we've got you covered! Let's start with the basics.

*Tip: Follow along on a map as we explain the options. Open this map page in a new window so you can orient yourself spatially OR download the free National Park Service mobile app and open the map for Independence NHP.

What are the main attractions?
While there are many buildings that comprise Independence National Historical Park, the two main attractions are Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Center.

What are some other student-friendly sites?
Check out these three sites: the Franklin Court Printing Office where you can see a demonstration of 18th century style printing; the Great Essentials exhibit in the West Wing with original printed documents from the 1700s; and the President's House Site exhibit featuring the stories of the enslaved people in Washington's household. These sites can accommodate groups, have interesting content, do not require any tickets, and have no fee. Entrance to these sites is first come, first served. The Franklin Court Printing Office has limited hours: Thursday thru Sunday from 10AM to 5PM (last printing at 4:30PM).

The Benjamin Franklin Museum is definitely worth a visit, but you'll need to make reservations first.

How do I visit? Will I have a guide?
You can lead your students yourself or contract with a tour company. If you opt to lead your students yourself, we recommend using the National Park Service mobile app to help guide you. It's a free download. You can use the map in the app along with your smartphone's GPS to make sure you are heading in the right direction.

A number of school groups opt to contract with a tour company. As a government entity, the park does not endorse commercial enterprises. For information on tour operators, check out the Visit Philadelphia web page.

Do I need tickets for Independence Hall?
Yes, from March through December, entrance is by timed, ticketed tour only. Learn how to obtain tickets on the park's ticketing web page. Tickets are not required in January and February, except for holiday weekends.

Can we see Independence Hall without tickets? We just want to look around.
Entrance is by tour only. There is no option to just peek in.

How long does the tour of Independence Hall take?
The tour of Independence Hall is approximately 20 minutes. Keep in mind that your group must pass through security screening prior to lining up for the tour. NOTE: There are no restrooms on Independence Square. Plan ahead!

Do I need tickets to visit the Liberty Bell Center?
No tickets are required to visit the Liberty Bell Center. It's free, and entrance is first come, first served. Your group must pass through security screening at the entrance.

How long does it take to visit the Liberty Bell Center?
Entrance is first come, first served. The waiting time to enter varies throughout the day. Even a long line isn't usually more than a 20-25 minute wait. Once inside, the length of your visit depends on what you want to see. Some groups pass by the exhibits, opting just to see the Liberty Bell (about 5-7 minutes). Other groups spend some time in the exhibit area and view the film (15-20 minutes) before seeing the Liberty Bell (another 5 minutes or so).

Are there lunch facilities or somewhere to eat if we bring bag lunches?
The park does not have any indoor space for students to eat lunch. Picnicking is permitted in the park, provided that care is taken to discard trash in the receptacles provided. Please remember that open containers of food and drink are not permitted in any of the park buildings.

Where are the restrooms?
There are restrooms in the Independence Visitor Center at 6th and Market Streets.

Do you have any suggestions for activities in the park?
Keeping your students engaged can be a challenge, especially in self-guided sites like the Benjamin Franklin Museum or the Independence Visitor Center. Here are some suggestions:

Benjamin Franklin Museum
Just One Thing
Assign your students to work in pairs or groups to accomplish just one task while visiting the museum, and record it on their phone (photo or video).
  • Find the swim paddles. Demonstrate how they work.
  • Look for the clever instrument Franklin invented. Try your hand at the glass armonica.
  • Find the Magic Squares. Try your hand at it and explain how it works.
  • Find the exhibit about printing. Now set your name in type on the big screen.
  • Decide as a group what part of the exhibit best shows Franklin being a problem solver.
  • Decide as a group what part of the exhibit best shows Franklin being hard working.
  • Watch the video about Franklin's autobiography. Decide as a group what you think the memorable part was.
  • Find the matching game called "Choosing a Trade" and decide which trade you'd like to have, and why.
  • Find all the squirrel figurines in the exhibit. Be prepared to explain the connection between Franklin and squirrels.
Extension idea
While at the museum, ask your students to find the large quote that says, "What Good Have I Done Today?" When you return to the classroom, post this quote on your whiteboard or bulletin board and reward students who demonstrate kindness in the classroom, or provide assistance to others.

Independence Visitor Center
5 Minute Plan
  • Use the restrooms
10 Minute Plan
  • Use the restrooms
  • Assign your students a mission to find just one thing in the exhibit area near the Rangers Desk: pieces of eight, wampum, mouse trap, fire bucket, fire mark, twist of tobacco, playing cards, dice, smallpox kit, leech tube, image of a red-tailed hawk, silhouette of Alice Paul, silhouette of Thaddeus Kosciuszko, silhouette of Martin Luther King, Jr.
15 - 20 Minute Plan
  • Use the restrooms
  • Play the Find-Do game (see below for instructions)
Find-Do Game
Have your students work in teams to find a particular artifact or graphic in the exhibit near the Rangers Desk, and then do a certain activity. If your students are carrying smartphones, ask them to take photos or video of the "do" activity for a follow-up discussion back in the classroom.
Find-Do Missions
  • Find a costume. Try it on and strike a pose with any silhouette(s) on the silhouette wall
  • Find a reproduction of the chair that George Washington sat on when he presided over the Constitutional Convention. Sit in the chair and pretend to sign your name to the document.
  • Find the quotes by Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass. Read them out with feeling.
  • Find the quotes from Poor Richard's Almanack. Read your favorite one out with feeling.
  • Find the wheel that features people who lived or worked in Philadelphia. Spin the wheel three times. Take a photo of the three people you landed on.
  • Find the exhibit about food. Have a conversation with the people in the Pepper Pot soup painting.

Last updated: May 13, 2024

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