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Philadelphia & New York City

Philadelphia, which is arguably the most historic of all of the US cities in terms of the American Revolution and birthplace of the Nation.
We did a tour of Independence Hall, which we scheduled in advance.  Although not as fun as the reenactment in Boston, the one hour tour with the Park Ranger guide highlighted the significance of Philadelphia, and explained the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and then how the Continental Congress met and hammered out the US Constititution, which was then signed in the same hall, with some of the same signators.  He was informative, yet not too long, so the kids didn’t lose interest, but stayed quite captivated and interested.  Next stop was a tour of the Liberty Bell museum and this was very well documented and showed the kids a good deal about the Bell’s significance and role throughout American history.  Constitution Museum rounded out this afternoon of American history.
After having a good dose of history, the next day we headed to the Philadelphia Zoo, which is amongst the best zoos in America.  The striking feature of this zoo is the immense contribution it makes to saving endangered species.  Many zoos touch on this but this zoo has a special area with dozens of endangered species which they are having success breeding, and even reintroducing into their natural habitats some of the offspring.
We  saw the usual zoo offerings: tigers, a lion, hippos, rhinos, zebras, giraffes (my favorite), emus, ostrich, flamingos, dozens of monkeys, gorillas, and so on.  This was an excellent day out, and a good break from the history.
Then we arrived in New York City, and stayed on the south end of Manhattan, in Battery Park.  This had great access to the tour of Liberty and Ellis Islands.  So we embarked again on an American History excursion, with the guided ferry ride giving us a bit of historical facts about these two important island in the history of the US.
We rounded off our stay on the southside of Manhattan by having a stroll through SOHO and then up to Little Italy for dinner.  What was a shock is how much the much touted area for excellent dining options has shrunk…and been engulfed by Chinatown and other dining options markedly not Italian.  We ate at Buena Casa, which was, like the name, quite good.  And of course, made our way for our favorite dessert..Canolis at Ferrara Bakery, just off Mulberry Street.  It was a treat, and the kids loved them too.

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