A Weekend in Wilmington
People say one of the best things about living in Central Pennsylvania is the easy access to major cities, like Washington, DC and New York. That’s certainly true, but I think even better is our proximity to lesser-known destinations for affordable, memorable family fun. Take Wilmington, Delaware, for example. It’s the perfect size for a weekend getaway. Big enough to offer plenty of options; small enough to make driving, parking and paying easy.
Accommodations include the super family-friendly Sheraton Suites Wilmington, an all-suite hotel with an indoor pool. Ask for a two-room suite and you’ll have ample elbow room, a kitchenette and two TVs. What more could a traveling family want?
Must-see attractions include the Delaware Museum of Natural History, known by the local children as “The Dinosaur Museum.” Open seven days a week, this small building is packed with exhibits that showcase birds, bugs, fossils and ferocious beasts. Don’t miss the see-through floor panel that allows curious kids to spy on life under the sea.
At the Delaware Art Museum, an especially engaging sculpture garden (look for “The Crying Giant”) welcomes families as they approach, and hands-on exhibits grab and keep kids’ attention throughout their visit. To delight the archeologists and dinosaur fans in your family, a special exhibit, “Dinotopia: The Fantastical Art of James Gurney,” opens Feb. 6.
Longwood Gardens might not sound like as much fun as a bowling alley, but the Indoor Children’s Garden tucked inside Longwood’s world-famous Conservatory is a truly magical place. With hiding places and playful fountains and brightly colored flowers, this warm oasis will quickly recharge kids’ batteries on a cold, wintry day.
Stop at Winterthur Museum & Country Estate, the former du Pont estate, for an unparalleled historic tour. This 175-room mansion is daunting even for the most avid antique lovers, but the seasonal “K is for Kids” exhibit, Touch-It Room and Enchanted Gardens keep it totally kid friendly.
Other noteworthy attractions include the DuPont Environmental Education Center, Brandywine Zoo and Brandywine River Museum. Coming in April 2010, the Delaware Children’s Museum will open on the newly renovated Wilmington Riverfront. Just one more reason to plan a weekend getaway to Wilmington, Delaware.