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Once Upon a Nation Storytelling Benches

Posted on Wednesday, August 15, 2018

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Once Upon a Nation Storytelling Benches

The Once Upon a Nation storytelling benches are another great free family fun activity in Historic Philadelphia. During the Spring and Summer, these benches are staffed during the daytime with uniformed storytellers who will entertain and educate you with short stories that are about 3-5 minutes long.

Once Upon a Nation’s distinctive semi-circular teak storytelling benches are located throughout the Independence National Historical Park area outside many of the top attractions, and stories are told continuously during operating hours or upon your arrival. Generally speaking, there is not much waiting to be able to hear a great story. For example, even if you arrive while the storyteller is mid-story with other guests, that story will be done soon and the storyteller will start telling from the beginning for you.

Once Upon a Nation Bench and Colonial Flag

Learn and Earn – Free Carousel Ride

At any of the storytelling benches, children can receive a free paper Colonial coloring flag, and then collect a star to place on their flag from every storyteller who tells them a cool story along their journey. If kids collect all 13 stickers (one for each star), they can then redeem their flag and get a History Hero Certificate and a ticket for a free carousel ride on the Liberty Carousel in Franklin Square. Along with the Independence Park Junior Ranger Program and Trading Cards, the Once Upon a Nation storytelling benches are a great way for kids to get excited about learning history. 

Franklin Square Carousel

Storytelling Bench Locations

  • Arch Street Meeting House, 4th and Arch Streets
  • Betsy Ross House, 3rd & Arch Streets
  • Carpenters’ Hall, on Chestnut between 3rd & 4th Streets
  • Christ Church, 2nd & Market Streets
  • Elfreth’s Alley, between 2nd & Front Streets
  • Franklin Court, on Market between 3rd & 4th Streets
  • Franklin Square, 6th & Race Streets
  • Independence Visitor Center, 6th & Market Streets
  • Independence Square, Behind Independence Hall (next to the statue of Commodore John Barry)
  • The Museum of the American Revolution, 101 S. 3rd Street
  • The Powel House, 244 South 3rd Street
  • Signers’ Garden, 5th & Chestnut Streets
  • National Constitution Center, 6th & Arch Streets

Once Upon a Nation Storytelling Bench with Independence Hall in Background

Operating Schedule 2018

May 26-28 (Memorial Day Weekend): 11AM-4PM, daily
June 1-June 9: 11AM– 4PM, Fridays and Saturdays
June 12-August 11 (also July 1 & 2): 11AM-4PM, Tuesdays - Saturdays
August 17-August 31: 11AM – 4PM, Fridays and Saturdays
September 1-3 (Labor Day Weekend: 11AM-4PM

Note: this schedule is subject to change without notice, so please check with the Once Upon a Nation Web site for more details on days and hours of operation.

Insider Tip

Most, if not all of the storytellers, are trained to deliver multiple stories, so you may be able to convince a storyteller to tell you more than one story if they are not too busy with other guests. Going to the storytelling benches is a great way to complement your visit to Historic after taking The Constitutional Walking Tour which provides a primary overview of Independence Park and visits more than 20 of the must-see sites including the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.

Additional Information

Once Upon a Nation

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