Philadelphia cultural institutions plan Children’s World Fair for 2026

A trio of tourist attractions in Philadelphia’s Centennial District are proposing the creation of a Children’s World Fair in 2026, which would be the latest major event on the city’s calendar for America’s 250th birthday.

The Please Touch Museum, the Philadelphia Zoo and the Mann Center for the Performing Arts have partnered on the proposal, which is currently in its initial concept and planning phase. The fair would take place in and around Fairmount Park, the same site where the 1876 World’s Fair, also known as the Centennial International Exhibition, gathered nearly 10 million people over a seven-month period to discuss cultural and technological innovation.

The Children’s World Fair aims to draw upon the mission of that event, except with a focus on the youngest generation, according to Patricia Wellenbach, CEO of the Please Touch Museum, which is spearheading the project. The 48-year-old children’s museum is located in Memorial Hall, one of the structures built for the Centennial International Exhibition.

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