Find the Fun with a Scavenger Hunt on Greater Philadelphia’s Circuit Trails

This blog was originally published in Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s TrailBlog in July 2018.  

Delaware River Trail | Photo by Laura Stark

Delaware River Trail 

Walking, bicycling, skating, wildlife viewing—these are all the usual suspects of trail use, but this summer, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and our friends with the Circuit Trails are challenging visitors and residents in the Greater Philadelphia region to add another fun activity to the list: scavenger hunting! The Circuit Trails Scavenger Hunt, running now through Sept. 22, provides the perfect opportunity to revisit some favorite spots or explore new ones on the ever-expanding 300-miles-plus trail system throughout Philadelphia, and Camden, New Jersey. 

In it to win it? Great! Just pledge to participate and hit the trail for the chance to score some handy trail gear or even a brand-new Fuji bike. You’ll find no shortage of cool destinations to check out on the interactive scavenger hunt map, but below are a few of our favorites. And don’t keep your adventures all to yourself! Share your photos from the trail by using hashtag #onthecircuit and tag @circuittrails on Twitter, @thecircuittrails on Instagram or @TheCircuitTrails on Facebook. 

Independence Seaport Museum | Photo by Laura Stark

Independence Seaport Museum 

The heart of Philadelphia is nestled in a “V” formed by two rivers: the Schuylkill to the west and the Delaware to the east. The city’s Independence Seaport Museum, a worthwhile attraction perched on the banks of the Delaware River, highlights the value of the region’s waterways and offers a wide range of displays on everything from shipbuilding to maritime art to oceanic warfare. Kids will especially like the models of ships from the Revolutionary War to the modern day, and the “Patriots and Pirates” exhibit, where they can climb aboard the schooner Diligence, a replica of a 1797 schooner. Outside the museum, check out the real ships docked along the beautiful brick promenade of the Delaware River Trail. 

Fairmount Water Works | Photo by Laura Stark

Fairmount Water Works 

Dating back to the early 19th-century, Fairmount Water Works, poised on the shoreline of the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park, houses cavernous tunnels that provide glimpses of the old turbines and machinery once used to provide the city with safe, clean water. The museum’s interactive exhibits and videos about the river and its wildlife are not only educational but also entertaining. After learning about this important watershed, hop on the easy and paved Schuylkill River Trail. You might not be up for tackling its full 76-mile length, but there are lots of jumping-on and -off points along the way, and great views of the river to enjoy no matter how much of the trail you pedal. 

John Heinz Refuge Trail | Photo by Laura Stark

John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge 

Located in southwest Philadelphia across from the Philadelphia International Airport, the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge provides an important connection to nature for city dwellers. Within the refuge, nearly 8 miles of pathway loop through Tinicum Marsh, as well as open meadows and lush woodlands—prime habitat for viewing many kinds of birds, deer, possums, foxes, turtles and other wildlife. Darby Creek also traverses the park, adding opportunities to canoe and fish as well. 

Adventure Aquarium | Photo by Laura Stark

Camden Children’s Garden 

On the New Jersey side of the Delaware River, you’ll find the Camden Children’s Garden just steps from the waterfront. Kids can make the connection between growing plants and the food they eat at an exhibit on farming, and find fun surprises like a dinosaur sculpture, a tree house and a miniature train to ride at this star community attraction. Next door is Adventure Aquarium, where children will be awestruck by a walk through a glass tunnel surrounded by water and sea creatures, and eager to dip their fingers into several touch tanks. Afterwards, stroll the short-but-sweet Ulysses Wiggins Waterfront Park Promenade, and take in the camera-worthy backdrop of the Ben Franklin Bridge, which boasts a separated bicycle and pedestrian walkway connecting Philadelphia and Camden.  

Follow the Circuit Trails