This was the second year that WordCamp US was held in Philadelphia. Coming for a second year, we felt like Philly natives. We already knew the sites we wanted to go back to, the layout of the area and where to eat, Reading Market. Best of all, we knew what to expect for the camp and were excited to jump right in. To make the trip more exciting, the entire family came, the wife, the kid and of course, myself.
We came in on a rough landing from Orlando, Florida, to an airport covered in thick fog and rain. The rain was colder than us Floridians are used to, but, we were not going to let this bring us down. We quickly got our bags, caught a Lyft to Center City and checked into our hotel.
Once we got checked in, it was time to have a Philly Cheesesteak, a real one here in Philly. We already checked out different places, and also learned that no matter who you ask, there is always a “better” cheesesteak. We did not let this bring us down, we walked over to Reading Terminal Market and located Carmen’s Famous Cheesesteaks. I had “The Franklin” which came with American cheese and Philadelphia Cream Cheese. The wife and kid had the classic with sweet peppers and cheese wiz. I know, many will say there are better places, but, I have to say this place was better than any cheesesteak we have ever had in Florida!
With our stomachs full, it was time to enjoy Christmas in Philly. We had already done our research and knew exactly where to go. We hit up Macy’s who had this amazing Christmas light show and then found the the Dicken’s Christmas Carol Village on the third floor. This was even more amazing than the light show. We got to walk through a bunch of animatronics, like Disney World without the crowds! Check out some of these photos!
We walked around the city and grabbed a few photos, but decided to retire back to the hotel and end our night. We were beat!
A Day of Fun
Our second day was set to be a fun day. We woke up to a beautiful day, not a cloud in sight. We were excited to get out and view the city and check out many cool sights. We had a few things planned, seeing how US coins are made at the US Mint, some time learning about US History at Independence Hall and learning about ships as the Seaport Museum.
We kicked off the day at the US Mint. While I would love to show you some photos or even video of what we did there, photography was not allowed, as a matter of fact, it was a federal crime if we tried to take a photo. I did not feel it was worth the time in federal prison to document this :). It was blast watching different coins being made and seeing the entire process. It never ceases to amaze me how this is done, and the kid had an absolute blast!
We followed up the US Mint by going across the street to see the Liberty Bell. This is something I recommend everyone do when they come to Philadelphia. We learned about the history of the bell and how it got it’s crack. We also did the tourist thing and took a photo in front of the bell, and cracked some jokes about what caused the crack in the bell, insinuating that the kid put the crack in the bell. He didn’t seem amused by my dad joke and proceeded to facepalm saying “you’re so embarrassing”. This is how you know you have succeeded as a father, when your kid is embarrassed by your jokes :).
We also walked around Independence Hall and explained to Jared the significance of that location to American History. It is amazing being at this location where so much history has happened.
After grabbing some lunch at a local sandwich shop, we headed over to the Seaport Museum. This was very exciting and we had a blast exploring the museum. There were a lot of hands on activities and this kept Jared super busy.
The best part of this museum is the ability to tour a WWII submarine, Submarine Becuna (SS-319). This sub was from 1944 used to patrol the pacific ocean for Japanese ships. In addition, we were also able to tour Cruiser Olympia (C-6) the oldest steel warship afloat in the world. This ship was launched in 1892, and had a very rich history until it was decommissioned in 1922. We had many amazing photos from these two ships, and Jared had an absolute blast touring these ships!
Our day ended with some pizza and a good night’s rest!
WordCamp US Day 1 Is Here!
Yes! The day we have all waited for has arrived. It was time for WordCamp US to kick off. We had our breakfast and walked over to the venue. After getting checked in, we were blown away by all the sponsors (and a little sad Pantheon was kicked out). So many sponsors, so much swag! We went down the line, collecting shirts, pins, stickers, chargers and so many other things that WordPress geeks absolutely love!
As we collect our swag, we start to run into our friends from Orlando and from all over. Our WordPress friends range from some closer to us in Miami to friends from different countries in Europe. We spent the first hour just catching up, missing the first few sessions. I ended up finding time to jump in on a session from on of our Orlando locals, Lisa, who talked about how to get clients to provide you with content BEFORE starting your project. The rest of the day consisted of talks and what we WordPressers have deemed “the hallway track”. What is this “hallway track”? This is what we call the conversations that take place in the halls. With so many sessions going on, and so many experts from all over, you often end up in deep conversations with others, learning more from each other than any one talk. This has become known as “the hallway track” and is one of the biggest draws to WordCamp US.
To finish out the day, I joined GoDaddy and ManageWP for their awesome sponsor party. It was crowded, but, was a blast. I got to hang out with many friends from all over, including competing hosts :). We got to hear from head of product at GoDaddy as well as the founder of ManageWP on the future of the product since being acquired by GoDaddy. Following the GoDaddy party, I headed over to join the good folks at Media Temple for their sponsor party. This party was even more crowded than the previous. After meeting some great people, I walked back to my hotel to get some much needed rest.
WordCamp US Day 2
The second day of WordCamp US kicked off with many looking like they had a little too much fun the night before at all the sponsor parties. Nobody let this stop them and moved forward, maybe a little sluggish, but still moving in a direction! There were several great sessions, however, one I remember the most was from Chris Lema. Chris had many great things to say, however, is point was to get out and start posting more. Don’t be afraid to write content, don’t be afraid of what others may think of it, just create content. This is one of the reasons I am writing this post recapping my time at WordCamp US.
After hearing Chris speak, I headed up to get in line to hear the State of the Word. I ended up in the 3rd row and learned about the future of WordPress for 2017. One of the announcements was the WordPress Growth Council. This is a council that will help WordPress grow in a world where competitors are spending $300M+ a year to try and push businesses away. After hearing about this, I have put in an application to join this new council to help WordPress grow. Going into the new year, WordPress will be focusing on 3 key items, the REST API, The Editor and The Customizer. The State of the Word was full of great information, and for more about it, check out PostStatus’s recap of State of the Word 2017.
Fun Day 2
After such a great time at WordCamp, we had an extra day to have some fun. We kicked off our day at Eastern State Penitentiary. For those of you who do not know, Eastern State Penitentiary was a castle like prison that was considered the Alcatraz of the east. Many big mobsters were jailed here, including Al Capone. It opened in 1829 and remained open until 1971! This place is full of history and there was so much to learn. This place is unreal. It has as state of decay which really gives it that abandoned look. Jared had an absolute blast here.
Following the Penitentiary, we headed over to The Franklin Institute. This is a huge science center with MANY hands on activities. We have been to many science centers, this one has to be one of the best. We also checked out the Robots exhibit sponsored by Google. What a great time.
We finished up our trip with one last cheesesteak and a final walk around the city. We wanted to grab more photos of the city that we did not catch before. I have posted some of our other photos we took on our trip. As you will see, I just loved city hall and could not stop taking photos of it, night and day. Enjoy our photos.
Nice! Glad you could explore the city, too! If you ever make your way back again, you should check out the USS New Jersey, docked across the river in Camden. It’s a Missouri-class battleship and has a GREAT tour.