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30+ Things to Do With Kids This Week Around Philly: December 3–9

Need plans? We've got something great, every day!

Need plans? We’ve got something great, every day.

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See this: Holiday Lights in Philly

 

Christmas Village

Through December 24

Love Park, 1500 Arch Street

 

Modeled after the traditional Christmas Markets in Germany, this annual market features over 80 vendors in wooden booths selling authentic European food, ornaments, crafts, clothing, and more from all over the world.

‘Hamilton Was Here: Rising Up in Revolutionary Philadelphia’

Through March 17, 2019; 1 – 5 pm on weekdays, 10 am–5 pm on weekends

Museum of the American Revolution, 101 S. Third St.

 

This new exhibit is highly interactive, incorporating games, group activities, dress up, thought-provoking questions, and much more to highlight Alexander Hamilton’s major accomplishments and Philadelphia connections. Read all about it in our preview.

‘Hamilton: The Constitutional Clashes That Shaped a Nation’

Through December 31

National Constitution Center, 525 Arch St.

 

This exhibit focuses on the intellectual and political conflicts between Hamilton and his contemporaries, including Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and John Adams, and of course, Aaron Burr (that one was a bit more personal).

Macy’s Santaland and Christmas Light Show

November 23—December 31 (Closed Christmas Day)

Showtimes: 10 am, noon, 2 pm, 4 pm, 6 pm and 8 pm

1300 Market St.

 

To quote Julie Andrews’s narration of this 100,000-light spectacle, it the Macy’s Christmas Light Show is a “grand tradition.” If you’re from Philly, you probably grew up watching it, and not a thing has changed. The bears, the dancing snowmen, the “magic Christmas tree,” the Wanamaker Organ finale—it’s all there, and it’s all aglow in colorful nostalgia. After the show, head upstairs to Dickens Village to walk through an animatronic telling of A Christmas Carol, then meet Santa!

Winter in Dilworth Park: Rothman Rink, Wintergarden, and Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market

Through January 1, 2019 (Rink through February)

Dilworth Park, 1 S. 15th St.

 

Right outside City Hall, more than 40 local artisans, designers, crafters, and confectionaries will offer unique selections for gifts and special holiday foods. This market was designed to complement Christmas Village across the street—but only focuses on locally made gifts. Stop by after skating on the Rothman Rink and running through Wintergarden Maze!

Oliver!

Through December 23

Quintessence Theatre, 7137 Germantown Ave.

 

With familiar songs like “Consider Yourself” and “Food, Glorious Food,” this musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic is a crowd pleaser for all ages.

‘Matilda’

Through January 6, 2019

Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut St.

 

Based on the beloved Roald Dahl novel, Matilda The Musical will delight with high-energy dance and catchy songs.

Scuba Santa at Adventure Aquarium

November 23—December 25

1 Riverside Dr., Camden, NJ

 

Scuba Santa is back and ready to make the most underwater appearances in aquarium history! Visit him in Ocean Realm as he spreads the magic of Christmas and takes selfies through the glass. The aquarium will also have the World’s Tallest Underwater Christmas Tree, and more decorations throughout.

Holiday Garden Railway Opens at Morris Arboretum 

November 23—December 31, 10 am—4 pm

Morris Arboretum, 100 E. Northwestern Avenue

 

Morris Arboretum’s beloved Garden Railway gets a holiday upgrade, lighting up this quarter-mile of track and miniature replicas of Philadelphia-area landmarks made from natural materials with thousands of twinkling lights.

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

November 23—March 3, 2019

101 S. Columbus Blvd.

 

Come to skate, come to party in the cabins, come for the fun and food. This rink is a Philadelphia favorite for a reason. This year, it will be celebrating its 25th anniversary, and has lots of fun events planned throughout the season– read all about it in our preview!

‘Xtreme Bugs’ at Academy of Natural Sciences

Through January 21, 2019

1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

 

Nearly 20 towering animatronic bugs will come alive in this new creepy crawly exhibit! Get a bug’s-eye view of the world and learn about their intricacies and behaviors. See our preview here.

‘Vikings: Beyond the Legend’ at the Franklin Institute

Through  March 3, 2019

222 North 20th Street

 

The Franklin Institute presents 600 unique artifacts, multimedia, hands-on elements, and more to bring the Viking Age to life. Read all about the exhibit in our preview.

‘Thomas and Friends: Explore the Rails!’ at Please Touch Museum

Through January 6, 2019

4231 Avenue of the Republic

 

The long-awaited Thomas and Friends exhibit arrives at Please Touch Museum with plenty of train-themed fun, photo ops, imaginative play, and valuable STEM lessons along the way! Read our full preview here.

‘Fabulous Fashion: From Dior’s New Look to Now’

Through March 3, 2019

Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

 

If you have a fashion lover in your midst (or are one yourself), you’ll definitely want to catch this new exhibit that’s all about couture!

Charlotte’s Web

November 28, 2018 – January 27, 2019 (in previews until December 8)

Arden Theatre, 40 N. Second St.

 

The heart-warming story of a special friendship between a lovable pig and everyone’s favorite spider comes to life at the Arden.

Monday

Philadelphia Orchestra’s Sound All Around

December 3, 10 am and 11:15 am

Academy of Music Ballroom, 240 S. Broad St.

 

Designed for 3-5 year olds, this Philadelphia Orchestra program introduces kids to the instruments of the orchestra through storytelling and music. This time, learn about the woodwinds!

Read & Romp at National Liberty Museum

December 3, 10:30–11:30 am

321 Chestnut St.

 

The museum kicks off their new series for kids ages 2-6 including an exciting hour of imaginative storytelling, interactive games, and creative crafts in the museum’s galleries. This week, explore friendship with Nine Little Jellybeans… Learn to Get Along by Willie Wood, inspired the museum’s famous “Jellybean People” exhibit.  Snacks and museum admission are included.

Read With a Therapy Dog

December 3, 4:15 pm

Falls of Schuylkill Library, 3501 Midvale Ave.

 

School age kids ages 6-12 are invited to come read independently with Wally, a certified therapy dog, and share a new book or an old favorite in a judgment-free space.

Hanukkah Service in Headhouse Square

December 3, 5 pm
Headhouse Square, Second and Lombard streets, Philadelphia

 

For the fourth year, the SSHD will partner with Congregation B’nai Abraham to offer an evening celebration of the Festival of Lights at the Headhouse Shambles. Enjoy song, prayer, and the ceremony of the traditional lighting of the menorah at the Lombard Street Fountain (or under the Headhouse Shambles in case of inclement weather).

Menorah Lighting in Fitler Square

December 3, 5:30 pm

Pine Street, between 23rd and 24th streets

 

Gather around the Fitler Square fountain for menorah lighting and blessings led by a rabbi.

Hanukkah Celebration on Boathouse Row

December 3, 6—7 pm

Schuylkill River Trail at the Fairmount Fish Ladder on Martin Luther King Drive

 

Parks and Recreation, the Mayor’s Office of Public Engagement, and the Office of the City Representative are working with community partners to co-produce and host this special celebration. The iconic houses on Boathouse Row will glow white and blue in the shape of a menorah from December 2—9.

Tuesday

Music Monkey Jungle Free Session at Reading Terminal Market

December 4, 10 — 10:30 am

51 N. 12th St.

 

Sing, dance, move, and have a rockin’ good time with Music Monkey Jungle. Admission is free and open to the public.

Family Fitness

December 4, 10:15—11 am

Independence LIVE, 1919 Market Street, 2nd Floor

 

Class for parents with babies and toddlers who would like to add a fun and creative spin to their routines. The class will take place without the need of equipment, and with a series of stations where exercises and techniques will be performed by the parent and child together. Register online.

Meet the Phillie Phanatic at the Xfinity Store

December 4, noon—2 pm

1429 Walnut St.

 

Celebrate the new store with the Phillie Phanatic, Phillies alum Tommy Greene, and Power 99’s Mutha Knows. Get autographs, pictures, giveaways and more!

Earring Making at South Philadelphia Library

December 4, 4 pm

1700 S. Broad St.

 

School-age kids can come make a special holiday gift for a loved one with Chef Char! All materials will be provided. One pair per person.

Hanukkah Celebration at Northeast Regional Library

December 4, 4 pm

2228 Cottman Ave.

 

Celebrate the Jewish Festival of Lights with stories, crafts, and refreshments. For school-age children.

Free Letters to Santa Workshop with the Geography Lady

December 4, 5—6 pm

Bushrod Library, 6304 Castor Avenue

 

Create letters for Santa Claus while also learning about the origins of Old St. Nick and how he is celebrated around the world.

Jake Elliott and Swoop at the Xfinity Store

December 4, 5—7 pm

1429 Walnut St.

 

Meet Eagles kicker Jake Elliott and mascot Swoop at the new Xfinity store. Get autographs, pictures, giveaways, and more.

Rittenhouse Square Menorah Lighting

December 4, 5:15–6 pm

Rittenhouse Square

 

The giant menorah in Rittenhouse Square will be lit in the square, along with holiday treats and raffle prizes. Please consider bringing new or gently used children’s books to donate to Mighty Writers (especially picture books and graphic novels).

Family Night Slime and Pizza, Plus Gingerbread Houses!

December 4, 6:30–7:45 pm

SplashLab Arts, 3510 Scotts Lane

 

Enjoy family access to the studio at night. Call to make a reservation by 3 pm Tuesday afternoon, and indicate whether you want dinner delivered for your family. Then show up and have fun getting messy! This week, there’s a special gingerbread house activity planned as well!

Wednesday

Book Nook Storytime at Reading Terminal Market

December 5, 10—10:30 am

51 N. 12th St.

 

This program, in partnership with The Free Library of Philadelphia, is geared towards children ages 3 to 5.

Storytime in Christmas Village

December 5, 11 am

Love Park, 1500 Arch St.

 

The Free Library of Philadelphia will be in Christmas Village reading seasonal and holiday stories to children of all ages.

Chanukah First Wednesday at Please Touch Museum

December 5, 4—7 pm

4231 Avenue of the Republic

 

Gather around the menorah to sing, dance, and create! The Please Touch Museum will stay open until 7 pm for two extra hours of play, and offer $2 per person admission after 4 pm. Play dreidel, cook with Vetri Mobile Teaching Kitchen, and more.

Meet Santa at Holmesburg Library

December 5, 5 pm

7810 Frankford Ave.

 

Visit with Santa, enjoy cookies, and make and take holiday crafts while you wait.

Meet Gritty at the Xfinity Store

December 5, 5—7 pm

1429 Walnut St.

 

Celebrate our new store with Gritty, 96.5’s Coop and Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders. Get pictures, giveaways and more! Gritty is set to show up at 6 pm, so get ready!

BZBI Community Party

December 5, 5:30—8 pm

Beth Zion-Beth Israel, 300 S. 18th St, Philadelphia

 

Come for a night of fried food, live music, candle lighting and more. After dinner, enjoy a laser light show by WONDERGY that brings the story of Hanukkah to life! Please bring new or gently used books to donate to Stephen Girard Elementary School. Tickets available online.

Grand Menorah Lighting at the Art Museum

December 5, 6:30 pm

2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

 

The fourth candle of Hanukkah will be lit on the nine-foot menorah displayed at the Art Museum steps. There will also be music, sufganiyot, and latkes!

Barry’s Buns Annual Gingerbread Workshop

December 5, 6:30—8 pm

The Bourse Food Hall, 111 S. Independence Mall East

 

Workshop for parent and child includes all materials and instruction. Call 267-521-2867 to make your reservation.

A Philly POPS Christmas: Spectacular Sounds of the Season (Family/Sensory Friendly Performance)

December 5, 8 pm

Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad St.

 

This Philly tradition features over 300 performers bringing an all-new repertoire of favorite holiday classics. In addition to the fabulous pop orchestra conducted by Broadway legend Todd Ellison, the concert features vocals by Hamilton’s Mandy Gonzalez, the Philadelphia Boys Choir, the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas Gospel Choir, and the Philly POPS Festival Chorus. This Wednesday’s performance will be sensory friendly, with a judgment-free environment, mid-level sound and light, trained staff, a quiet area, and fidget devices.

Thursday

Meet Author Hena Khan

December 6

10 am; Fumo Family Library, 2437 S. Broad St.

4:30 pm; Philadelphia City Institute, 1905 Locust St.

 

Children’s book author Hena Khan will share her stories and creative process. Hena Khan is the author of novels and picture books, including Amina’s Voice, the Zayd Saleem series, Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets, and many others.

Choo-Choo Train Storytime

December 6, 10:30 am

Chestnut Hill Library, 8711 Germantown Ave.

 

All aboard for train stories, songs, rhymes, and special giveaways for kids of all ages.

Drop-in Play and Storytime at Philly Art Center

December 6, 10:30—11:45 am

2501 Olive Street and 514 Bainbridge Street

 

For babies ages 0-2. Walkers enjoy sensory stations, while floor-bound babies enjoy age appropriate manipulative play. Storytime is at 11 am. No need to sign up, just drop-in for $5 at the door.

St. Nikolaus Day at Christmas Village

Drop off boots between 11 am—3:30 pm; meet St. Nikolaus at 4:15 pm

Love Park, 1500 Arch St.

 

As in German tradition, Christmas Village will fill children’s boots with free treats! Drop off boots at the information booth between 11 am—3:30 pm. They will be returned at 4:15 pm by St. Nikolaus himself. Afterwards, children will have the opportunity to talk to St. Nikolaus and take pictures with him. Pre-register by emailing event@philachristmas.com with the number of children attending the event, their names, ages, and potential food allergies.

Pizza Neapolitan with Santa

December 6, 4—8 pm

A Tutti Ristorante Italiano, 5154 Ridge Avenue

 

Santa invites you to experience Neapolitan style pizza and homemade Italian meals at A Tutti Ristorante Italiano.

First Thursday at Fleisher Arts Memorial

December 6, 4—6 pm

719 Catharine Street

 

Make art with fun, interactive techniques, read together as a family, and leave with materials to do both at home! First Thursdays are free and no registration is required. Each event will also feature giveaways of books, art supplies, and Fleisher memberships.

Chanukah Party at the Ethical Society

December 6, 4:30 pm (menorah lighting in Rittenhouse Square at 5:30 pm)
1906 Rittenhouse Square

 

B’nai Abraham Chabad hosts a party with music, face painting, balloons, crafts, latkes, and donuts. After the party, head over to Rittenhouse Square for the giant menorah lighting at 5:30 pm.

Barry’s Buns Annual Gingerbread Workshop

December 6, 6:30—8 pm

The Bourse Food Hall, 111 S. Independence Mall East

 

Workshop for parent and child includes all materials and instruction. Call 267-521-2867 to make your reservation.

Friday

Baby Bird Playdate at Philadelphia Museum of Art

December 7, 10:15 am

2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

 

Play at the museum with your little ones and enjoy music, art making, and gallery walks.​ For toddlers and their grownups.

Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’

December 7, 10:30 am

Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut St.

 

WST for Kids presents a special hour-long musical adaptation for families, using traditional songs to highlight Dickens’ magical Christmas story. Since it’s only one hour long, it’s a perfect way to get into the spirit without having to make your kids sit still for too long!

Meet Author Hena Khan

December 7

10 am; South Philadelphia Library, 1700 S. Broad St.

11:15 am; Queen Memorial Library, 1201 S. 23rd St.

 

Children’s book author Hena Khan will share her stories and creative process. Hena Khan is the author of novels and picture books, including Amina’s Voice, the Zayd Saleem series, Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets, and many others.

Storytime at Ryerss Museum and Library

December 7, 10:30 am and 1 pm

7370 Central Ave., Burholme Park

 

This week’s free storytime for kids ages 0-5 is “all about families.”

Army-Navy Pep Rally

December 7, noon

Shops at Liberty Place, 16th and Chestnut

 

The day before the big game, the Academy Pep bands, cheerleaders, and fans get fired up at the official Pep Rally. Army-Navy Game merchandise will be sold throughout the event.

Frankford Holiday Market and Tree Lighting

December 7, 3—7 pm (tree lighting at 5 pm)

Frankford Pause Park, 4673 Paul St.

 

Following a holiday market featuring local businesses, artists, and makers, the tree lighting ceremony at 5 pm will include a special performance from Frankford High School students.

Lilypad Family Happy Hour Playgroup

December 7, 4:30—6 pm

1234 S. Broad St.

 

Hang out with other parents and let the kids play—this playgroup is BYOB!

Holiday Garden Railway Nights

December 7, 4:30—7:30 pm

Morris Arboretum, 100 E. Northwestern Ave.

 

Bask in the glow of thousands of sparkling lights at these magical evenings that have become an arboretum and family tradition. Tickets are required, and are available online.

PlayArts Family First Friday 

December 7, 5—7 pm

1241 N. Front St.

 

Bring your friends and your little ones out for BYOB First Friday. There will be a DJ playing music, food by Caviar, and playtime!

Franklin Square Hanukkah Celebration

December 7, 5:30 — 7:30 pm
200 N. Sixth St.

 

Enjoy dreidel games, latkes, and free holiday crafts as part of the Franklin Square Holiday Festival. Of course, the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show will be dazzling the crowd every half hour to add to the festivities, and the hot chocolate bar will be open at Ben’s Sweet Treats tent.

Opening Night of George Balanchine’s ‘The Nutcracker’

December 7, 7 pm

Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad St.

 

In our family, the holiday season just isn’t complete without the Pennsylvania Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker. From the  Tchaikovsky score to the timeless story of holiday magic, this ballet is a classic for a reason.

 

Weekend Events

Get all our weekend picks in the High Five!

 

Photograph by Laura Swartz.

Philadelphia Assistant Editor | Email tips to laura@familyfocus.org

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