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Gobble Gobble! An Overstuffed Rundown of Things To Do With Kids in Philly All Week: November 25–December 1

Staying in town for Thanksgiving, or hosting family? Here's something great to do in Philly everyday!

Need plans for Thanksgiving week? Staying in town for Thanksgiving, or hosting family? We’ve got something great, every day.

 

And we’re bringing you the whole week, including Thanksgiving weekend, all at once! Just one more thing to be thankful for!

Go straight to: Monday       Tuesday       Wednesday         Thursday (Thanksgiving!)
THANKSGIVING WEEKEND

All Week

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

Through January 1, 2020 (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!

The Snow Queen

November 27—January 26

Arden Theatre, 40 N. Second St.

 

Based on Hans Christian Anderson’s classic fairy tale, The Snow Queen transports audiences on a journey through the four seasons, and celebrates the magical power of friendship.

The Wizard of Oz

November 27—December 29

Sedgwick Theater, 7137 Germantown Ave.

 

Quintessence Theatre Group continues its tenth anniversary season with this classic tale of Dorothy’s adventures in the Land of Oz. This production will honor both the classic MGM film (with music from the movie!) as well as the original L. Frank Baum novel.

Mean Girls

November 19—December 1

Academy Of Music, 240 S Broad St.

 

Because you’re not like a regular mom, you’re a cool mom! This hit Broadway show based on the movie written by Philly’s hometown hero Tina Fey comes to the stage in all its sharp-witted glory.  So fetch! Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Philadelphia Zoo’s LumiNature

3400 W. Girard Avenue

November 20–January 5 (Closed Thanksgiving Day)

 

New for this year, the Philadelphia Zoo presents a nighttime multimedia holiday spectacle the likes of which you have never seen. Throughout the zoo, giant animal-themed installations will glow, Evergreen trees will talk, and you’ll be surrounded by pure fantasy. Seasonal fare, strolling performers, hot chocolate (and adult beverages) add to the festiveness. Tickets available online.

Philly Art Center Vacation Camp

November 25—27

514 Bainbridge Street

 

If your kids (age 5-12) have off school, you can sign them up for a day (or all three days) of creative fun and skill-building, both in and out of the studios. Before and after care available for an extra cost.

Shrek: The Musical

November 5—January 5

Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut St.

 

This award-winning Broadway musical based on the beloved movie features all new songs and fun for the whole family.

Deck the Hall Light Show at Dilworth Park

November 25—January 1

Showtimes: Begins at 5:30 pm nightly, and repeats as follows:

November 20 – December 20: Sunday–Thursday: every 60 minutes, Friday and Saturday: every 30 minutes. December 21 – January 1: every 30 minutes

 

This light show returns to light up the west side of City Hall with projected large-scale animation and music. It’s a perfect addition to the Rothman Rink and holiday markets on either side of the street. Grab some hot cocoa from the Cabin, and watch the magic unfold.

Photo Pop: Winter Wonderland

November 15–January 5

The Bourse, 111 S. Independence Mall East

 

Photo Pop returns this winter with one-of-a-kind interactive holiday themes that will make for amazing holiday card (and Instagram) moments! Tickets available online.

Franklin Square Holiday Festival

November 14—December 31

Showtimes: Every half-hour from 4:30—8 pm (Sunday—Thursday), 4:30—9 pm (Friday—Saturday)

200 N. Sixth St.

 

More than 80,000 lights illuminate Franklin Square, timed to a soundtrack of holiday classics, some of which are performed by The Philly POPS. There are two alternating shows every 30 minutes beginning at 4:30 pm daily, so if you stay a while for the Holiday Festival activities, you can catch them both. And you’ll definitely want to do that because they have fun events planned like a winter beer garden with fire pits, live music Sundays, gourmet hot chocolate station, and much more!

The Gifts of the Magi

Through December 22

Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut St.

 

This beautiful musical adaptation of the classic O. Henry story reminds us of the true meaning of giving, and of love. In previews until November 21. Tickets available online.

‘The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Experience’

October 19–April 19

Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th St.

 

Based on the internationally best-selling survival handbook, that was created in Philadelphia, “The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Experience” makes its world premiere at the Franklin Institute, bringing hands-on, immersive challenges that show visitors how to survive unexpected but possible “worst-case scenarios” in fun and thought-provoking ways. See our preview here!

‘Very Eric Carle’ at Please Touch Museum

October 5—January 12, 2020

4231 Avenue of the Republic

 

Step into the world of Eric Carle in this new interactive exhibit. Follow the path of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, compose a night symphony with The Very Quiet Cricket, and more!

‘Constructing Play: Classic + Modern Building Toys’

November 21, 2019—January 16, 2020

Center / Architecture + Design, 1218 Arch St.

 

Explore the development of children’s toys over the past 200 years. Travel back in time to learn how different building toys were invented, designed, and refined to become the toys that still secretly educate children today! During the exhibit, visitors can show off their building skills and create the house or city of their dreams at Creation Stations filled with components of popular building toys.

Notorious RBG

Through January 12, 2020

National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 South Independence Mall East

 

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the first-ever museum retrospective of the Supreme Court Justice-turned-pop-culture-icon, makes its east coast debut. Based on the New York Times best-selling book of the same name by Knizhnik and Irin Carmon, the visually rich and entertaining exhibition explores RBG’s legacy through archival photographs and documents, historical artifacts, contemporary art, media stations, and gallery interactives including fun memes and fan art made about the incomparable Justice.

Candytopia

Open through January 9

Ninth and Market streets

 

Candytopia brings its wildly popular experiential installation art to Philly. Favorites—like the marshmallow pit filled with over 250,000 foam marshmallows, and the rainbow-filled room with flying unicorn pigs and confetti explosions—are joined by Philly-specific elements. It’s Instagram heaven, and you even get to eat candy throughout the experience! Tickets are available online, where you can reserve your timeslot. Kids age 3 and under get in free! Read our full preview and tips here.

Dinosaurs Around the World

Through January 20, 2020

Academy of Natural Sciences, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

 

With over a dozen life-size animatronic dinosaurs,  “Dinosaurs Around the World” invites visitors to prehistoric Earth to see how they lived and adapted to their times. Check out our preview to learn more.

‘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.

Monday

Cooking Around the World

November 25, 9:30—10:30 am

Lilypad, 1234 S. Broad St.

 

Each week, the Geography Lady will lead the class in creating something delicious from a different country around the world, tell stories, and more. Each student will be given a passport, a special one of a kind apron, a copy of the day’s recipe, and a share of what was made in class to eat together or take home. This program is geared towards children between the ages of 2 to 5 and requires a participating adult. Pre-registration is required online.

Yoga for Kids

November 25, 4 pm

South Philadelphia Library, 1700 S. Broad St.

 

Join yoga teacher Danielle Pramick for a free children’s yoga class at the library. This class will give kids a safe environment to play, explore, and experience the wonderful benefits of yoga including grounding, self-expression, balance, and flexibility.

Make Your Own Comics

November 25, 4 pm

Parkway Central Library, 1901 Vine Street

 

Kids ages 11 and under can learn how to plan, design, and write their own comics at this workshop.

Free Admission at Franklin Institute Community Night

November 25, 5—8 pm

222 North 20th Street

 

Come experience the museum for free, and take part in some fun hands-on activities too!

Deck the Hall Light Show begins at Dilworth Park

November 25, 5:30 pm (kick off festivities at 5 pm)

1 S. 15th St.

 

This light show premiered returns to light up the west side of City Hall with projected large-scale animation and music. It premieres Monday night with a special kick-off event including a performance by the Philadelphia Boys Choir and remarks by Mayor Jim Kenney before the first light show at 5:30 pm. The light show will run every hour on the half hour.

Tuesday

Music Exploration with Mr. Ryan

November 26, 9—9:45 am

Beehive at Bok, Suite B03, 1901 S. Ninth Street

 

Sing, move and meaningfully connect with your child during this music class designed to foster positive aural experiences for the whole family!  Young musicians and their caregivers will participate in a variety of musical activities to promote vocal exploration, steady beat, gross motor movement, and positive social interactions.

Music Monkey Jungle Free Session at Reading Terminal Market

November 26, 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.

Kids Can Cook

November 26, 4 pm

Queen Memorial Library, 1201 S. 23rd St.

 

Healthy Cooking class for school-aged children, taught by serv-safe certified cooking instructor Keisha Prosser. Learn about food safety, prepare a full meal, and then help eat what you’ve created.

Wednesday

Friends Giving Play Day

November 27, 10 am—2 pm

CubSocial, 2532 S. 13th St.

 

Be thankful, and enjoy fall-inspired crafts, music, and refreshments. Pre-register online.

The Geography Lady

November 27, 1—2 pm

Beehive at Bok, Suite B03, 1901 S. Ninth Street

 

Explore the world through pictures and maps, stories and play, sensory and snacks, and a lot of fun. Drop in or reserve a spot online.

Holiday Bread Dough Sculptures

November 27, 2—4:15 pm

Sue’s Art Class, 2119 Spruce St.

 

Kids can sculpt bread dough like clay, then add raisins, food coloring and more.  Bake at home for 20 minutes and you have an edible Thanksgiving bread sculpture! Pre-register online.

Pete the Cat Pizza Party

November 27, 4 pm

Blanche A. Nixon/Cobbs Creek Library, 5800 Cobbs Creek Parkway

 

Come for pizza and a reading of the new book Pete the Cat and the Perfect Pizza Party by Kimberly and James Dean. Pete will be stopping by for a slice of pizza, too!

Philadelphia Museum of Art Tree Lighting

November 27, 5—7 pm

2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

 

Live music by Chelsea Reed and the Fair Weather Nine and the Sister Cities Girlchoir accompanies the lighting of this magnificent tree in front of the iconic museum. The Art Museum will also have “Pay What You Wish” admission after 5 pm.

Thursday: Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Day Parade

November 28, 8:30 am—noon

Begins at 19th St. and JFK Blvd., then heads east on JFK, left on 16th Street, then down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway before ending at the Art Museum

 

Bundle up and get the kids to the Parkway early for a holiday tradition, now in its 100th year! Giant balloons, live musical performances, Santa’s sleigh, and Gritty (yes, Gritty!) feature in our country’s first Thanksgiving Day parade!

What’s Open in Philly?

From skating to shopping, to restaurants serving Thanksgiving feasts, here’s everything #OpenInPHL so you can make the most of your day off!

Thanksgiving Weekend!

All Weekend

Christmas Village Opening Weekend

November 29—December 1

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. On opening weekend, there will be live performances, a visit from the original Christkind from Germany, and more!

Opening Weekend of Macy’s Santaland and Christmas Light Show

November 29—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!

Wild Wizarding Weekend

November 29—December 1

Academy of Natural Sciences, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

 

Meet the Academy’s own fantastic beasts and learn about the real animals that inspire your favorite fantasy stories. Play games, make a wand, and much more! Plus, on Friday, there’s a special Dragons After Dark with Philly Improv Theater. Come in costume for $2 off admission.

Philadelphia Dance Theatre presents ‘A Philadelphia Nutcracker’

Kurtz Center for the Performing Arts, William Penn Charter School, 3000 W. School House Lane, Philadelphia
November 29, 7 pm; November 30, 1 and 4 pm

 

“A Philadelphia Nutcracker” has a local flair, with scenes set in the Northwest Philly neighborhoods many of the school’s dancers call home. It’s become a weekend-after-Thanksgiving tradition for local families. Tickets are $22 for kids, seniors, and students, and $25 for adults.

Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’

November 30—December 22

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!

Turkey Hangover at Philadelphia Museum of Art

November 29—December 1, 10:30 am—3 pm

2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

 

Work off your Thanksgiving feast with a stroll through the galleries, and gobble up some art while creating expressions of thanks in the Balcony Studio.

Creation Station at Franklin Institute 

November 29–December 1

222 N. 20th St.

 

An interactive, family-focused design, build, and play construction zone where budding engineers can let their creativity run wild—featuring giant Tinker Toys and large Imagination Playground blocks, plus an area for building with KEVA planks and Rigamajigs. Included with General Museum Admission.

Comcast Holiday Spectacular

November 29—January 1

Showtimes: Every hour from 10 am—8 pm (excluding 5 pm on weekdays)

Comcast Center, 1701 JFK Boulevard

 

The Comcast Holiday Spectacular is a 15-minute festive musical on one of the world’s largest highest-resolution LED displays. Running at the top of the hour (except 5 pm on weekdays), the show includes holiday songs, expansive aerial footage of Philadelphia, parts of the Pennsylvania Ballet’s The Nutcracker, and more. At the end, marvel as it begins to snow in the lobby of the Comcast Center!

Thanksgiving Weekend at National Constitution Center

November 29—December 1

525 Arch Street

 

Learn about the history of Thanksgiving, make corn husk dolls, watch a period costume fashion show, and more!

Philadelphia Dance Theatre presents ‘The Nutcracker’

Kurtz Center for the Performing Arts, William Penn Charter School, 3000 W. School House Lane
November 29, 7 pm; November 30, 1 and 4 pm

 

“A Philadelphia Nutcracker” has a local flair, with scenes set in the Northwest Philly neighborhoods many of the school’s dancers call home. It’s become a weekend-after-Thanksgiving tradition for local families. Tickets are $22 for kids, seniors, and students, and $25 for adults.

Christmas Underwater at Adventure Aquarium

November 29—December 30

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 29—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 Opens for the Season

November 29—March 8, 2020

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 weekend there’s extra fun for the kids, from Elsa to LEGO! They have lots of fun events planned throughout the season, too, so check out our sneak peek!

ThankZOO Member Weekend

November 29—December 1, 10 am—2 pm

Philadelphia Zoo, 3400 W. Girard Ave.

 

Meet the turkey flock and see your favorite animals enjoy special holiday treats. Plus, zoo members are invited to bring along one extra guest with membership for free.

Retail & Rebellion: Thanksgiving Weekend at the Museum of the American Revolution

November 29—December 1

101 S. Third St.

 

Gather under the Liberty Tree to find out what items early Americans bought at the market and what items they boycotted to voice their rights. Participate in the “Stamp is Right” challenge and learn about the price of goods in early America.

Friday

Day-Off Camp: Rock On

November 29, 8 am—3 pm

Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, 8480 Hagy’s Mill Road

 

If your kids (ages 5-12) have off school, drop them off to be junior geologists! They’ll break out the hammers and chisels to examine rocks and minerals up close, and learn about local geology and the role that water plays in shaping our landscape. Pre-registration required.

Santa Express—SEPTA to Rothman Rink

November 29, 10:30—noon

Dilworth Park, 1 S. 15th St.

 

SEPTA’s trains and stations will be specially decorated for the occasion and helpers will be there to hand out holiday gift bags. Riders will arrive in Dilworth Park in time for a festive parade that will welcome Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the elves to the Rothman Rink around 10:45 am. Santa will stay and skate on Rothman Rink, and you can skate with him, play games, and win prizes. There will also be a hot chocolate station and a cookie decorating station.

Phillies’ Red Friday

November 29, 10 am—6 pm

Citizens Bank Park, 1 Citizens Bank Way

 

Visit CBP for holiday sales, festivities, fun surprises, and of course Phanta Claus (the Phanatic dressed as Santa)! Take holiday photos on the field and enjoy donuts and hot chocolate in the Phillies and visitor’s dugouts from 10 am—noon. Take pictures with Phanta Claus at 11:30 am.

After Turkey Play Day at Smith Memorial Playground 

November 29, 10 am–4 pm

3500 Reservoir Dr.

 

Play off that Thanksgiving feast at this free day of play. Playground access is weather permitting, and the Playhouse is open for little ones with crafts and more!

Black Powder Friday at Fort Mifflin

November 29, 10 am

1 Fort Mifflin Rd.

 

Spend the day exploring one of the only intact battlefields from the American Revolution and enjoy musket and cannon demonstrations. Tours at noon and 2 pm.

Dragons After Dark

November 29, 4—8 pm

Academy of Natural Sciences, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

 

Come for pay-what-you-wish admission, free family activities, and the Dino Drafts Beer Garden in Dinosaur Hall. But this month, for Wild Wizarding Weekend, it’s Dragons After Dark! Plus, live animal demonstrations and other hands-on activities.

Santa at Franklin Square

November 29, 5 pm

Sixth and Race streets

 

Saint Nick arrives at 5 pm to spread Christmas cheer and then strolls around the Square checking his naughty and nice lists and posing for photos. Plus, enjoy the light show every 30 minutes, and the other fun at the Franklin Square Holiday Festival.

Roxborough Tree Lighting

November 29, 5 pm

Pocket Park, 6170 Ridge Ave.

 

Enjoy hot chocolate, join in on sing-a-longs with holiday carolers, and get photos with Santa at the tree lighting.

Saturday

Small Business Saturday in Chestnut Hill

November 30

 

Shop local, plus enjoy strolling Santa, pet photos, carolers, and carriage rides. You can also sign up for a fancy gingerbread house workshop at Bredenbeck’s Bakery at 2 pm.

Nimble Crafters at Kith + Kin

November 30, 10 am—noon

3060 W. Jefferson St.

 

Weekly take-home projects are inspired by nature, cultures, and art appreciation. Experimenting with different materials in a controlled environment allows your child to gain confidence but most importantly have fun! Come any time between the two-hour open studio time and stay as long as you choose.

Colonial Chocolate Making at Betsy Ross House 

November 30, 11 am—4 pm

239 Arch St.

 

Experience Colonial chocolate-making demonstrations and meet two female entrepreneurs while learning about women’s role in the American Revolution.

Storytime at the Lodge

November 30, 11:30 am—12:30 pm

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, 101 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd.

 

Little ones will enjoy interactive activities and music, along with some stories. Light snacks and hot chocolate will be provided for the kids.

Superheroes and Princesses Party at CubSocial

November 30, 3—6 pm

2532 S. 13th St.

 

Pizza, treats, play, and create your very own mask or magic wand. Pre-registration required.

Grand Illumination hosted by American Credit Union

November 30, 6 pm

American Heritage Carriage House, 2060 Red Lion Road

 

Kick off the season with a tree lighting, fireworks display, and performances by the Philadelphia Boys Choir, and The Fifes and Drums of The Old Barracks. Benjamin Franklin and Betsy Ross reenactors will also be on hand for the festivities. American Credit Union will be collecting bring un-opened, non-perishable food items for a food drive as well.

Sunday

Sensory Friendly Sunday at the Franklin Institute

December 1, 8 am—noon

222 N. 20th St.

 

The museum opens early, and exhibits are modified to provide an opportunity to experience all the Franklin Institute has to offer for people on the autism spectrum and with a range of differing abilities. They also create a dedicated quiet space that provides a chance to cool down and take a break with a tent, fidgets, noise-canceling headphones, and more. Admission is free with pre-registration, and for guests arriving before 9:30 am on the day of the event.

Family Festival: Holiday Clay

December 1, 10 am—3 pm

2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

 

Set a holiday table with your own clay creations and meet ceramicist Stefani Threet. Make art as a family, take a family-friendly art tour, and enjoy pay-what-you-wish admission.

PECO Free First Sunday Family Day at the Barnes Foundation

December 1, 10 am—5 pm

Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

 

Enjoy a free day of family fun, filled with soulful sounds, snowy crafts, and heartwarming stories. Paint winter scenes on pop-up cards, add jingle bells to handmade noisemakers, and create sculptural ornaments and artful snowflakes from decorative paper.

Santa Paws Photos

December 1, 10 am—6 pm

Pet Friendly Dog Bakery, 4324 Main St.

 

Get your pet’s photo with Santa in Manayunk. All proceeds will benefit a local animal charity. There will also be fun raffles and free coffee for humans all day!

PAFA Family Art Academy

December 1, 2—4 pm

PAFA, 118-128 N. Broad St.

 

Watch a free ballet performance by the Academy of International Ballet, and create artworks inspired by performance and movement. Free admission.

Sundays on Stage: Winter Fables

December 1, 2 pm

Parkway Central Library, 1901 Vine St.

 

Witness a selection of Aesop’s most famous fables dramatized in this free cozy, spirited, and hilarious seasonal performance by Bright Star Touring Theatre.

South Street Headhouse District Winter Wonderland

December 1, 4—6 pm

Headhouse Shambles, Second and Lombard streets

 

Santa will make a grand entrance and kick off the holidays with the lighting of the Headhouse Christmas tree. Santa and his elves will be on hand for photo ops! Under the Shambles, snacks and hot beverages will be available for purchase.

Album Release Party at Mister John’s Music

December 1, 4—5 pm

904 S. Ninth St.

 

Mister John will be dropping a new original album (The Ballad of the Itsy Bitsy Spider and Other Surprises), and is hosting a listening party to celebrate. Come to listen to a track or the whole thing!

Caroling Night at Gorgas Park

December 1, 6—8 pm

6300 Ridge Ave.

 

Get in the Christmas spirit with carols, cocoa, and Santa!

 

 

Photograph by Laura Swartz.

Editor | Email tips to laura@familyfocus.org

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