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30+ Things to Do With Kids This Week Around Philly: December 16–22

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

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

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Holiday Lights Around Philly

Get glowing with our roundup!

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—January 5

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.

George Balanchine’s ‘The Nutcracker’

December 6—31

Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad St.

 

The Pennsylvania Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker is a holiday tradition. From the  Tchaikovsky score to the timeless story of holiday magic, this ballet is a classic for a reason. Come early for photos with the Sugarplum Fairy and the Mouse King in the lobby!

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!

Macy’s Christmas Light Show and Santaland

November 29—December 24, 10 am—7 pm

1300 Market St.

 

Catch the classic light show every two hours (on even hours). Then head upstairs and walk through Macy’s Dickens Village, a vintage animatronic display of Dickens characters telling the story of A Christmas Carol. This is a true Philadelphia tradition, and culminates in a private visit with Santa and photos.

Christmas Underwater at Adventure Aquarium

November 29—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.

Philadelphia Zoo’s LumiNature

3400 W. Girard Avenue

November 20–January 5

 

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.

Holiday Garden Railway

Morris Arboretum, 100 E. Northwestern Avenue

Opens November 29; ticketed nights on select Fridays and Saturdays

 

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. The garden holds special ticketed night events on select Fridays and Saturdays from 4:30—7:30 pm where you can really get the full effect of the lights.

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. They also have great food, from waffles to mulled wine. Our favorite Christmas market officially opens on Thanksgiving, but they’re giving you a sneak peek this weekend.

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!

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.

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 25

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.

Contributing Writer

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