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30+ Things to Do With Kids This Week Around Philly: December 2–8

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—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.

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!

The Spongebob Musical

December 3—15

Forrest Theatre, 1114 Walnut St.


Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? Broadway’s best creative minds reimagine and bring to life the beloved Nickelodeon series with humor, heart, and pure theatricality! Recommended for ages 5 and up.

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 (Milk & Cookies events on December 14 and 21)

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.

Rothman Rink and Wintergarden Maze at Dilworth Park

Monday — Thursday, noon — 9 pm; Friday, noon — 11 pm; Saturday, 11 am — 11 pm; Sunday, 11 am — 8 pm

1 S. 15th St.


Come for the winter ambiance, stay for the fun, including the adjacent America’s Garden Capital Maze (perfect for photo ops). The heated Cabin has treats for the kids, and beer, cocktails, and more. You can even wear your skates inside!

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.


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.


Cooking Around the World
9:30-10:30 am
Lilypad, 1234 S. Broad St.
Each week this fall, 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 ... Read More
Music Monkey Jungle at Liberty Place
10:30-11 am
The Shops at Liberty Place, 1625 Chestnut St.
Come sing, dance, laugh and play with Music Monkey Jungle in this free concert! Read More
Storytime at Christmas Village
11:30 am-12:30 pm
LOVE Park, 1500 Arch St.
The Free Library will be providing festive storytimes at the Christmas Village on Mondays in December. Gather on the stage for weekly fun. Read More
Eyewitness Nature with Bartram’s Garden
4 pm
South Philadelphia Library, 1700 S. Broad St.
Get up close and personal with nature in this educational workshop led by Bartram’s Garden staff. For school-aged children 8-13 years old. Read More
Pyramid of Lights in Cianfrani Park
6:30-7:30 pm
Cianfrani Park, Eighth and Fitzwater streets
Join in a Bella Vista tradition, hot chocolate, and a treat to light up the park. Santa will be visiting too! Read More


Be Well With Beth: Mommy & Me Workout
10 am
Bok Building, Suite B03, 1901 S. Ninth Street
Exercise with other parents and your baby or toddler. Beth’s workouts are designed to give you a strength and flexibility workout using exercise bands, your body weight, and maybe even your child as resistance! Read More
Music Monkey Jungle Free Session at Reading Terminal Market
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. Read More
Museum Playdate: Does a Mouse Live in a House?
10:30-11:30 am
Penn Museum, 3260 South St.
Geared for families with children ages 3 to 6, Museum Playdates feature illustrated stories told in Museum galleries, hands-on reproduction artifacts, and make-and-take art activities—plus a snack! Tickets available online. Read More
Free Play with Wii and Switch
4 pm
South Philadelphia Library, 1700 S. Broad St.
Come out to the library after school to play with Nintendo Wii and Switches for free! Kids can play games like Mario Kart, Labo, Dance Dance Revolution and more. Read More
Roots With Ruark at Kith + Kin
4 pm
3060 W. Jefferson St.
You and your little one will rock out with egg shakers, dance with scarves and streamers, and play with little instruments all while listening to an exciting mix of original music, kids classics, and your favorite rock and pop tunes. Drop-ins welcome. Read More
Free Play with Wii and Switch
4 pm
South Philadelphia Library, 1700 S. Broad St.
Kids can play games like Mario Kart, Labo, and more on Nintendo Wii and Switch. Read More
Toddler and Preschooler Dance with Miss Erin
4:15-5 pm
Beehive at Bok, Suite B03, 1901 S. Ninth Street
A 45-minute movement and music class designed for little movers and their caregiver. Students are introduced to basic ballet and dance, while exploring movement and music in a fun and creative way. Drop-in or reserve a spot online. Read More
Rittenhouse Square Holiday Park Lighting
5 pm
210 W. Rittenhouse Sq.
Family-friendly activities and music lead up to the lighting of the Square’s 30-foot holiday tree, which remains illuminated every night through the end of December. In the spirit of the season, please bring a new, unwrapped toy for the CBS 3’s annual Toy Fest campaign. Read More
Evil Genius Beer Company Tree Lighting
7-9 pm
1727 N. Front Street
Evil Genius is adding a tree lighting this year, which will also kick off the launch of their new “Santa! I Know Him!” festive Saison brew. From noon to 5 pm, look for the Evil Genius Beer Garden to remain open and transform also into ... Read More


Book Nook Storytime at Reading Terminal Market
This program, in partnership with The Free Library of Philadelphia, is geared towards children ages 3 to 5. Read More
Winter Fun After School: Hot Chocolate Science
3:30 pm
Falls of Schuylkill Library, 3501 Midvale Ave.
Explore the chemistry of a sweet treat: experiment with the relationship between water temperature and hot chocolate mix. Read More
First Wednesday at Please Touch Museum
4-7 pm
4231 Avenue of the Republic
On the first Wednesday of every month, Please Touch Museum is open until 7 pm for two extra hours of play and offers $2 per person admission from 4 pm on. Read More
Philly Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration at City Hall
5-7 pm
JFK Boulevard and N. Broad Street
City Hall’s front door will be transformed into a winter wonderland with the Philly Holiday Tree, a 50-foot tall fir with a dazzling display of lights. The tree lighting, led by Mayor Jim Kenney, includes family-friendly festivities, live entertainment by local stars, and more! Read More
Santa Visits Greater Olney Library
5:30–6:30 pm
5501 N. Fifth Street
Santa Claus will visit the library for meet-and-greets and photo ops! All children 10 and under are welcome. The line to talk to Santa will stop at 6:30 p.m. so don’t be late. Read More
Not a Typical Kid: A Support Group for Parents of Children with Autism
6 pm
Fumo Family Library, 2437 S. Broad St.
Come meet, ask questions, receive support, and share experiences and resources with other parents of children on the autistic spectrum. Children are welcome, and an activity will be provided. Read More
Craft Hall Tree Lighting
6 pm
901 N. Delaware Ave.
The first Christmas at Craft Hall includes the lighting of the giant indoor, floor to ceiling, 20-foot tall holiday tree!  The tree lighting party includes holiday decorations, music, free tours of Lost Bread Company and Mainstay Independent Brewing Company, family fun in the indoor playground ... Read More
Stag and Doe Night in Chestnut Hill
6-9 pm
Chestnut Hill Business District, Germantown Avenue
Get into the holiday spirit with one of Chestnut Hill’s oldest and most beloved holiday traditions! On Wednesday nights throughout December, stroll along the festive Germantown Avenue and enjoy extended store hours, along with holiday sales and promotions throughout the Chestnut Hill shopping district. Celebrate ... Read More


Mandarin Chinese Storytime
10:30 am
Parkway Central Library, 1901 Vine St.
Enjoy stories, songs, music, movements and lots of fun in Mandarin Chinese with Ms. Han from the Philadelphia Chinese Academy for children birth to 5 years old with their caregivers. Read More
Winter Fun After School: Cardboard Safari
3:30 pm
Falls of Schuylkill Library, 3501 Midvale Ave.
Build a cardboard zoo! Engage engineering skills, learn about the animal kingdom, and ignite your creativity to build any animal you can imagine. Read More
The Logan Holiday Lodge
4-7 pm
The Logan Hotel, 1 Logan Square
Celebrate the holiday season with a Santa letter-writing station (you may even win a free stay at The Logan!), a bar with festive cocktails and hot chocolate, and photo opportunities in front of their winter wonderland backdrop with props and Santa! Read More
The Geography Lady Presents: Lights Around the World
4:30 pm
Thomas F. Donatucci, Sr. Library, 1935 Shunk St.
Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Solstice-the holidays are here! Take a trip around the world to learn how different countries and cultures use light to celebrate. Pictures, stories, sensory crafts, snacks, and more await. Read More
Frankford Tree Lighting
4:30-6:30 pm
Frankford Pause Park, 4671 Paul Street
Join Frankford CDC to celebrate the start of the season, featuring performances from Frankford High School students! Hot chocolate and festive vibes will be provided. Read More
Yoga and Mindfulness for Kids
4:45 pm
Andorra Library, 705 East Cathedral Road
Kids in grades K-12 can come every week for a free yoga and mindfulness session at Andorra Library. Plan to wear comfortable, flexible clothing and bring a yoga mat if you have one. Kids only! Read More
Animal Tales: Meet Bandit, an African Pygmy Hedgehog
5 pm
Charles L. Durham Library, 3320 Haverford Avenue
Come listen to a story about an animal that will visit from the Philadelphia Zoo! You’ll get to see the animal up close and interact if possible; plus, you’ll learn about the animal from the knowledgeable educators of the Philadelphia Zoo. Special Guest: Bandit, an ... Read More
East Passyunk Christmas Tree Lighting
5—7 pm
The Singing Fountain, S. 11th St. and E. Passyunk Ave.
CBS 3 Philly Meteorologist Lauren Casey will countdown and help light the Christmas Tree around the Singing Fountain. Bring an unwrapped new toy for CBS 3’s toy drive. The event will also include live holiday music from Alphabet Academy Child Care, Andrew Jackson School HOME ... Read More
Betsy Ross House Tree Lighting
5:30-7:30 pm
239 Arch St.
Old City kicks off its Historic Holidays programming with a tree lighting at the Betsy Ross House. The ceremony will feature Betsy Ross, musical performances, food and drink, and the lighting of the beautiful holiday tree designed by Old City’s own Petit Jardin en Ville. Read More
PJ Masks Live
6 pm
The Met, 858 N. Broad St.
Watch Catboy, Owlette, and Gekko along with their new friend PJ Robot, as they try to save the day! Complete with your favorite music and brand new songs, too. Meet-and-greet upgrade tickets available. Read More
Photos with Santa at Canal View Park
6–8 pm
4420 Main Street
Santa will be sitting on a chair made of ice in front of the Manayunk Holiday Tree for some unique photos! Read More


Baby Bird Playdate at Philadelphia Museum of Art
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. Read More
Storytime at Morris Arboretum
10:30-11:15 am
100 E. Northwestern Avenue
A fun and engaging reading session with a local librarian, tailored to the changing seasons to complements the natural setting of the arboretum. In case of bad weather, it will be held indoors. Read More
Tiny Home Ec
10:30-11:15 am
Kith + Kin, 3060 W. Jefferson St.
This Friday starts a three-part series for toddlers aged 2-4 to explore their role in the family and what they can do to help out. This week, tidying up! Register online for the series. Read More
Star Wars Characters Visit Franklin Square
4 pm
Sixth and Race streets
Stop by the Square for a rare opportunity to meet with the Galaxy's greatest hero and most notorious supervillain. Learn how to fight like a Jedi with Rey for a special Jedi training segment. Go on an adventure into space with some intergalactic activities and ... Read More
Family Happy Hour at PlayArts
5-7 pm
1241 N. Front Street
Bring your friends and your little ones (and your favorite adult beverages) out for First Friday night playtime. Drop-in rates apply (adults are free). Read More
Artist and Artisans First Friday Night Market at Cherry Street Pier
5–9 pm
121 N. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
More than a dozen artists and artisans selling everything for jewelry, fine art, clothing, wellness items, snacks and more. Read More
Tree Lighting at Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest
5:30–8:30 pm
101 S. Columbus Boulevard
The Philly holiday institution, Blue Cross RiverRink, lights up one of the city’s largest holiday trees (and it’s blue this year!). The two-hour celebration includes 10 acts and 28 performances by gospel choirs, Latin ensembles, dancers, synchronized skaters, and more. Read More
Santa at Rothe Florists
6-8 pm
7148 Germantown Ave.
Visit with Santa and take pictures in the greenhouse. Have some warm cider, candy canes, and a cookie or two while you browse and shop. Read More
Nest Kids Club
6 pm-8:30 pm
1301 Locust Street
The first Friday of every month, you can take time for yourself, knowing that your littles are having a blast with their friends in a fun and safe environment. Nest's stellar staff will care for your (potty-trained) children while facilitating games, a take-home craft, activities, ... Read More
6-10 pm
American Swedish Historical Museum, 1900 Pattison Ave.
This Swedish holiday tradition includes an authentic Christmas smorgasbord dinner followed by the Lucia procession. The Christmas Market will also be open all evening. Register by phone or online by December 1. Read More
Santa visits Campbell Square
6:30-8 pm
Belgrade St. and E. Allegheny Ave.
Visit with Santa, and enjoy some refreshments with your neighbors. Read More
‘Nutcracker 1776’
7 pm
Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 3680 Walnut Street
Each 70-minute performance adaptation of the original Nutcracker involves the history of the city of Philadelphia into the plot, but is still sure to entertain with Ben Franklin and General Mouse Howe leading the story. Performed by The Rock School. Read More
Opening Night: George Balanchine’s ‘The Nutcracker’
7 pm
Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad St.
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. Come early for photos with the Sugarplum Fairy and the Mouse King ... Read More

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Photograph by Laura Swartz.

Editor | Email tips to laura@familyfocus.org



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