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.
Get glowing with our roundup!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 WorldEach 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 PlaceCome sing, dance, laugh and play with Music Monkey Jungle in this free concert! Read More
Storytime at Christmas VillageThe 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 GardenGet 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 ParkJoin 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 WorkoutExercise 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 MarketSing, 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?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 SwitchCome 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 + KinYou 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 SwitchKids can play games like Mario Kart, Labo, and more on Nintendo Wii and Switch. Read More
Toddler and Preschooler Dance with Miss ErinA 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 LightingFamily-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 LightingEvil 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 MarketThis 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 ScienceExplore the chemistry of a sweet treat: experiment with the relationship between water temperature and hot chocolate mix. Read More
First Wednesday at Please Touch MuseumOn 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 HallCity 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 LibrarySanta 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 AutismCome 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 LightingThe 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 HillGet 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 StorytimeEnjoy 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 SafariBuild 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 LodgeCelebrate 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 WorldChristmas, 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 LightingJoin 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 KidsKids 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 HedgehogCome 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 LightingCBS 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 LightingOld 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 LiveWatch 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 ParkSanta 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 ArtPlay 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 ArboretumA 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 EcThis 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 SquareStop 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 PlayArtsBring 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 PierMore 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 WinterfestThe 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 FloristsVisit 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 ClubThe 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
JulbordThis 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 SquareVisit with Santa, and enjoy some refreshments with your neighbors. Read More
‘Nutcracker 1776’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’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
Check out our High Five weekend planner!
Photograph by Laura Swartz.