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30+ Things to Do With Kids This Week Around Philly: December 9–15

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.

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!

A Philly POPS Christmas: Spectacular Sounds of the Season

December 7—21

Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad St.


This Philly tradition features over 300 performers bringing a repertoire of favorite holiday classics. 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.

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.

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.


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.


Meet Author/Illustrator Oge Mora
Free Library of Philadelphia (see link for branch locations and times)
The library welcomes picture book author/illustrator Oge Mora, who will share her books and talk about her life. Creator of 'Thank You, Omu!' and 'Saturday,' Oge is a Caldecott Medal honoree and the recipient of the Coretta Scott King - John Steptoe Award for New Talent. Read More
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
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
Make Your Own Comics
4 pm
Parkway Central Library, 1901 Vine St.
Kids ages 11 and under will learn how to plan, design, and write their own comics. Read More


Meet Author/Illustrator Oge Mora
Free Library of Philadelphia (see link for branch locations and times)
The library welcomes picture book author/illustrator Oge Mora, who will share her books and talk about her life. Creator of 'Thank You, Omu!' and 'Saturday,' Oge is a Caldecott Medal honoree and the recipient of the Coretta Scott King - John Steptoe Award for New Talent. Read More
9:30 am
Cub Social, 2532 S. 13th St.
Cub Social partners with Crave Philly for a special cooking class for little ones and their parents. Pre-registration is required, online. 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
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
French Storytime
4 pm
Walnut Street West, 201 S. 40th St.
All storybooks are read in French by local parents and volunteers. Read More


Bartram's Garden Homeschooler Days: Decomposition
10 am-noon and 1-3 pm
5400 Lindbergh Blvd.
Kids ages 5-13 will dive into the science of mycology, explore wild fungi in the garden, and harness decomposition to make our own mushroom log. Pre-registration required. Read More
11 am-noon
Beehive at Bok, Suite B03, 1901 S. Ninth Street
Young students build fun and simple models using DUPLO blocks, exploring energy and balance. These weekly classes also include free-building time to promote creativity. Book online. Read More
Stroller Tour at Philadelphia Museum of Art
11 am-noon
2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Parents and caregivers with babes in tow are welcome for a monthly stroller tour of the galleries. Read More
Gingerbread Decorating Workshop
2 pm
Wynnefield Library, 5325 Overbrook Ave.
Decorate gingerbread houses, ugly sweaters, and more. Registration required. Read More
Holiday Cookie Decorating Party
4 pm
Blanche A. Nixon/Cobbs Creek Library, 5800 Cobbs Creek Parkway
After storytime, each child will be able to decorate their own gingerbread cookie. This program is intended for children and their caregivers. Siblings are welcome. Read More
Santa Visits Holmesburg Library
5 pm
7810 Frankford Avenue
Visit with Santa, enjoy cookies, and make and take holiday crafts while you wait. Don’t forget your camera! Read More
Torresdale Library Winter Wonderland
6 pm
Torresdale Library, 3079 Holme Ave.
Musician Jessica Carroll returns to entertain families with her collection of winter holiday songs. There may even be a special visitor from the North Pole! Children can wear pajamas and bring a favorite stuffed toy. Light refreshments will be served. Stories are for children ages ... Read More
Unicorn Storytime
6 pm
Oak Lane Library, 6614 N. 12th St.
Listen to unicorn stories and make edible slime (toddler-safe). Kids are invited to come dressed in your most colorful, magical outfit! Best for ages 3 to 6 years old, but all are welcome. Read More
Holiday Card-Making: Sea Heart City Press
6-8 pm
Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Get into the holiday spirit through hands-on holiday crafting with Meredith Akery, founder of Sea Heart City Press. Get hand-printed, custom museum postcards, and print your own holiday memento on a vintage tabletop press. Materials provided. Free with pay-what-you-wish admission. 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
Stroller Tour at the Barnes Foundation
10:30—11:15 am
2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia
Take a 45-minute guided tour and discover ways to look at and appreciate art with little ones in tow. Open to parents and caregivers with babies up to 18 months in a stroller or baby wrap. Note: no double-wide strollers. Read More
Homeschool Workshop: Holiday Cookie Lab
10:30 am-2:30 pm
Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th St.
Baking is a science and every step is crucial—especially when making holiday sugar cookies. Enter the cookie lab to bake, dissect, and taste how one little recipe adjustment can make a big difference to the quality of a cookie! The Franklin Institute's Homeschool Workshops are ... Read More
Thursday Tots: Little Lights
1-2 pm
Wissahickon Environmental Center (Tree House), 300 West Northwestern Avenue
Tots (ages 3-5) will create hand-dipped candles. Bring your little one for an hour of discovery at the Tree House. Online registration is required. Read More
Teen Jewelry Making Workshop
3 pm
Parkway Central Library, 1901 Vine St.
Intro to jewelry making, wire wrapping, and beading. Teens ages 12-18 are welcome to create a piece of wearable art to keep. Materials provided. Read More
Winter Fun After School: Gingerbread Architecture
3:30 pm
Falls of Schuylkill Library, 3501 Midvale Ave.
Kids will make gingerbread houses out of cardboard, glue, and candy. Choose from a variety of templates to experiment with engineering and architectural style. 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
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
Manayunk’s Promenade of Trees
6-8 pm
Main Street, Manayunk (Pick up your map in Canal View Park)
Stroll down Main Street to vote for your favorite trees by dropping coins in the jars in front of each tree. Pick up your bag of coins and a map at the Manayunk Holiday Tree in Canal View Park (4420 Main Street). Trees will be ... Read More
Christmas at Burke
6-9 pm
Burke Playground, Second and Jackson streets
Get your picture with Santa and Buddy the Elf, enjoy some sweet treats, hot chocolate, face painting, caroling, live entertainment, and beautiful decorations. $5 per child (adults are free). 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 with Local Author Tanisha Chambers
10:30 am
Lovett Memorial Library, 6945 Germantown Ave.
Join local author Tanisha Chambers as she shares the adventures of Zuri, in her book 'Zuri and the Monster.' A fun activity will follow. Best for ages 2 and up, along with an adult. Read More
Trolls Live!
11 am
Liacouras Center, 1776 N. Broad St.
Poppy and Branch host a toe-tapping, Trolls-tastic show, jam-packed with all the epic music, glitter, humor, and happiness only the Trolls can create. Meet-and-greet upgrade tickets available. Read More
Army-Navy Pep Rally
Shops at Liberty Place, 1625 Chestnut St.
With only 24 hours to game time, 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. Read More
The Nutcracker at Franklin Square
4 pm
Sixth and Race streets
Characters from The Nutcracker bring holiday fantasy to life in Franklin Square. Plus, free crafts for children, the Electrical Spectacle light show every half-hour, a treats tent, a beer garden, and lots more fun. Read More
Family Movie Night Happy Hour
5-7 pm
Kith + Kin, 3060 W. Jefferson St.
Kith + Kin will be showing happy feet and serving up ($1) pizza slices, popcorn, hot cocoa, and a special spiked cider treat for the grown-ups! Kids can bring a blankie or stuffy to cozy up with during the movie; adults can BYOB! Tickets available ... Read More
Krampus at The Spiral Bookcase
6-8 pm
The Spiral Bookcase, 112 Cotton St.
Do your kids want nightmares for Christmas? Are they too cool for Santa? Well look no further because Krampus is on his way! Enjoy cider, hot cocoa and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to snap a pic with Krampus, the folkloric monster. Bring your own cameras. A ... Read More
Kids' Night Out at Philly InMovement
6:30-9 pm
InMovement Bella Vista, 610 South Percy Street
Drop your kids (grades K - 5) at the gym and plan a night out! Includes open play, pizza, sweet treats, and more! Register online. Read More
'The Joy of Christmas' Concert
7:30 pm
Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad St.
The Christmas story is presented with a near 200 voice chorus and symphonic orchestra. Celebrate the glorious sound of Christmas and the true meaning of the season with choral and orchestral music, stories, drama, and song. Tickets available online. Read More

Weekend Events


Check back later in the week for our High Five weekend planner!


Photograph by Laura Swartz.

Editor | Email tips to laura@familyfocus.org



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