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Parkway Soirée brings Free Family-Friendly Activities and More This Friday

Close out the Parkway 100 celebration with entertainment, crafts, and maybe even a visit from Daniel Tiger!

The Benjamin Franklin Parkway has had itself quite a year celebrating its centennial. From parties to epic art installations, the Parkway 100 was a 14-month extravaganza that promoted all the wonderful cultural institutions along our grand boulevard. This Friday, October 26, from 5—10 pm the Parkway Soirée will close out Parkway 100 in style.


“The Parkway Soirée block party will be a great opportunity for us to come together and enjoy the things we love about the Parkway every day, and also enjoy a few once-in-a-century experiences,” said Judi Rogers, executive director, Parkway Council.


Roving entertainment like stilt walkers and even zombies can be found up and down the Parkway, but there are also some can’t-miss spots to hit up with your family. From dino dancing at the Academy of Natural Sciences to painting with Mural Arts Philadelphia, here is what’s awaiting you this Friday.

Happy Birthday, Parkway!

October 26 is the date the Parkway officially opened to the public 100 years ago. Fittingly, the party begins with the cutting of the Parkway centennial cake at 5 pm in Franklin Hall at The Franklin Institute, with music and singing led by students from Friends Select School.

Night at the Museum

Parkway museums will stay open late! The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Barnes Foundation, and Rodin Museum will all stay open for after-hours art appreciation. Meanwhile, the Franklin Institute will also stay open late (including special evening pricing for “Vikings: Beyond the Legend,” so get in there); and the Academy of Natural Sciences will have pay-what-you-wish evening admission until 8 pm and host Dinos After Dark activities inside.


The Free Library is also staying open late and hosting Pajama Story Time and Family Night from 7–8 pm, where little ones can come in their PJs to end their week with stories, songs, rhymes, music, movement, and creative play.

Music and Dance

Photograph by Laura Swartz.

Settlement Music School will lead kids’ jam sessions where kids can come explore music-making at Shakespeare Park (across from the library). Meanwhile, at Sister Cities Park, Drew Nugent and the Midnight Society will perform their mix of jazz, pop, and blues while Old City Sweethearts provide dance entertainment. At Moore College of Art and Design, the West Philadelphia Orchestra, a 14-piece brass band, will perform alongside fun outdoor art activities. There will also be Square Dancing in the Square around Swann Fountain.


And back by popular demand, the Academy of Natural Sciences will host Dino Dancing, and performances by Ballet X and the Philadelphia Argentine Tango School.

Fun and Games

In addition to live entertainment, Sister Cities Park will host croquet, chess, checkers, and more. Meanwhile, you can visit Puzzle Park for with oversized puzzles from the commemorative Parkway 100 dot-to-dot coloring book at Shakespeare Park.

Arts, Crafts, and More

Join in the Art in the Allée participatory art project with Mural Arts Philadelphia outside The Barnes Foundation; or chalk it up with students at Moore.


PNC will bring Bank Mobile Learning Adventure “When I Grow Up Station” featuring science-themed crafts and other educational materials to Shakespeare Park. Kids can dress up like artist, astronaut, athlete, construction worker, police officer, and more at the photo station, or play games and crafts. And we have it on good authority that Daniel Tiger will be visiting this station from 5–8:30 pm!


We are also very excited for Alicia Eggert’s You Are Magic, a giant inflatable art installation that will be in Aviator Park for the night. This piece celebrates the power of collaboration, with your help—when two or more people hold hands on the platform, they create a “circuit” that brings the sculpture to life!

Eat and Drink

The Food Trust is partnering with the Parkway to bring a special Night Market to the Soirée. Some of Philadelphia’s favorite sweet and savory food trucks will be parked in Logan Square so you can grab dinner and dessert without having to leave the party.

Photograph courtesy of Visit Philadelphia.

The Academy of Natural Sciences will also be hosting a Dino Drafts beer garden outside the museum, with craft beer, tacos, and more. Or, if you prefer BYO, stop by the Vintage Picnic at Sister Cities Park where you can enjoy your drinks on the grass with live entertainment.


Really! If you feel like getting in the Halloween spirit, you can take selfies with the zombies of Terror Behind the Walls, who will be walking around Logan Square. We told you this party had everything!


Lead photograph courtesy of Visit Philadelphia.

Contributing Writer