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Gobble Gobble! An Overstuffed Rundown of Things To Do With Kids in Philly All Week: November 19–25

Staying in town for Thanksgiving, or hosting family? Here's something great to do in Philly everyday!

Need plans for Thanksgiving week? Staying in town for Thanksgiving, or hosting family? We’ve got something great, every day.

 

And we’re bringing you the whole week, including Thanksgiving weekend, all at once! Just one more thing to be thankful for!

Go straight to: Monday       Tuesday       Wednesday         Thursday (Thanksgiving!)
THANKSGIVING WEEKEND

All Week

Winter in Dilworth Park: Rothman Rink, Wintergarden, and Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market

Through January 1, 2019 (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!

‘Matilda’

Through January 6, 2019

Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut St.

 

Based on the beloved Roald Dahl novel, Matilda The Musical will delight with high-energy dance and catchy songs.

Native American Heritage Month Crafts at SplashLab

Through November 30

3510 Scotts Lane

 

SplashLab Arts has two special crafts to drop into during the month (plus a teepee you can crawl in). Create your own teepee with sticks, yarn, and fabric. Or draw symbols to tell your own story on a faux hide.

Philly Art Center Vacation Camp

November 19—21

2501 Olive Street and 514 Bainbridge Street

 

If your kids (age 5-12) have off school, you can sign them up for a day (or all three days) of creative fun and skill-building, both in and out of the studios. Before and after care available for an extra cost.

Oliver!

Through December 23

Quintessence Theatre, 7137 Germantown Ave.

 

With familiar songs like “Consider Yourself” and “Food, Glorious Food,” this musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic is a crowd pleaser for all ages.

Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Potter Experience

November 20—25

Zellerbach Theatre at Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 3680 Walnut Street

 

This (very unauthorized) parody condenses all seven Harry Potter books (and a real life game of Quidditch) into 70 hilarious minutes. It is recommended for “ages six to Dumbledore.”

‘Xtreme Bugs’ at Academy of Natural Sciences

Through January 21, 2019

1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

 

Nearly 20 towering animatronic bugs will come alive in this new creepy crawly exhibit! Get a bug’s-eye view of the world and learn about their intricacies and behaviors. See our preview here.

‘Vikings: Beyond the Legend’ at the Franklin Institute

Through  March 3, 2019

222 North 20th Street

 

The Franklin Institute presents 600 unique artifacts, multimedia, hands-on elements, and more to bring the Viking Age to life. Read all about the exhibit in our preview.

‘Thomas and Friends: Explore the Rails!’ at Please Touch Museum

Through January 6, 2019

4231 Avenue of the Republic

 

The long-awaited Thomas and Friends exhibit arrives at Please Touch Museum with plenty of train-themed fun, photo ops, imaginative play, and valuable STEM lessons along the way! Read our full preview here.

‘Hamilton Was Here: Rising Up in Revolutionary Philadelphia’

Through March 17, 2019; 1 – 5 pm on weekdays, 10 am–5 pm on weekends

Museum of the American Revolution, 101 S. Third St.

 

This new exhibit is highly interactive, incorporating games, group activities, dress up, thought-provoking questions, and much more to highlight Alexander Hamilton’s major accomplishments and Philadelphia connections. Read all about it in our preview.

‘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 (that one was a bit more personal).

UniverSoul Circus

Through December 2

Fairmount Park at 52nd St. and Parkside Ave.

 

Celebrating 25 years, this incredible circus is coming to town for the month!

‘Fabulous Fashion: From Dior’s New Look to Now’

Through March 3, 2019

Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

 

If you have a fashion lover in your midst (or are one yourself), you’ll definitely want to catch this new exhibit that’s all about couture!

Monday

Around the World with Geography Lady: Rwanda

November 19, 10 am

Lilypad, 1234 S. Broad St.

 

Toddlers and preschoolers will learn about a new country each time—this week it’s Rwanda—through stories, music, movement, games, crafts, and a snack.

Deck the Hall Light Show begins at Dilworth Park

November 19, 5:30 pm (kick off festivities at 5 pm)

1 S. 15th St.

 

This light show premiered last year, and returns to light up the west side of City Hall with projected large-scale animation and music. It premieres Monday night with a special kick-off event including a performance by the Philadelphia Boys Choir and remarks by Mayor Jim Kenney before the first light show at 5:30 pm. The light show will run every hour on the half hour.

Clay Night at Starr Garden Art Studio

November 19, 6 pm

Starr Garden, 600 Lombard St.

 

Learn about the ceramics process as you make your own piece of art. Pay as you go, classes are drop-in, cost $15 per class, and include materials and firings.

Sensory Storytime

November 19, 6 pm

Richmond Library, 2987 Almond Street

 

This special storytime is geared toward children on the autism spectrum and their families. Read picture books, sing songs, and do fun movement activities. Stay after to play with manipulatives and socialize.

Family Movie Night at Oak Lane Library

November 19, 6 pm

6614 North 12th Street

 

Come watch The Incredibles 2. Refreshments will be served.

Thanksgiving Pajama Party Storytime

November 19, 6:30 pm

Torresdale Library, 3079 Holme Avenue

 

Celebrate with stories, songs, and some Thanksgiving goodies to take home. Wear your pajamas and bring a favorite stuffed toy. For children ages 2 to 5 with an accompanying caregiver.

Tuesday

Music Monkey Jungle Free Session at Reading Terminal Market

November 20, 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.

Toddler Time: Friendship Fabrics

November 20, 10:30—11:30 am

American Swedish Historical Museum, 1900 Pattison Avenue

 

Little ones can explore the museum’s new textile exhibits, read Wild Rose’s Weaving by Ginger Churchill, and practice fine motor skills with weaving activity centers.

Geography Lady at The Bagel Place

November 20, 11 am—noon

404 Queen Street

 

Kids ages 1-4 will learn about the world with pictures, maps, stories, games, music, movement, crafts, and more.

LEGO Workshop at Sue’s Art Class

November 20, 1:30—3:30 pm

2119 Spruce St.

 

This Lego workshop includes building a 3-D picture, building out portraits, animals, buildings, and more. Bring your own LEGOs, or share some in the art room. Pre-register online.

Free Admission at Franklin Institute Community Night

November 20, 5—8 pm

222 North 20th Street

 

Come experience the museum for free, and take part in some fun hands-on activities too!

Amigos Preschool Grand Opening Fiesta

November 20, 5:30–7:30 pm

107 S. Second St.

 

Celebrate the opening of this Spanish immersion preschool with food, music, games, and more.

Family Night Slime and Pizza

November 20, 6:30–7:45 pm

SplashLab Arts, 3510 Scotts Lane

 

Enjoy family access to the studio at night. Call to make a reservation by 3 pm Tuesday afternoon, and indicate whether you want dinner delivered for your family. Then show up and have fun getting messy!

Wednesday

Gingerbread Cookie Day Workshop at SplashLab Arts

November 21, 9 am—3 pm

3510 Scotts Lane

 

Celebrate by doing a make-and-take gingerbread cookie craft at the studio when you drop in.

Book Nook Storytime

November 21, 10 — 10:30 am

Reading Terminal Market, 51 N 12th St., Philadelphia

 

This program, in partnership with The Free Library of Philadelphia, is geared towards children ages 3 to 5.

Tree Lighting at Philadelphia Museum of Art

November 21, 5—8:45 pm (countdown at 6 pm)

2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

 

Festive treats and music by York Street Hustle lead up to the 6 pm countdown to the magnificent tree lighting. Warm beverages and a live choir continue the celebration inside, and there will also be a DIY Card-Making Station in Great Stair Hall from 5:30—7:30 pm. The Art Museum will have “Pay What You Wish” admission after 5 pm.

Thursday: Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Day Parade

8:30 am—noon

Begins at 20th St. and JFK Blvd., then heads east on JFK, left on 16th Street, then down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway before ending at the Art Museum

 

Bundle up and get the kids to the Parkway early for a holiday tradition, now in its 99th year! Giant balloons, live musical performances, Santa’s sleigh, Disney characters, Gritty (yes, Gritty!) feature in our country’s first Thanksgiving Day parade! See our tips for the parade, here!

What’s Open in Philly?

From skating to shopping, to restaurants serving Thanksgiving feasts, here’s everything #OpenInPHL so you can make the most of your day off!

Thanksgiving Weekend!

All Weekend

Christmas Village Opening Weekend

November 22—November 25

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. On opening weekend, there will be live performances, a visit from the original Christkind from Germany, and more!

Opening Weekend of Macy’s Santaland and Christmas Light Show

November 23—December 31 (Closed Christmas Day)

Showtimes: 10 am, noon, 2 pm, 4 pm, 6 pm and 8 pm

1300 Market St.

 

To quote Julie Andrews’s narration of this 100,000-light spectacle, it the Macy’s Christmas Light Show is a “grand tradition.” If you’re from Philly, you probably grew up watching it, and not a thing has changed. The bears, the dancing snowmen, the “magic Christmas tree,” the Wanamaker Organ finale—it’s all there, and it’s all aglow in colorful nostalgia. After the show, head upstairs to Dickens Village to walk through an animatronic telling of A Christmas Carol, then meet Santa!

The Rock School’s ‘Nutcracker 1776’

November 23—24

Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad St.

 

In this Revolutionary take on a holiday classic, Ben Franklin leads the story as our heroes battle General Mouse Howe! This production is performed by the students of The Rock School for Dance Education, and is a nice way to kick off the holiday season right after Thanksgiving.

‘A Philadelphia Nutcracker’

Kurtz Center for the Performing Arts, William Penn Charter School, 3000 W. School House Lane, Philadelphia
November 23, 7 pm; November 24, 1 and 4 pm

 

Philadelphia Dance Theatre’s A Philadelphia Nutcracker has a local flair, with scenes set in the Northwest Philly neighborhoods many of the school’s dancers call home.

‘River Alive!’ Opening Weekend

November 23—25, 10 am—5 pm

Independence Seaport Museum, 211 S. Columbus Boulevard

 

High tech, and highly immersive, this new exhibit brings the Delaware River watershed to life with features like a 32-foot long interactive media wall. Read all about the exhibit in our preview.

Wild Wizarding Weekend

November 23—25

Academy of Natural Sciences, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

 

Meet the Academy’s own fantastic beasts and learn about the real animals that inspire your favorite fantasy stories. Play games, make a wand, and much more! Plus, on Friday, there’s a special Dragons After Dark with Philly Improv Theater. Come in costume for $2 off admission.

Turkey Hangover at Philadelphia Museum of Art

November 23—25, 10:30 am—3 pm

2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

 

Work off your Thanksgiving feast with a stroll through the galleries, and gobble up some art while creating expressions of thanks in the Balcony Studio.

Thanksgiving Weekend at National Constitution Center

November 23—25

525 Arch Street

 

Learn about the history of Thanksgiving, “meet” George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, decorate pumpkins to represent your favorite president (winners will be selected by the presidential reenactors at 2 pm on Friday), make corn husk dolls, watch a period costume fashion show, and more!

Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Potter Experience

November 20—25

Zellerbach Theatre at Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 3680 Walnut Street

 

This (very unauthorized) parody condenses all seven Harry Potter books (and a real life game of Quidditch) into 70 hilarious minutes. It is recommended for “ages six to Dumbledore.”

Santa at Franklin Square

November 23, 5 pm; November 24, 5:30—7:30 pm

Sixth and Race streets

 

As part of Franklin Square’s Holiday Festival, Santa will arrive at Franklin Square and stroll around for photo ops. Stick around and catch the Electrical Spectacle light show, sweet treats, and more.

The Christmas Tree Stand Holiday Market at Cherry Street Pier

November 23—December 25

121 N. Christopher Columbus Boulevard

 

Stop by to shop for your trees, greens, ornaments, and holiday decorations. Trees can be purchased on-site and brought home that day or delivered. It’s a great excuse to start getting festive and check out the new Cherry Street Pier at the same time. Stay a while for treats!

Scuba Santa at Adventure Aquarium

November 23—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. On Saturday, you can register for Milk & Cookies with Santa for a more private (and dry) Santa encounter.

Holiday Garden Railway Opens at Morris Arboretum 

November 23—December 31, 10 am—4 pm

Morris Arboretum, 100 E. Northwestern Avenue

 

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.

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest Opens for the Season

November 23—March 3, 2019

101 S. Columbus Blvd.

 

Come to skate, come to party in the cabins, come for the fun and food. This rink is a Philadelphia favorite for a reason. This year, it will be celebrating its 25th anniversary, and has lots of fun events planned throughout the season, including FREE skating on opening day– read all about it in our preview!

Friday

Black Friday Mini Camp at SplashLab Arts

November 23, 9 am—3 pm

3510 Scotts Lane

 

If the kid have off—but you don’t—call before Wednesday to sign them up for a day of messy art and play. Before and after care available.

Santa Express—SEPTA to Rothman Rink

November 23, 10:30—noon

Dilworth Park, 1 S. 15th St.

 

SEPTA’s trains and stations will be specially decorated for the occasion and helpers will be there to hand out holiday gift bags. Riders will arrive in Dilworth Park in time for a festive parade that will welcome Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the elves to the Rothman Rink around 10:45 am. Santa will stay and skate on Rothman Rink, and you can skate with him, play games, and win prizes. There will also be a hot chocolate station and a cookie decorating station.

Phillies’ Red Friday

November 23, 10 am—6 pm

Citizens Bank Park, 1 Citizens Bank Way

 

Visit CBP for holiday sales, festivities, fun surprises, and of course Phanta Claus (the Phanatic dressed as Santa)! Take holiday photos on the field and enjoy donuts and hot chocolate in the Phillies and visitor’s dugouts from 10 am—noon. Take pictures with Phanta Claus at 11:30 am.

‘Retail and Rebellion’: Black Friday at Museum of the American Revolution

November 23, 10 am—5 pm

101 South Third Street

 

Meet a costumed educator to find out what items early Americans bought at the market, and what items they boycotted to voice their rights. Encounter rare survivals of consumer goods from the 1700s, and see how national currency changed in the “Hamilton Was Here” exhibit.

After Turkey Play Day at Smith Memorial Playground 

November 23, 10 am–4 pm

3500 Reservoir Dr.

 

Play off that Thanksgiving feast at this free day of play. Playground access is weather permitting, and the Playhouse is open for little ones with crafts, slime, and more!

Black Powder Friday at Fort Mifflin

November 23, 10 am

1 Fort Mifflin Rd.

 

Spend the day exploring one of the only intact battlefields from the American Revolution and enjoy musket and cannon demonstrations. Tours at noon and 2 pm.

Dragons After Dark

November 23, 4—8 pm

Academy of Natural Sciences, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

 

Come for pay-what-you-wish admission, free family activities, and the Dino Drafts Beer Garden in Dinosaur Hall. But this month, for Wild Wizarding Weekend, it’s Dragons After Dark! Philly Improv Theater will perform funny magic and a wand workshop! Plus, live animal demonstrations and other hands-on activities.

Saturday

Discovery Day at The Discovery Center

November 24, 11 am—3 pm

3401 Reservoir Drive

 

Philadelphia Outward Bound School and Audubon host a free, community-based program at the new Discovery Center. This month, there will be a fun “Leave No Trace” workshop, a lesson on Outward Bound Campcraft, healthy cooking samples and recipes, holiday themed arts and crafts, and “How to Make Your Own Binoculars.”

Colonial Chocolate Making at Betsy Ross House 

November 24, 11 am—4 pm

239 Arch St.

 

Experience Colonial chocolate-making demonstrations and meet two female entrepreneurs while learning about women’s role in the American Revolution.

Holiday Pop-Up Shop at Tufas Lounge

November 24, 11 am—4 pm

Tufas Boulder Lounge, 1614 N. Fifth St.

 

Check out this new climbing gym, and shop the work of local vendors, artists, and creators.

Storytime at the Lodge

November 24, 11:30 am—12:30 pm

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, 101 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd.

 

Listen, Learn and Play will lead interactive activities and music, along with some stories. Light snacks and hot chocolate will be provided for the kids.

‘The Snow Queen’ Pop-Up Performance

November 24, 1—3 pm

The Singing Fountain, 1904 E. Passyunk Ave.

 

Actors from Enchantment Theatre Company’s The Snow Queen will perform walk-around magic to entertain the crowd.

‘Toy Story’ at South Street Cinema

November 24, 2—4 pm

327 South Street

 

Come see the Pixar original classic Toy Story on the big screen!

Manayunk Small Business Saturday Tree Lighting

November 24, 5:30—6 pm

Canal View Park, 4416 Main Street

 

Neighborhood shops will offer specials all day, so get to Manayunk to shop local! The night will end with the annual tree lighting at Canal View Park at 5:30 pm, followed by live performances and a visit by Santa.

Sunday

Snow Globe Adventure with Let’s Go Outdoors

November 25, 10—11:30 am, 12:30—2 pm, or 3—4:30 pm

Liberty Lands Park (913 N Third St.) and Cedar Park (48th St. and Baltimore Ave.)

 

Kids will create their own snow globes before going on a nature walk. Register online.

Mommy and Me Cake Decorating Workshop: Autumn Leaves

November 25, 2—3:30 pm

Ella Vanilla, 7922 Germantown Avenue

 

Bring your kids (ages 5-8) along to decorate an adorable cake with cake artist and owner of Ella Vanilla, Noelle DeSantis. You’ll learn how to color icing, make a pumpkin cake topper in fondant, create fondant leaf decorations, and more. Pre-register by calling (215) 909-9392 or emailing Info@EllaVanilla.com.

Grand Illumination hosted by American Credit Union

November 25, 6 pm

American Heritage Carriage House, 2060 Red Lion Road

 

Kick off the season with a tree lighting, fireworks display, and performances by the Philadelphia Boys Choir, and The Fifes and Drums of The Old Barracks. Benjamin Franklin and Betsy Ross reenactors will also be on hand for the festivities. American Credit Union will be collecting bring un-opened, non-perishable food items for a food drive as well.

 

Looking for more? Here’s what’s going on in the suburbs!

 

Photograph by Laura Swartz.

Editor | Email tips to laura@familyfocus.org

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