30 Free Things To Do with Philly Kids this Holiday Season

The holidays are right around the corner. A chill is in the air, and lights and festive fun are popping up everywhere you look. With holiday time, comes lots of spending on presents, food, and travel. For families on a tight budget, it can be tough to find a way to get out of the house and celebrate the season. We've rounded up 25 things Philly families can enjoy for free this holiday season. So, give your wallet a break and grab your mittens.

Christmas Trains: All Aboard the Polar Express for Kids in LA, Ventura, & Orange County

Trains in Los Angeles are more or less novelties all year round, which means they hold onto that wonderful Thomas-the-Tank-Engine, Polar-Express mystique far longer for LA kids than for urban kids who take the A train regularly. And for anyone who loves trains, Christmas trains offer the ultimate "old world charm" rail experience. Add an appearance by Santa Claus and a few Christmas trees, and you have a recipe for a memorable holiday experience. Some of the dates are limited, though, so booking ahead when possible is the best way to make sure this train doesn't pass you by. All aboard the Santa Express!

Family Camping at Bastrop State Park

About two hours northwest of Houston is the beautiful Bastrop State Park, and it's a campground I've enjoyed visiting for as long as I can remember. Although the Bastrop of my childhood no longer exists, the park is rising from the ashes after the 2011 Bastrop County Complex wildfire. There is evidence of new life and growth everywhere you look.

My family and I most recently camped here in mid-October (sadly, it was still scorchingly hot), and had a great time with our kids; a 3-year-old and 1-year-old. Read on for what you can expect, from activities to the best hiking trails.

See Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon Inflation with Kids

Thanksgiving in New York City wouldn’t be what it is without the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

If you’re eager to take your kids to glimpse those giant balloons and don’t want to rise before dawn, visit the area near the American Museum of Natural History on Wednesday, November 22, 2017 to watch the giants come to life. Significant changes are in store for the 2017 edition of the balloon inflation, including an early start time and new procession route.

While the balloon inflation isn't crowd-free, it’s an only-in-New York event all its own—and a must-do holiday event for families. Read on for tips on when to go and where to eat. In need of more holiday inspiration? Visit our Thanksgiving Fun Guide.

The Best Indoor Ice Skating Rinks for Long Island Kids

When it’s too cold for little ones to skate outdoors—or not cold enough for the ice to stay frozen—an indoor ice rink is an ideal solution. Here on Long Island, there is no shortage of indoor rinks. So, whether your family is new to the sport or your child is interested in joining a hockey league or taking figure skating lessons, we have just the rink for you.

This roundup of the best local indoor skating rinks on Long Island features information on open-skate times,  group and private lessons, birthday parties, and sports leagues.  Of course, if your family prefers to do its skating outdoors, be sure to check out our guide to Long Island’s best outdoor rinks.

Most of these rinks offer skate rental, but note that some are run by local municipalities that offer discounted fees for residents.

New Grammy Museum in NJ Offers Hands-on Musical Fun for Kids

Rocking out is encouraged at the new GRAMMY Museum Experience Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Strutting onstage, playing electronic instruments, and singing karaoke-style are part of the fun at this new museum celebrating pop music's biggest stars, including many with New Jersey roots. An electronic jam session may be the coolest way for kids to spend a rainy day

Veterans' Day Weekend Fun for CT Kids: Holiday Cards, Touch-a-Truck and a Jack Frost Bazaar, November 11-12

This weekend, we give thanks to the veterans in our lives who have given so much to our country. As a sign of appreciation, many family friendly venues across the state will offer free admission for veterans, including the CT Science Center, The Dinosaur Place, and Mystic Aquarium. In addition to free admission, other locations including the Maritime Aquarium, the New England Air Museum, and Stepping Stones Museum are offering special programming.  

Where To Have Breakfast with Santa in New Jersey

Ho, ho, ho! It’s that time of year when Santa Claus starts making his list and checking it twice. If your kids are looking to spend a little QT with the Big Guy, then a breakfast with Santa might be for you. At these events, kids can enjoy some delicious food and share their holiday wish lists with St. Nick. And of course, there will be time for photos, too. Read on for our roundup of breakfast events happening this season.

Want more time with Santa? Book your ticket on a Christmas train ride. And for more seasonal activities, check out our Holiday Fun Guide.

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