Best of 2022 - Philly Kid Edition: 22 Top Openings, Happenings and Other Awesome Stuff We Loved

We flipped it and reversed it in 2022 at the Museum of Illusions.
We flipped it and reversed it in 2022 at the Museum of Illusions.

Who doesn’t love a “best-of” recap? And what a time to be a Philly family. 2022 was an epic year in the City of Brotherly Love, from the Phillies World Series run to the Eagles' current 13-2 record…and that’s just the sports. This year saw the opening of new museums, restaurants, play spots, and experiences that make Philly more kid-friendly than ever. So browse our top 22 new additions in 2022 and see how many you’ve hit, or let us know what we missed!

Keep an eye on our events calendar to see what’s to come in 2023, and don’t miss our Winter Break Bucket List for all the ways to keep busy between that last opened present and the ball drop

We were spellbound by the Harry Potter Exhibition at the Franklin Institute. Photo by Danielle Smith

New Kid-Friendly Museums and Exhibitions in Philly

1. Museum of Illusions — Old City

The Museum of Illusions opened its deceptive doors this year and quickly became one of our favorite spots for a mind-bending photo op. We especially loved the Philly flair (phlair?) incorporated into this museum chain, from the Ben Franklin eyes that follow you at the entrance, to the upside-down Rocky posters at the exit. 

2. World Premiere Exhibitions at the Franklin Institute — Center City

One of the many reasons we love the Franklin Institute—this place brings world premiere blockbuster exhibitions to Philly. In 2022, Harry Potter brought the wizarding world to the Parkway, and on deck for 2023 is yet another world premiere, with Disney100 bringing more magic in February. We can’t wait.

3. Reopening of the Weitzman — Old City

Have you seen the “YO/OY” sculpture on 5th and Market? Welcome to the Weitzman, the city’s museum of American Jewish history that reopened its doors after an extended closure. Tons of interactives and programming, including a Christmas day family festival called Being ____at Christmas, make this an exciting addition to the city's museum landscape.

4. Adventure Aquarium Virtual Reality Experience — Camden

If you haven’t tried the new Undersea Explorer yet at the Adventure Aquarium you’re missing out. Sit in a pod, don some VR glasses, and head down deep into the ocean to get up close and personal with everything from sharks to squids.

5. The Clay Studio Relocation and Expansion — Kensington

This May was the grand opening of the Clay Studio’s massive new state-of-the-art building. Formerly a much smaller storefront on 2nd street, the new four story location was developed with the community in mind, with tons of space for art making, children’s classes, exhibitions, and more.

Philly's largest restaurant, Liberty Point, made the waterfront even better this year. 

New Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Philly

6. Liberty Point — Penn's Landing

The Philly waterfront just keeps getting better. This year, Liberty Point became the city’s largest restaurant, with three levels, five bars, and seven event spaces. Views of cargo ships and the Ben Franklin Bridge delight the kiddos, with more than enough space to romp and explore while grabbing some delicious bites.

7. Vanderwende's Ice Cream — Old City

The Delaware-based ice cream store opened its first Philly location in June. From all the classics to flavors like apple pie, this new parlor on the block has all the kids screaming for ice cream.

8. Twenty One Pips — Ardmore

We love a good game bar at Mommy Poppins and were so excited when this new game-lovers haven opened in Ardmore. The place boasts two skee ball lanes, arcade games, and over 500 board and card games.

PlayArts brought the creativity to Frankford Hall this year. Photo courtesy of PlayArts

New Kid-Friendly Philly Partnerships We Loved in 2022 

9. Playbrary at Smith Playground — Fairmount Park

Playground design firm Studio Ludo debuted this playspace and loose parts library with leftover supplies from their play kits created for Philly kids during the pandemic. After several months in a small space adjacent to the design studio, Playbrary found its permanent and perfect home at the one and only Smith Playground, where the full collection of loose parts and play paraphernalia is now available in the historic playhouse.

10. PlayArts at Frankford Hall — Fishtown

We love a good family-friendly partnership and were psyched when PlayArts, one of our favorite playspaces, joined forces with one of our favorite beer halls. In 2022, the creative folks at PlayArts started bringing their play expertise to select Sunday brunches at Frankford Hall, which continues to be a seasonal offering. Keep an eye on our calendar for upcoming times for this awesome combo.

11. Baby Wordplay and Mister John's Music at Kith + Kin — Brewerytown

We were the saddest when Miss Pam of Baby Wordplay closed up her beloved brick and mortar spaces, but have loved seeing her enchanting storyplays continue all over the area, including at playspace Kith + Kin. The folks from Mister John's also have a regular slot on the Kith + Kin calendar, bringing the music beyond their Italian Market headquarters. Kid businesses supporting kid businesses—we LOVE to see it.

12. Drag Queen Storytime at Craft Hall — Northern Liberties

Craft Hall's beer hall/playground mashup has always been a Philly family favorite, and they've leveled up again with their monthly Drag Queen Storytimes hosted by the one and only Brittany Lynn. The series wrapped for 2022 in December, but we've heard it will be back on their calendar soon.

The Philadelphia Zoo's giraffes had a great year in 2022. Photo by Michelle Lopez

New Experiences for Kids in Philly

13. Giraffe Encounter at the Philadelphia Zoo — Fairmount Park

The Philadelphia Zoo’s giraffe family had a great year in 2022, with the start of the zoo’s giraffe encounters, where visitors can step right up to feed Stella and friends for a few bucks a branch.

14. Lulu's on Wheels — Multiple Locations

Lulu’s Casita has two awesome playspaces, one in Ardmore and the other in West Chester---but now it can be everywhere! Make way for Lulu's on Wheels, a souped-up school bus filled with toys, swings, and jumpy things. They bring the party to you complete with the cutest picnic tables you’ve ever seen.

15. Scavenger Hunt at the Airport — Southwest Philly

Who doesn’t love traveling with kids? Everyone. The Philadelphia Airport already has fun kid zones and amazing art installations, but this spring they added a digital scavenger hunt complete with puzzles, clues, and prizes. 

16. Lincoln Mill Haunted House— Manayunk

Philly added a new haunted attraction to its Halloween roster this year. Lincoln Mill Haunted House brought a super scary experience to Manayunk, with more than 40 creepy costumed characters. For kiddos looking for less of a fright, the house also offered weekend family-friendly scavenger hunt hours without the scare actors. We can't wait to see this one back for 2023's spooky season.

Get your sugar rush in Ardmore at the brand new Candy Lab.

New Places for Kids Classes in Philly

17. Music Monkey Jungle — Philadelphia

Miss Lori of Music Monkey Jungle has been a Philly kid music staple for years, but her brick and mortar music studio finally opened in October after a pandemic delay. The space is now open for playgroups, sing-alongs, classes, open mics, and more.

18. New Movemakers Philly Location — Queen Village

Movemakers expanded this year from its one Rittenhouse location to add a space in Queen Village for more access to some of the best kid’s hip-hop dance classes in town.

19. New Philly Art Center Location — Mount Airy

Philly Art Center’s sought-after art classes have now reached Mount Airy, which became the fifth studio for the awesome art center in 2022.

20. The Candy Lab — Ardmore

Candy crafting is all the rage in Ardmore, where the Candy Lab opened just within the past few weeks. Enroll in a workshop or visit during drop-in hours to make some food art and candy creations.

New Playgrounds in Philly

21. Pop-up Play Space at FDR Park — South Philly

Next year’s best-of list will no doubt include FDR Park's new playground, opening in summer 2023. In the meantime, we loved the pop-up playspace created in partnership with Tiny WPA, which opened in June to fill the play gap while the permanent playground is built. We especially loved the opportunities kids had to contribute to building the temp playspace.

22. Rebuild Program Playgrounds — Multiple Locations

The city’s Rebuild program invests in revitalizing public spaces, rec centers, and playgrounds and was hard at work in 2022. In addition to breaking ground on lots of new projects, the folks at Rebuild cut the ribbon on playgrounds including the Chew Playground in South Philly and the Nelson Playground in West Kensington.

Photos by the author Liz Baill @creativishmom unless otherwise noted. 

Little Art Kids
Philadelphia Museum of Art - 10:00 AM Pick
Preschool Storytime
Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Library - 11:00 AM Pick
Joie Kathos & Friends
Kimmel Center - 8:00 PM Pick
Leaders and Legends of Philadelphia: Black History Month Exhibit
Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse - various times Pick
Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides