Philadelphia

Can You Beat the Clock? Haunted Escape Rooms for Teens and Tweens

Escape rooms are as popular as ever. If you haven’t been locked in a room with your friends, family, or coworkers, Halloween is a great time to hear about it from your older kids. The escape rooms we mention are not recommended for children under the age of 12. This Halloween, escape rooms will let kids exercise their minds, not just their screams. The “locked” group has up to an hour to solve clues to make their way out. While some local escape rooms have haunted themed rooms, there are also some major Halloween attractions that have added escape rooms. Instead of seeing an “I escaped!” sign, your teen might actually feel like “I survived!” the challenging fright fest. If you’re looking to try this adventure with your family during the rest of the year, check out our post on family-friendly escape rooms

Theme Park Haunts and Halloween Fun Near Philly

Summertime visits to an amusement park often mean dealing with long lines and sweating through your sunscreen. Fortunately, many parks around the Philadelphia area extend their seasons into the cooler fall months with Halloween-themed attractions. This can be a fantastic off-peak day trip for thrill-seeking families looking to enjoy a Halloween experience beyond the local parades and festivals. Several of the theme parks have kid-friendly attractions during the day, then transform into frightening tween-and-above entertainment zones at night. There are often trick-or-treat opportunities and costume contests, so children (and even some adults) can gather candy goodies and show off their Halloween disguises. If your family is seeking some over-the-top Halloween fun ranging anywhere from silly to downright scary, check our list of amusement parks sure to provide excitement.  

Looking for more Halloween fun? Don't forget to check out our Halloween Guide.

Weekday Picks for Philly Kids: Nature, Constitution Day, Community Night September 18-22

Autumn officially arrives on Friday! Philly families can anticipate the smell of cool autumn air, flowering chrysanthemums, and pumpkin-flavored coffee, creamers, donuts, breads, pies, cookies- ALL THINGS PUMPKIN!

Our event calendar also offers up some activities to engage the senses. Older kids can investigate seeds and plants while toddlers can learn about busy little squirrels and preschoolers explore the life of the monarch with a visit to Tyler Arboretum. Get a jumpstart on your fall bucket list with a trip to Hellerick's Family Farm and climb in the spider net, slide down the corn chute, and see the farm animals. Or, cross off a final summer bucket list item (it's technically summer until Friday) by checking out St. Gregory's Church Carnival in Philly or St. Madeline's Church Carnival in Ridley Park. Those looking for indoor fun are in luck. This week, the National Constitution Center recognizes Constitution Day with lots of intriguing programs to learn about this important founding document. Franklin Institute provides free admission from 5 PM to 8 PM during its Community Night and Winterthur hosts its WOW! Wee Ones event so kids can experience the museum through exploration and movement.

Be sure to review our September GoList as you are filling your family calendar with fun for the month. Now, keep reading to see some of our top picks.

The Best Fall Pumpkin Picking for Families in the Philly Area

There's no better way to celebrate harvest season than with a special adventure to a pumpkin patch. Urban families can find pumpkins as close as Franklin Square in Philadelphia, or take a beautiful drive to a suburban farm. Looking for more than just pumpkins? Not to worry; every pumpkin patch offers additonal family fun, such as festivals, hayrides, corn mazes, playgrounds, and apple cider tastings— all while searching for the perfect pumpkin.

Rad Women and Civil Rights Heroes: Children's Books for Right Now

By Gwen Glazer, recommendations librarian in the Readers Services unit of the New York Public Library.

Fred Rogers’ famous advice to "always look for the helpers" has never seemed more important. In the wake of recent events in Charlottesville and beyond, parents may be looking for ways to engage their children with the social justice efforts—and also to talk about positive examples of activism and leadership.

We put together a list of 13 books for a wide range of children, from picture books for toddlers to nonfiction series for middle schoolers. These books address some of the most familiar human- and civil-rights leaders, like Malala and Gandhi, as well as some lesser-known activists who deserve more attention. All of them inspired others to create change in the world around them.

Weekend Fun for Philly Kids: Apples, Scarecrows, Festivals September 16-17

It may already be the middle of September, but fall doesn't technically begin until next week. However, our event calendar is certainly showing signs of the change in season. From apple-picking to scarecrow-making, Philadelphia families can anticipate lots of fall-themed fun this weekend.

Head to Linvilla Orchards for its annual Arts, Crafts, & Music Festival. Kids can enjoy roaming through the corn maze, taking a pony ride, or picking apples. Speaking of apples, The Market at DelVal's Apple Fun Days offers families another opportunity to pick their own apples as well as inflatable fun and crafts for the kids. Those who enjoy hands-on activities can take a trip to Peddler's Village for its annual Scarecrow Festival and build their very own scarecrow. Interested in seeing a theatrical performance this weekend? Hedgerow Theater presents Storybook: Treasure Island while The Sedgewick Theater features Aesop's Fables. Or, experience storytelling at its finest during the 25th Annual New Jersey Storytelling Festival.

Get a jumpstart on planning your fall bucket list by checking out our newest posts featuring Fall Festivals, Corn Mazes, and Fall Train Rides. Or visit our Fall Fun Guide for even more seasonal fun. For now, keep reading about all the fun that is in store this weekend.

Halloween, Fall Foliage, & Bonfire Train Rides for Philly Families

As cooler weather reaches the Delaware Valley, Philly families are reminded of their own autumnal traditions. Perhaps picking apples at a local apple orchard, raking leaves in the backyard, and carving pumpkins on the kitchen table come to mind. This year, consider adding a new experience to your fall 'must do' list by climbing aboard one of the many train rides available throughout our region. From viewing fall foliage to picking pumpkins to eating brunch or dinner onboard, there are several unique train experiences that are sure to delight children of all ages. Looking for more trains? Check out New Jersey's Halloween Train list for even more fun.

Be sure to search our event calendar for plenty of additional family activities for the fall season.

18 Best Events this Fall for Philly Preschoolers and Toddlers

As the air has started to cool, the humidity has lifted, leaves are changing colors, and we are surrounded everywhere by the flavors of pumpkin spice, fall is certainly in full swing. There's plenty for Philly preschoolers to do from fall festivals to apple picking, corn mazes, and Halloween fun. Pick your perfect pumpkin, take a scenic train ride, or enjoy some fall-themed treats. Whether your child enjoys ghosts and ghouls, gentle haunts, or a not-so-scary Halloween, you're sure to find something to please everyone in your family. We've rounded up some of our favorite fall-themed fun specifically for preschoolers.

Best Fall Corn Mazes Near Philly for Hayrides, Pumpkins, and More

As cool crisp nights begin to make outdoor excursions more bearable, fun fall-themed activities for families to enjoy seem to pop up all over. You can choose to engage in traditional favorites such as apple picking and harvest festivals, or go on an adventure, exploring a corn maze as a family.

Many area farms have professionally designed mazes spanning several acres, with new designs each year that can take up to two hours to complete. Many of the large mazes have special themed games where visitors follow clues along the way, testing their knowledge and navigational skills. Older kids will appreciate the nighttime flashlight mazes or scary Halloween themes, while the younger set will enjoy the smaller hay mazes available at most farms. Whatever your family’s adventure level is, this list is sure to have something for everyone.

Weekday Picks for Philly Kids: Nature, Storytime, Fall Fest September 11-15

Moms, Dads, and kids alike can enjoy the fun that September brings throughout the Delaware Valley. Philly families can carve out time for some semi-spontaneous fun between school days and extracurricular activities with the amazing opportunities found in this week's event calendar.

Take the baby for a stroll through The Philadelphia Museum of Art, or have baby in tow while watching a grown-up movie at The Colonial Theatre. Engage toddlers in learning about the world around them with nature encounters at Briar Bush Nature Center. Little ones can pause for storytime among the animals at The Brandywine Zoo or in the Outdoor Children's Classroom at Morris Arboretum. Children who are homeschooled can dive into the topic of aquatic ecosystem exploration at Bartram's Garden. End the week by taking the entire family to Spruce Street Harbor Park for its Fall Fest or by watching the horses at the Devon Fall Classic.

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