Philadelphia

Veterans Day Weekend Fun for Philly Kids: Nature, Performances, Museums November 10-11

There is much for Philly families to look forward to during this November weekend. From nature encounters and shows to museum experiences and festivals, our event calendar is overflowing with opportunities.

Start off with a bit of outdoor fun by trying archery, exploring walking trails, or searching for owls. After your fill of chilly autumn air, see a show. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is on stage at the Academy of Music, Walnut Street Theatre presents Matilda, and The Jungle Book comes to life with the help of two actors at Ambler Theater.

For more indoor fun, consider visiting Benjamin Franklin Museum which offers free admission, Penn Museum for its Second Saturdays festivities, or the National Constitution Center for its Veterans Day Family Festival. Speaking of veterans, be sure to take a moment to thank those who serve to keep our country safe by attending a special ceremony or cheering on the brave women and men of our military at a parade.

Keep reading for more ideas on ways to spend the weekend.

Breakfast with Santa for Philly Families

It's that magical time of year again. Philly tots, tweens, and teens have been on their best behavior as they anticipate the jolly ol' elf from the North Pole's visit to the Delaware Valley. Of course, many Philly parents head to the mall so their children can share their wish lists with St. Nick. However, if you are looking for something special, consider taking the family to see Santa at a breakfast, brunch, or lunch.

Many venues including zoos, museums, gardens, community centers, ships, and country clubs welcome Mr. Kringle. Some provide games, crafts, and stories, but you can be sure all events include photo ops so bring your phone or camera.

Read through our list of upcoming events and schedule your breakfast with Santa today! Many of these are quite popular and often space is limited.

Top 10 Christmas Towns and Villages That Absolutely Sparkle

When it comes to the best places to visit for Christmas as a family, there are plenty of holiday travel options. You can head to Rome and Vatican City to soak in the religion of it all. Vienna, beautifully drenched in festive lights, boasts first-rate Christmas markets and concerts. Head north to Lapland, Finland, to visit Santa’s official hometown. Or, if you want to lie beneath Christmas-lit palm trees, a Caribbean vacation might do the trick.

Yet, some of the best Christmas towns and bedecked Christmas villages are actually right here in the US, offering those traveling with small kids a way to save on money and time. These local destinations go all out for Christmas with unique holiday light shows, special performances, and plenty of opportunities to meet with Santa Claus.

Read on for some of our favorite Christmas vacation ideas for those looking to get into the holiday spirit in a big way, from New York City to Williamsburg, Virginia, to Newport Beach, California. Find even more ideas in our Family Travel Guide.

Polar Express: Christmas Train Rides for Kids Near Philly

There is something about trains that evokes nostalgia at Christmastime. For some, it stirs up childhood memories of building a model train set under the twinkling tree lights. For others it may be a simple reminder of that "coming home for the holidays" feel, where folks would arrive at the train station, arms filled with Christmas packages for family at home. Whatever the reason might be, many railroads in the tri-state area hold events to bring back that old-fashioned holiday tradition. At many of these special outings, families can ride a real locomotive with Santa Claus, hear Christmas stories, sing carols, sip hot chocolate and admire the views of the passing countryside. Children are even invited to wear their pajamas at some of these events!  

We have rounded up a list of railroads hosting holiday-themed trains of all kinds. Some of these are located more than an hour's drive from Philadelphia but can make for a fantastic holiday outing.

All aboard for some Christmas fun!

Sweet Ways to Donate Halloween Candy

Got a Halloween candy hangover? Come November 1, parents across the country are wondering how they're going to get rid of all the candy their kids brought home. Some of it will be eaten, sure, but just one look at the amount of calories in an average Halloween haul and you'll want to make sure the bulk of it goes anywhere besides your family's stomachs.

There are a number of creative ways to get rid of Halloween candy, like using it for crafts or science experiments, having the Switch Witch take it in exchange for a small toy, or, you know, saving it until Easter and throwing it in the basket. (Hey, it's only six months away—how stale can that candy get?) But perhaps the best thing to do with Halloween candy is donate it. That way your kids can enjoy a truly special treat: The feeling of helping others. Here are seven charitable organizations who accept donations of unopened candy.

Weekend Fun for Philly Kids: CraftNOW Create, Apples, Mermaids November 3-4

Every year, many Philly families look forward to this particular November weekend. It's when we turn back the clocks and everyone gets an extra hour to play, catch up on to-do's, or to sleep. Instead, why not take advantage of those additional sixty minutes by enjoying some of the amazing fall activities found in our events calendar?

This weekend's lineup is sure to please everyone in the house. Those interested in the outdoors can take a hike, search for birds, enjoy delicious apples, i.e. nature's candy, or walk for a good cause. Consider climbing aboard a train at West Chester Railroad or Wilmington & Western Railroad to view the fall foliage from the rails. Or, if time permits, splurge on an autumn weekend getaway, many of which include outside activities.

On the other hand, if your family prefers indoors, take a ride to Adventure Aquarium for its Mermaid festivities, watch a family-friendly comedy show at Philly Improv Theater, watch artisan demonstrations at CraftNOW Create, or experience The Philadelphia Museum of Art's Family Festival.  

Read on to see what you can do with your extra time this weekend. Enjoy!

Explore Some of the Nation's Best Smithsonian Museums in Washington, DC

The vast array of Smithsonian Museums in Washington, DC can be pretty overwhelming. There are so many, each one unique and worthy of a visit so it can be hard to decide which ones to hit up when you're planning a trip to the DC area or just trying to figure out which one to focus on for half a day. But regardless of which you choose, each museum has much to offer school-aged children (and grown-ups, too). Here are some "not-to-miss" exhibits when visiting the Smithsonian Museums.

All Aboard With Thomas & Friends at Please Touch Museum's New Exhibit

If you have a little train lover in your family, chances are you practically live on the Island of Sodor: humming along to the theme of Thomas & Friends™, and amassing more trains, tracks, and stations than you thought humanly possible.  Now Thomas the Train fans are in for a special treat. At Please Touch Museum’s latest exhibit, Thomas and Friends: Explore the Rails!, the entire family can enter their favorite world of make believe, practice STEM skills, and spark their imaginations with Thomas.  Read on to find out what makes this exhibit a must-do for Philly area families with tykes in tow. 

Restaurants Open on Thanksgiving in the Philadelphia Area

Thanksgiving Day is all about the food. But if cooking isn't your thing, or you would rather leave it to the professionals, there are some amazing options for a family gathering that won't leave you with the dirty dishes. Start the day off with the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia, then leave the work to someone else. Reservations are strongly encouraged for all of the following restaurants as many fill up in advance. 

Free Things to Do with Philly Kids in November

November is a unique month. It begins with a candy hangover thanks to Halloween fun, followed by Election Day (GO VOTE!). Next comes a day to honor those who serve to keep us safe, Veterans Day. It is no coincidence that National Take A Hike Day allows Philly families to burn some extra calories in anticipation for the big turkey feast that is Thanksgiving, later in the month. After Turkey Day, Philly families roll right into holiday fun, filled with lights, parades, and Santa sightings.

Yes, the month of November leads Philly parents into the most expensive time of year. So, be sure to save a few dollars by referencing our handy free fun post. Free museum events, crafting opportunities, storytimes, and educational workshop are sure to entertain the kiddos. Nature lovers have animal encounters to look forward to while music fans can experience free concerts. Build something, hike somewhere, learn something new, all while spending family time together and not spending a dime.

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