Holiday Event Guide for the Philadelphia Area 2013

Our comprehensive listing of holiday events lets you and your family fully embrace all of the holiday spirit available in Delaware County and the surrounding areas. Please click on each link for the full detail on the cost and specifics of each event

Happy Holidays from Fun Things.

Merriam Theater January 18th & 19th

On Going Holiday Events

Yuletide at Winterthur Museum
November 23, 2013–January 5, 2014

The beauty and inspiration of these traditions continue today at Winterthur with our treasured Yuletide tour. Glimpse into Yuletides past and be inspired to create your own spectacular celebrations. From sparkling trees to stunningly decorated rooms, there’s something for everyone. Join us to tour Henry Francis du Pont’s home decorated in holiday style!

Christmas at Hagley
December 7th   through January 5th

This year Hagley returns to its historical roots during the holiday season. Our exhibits, events, and programs will feature early du Pont family holiday celebrations and traditions based on New Year’s and Twelfth Night. We hope you enjoy the new interpretation as much as we enjoyed creating it!

A Brandywine Christmas at Brandywine River Museum
November 29 - January 6

The museum celebrates the season with fabulous holiday displays including an extensive O-gauge model railroad, an elaborate Victorian dollhouse, and thousands of whimsical "critter"ornaments on holiday trees.

November 29rh – January 1st

Adventure Aquarium will be transformed into a holiday wonderland under the sea, featuring larger-than-life decorations, twinkling lights, glowing trees, gently falling snow and of course, appearances from the Aquarium’s beloved Scuba Santa (and his elf helpers!), who will delight children all ages as he dives the 760,000-gallon Ocean Realm exhibit among rare sharks, gigantic sea turtles, hundreds of schooling fish, massive stingrays and more.

The Farm is decorated for Christmas. See our Christmasland display and visit with the animals in their winter coats. The Farm Market features wreaths, freshly cut trees, greens & holly, decorations, fruit and gift baskets, Christmas gifts, hot mulled cider & children's crafts.

Choo Choo Barn’s Holiday Display
Choo Choo Barn is celebrating the season with an enhanced holiday display from November 29 through January 5th. Look for 51 hidden Santas and watch as Santa’s sleigh flies above the gigantic model train display. Enjoy the holiday decorations throughout the display including holiday lights and the snow-covered landscape. Plus, take a close look at the zoo animals in Traintown to see how they’re getting into the holiday spirit! Choo Choo Barn is open daily from 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Closed Christmas Day). 

Night Before Christmas Train
December 6, 13, and 20th

This very unique train recreates the excitement and anticipation of Christmas Eve. A reader dressed in a Victorian nightshirt and cap will read Clement Clarke Moore's classic poem, The Night Before Christmas, as passengers enjoy cookies and milk as the train rolls along. After the train ride, children are also treated to storybook readings of holiday classics aboard our Caboose (stationary) and visitors of all ages can enjoy a ride aboard the Tinsel Trolley, a self-propelled motor car.

Santa’s Paradise Express
November 29th - December 22

Santa himself will climb aboard and visit with families as they travel down the tracks to Paradise, PA and back.

Scuba Santa at the Adventure Aquarium
November 30th - January 1st

Come and experience the excitement of Scuba Santa as he makes his grand appearance in the Adventure Aquarium Rotunda. And he wouldn't be Santa without bringing with him some surprise Christmas Magic! After he takes his place in the Christmas throne, you will have the opportunity to meet him in person and tell him your Christmas wish

Special Holiday Events
Wassailing Caroling Hayrides
December 7,  14 & 21 ~ 5 & 6:30 pm

Celebrate the ancient tradition of Wassailing and singing Christmas Carols around the campfire! Enjoy roasting marshmallows and apple cider. 

Gingerbread House Making in West Chester
Gingerbread House Making
December 7th
West Chester Municipal Building
*Must pre-register.

Narberth Dickens Festival 
Sunday December 8th  Noon – 4 pm
Location: Downtown Narberth, Forrest & Haverford Ave, Narberth, PA

Radnor Hotel’s Holiday Tea
Saturdays, December 14th and 21st
1 - 3 p.m
Children's Saturday Afternoon Tea at The Radnor
Bring your little ones to enjoy a themed Afternoon Tea!
Ideal for children ages 3-8.

Advanced Ticket Purchase Required
Please call 610-341-3191

November 29th - December 29th
5:30 pm - 8:30 pm
This heartwarming attraction includes a delightful ride on one of our sound equipped hay wagons, through the rolling hills of Arasapha Farm, which has been transformed into a winter wonderland filled with huge light displays, decorated trees and buildings, bridges and brooks. Come face to face with real, live Reindeer and see a beautifully animated Santa’s workshop. The hayride last about 20 minutes and is choreographed with all the favorite songs of the season. After the hay ride, relax by our bonfires or warm up with a cup of cocoa. This all new holiday hayride is perfect for all ages. Have your picture taken with Santa, and get an up close look at our famous live nativity scene that features real animals and actors. Choose from hundreds of beautiful, fresh cut Christmas Trees.

Hanukkah Events

Lansdale Menorah Lighting
November 27th  at 6:00 in the Railroad Plaza (West Main & Green Streets).
The public is invited to Railroad Plaza on the first night of Hanukkah for the annual lighting of the Menorah.

Chanukah Celebration at Springfield Mall
Come celebrate Chanukah at Springfield Mall (near Macy's)! We will have a Menorah Lighting, Arts and Crafts, Refreshments, Chanukah Songs, a Raffle, fun and more! The event will begin at 4:00pm and will be until approximately 5:30pm.

Santa Events
Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting in Kennett Sq.

Friday, Nov. 29th.

Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting on Friday, Nov. 29th. This year along with Santa and Mrs. Claus

Santa's Arrival & Festival of Lights in Media
Friday November 29th at 5:00 PM

Santa arrives @ 6pm at the Court House
Makin' Music from 5-6pm

Saturday, November 30th
at 11:30pm

Holiday Fun at Glen Eagle

Take a break from your Thanksgiving leftovers to join us for our annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 30th From 5:30–8:30 pm, spread the cheer with Santa, toy soldiers, music, food and more!

Saturdays & Sundays starting 12/7
 12 - 3 pm
Bring your camera!

Scuba Santa at the Adventure Aquarium
Come and experience the excitement of Scuba Santa as he makes his grand appearance in the Adventure Aquarium Rotunda. And he wouldn't be Santa without bringing with him some surprise Christmas Magic! After he takes his place in the Christmas throne, you will have the opportunity to meet him in person and tell him your Christmas wish

Breakfast with Santa at Chester County Historical Society
December 7th

Two seating's: 8:30 am & 10:00 am
Must register for this event!

For more information, please contact the West Chester Parks and Recreation Department at 610-436-9010.

Santa Trades in his Sleigh for a Helicopter
December 14th

American Helicopter Museum

Come see Santa arrive by helicopter at 11:00 a.m. and again at 1:30 p.m. to greet and meet with children.  Bring your own camera!  

Visit Santa at Santa's Village in Media
Location: Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union (FMFCU)

Skip the mall lines and visit Santa at Santa's Village located at Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union of Media. The dates are December 14th-23rd. Weekdays the times will be from 3 to 7 pm, weekends from 12-4pm, and an additional evening time of Saturday December 14th (2nd Saturday) from 6 to 9pm.

Call for more Information 610-566-5039

Lunch with Santa at Uno in Exton
December 14th

Join us for a fun afternoon and have lunch with SANTA!  Kids will enjoy making their own pizza, arts & crafts and watching a great Christmas movie.
Please call for reservations:610-280-4555
Limit 30 kids per seating
Ages 3 to 12 - $9.99 per child

December 7th and 8th

Join us for a fun afternoon and have lunch with SANTA!  Kids will enjoy making their own pizza, arts & crafts and watching a great Christmas movie.
Please call for reservations:  610-353-8667
Limit 30 kids per seating
Ages 3 to 12 - $9.99 per child

Holiday Concerts

The Upper Darby Summer Stage Shooting Stars
December 20th & 21st

The Upper Darby Summer Stage Shooting Stars – a performance group featuring the region’s most talented teens – brightens the holiday season with the family show.

Audiences of all ages will enjoy the Shooting Stars as they light up the stage with the annual Holiday Show


International Ballet Classique Performs Nutcracker Ballet
Tis the season for magic, family, and fun as the beauty and joy of the Nutcracker Ballet comes alive at the beautiful 300 seat Meagher Theatre, Neumann College , Aston. International Ballet Classique (IBC) presents IBC productions of this holiday favorite.

December 12 @ 10:00am (children's abridged performances)
December 12 @ 11:30am (children's abridged performances)
December 13 @ 7:30 pm
December 14 @ 2:00 pm
December 14  @ 7:30 pm
December 15 @ 2:00 pm

The Philadelphia Dance Academy’s Nutcracker is an expertly choreographed and beautifully executed masterpiece that is as family friendly as it is unique. This “Children’s Nutcracker” showcases the breadth of talent being cultivated within the studios of the academy, with soloist and semi-soloist roles being played by pre-teen and teen ballerina’s in training.

There will be four performances that will take place at the Mandell Theater at Drexel University Philadelphia, PA

Friday December 13th 7:00pm
Saturday, December 14th 12:30pm, 3:00pm and 6:00pm

Friday, December 13 - 10 am
Saturday, December 12 - 12 pm
Saturday, December 12 - 4 pm
Sunday, December 15 - 6 pm
Thursday, December 19 - 10 am
Saturday, December 21 - 12 pm
Saturday, December 21 - 4 pm
Sunday, December 22 - 4 pm

Performance are at The Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall, West Chester University

A magical tea time with the cast!

December 14 - 2:30
December 21 - 2:30
December 22 - 2:30

Join Clara, The Sugar Plum Fairy and many other characters of The Nutcracker for a special pre-performance tea party full of delights! Enjoy tea sandwiches, fruit tray, cookies, favors and don't forget to bring your camera! The Tea is held at The Philips Memorial Library. Simply walk downstairs to the Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall for the performance of The Nutcracker!

The Nutcracker Tea tickets - $25/person (you will also need to purchase tickets to see the Nutcracker)

December 7th - 29th

Be enchanted by the Philadelphia region's most beloved holiday tradition,George Balanchine's The Nutcracker™. For 44 years, families have created yuletide memories with Pennsylvania Ballet's production of this classic tale. The simple story of a girl, a gift, and a fanciful dream is made magical by opulent sets and costumes by Peter Horne and Judanna Lynn and the impassioned artistry of Pennsylvania Ballet dancers. The renowned Philadelphia Boys Choir raises their voices with the magnificent Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra to bring Tschaikovsky's unforgettable score to life.

Tea with the Sugarplum Fairy
Join the star of Philadelphia's most anticipated holiday tradition for a magical afternoon of tea and tutus. Enjoy a delectable buffet and photo opportunity with the Sugarplum Fairy and experience a captivating matinee performance of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker™! Tickets start at $85.

Sunday, December 8, 2013
Tea at 2:30, Performance at noon or 5 p.m.

Saturday, December 21, 2013
Tea at noon, Performance at 2 p.m.

Theater/ Holiday Shows
December 6th -31st

This year marks our 21st annual presentation of the classic Dickens tale about the transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge from miser to man who honors Christmas in his heart, as adapted by internationally known playwright Nagle Jackson. Come find out why this has become a Delaware Valley holiday tradition.

Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol at the Media Theatre
November 24 -December 22

Philadelphia native and professional actor Scott Langdon, who is a member of Actors Equity Association, will perform his one-man interpretation of the original Charles Dickens masterpiece, “A Christmas Carol” every weekend November 24 – December 22, 2013, at The Media Theatre.

Murray the Elf and the Case of the Terrifying Tinsel
December 21 - 28th

Act II Playhouse in Ambler presents the world premiere of Murray the Elf and the Case of the Terrifying Tinsel, a new comedy for kids and their families, from Dec. 21-28, 2013.Max & Ruby Nutcracker Suite Live on Stage
December 14th

Max & Ruby bring to life a wonderful tradition this holiday season as they take to the stage their most magical performance yet! Inspired by one of the greatest musical scores ever composed – Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite – the beloved bunny siblings star in Koba Entertainment’s brand new musical production Max & Ruby in the Nutcracker Suite.

December 29th

A Very Awesome Yo Gabba Gabba! LIVE! Holiday Show Presented by Citi” will rock the preschool crowd, at Philadelphia's Tower Theater on Sunday, December 29th at 2pm & 5pm.

December 26th - January 5th
It's one colossal party on ice, with all your favorite Disney friends! Join Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse as they celebrate a Very Merry Unbirthday Party with Alice and the Mad Hatter; a Royal Valentine's Day Ball with Disney Princesses, including Cinderella, Ariel and Tiana; a Hawaiian luau with Lilo & Stitch; a winter wonderland with Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear; a Halloween haunt with the Disney Villains and more in a magical medley of holidays, celebrations and festivities from around the globe. Come join the party when this spectacular ice show visits your hometown!

Train Rides With Santa
Santa Arrives at Strasburg Rail Road

November 29th - December 22

Santa himself will climb aboard and visit with families as they travel down the tracks to Paradise, PA and back.

November 29, 30, Dec 1
Dec 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22
11AM, 1PM, 3PM

Additional 5PM departures on Dec 15, 16, 21, 22

All aboard Santa's Express! Join Santa for a 90 minute journey on our heated decorated train through the Chester Creek Valley. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be greeting everyone at Market Street Station and then going along for the ride to Glen Mills. Once at Glen Mills passengers can disembark and explore the historic station. There are plenty of photo opportunities on Santa's lap inside the station. Remember your cameras! Upon return to West Chester, all passengers receive treats from Santa!

All Aboard the Santa Express

Nov 29th

Join The Gallery and SEPTA for a fun filled ride with Santa and his cast of merry characters. Check website for stations and departure times:

Family Fun
Blue Cross River Rink
Opens November 29th

The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation is proud to continue to present a wintertime tradition in Philadelphia, as the Blue Cross River Rink will re-open for a 19th season on November 29th .
The Blue Cross River Rink at Penn’s Landing, Philadelphia’s only outdoor public ice rink, is located on Columbus Boulevard at Market Street.

Call 215-925-RINK for current rink and weather conditions

Christmas Lights

Rose Tree Park Festival of Lights
The Festival of Lights runs 5:30-9:30 pm nightly Dec. 1 through Jan. 2 in Rose Tree Park, Route 252, in Upper Providence.  Free admission. For information contact the Department of Parks and Recreation at 610-565-7410

Christmas at Longwood Gardens
November 28th - January 12

Half a million outdoor lights and holiday magic await you during Longwood's incomparable Christmas display. Enjoy dazzling trees and seasonal concerts. The Music Room hosts a special, themed holiday display. Kids of all ages will delight in a miniature Garden Railway decked out for the holidays. Thousands of poinsettias accented with amaryllis, artemesia, begonias, cyclamen, hybrid lilies, kalanchoes, paperwhites, red-berried plants and many other flowers flourish inside acres of heated glass conservatories. Living wreaths, swags and live floral trees adorn rooms throughout the Conservatory. Included in Gardens admission.

Holiday Light Show and Dickens Village Macy's Center City

THE 2013 CHRISTMAS LIGHT SHOW runs hourly from the day after Thanksgiving through New Year's Eve day check website for times. The DICKENS VILLAGE (Floor 3) is open continuously during the same period from 10am to 7pm.

The Comcast Holiday Spectacular 2013

Thanksgiving Day through New Year’s Weekend 2014
Shown daily; 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
15-minute shows at the top of each hour
(Shows are not hosted on weekdays at 5:00 p.m.)

The Comcast Holiday Spectacular is a unique holiday experience that captures the wonderful spirit of the season and has entertained close to a million visitors since its 2008 debut. The free 15-minute show, updated with new scenes and computer generated animation this year, will continue to delight audiences with classic holiday images and crisp wintertime sounds ― all shown on The Comcast Experience video wall, one of the world’s highest resolution LED displays. The Comcast Holiday Spectacular can be seen at the top of each hour at Comcast Center from Thanksgiving Day through New Year’s Day. All are welcome to share in celebrating the holidays in this festive and family-friendly tradition.

Children of all ages will receive a free waterless temporary tattoo that will be valid for a one-time “tasty treat” from The Market & Shops at Comcast Center during the Holiday Spectacular run.

Additionally, every Saturday in December, Sprout, the 24-hour preschool network, will offer free live shows with Chica, the world’s most famous chicken, and her friends from the live, daily morning show, “The Sunny Side Up Show.” Stop at The Market & Shops on the concourse before or after watching The Comcast Holiday Spectacular to see the live show (10:30 am, 11:30 am, 12:30 pm and 1:30 pm).

Amusement Parks

Sesame Place A Very Furry Christmas

November 23rd - December 31st

A Very Furry Christmas at Sesame Place! For a one-of-a-kind family-friendly celebration with everyone's favorite furry friends. The fun starts with 3 special Christmas shows, awesome music and twinkling lights all around. Plus, you'll find more than 300 Christmas trees, including a huge celebratory tree decorated Sesame Street-style. The street will glow with festivities and come to life at night with our illuminated Street Party Parade. And the fun continues with a special Christmas menu, super holiday shopping and, of course, a visit with Santa.

Dutch Winter Wonderland

November 23rd - December 30th

Dutch Winter Wonderland offers themed rides, games, and holiday entertainment under thousands of twinkling lights! Indoor activities include cookie decorating, voting for your favorite gingerbread house, and sharing holiday wishes with Santa. 

Hershey Park Christmas Candyland

November 15th - December 31st

The magic of the holidays comes to life at Hersheypark Christmas Candylane. With two million twinkling lights, rides for all ages, festive decorations, and Hershey's Product Characters decked out in their holiday best, there is something for all to enjoy! 

Christmas Candylane features many attractions for guests of all ages including over 30 rides including the family-favorite, Twilight Express.