What to do with the Kids Over Winter Break in the Philadelphia Area

The presents have been opened and toys have been played with and every parent fears the words "I'm bored" over Christmas break. Don't fret Fun Things has you covered with events to keep your family busy over break.

Catch a Show

December 6th - 31st

What would the holidays be without George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®? Whether it’s your first or thirty-first time seeing Pennsylvania Ballet’s production of the classic, watching the timeless story brought to life is always a delight. From a festive family party to the exciting battle between the Nutcracker and the Mouse King, and the delectable journey through the Land of Sweets, Marie’s magical story is thrilling for the young – and young at heart.

Jack Frost at the Media Theater
Sundays at Noon from Nov. 24 through Dec. 29

The rollicking, merry, and heartfelt musical is all about a boy who is unique because everything he touches turns to ice. Jack Frost appears out of a snow bank and meets four humorous animals: a rabbit, a polar bear, a penguin, and a raccoon. He then escapes from the North Pole and finds himself in a ‘mistaken identity’ situation. 

December 27th - January 5th

Exciting twists and turns await as Mickey, Minnie -- and you -- embark on a wild ride to your favorite Disney destinations.  See the world from the rooftops of London, travel to the sun-soaked Motunui, set off on a safari to the Pride Lands and play at a larger-than-life carnival with Woody and Forky.  Join us for a fun-filled getaway jam-packed with unexpected hijinks and up-close character interactions — right in your hometown!

Fairytales collide in our brand new holiday panto — Robin Hood is dead, his merry men are in hiding, and Nottinghamshire is taken over by a greedy villainess. (Gasp!) Can a new hero, or heroine, emerge from Sherwood Forest and save the day? Set in the 1940s with a dash of the medieval, this hilarious, musical mashup is our most inventive panto yet.

"Elf the Musical" at The Media Theatre 
November 21- January 12

"Elf the Musical" is a must-see holiday musical. Based on the cherished 2003 New Line Cinema hit, "Elf" features songs by Tony Award nominees Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin (Disney’s "Aladdin" on Broadway, "The Wedding Singer_), with a book by Tony Award winners Thomas Meehan (_Annie," "The Producers," "Hairspray_) and Bob Martin (_The Drowsy Chaperone"). Buddy, a young orphan, mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole. The would-be elf is raised, unaware that he is actually a human until his enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father and discover his true identity. Faced with the harsh realities that his father is on the naughty list and his half-brother doesn’t even believe in Santa, Buddy is determined to win over his new family and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas. This modern-day holiday classic is sure to make everyone embrace their inner elf. After all, the best way to spread Christmas Cheer is singing loud for all to hear.

Watch the Twinkling Lights

The Festival of Lights runs 5:30-9:30 pm nightly December 6th through Jan. 1st in Rose Tree Park, Route 252, in Upper Providence.  Free admission. For information contact the Department of Parks and Recreation at 610-891-4455

Christmas at Longwood Gardens
November 22nd - January 5th

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, artemisia, 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 2019 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.

November 22nd  – January 1st
Daily, 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
15-minute shows at the top of each hour
(Shows are not presented on weekdays at 5:00 p.m.)

The magic of the holidays come alive in “The Comcast Holiday Spectacular,” a must-see holiday tradition in Philadelphia, entertaining people of all ages and spreading holiday cheer.

Herr's Christmas Lights

November 27th- January 2nd

Take a ride in the comfort of your car and drive through the beautiful light displays on the Herr's property.

Franklin Square Holiday Festival
November 14th- December 31st

Experience the magic of the holidays and celebrate traditions new and old at the Franklin Square Holiday Festival. From November 9 - December 31st, dazzle in the lights of the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show; warm up with comfort food, local beers, and hot beverages at Ben's Bites & Brews; and shop for handmade, artisanal gifts at the Holiday Market.

Holiday Light Show at Shady Brook Farm
Open EVERY NIGHT from Nov. 23 through Jan. 5
5 pm to 10 pm

Experience the magic of more than 3 million lights illuminating acres of farmland at the Shady Brook Farm Holiday Light Show!
Encounter whimsical holiday displays and familiar characters.
Drive through in the comfort of your own car or enjoy the show on an open-air wagon ride (weather permitting).
Warm up with a cup of hot cocoa and cook up some s’mores at a toasty bonfire (cocoa, marshmallows, and more treats available for purchase in the Farm Market).

LumiNature at the Philadelphia Zoo
November 20 - January 5
Wednesdays and Thursdays

LumiNature, a fantastical new winter light experience set to transform the Zoo, will take guests on a magical journey of illuminations, music, sound and surprises.

Visit a local Museum

The Academy of Natural Science 

This winter, MINECRAFT players and their families unite at Minefaire to compete in tournaments and build battles! On December 28 and 29th, Minefaire will be held at the Academy.
The museum will be closed to members and the public on December 28 and 29 for Minefaire. To visit the museum exhibits, all guests, including members, must purchase a Minefaire ticket.

Delaware Museum of Natural History

This holiday season Bank of America is offering their valued cardholders six additional days of free general admission through Museums on Us, from December 26 through 31 during regular Museum hours.

This includes the museum’s annual Discovery Days presented by Bank of America from December 27-30.

This promotion covers the cardholder only. Additional members of the cardholder’s group must pay general admission (on December 26 and 31) or the Discovery Days event admission (December 27-30).

Franklin Institute 
Holiday week is bustling with extra programs and activities! Visitors can see live shows including The Science of Fireworks Show and the Holiday Spectacular Show, plus Random Acts of Science and more expanded daily programming to supplement the general museum experience.

Back by popular demand, Creation Station is a pop-up family-focused design, build and play construction area where young scientists can let their creativity run wild. Featuring giant Tinker Toys® and large Imagination Playground blocks, plus an area for building with KEVA planks and Rig Ama Jigs® —budding engineers will put their science skills to the test in this limited-time space.

Constitution Center

‘Tis the season to visit the National Constitution Center. Visitors can enjoy a variety of special family-friendly programs celebrating Constitution signer, Father of American Banking, not to mention the inspiration behind the smash Broadway musical, Alexander Hamilton.  The week will feature a riveting, interactive show about Hamilton’s early life; our ultimate Hamilton trivia game; 18th Century games; make and take craft projects; colonial dress up stations, and more!

Go Ice Skating

Blue Cross River Rink Winter Fest
Opens November 29th- March 8th

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 the 25th season on November 23rd.
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

Winter at Dilworth Park
November 8, 2019 – February 23, 2020

Come to ice skate at the Rothman Orthopaedics Ice Rink, relax with a warm seasonal beverage at the Rothman Orthopaedics Cabin, stroll through the seasonal plant arrangements in the Wintergarden, view the dazzling Deck the Hall Holiday Light Show and shop for gifts at the Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market.

Ice Line  Skate indoors at Ice Line in West Chester

Ice Works - Skate indoors at Ice Works in Aston.  Winterfest is on December 28th. Plenty of family fun even a Breakfast with Frozen characters.

Winter at Dilworth Park
November 8, 2019 – February 23, 2020

Come to ice skate at the Rothman Orthopaedics Ice Rink, relax with a warm seasonal beverage at the Rothman Orthopaedics Cabin, stroll through the seasonal plant arrangements in the Wintergarden, view the dazzling Deck the Hall Holiday Light Show and shop for gifts at the Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market.

Ride some Rides

Sesame Place A Very Furry Christmas

November 23rd - January 1st

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 - January 1st

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! 

Explore Someplace New

Philly Photo Pop Winter Wonderland

Looking for a different and fun way to capture a family holiday photo or something different to do with the family over the holidays?  I recently had the chance to check out Philly Photo Pop located in Old City at The Bourse.  The Bourse has been renovated on the inside and now is a food hall.  Philly Photo Pop is Philadelphia's first interactive art exhibit of its kind. Guests make their way through different rooms filled with 30 interactive displays designed by local artists. Each room is decorated with different winter themes and you can take photos with backdrops and accessories to make the perfect photo.  

You can purchase tickets before you arrive and you can use the code DELCOKIDS10 to receive 10% off adult tickets!

November 23–January 5

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!

 November 23rd  through January 1st

The 1803 du Pont family ancestral home, Eleutherian Mills, will feature holiday decorations and interpretation on the French traditions of exchanging gifts on New Year’s Day and the celebration of Twelfth Night. Experience the du Pont ancestral home decorated for the holidays and "The Magic of Miniatures” exhibition, featuring a whimsically detailed dollhouse inhabited by miniature teddy bears!

A Brandywine Christmas at Brandywine River Museum
November 29th - January 5th

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 21st -December 3oth

Starting November 21, search for 57 hidden Santas (one for each year we have been open) and watch as Santa’s sleigh flies above the 1,700 square foot model train extravaganza, which includes 150 hand-built animations and 22 moving trains. 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.

November 29th - December 31st

Visitors of all ages will be wowed by a quarter mile of track featuring seven loops and tunnels with fifteen different rail lines and two cable cars, nine bridges (including a trestle bridge you can walk under), and bustling model trains, all set in the lovely winter garden of the Morris Arboretum. The display and buildings are all made of natural materials – bark, leaves, twigs, hollow logs, mosses, acorns, dried flowers, seeds, and stones – to form a perfectly proportioned miniature landscape complete with small streams. Each building, while an exact replica of the original, is unique in its design. Philadelphia-area landmarks such as a masterpiece replica of Independence Hall are made using pine cone seeds for shingles, acorns as finials and twigs as downspouts.