Family-Friendly Holiday Events
Kids enjoy the holiday season with Philadelphia’s family-friendly events and performances
Dates: December 8-30, 2012
Location: The Academy of Music
A long-lasting holiday tradition, celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Pennsylvania Ballet’s production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™.
Set to Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky’s iconic score and backed by the Philadelphia Boys Choir, the Pennsylvania Ballet – one of the premier ballet companies in the nation – once again prove why The Nutcracker is the perfect performance for the holidays.
A number of additional activities surround this annual extravaganza, including special events, family-friendly parties, charitable opportunities, exclusive appearances and more.
Holiday Events at Please Touch Museum
Date: November 16, 2012 – January 2, 2013
Location: Please Touch Museum® at Memorial Hall
The Enchanted Colonial Village, which graced the old Lit Brothers Department Store at 8th and Market Streets from 1962 until 1975, will once again enchant Please Touch Museum’s visitors this holiday season. As in last year, all remaining original Enchanted Colonial Village scenes will be displayed at Memorial Hall.
And don’t miss Please Touch’s special New Year’s celebration for the wee set! Bring your kids to the Museum on December 31 for a countdown party that celebrates the “noon” year before moms and dads go to their grown-ups festivities. Countdowns will take place at 12 noon and 1 p.m. — take your pick!
Christmas at Adventure Aquarium
Dates: Daily through January 1
Families can enjoy daily visits from SCUBA Santa as he goes for a swim in the 760,000-gallon Ocean Realm exhibit. The aquarium’s winter wonderland features larger-than-life decorations, twinkling lights, glowing trees, and gently falling snow – not to mention 8,500 amazing aquatic animals. Little ones can celebrate at Gill the Shark’s Holiday Dance Party and see iconic Christmas characters like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, and the Aquarium’s trusted team of “elf-fish.” .
Holidays at Mount Pleasant and Cedar Grove
Dates: November 29 – December 16, 2012
Location: Mount Pleasant and Cedar Grove
Fairmount Park’s historic Mount Pleasant and Cedar Grove homes open their doors for the holidays during A Traditional Children’s Christmas. Vintage toys and children’s toys are part of the festive vintage Christmas decorations. Mount Pleasant will also feature an elaborate 19th century presepio (an Italian nativity and marketplace scene.
Trains, Trains and More Trains
Brandywine River Museum Railroad
Dates: November 23, 2012 – January 6, 2013
Location: Chadds Ford, Pa.
An integral part of A Brandywine Christmas, the 1,220-square-foot Brandywine River Museum Railroad is a delightful holiday tradition in Chadds Ford. Created in 1973, the massive model railway features more than 150 locomotives and 300 freight cars.
Reading Terminal Holiday Railroad
Dates: November 23 – December 31, 2012
Location: 12th and Arch Streets
An ornate model railway wrapping through the bustling Reading Terminal Market, the Holiday Railroad features 12 working train lines running through tiny holiday scenes and winter wonderlands. While you’re there, be sure to partake in the delicious treats available around the marketplace.
Garden Railway at Morris Arboretum
Dates: November 23 – December 31
Location: 100 E. Northeastern Avenue Chestnut Hill
Celebrate the holiday season at Morris Arboretum’s Holiday Garden Railway. The spectacular model railroad features a quarter-mile of track and elaborate buildings meticulously made of natural materials.
The display has fifteen different rail lines, two cable cars and nine bridges in the arboretum’s winter garden.
More Holiday Celebrations
“A Very Furry Christmas” at Sesame Place
Experience a one-of-a-kind family-friendly celebration with everyone’s favorite Sesame Street friends. The event features 3 Christmas shows, the illuminated Neighborhood Street Party Christmas Parade, dry rides, a special Christmas menu, holiday shopping, and Santa’s Furry Workshop. The park is decorated with more than 300 Christmas trees, including a huge celebratory tree decorated Sesame Street style. Click here for more information.
Being ____ at Christmas
Date: December 25, 2012
Location: National Museum of American Jewish History
On Christmas Day, the National Museum of American Jewish History invites families to fill in the blank during “Being _____ at Christmas. annual day of family fun will be held for the first time in the museum’s new building, which opens in November. Being Jewish at Christmas will include music, special children’s activities, refreshments and more!
The African American Museum’s Kwanzaa Celebration
Date: December 29-30, 2012
Location: 701 Arch Street
Join the staff of the African American Museum in Philadelphia for a week-long Kwanzaa celebration!
Bring your whole family out for the daily candle lighting ceremony and introduction to Kwanzaa symbols and principles. You’ll also find live traditional music, dance, drumming, storytelling, historical re-enactments, face painting, balloon art, and a Kwanzaa craft and game workshop.
New Year’s Eve Fireworks at Penn’s Landing
This year, Philadelphia will have a double-dose of New Year’s Eve fireworks, with awe-inspiring displays lighting the night at both 6 p.m. and 12 midnight. This means that even the tiniest revelers will be able to shout “Happy New Year!” before turning in for the night.