Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival
After two years off due to the pandemic, Franklin Square is once again aglow with giant, colorful sculptures of steel and silk. Check out dozens of larger-than-life displays including a 200-foot-long dragon, lots of pandas, and sea creatures. Catch cultural performances including folk dance, circus arts, and face-changing, which must be seen to be believed. The rest of Franklin Square’s attractions, including the carousel and mini golf, will be available during the festival as well. Pro-tip: If your kids are too little to stay up ‘til sundown, visit Franklin Square during the day to see the lanterns for free. See more in our guide to the festival. $12-$20, Through August 7th, Franklin Square, 200 North 6th Street.
The Art Museum brings back its summer-long kids’ programming this year, complete with a studio space offering themed projects. The Art Kids Studio will be open Thursdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., allowing kids to get hands-on. The first project, “Seize the Clay,” runs through July 10th and challenges kids to create vessels inspired by Philadelphia potter Roberto Lugo. Next up, “My Favorite Things” (from July 15th to August 7th) will focus on the still life as a medium to tell a story and will encourage young artists to combine objects through collage. In addition to the ongoing studio projects, Art Kids Tours led by museum educators will leave from the Art Kids Studio at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. daily, visiting works of art that highlight the current studio theme.
Look out for sensory-friendly morning hours on Sunday, July 10th, and Thursday, July 21st. Both sessions last from 9 to 10 a.m.
Finally, every Friday night, Art Kids programming will pop up from 5 to 7:30 p.m. during Pay What You Wish hours, each with a different visiting artist:
- July 8th: Clay Date with Jihan Thomas
- July 15th: Mindful Zine Making with Candy Gonzalez
- July 22nd: DIY Weaving with Anna Bockrath
- July 29th: Sketching with Madeline Conover
Free (for kids), Thursdays-Sundays through August 28th, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
The Oval XP
While you’re already at the Art Museum, head outside and down the steps to Eakins Oval, where there’s all kinds of good stuff, including a Ferris wheel, a carousel, a really big beer garden, and free concerts. Best of all, there’s a kids’ play area called Imagination Space with nine-hole mini golf, those big blue Imagination Playground blocks, and games like ping-pong, Connect Four. Plus, borrow books and instruments from the outdoor reading and music carts! The Oval XP is open Wednesdays through Sundays.
Free, through August 21st, Benjamin Franklin Parkway & Eakins Oval.
This Oval XP event gets special mention because our girl Miss Brittany Lynn is bringing the sparkle there on July 15th in a big way. Catch a special Drag Queen Story Time that she describes as inspired by old-school kids’ TV shows. Think: puppets, songs, Mailman Matty bringing “Letters of Learning,” science experiments, and more! It’s this month’s hottest kiddie ticket in town, and it’s free!
Free, July 15, 4-5 p.m., Benjamin Franklin Parkway & Eakins Oval.
Parkway Pals returns to Sister Cities Park this summer with free STEAM programming on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. Then, stick around and splash in the pond, hop in the sprayground, or visit the nearby Free Library and museums. Check out the weekly lineup:
- Mondays, 10:30-11:30 a.m: Join the Academy of Natural Sciences for Imagination Station
- Tuesdays, 10:30-11:30 a.m: Story Art from the Free Library combines storytime, movement, songs, and a take-home craft.
- Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: First, instructors from the Philadelphia Ballet will teach kids how to express themselves. Then at 11:30 a.m., join the Fabric Workshop and Museum to make puppets and learn about art.
Beat the Heat
It doesn’t get more “summer in Philly” than jumping in a sprinkler outside City Hall. We have so many places to splash around when the temperature is climbing and the kids are getting sweaty and restless — some feature elaborate setups (Sister Cities Park is a must-do, no matter where in the city you’re located), while others are little more than a big sprinkler. But when you’re hot, water is water. Check out our guide to the best spraygrounds in town, and pack some sunscreen! While you’re at it, we also have a guide to Philly’s public pools — which are opening and when, plus a map!
Skate at Dilworth Park
While you’re heading to Dilworth to splash, make a reservation to skate there, too. The colorful, music-filled Rothman Rink is only up through July 17th; and they have rentable skate aids in case your kids need help with their balance, plus lots of on-site snack options to keep everyone happy.
Not quite enough skating for you? Head to the original outdoor skating spot, Penn’s Landing’s Blue Cross RiverRink, which reprises its beloved Summerfest setup featuring arcades, rides, carnival games, putt-putt, and plenty of food and drink options.
Family Fun Day Sundays at Spruce Street Harbor Park
Speaking of the Waterfront, head a little further south from RiverRink to Spruce Street Harbor Park, which is hosting Family Fun Day Sundays with special activities from yoga to art projects. And this is, of course, in addition to their on-site arcade, lawn games, and treats! All activities run from 2 to 4 p.m. Here’s the lineup:
- July 3rd: Philadelphia School of Circus Arts
- July 10th brings two different options for fun: a bath bomb workshop with Nyambi Naturals; and Family Yoga with Yoga 4 Philly (free, register online)
- July 17th: Sing and dance along to The Beat Tells
- July 24th: Indigenous dance classes with We are the Seeds
- July 31st: Natural tie-dye workshop with Nyambi Naturals. Bring your own item to tie-dye.
Free, Sundays from 2-4 p.m., Spruce Street Harbor Park, 301 South Columbus Boulevard.
When it comes to free outdoor flicks, you have a lot of options this summer. Especially if you want to see Encanto — people are talking about Bruno all around town this season. So dust off your blanket, pack some snacks and find a sweet spot to sprawl out. From the Schuylkill Banks to Mount Airy, we’ve got all the best spots to catch an outdoor movie (and what’s playing) in our guide.
Light: Installations by Bruce Munro
If you’re looking for a day trip full of flowers that turns into a night full of lights, head to Longwood, where this summer British artist Bruce Munro displays eight of his signature large-scale light installations. Our favorite: the 1,000 glowing flamingos! On Thursdays through Sundays you can also check out music in the beer garden, as well as Longwood’s popular Illuminated Fountain performances, each night with a different musical theme for the fountains and lights to dance to.
$18-$25 admission, June 30th-October 30th, Longwood Gardens, 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square.
Source: Philly Magazine