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Summer activities for kids and families | Week of July 20

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Looking for affordable summer activities for kids in Philadelphia? Here’s a great list of upcoming activities this week – free museum trips, outdoor movie screenings, music festivals, and more.

Peter Pan

Peter Pan Jr., a modernized version of the classic story, is playing on the Upper Darby Summer stage. The family-friendly show has pre-performance activities for kids and cast meet-and-greets afterward. There’s also free babysitting for family members who might be too young for an hour-long show. Showtimes are 10:30 a.m. July 22-24 and 7:30 p.m. July 23. Tickets can be purchased ahead of time.


Kidchella 2015, a kids’ music festival at the Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse, promises a high-energy lineup that both kids and parents will enjoy. Kidchella, from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, July 24, is geared toward kids 10 and under. Bring a picnic for dinner or visit the food trucks that will be there. Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased here.

The Penn Museum is hosting a Summer Nights Concert Series from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays in the Stoner Courtyard. This week, Jordan’s “Musical Ambassadress” Farah Siraj will perform original compositions with influences from Middle Eastern music, flamenco, jazz, bossa, and pop, with lyrics in Arabic, Spanish, and English, according to the event description. Admission is $10 for attendees ages 6 and up and free for children under 6 and museum members.

Car show and festival

On Sunday, July 26, the 10th annual East Passyunk Avenue Car Show & Street Festival will take over the stretch of the avenue between Broad and Dickinson Streets in South Philly. Starting at 9 a.m., the event promises to have classic cars, live music, crafts, and street food. There will also be a free moon bounce, circus performers, and the Bang! Boom! CRAFT! Show at the fountain to keep the kids happy. Admission is free.

Go fish

Saturday, July 25, is Free Family Fishing day at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge from 9 a.m. to noon. The refuge is located off Interstate 95 near the Philadelphia Airport. Children will get to practice their casting and talk with a fish biologist. A limited supply of fishing rods and bait will be available for those who don’t have them.

Improv comedy

ComedySportz for Kids is a kid-centric improv show filled with audience participation and comedians dueling for kids’ laughs. The 60-minute performances are on the last Saturday of each month at 11 a.m. in the Playground at the Adrienne; tickets are $12.

Tour Fairmount Water Works

The Fairmount Water Works has two free educational programs on Saturday, July 25. On Tap: Fresh and Locally Sourced is a pop-up activity running from 10 a.m. to noon. It aims to explain the process of purifying tap water, where source water comes from, and what the municipal water system costs. Look for the blue cart outside the Water Works entrance.

There is also a free tour of the facility, called Fairmount Water Works Inside and Out, that runs 1:30-2 p.m. Space is limited, so make a reservation for the tour here.

Learn to farm

Children from pre-K through high school age can sign up for group Farm Education Lessons, provided by Weavers Way Co-op on their farms at Awbury Arboretum and W.B. Saul High School.

The 90-minute sessions are held on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. A group of at least 10 students — with one chaperone for each 10 students — is required to book a program. Each session costs $7 per student; two sessions purchased together cost $12, and four cost only $20. Register here.

Moth Night

Friends of Wissahickon hosts a free Moth Night walk at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 21, where kids can learn about how best to observe moths at home, how to make a catch-and-release trap for their new creatures, how to set up ultraviolet light lures, and how the secret Moth Bait “sugaring” recipe works. The event is best for kids ages 10 and over, as they are asked to walk quietly on the trail at night. Participants are asked to bring a flashlight and a smartphone for registering moth sightings. The walk will be cancelled if it’s raining. Pre-register here.


The Please Touch Museum holds Make Art, Make Science, Make Believe! on Thursday evenings. Clifford the Big Red Dog and Super Why perform shows and provide entertainment, while the museum stays open until 8 p.m. for families to check out exhibits.

Independence National Historical Park is offering several free walking tours this summer. Twilight Tours will meet at 6 p.m. daily at the visitors center at Sixth and Market Streets. Daytime tours and talks include topics such as Benjamin Franklin’s many careers, Thomas Jefferson, the Women’s Liberty Bell, and writing the Declaration of Independence. Start times range from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and run times from 15 minutes to 75 minutes.

The Brandywine River Museum has free admission on Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Stop in to view the museum’s collection of American art, with galleries housing the work of the Wyeth family. The museum itself is a 19th-century mill perched by the Brandywine River. Tours of the Kuerner Farm nearby are also available.


Screening Under the Stars will be showing Back to the Future at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, July 23, at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing. The movie will play outdoors on the big screen. Arriving early is advised, as the seats fill up quickly.

The Schuykill Banks Movie Series is showing The Secret Life of Walter Mitty on Thursday at the Schuylkill Banks by the Walnut Street Bridge. Bring a blanket and a picnic to make the most of the summer night! Free snacks and beverages will be available while they last. The movie begins at dusk (about 8:20 p.m.), and admission is free.

The Cinemark Kids Summer Movie Clubhouse is offering an affordable way for kids to see movies this summer with its movie bundle that costs $5 for 10 movies when purchased in advance. For a deal on the Kiddie Combo (a drink and small popcorn), the theater is also offering a coupon. The University City Penn 6 Cinemark is at 4012 Walnut St.

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