Hey, kids, let’s put on a show! Celebration Fireworks Inc.
will arrange a computerized Fourth of July display that will have all your neighbors agog (and their dogs a-howling), starting from $3,800 — plus a small charge for a permit and the required local fire company standby. Cost: $$$. 610-285-4242, celfire.com
Prefer to do it yourself? Order the Independence City Assortment
for $93.59, and a Phoenix Tail Howl Fountain for $57.49
(because how can you not?), from Fireworks R Us in Douglassville. Cost: $$.
888-811-BOOM (hah!), fireworksrus.com
Can’t really go all out just now? No worries. The kids will
have just as good a time with a box of sparklers (three for a dollar).
Mom, look — I’m writing my name! Cost: $.
Have a play day
Take the whole gang to the fab new redo of the Please Touch Museum in Memorial Hall in Fairmount Park, for $15 per head. Ride the restored carousel for $3 more. Cost:$$$. 4231 Avenue of the Republic, 215-581-3181, pleasetouchmuseum.org
Or head to Chestnut Hill’s Little Treehouse Play Café, where you and your girlfriends can linger over cups of tea and sandwiches while the kids explore a big, bright play space full of toys. During peak hours (mornings and noon), you’re free, but you pay $7.50 for your kid, with siblings half-price. Cost: $$. 10 West Gravers Lane, 215-247-3637, treehouseplaycafe.com
Get your latte to go, and sip it on the drive to the Smith Playground, whose swings, giant wooden slide, jungle gyms and teeter-totters are all yours, free of charge. Tuesdays are Family Days, with a vibe of less-chaotic-than-usual fun. And don’t miss the annual celebration of the playground’s birthday on July 25th, with party games and cake. Cost: $. Reservoir Drive, East Fairmount Park, 215-765-4325, smithplayhouse.org
Segways all around! Segway of Philadelphia will sell you a quartet of on-and-off-road X2s (max speed 12.5 mph) for just $23,400. Cost: $$$. 242 Easton Road, Horsham, 267-282-5774, emobile-pa.com
Outfit the whole family in in-line skates from Dick’s Sporting Goods. Mom and Dad will pay $70 to $400 apiece, and the kids $20 to $150. Cost: $$. Various locations; dickssportinggoods.com
With Millennium Skate World’s Sunday-night Family Package, you pay just $29.99 for admission for four, four skate rentals, four slices of pizza and four sodas. Cheap thrills! Cost: $. 1900 Carman Street, Camden, 856-757-9460, millenniumskateworld.com
Play laser tag at the ne plus ultra Ultrazone in Bensalem.
Saturdays are “Kidzone” days, with ages six through 12 and their parents paying just $5 a game from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cost: $$. 4201 Neshaminy Boulevard,
Bensalem, 215-396-9936, ultrazonebensalem.com
Take in a movie
Shankweiler’s, the region’s last remaining drive-in movie theater — open continuously since 1934! — is still showing movies (and hosting hot makeout sessions) at $7.50 for grown-ups, $3.50 for 12-and-unders, and free for two and under. Cost: $$. 4540 Shankweiler Road, Orefield, 610-481-0800, shankweilers.com
Rent a 31-foot Winnebago Chalet Class C Model 31J, with microwave, fridge, freezer, AC, a TV, DVD player and a queen-size bed, for $2,199 a week. Freedom Rentals picks you up at the State College, Altoona or Blair County airports and takes you straight to the RV you’ve always yearned for. Cost: $$$. 800-474-8110, freedomrentals.com
Maybe you’re the cabin-in-the-woods sort? At French Creek State Park, a “modern” cabin that sleeps six costs $421 a week for Pennsylvania residents, $507 for the un-local. They also have yurts! Cost: $$. 843 Park Road, Elverson, 610-582-9680, dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/parks/frenchcreek.aspx
More the city type? Try urban camping, a.k.a. squatting. There are many, many urban camping spots here in town. Cost: $.
$ Maybe you just need to let go. Spectrum Scientifics sells 40 rocket balloons, plus a hand pump, for $9.95. Blow them up out back and let them loose. 4403 Main Street, Manayunk, 215-667-8309, spectrum-scientifics.com
Book the family for the Six Flags Wild Safari VIP Off-Road Adventure Tour. You’ll chase down lions, elephants, rhinos and giraffes in your own private all-terrain vehicle with personal safari guide. The near-three-hour tour will set you back $149.99 per guest — and you get free t-shirts all around. Cost: $$$. 1 Six Flags Boulevard, Jackson, 732-928-2000, ex. 2076, sixflags.com
Or get in on the fun as the Philadelphia Zoo celebrates its 150th birthday with a “Roar and Snore” sleepover on July 24th-25th. BYOT (that would be “tent”), and pitch it on Impala Lawn for a campout you’ll never forget, at $50 apiece. Reservations required. Cost: $$. 3400 West Girard Avenue, 215-243-5254, philadelphiazoo.org
Just $70 buys a year of family visits to the delightful Elmwood Park Zoo, with more than 150 critters spread across 16 acres: bison, elk, alligators, prairie dogs, turtles, snakes, mountain lions, jaguars, the Tennessee fainting goat and more. Cost: $. 1661 Harding Boulevard, Norristown, 610-277-3825, elmwoodparkzoo.org
Put on a picnic
The “Steaks and Chops Family-Style Plated Dinner” from Stephen Starr Events gets you tiered royal shellfish platters (shrimp, oysters, clams, Alaskan king crab, jumbo lump crab and curried shrimp salad), wedge or tomato-and-roquefort salad, and entrée choices that include Premium Gold Angus filet mignon, sustainably sourced Alaskan king salmon, Colorado lamb chops, and prime wet-aged New York strip. Have it all for $110 per guest — staff, rentals and beverages not included. Cost: $$$. 267-238-3677, starr-restaurant.com/events
If that sounds too rich, pack up at the Italian Market — fresh mozzarella from Claudio’s, sopressata from DiBruno’s, warm bread from Sarcone’s, melon and grapes courtesy of Giordano’s, and cannoli — or cookies —from Isgro’s. Or go whole-hog — literally — with a roast pig (30 to 100 pounds) from the Hollywood Meat Market. You can do the deal — even the pig — for between $30 and $50 a head. Cost: $$. 9th Street from Wharton to Fitzwater.
Wawa does a really nice chicken salad sandwich for around $4 (but let it warm up a little). Throw in a 99-cent bag of Herr’s chips, an iced tea ($1.19) and Tastykakes ($1.29), and you’ve got a bag lunch Yogi Bear would kill for, at less than $8. Cost: $. Various locations; wawa.com