Spring Break Breakdown: Everything to Do With Kids in Philly When School’s Out
From day camps to the Wizarding World to a hotel glamping staycation, make the most of your week off.
Spring break is coming up (April 9th-17th for Philly public schools), and while we have plenty of warm island destinations to recommend for you, that’s not always reality for parents with small kids and limited vacation days. If you’re staying in town for break, don’t worry — there is so much to do and see that’ll occupy the kids and make you feel like the GOAT. From the Wizarding World to a glamping trip, here are all the ways to make the most of your week together.
Harry Potter at The Franklin Institute
The world premiere of this long-awaited journey into the Wizarding World is already breaking records and getting buzz, but it actually lives up to the hype. The immersive 18,000-square-foot exhibit features interactive elements (quidditch, anyone?), photo ops galore, and original costumes and props from the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts movies that you can see up-close and in-context. Personalize your visit with a free RFID wristband (and choose your house, of course), then travel to Hogwarts, the Ministry of Magic, and beyond. You’ll definitely want to reserve timed tickets for this one, as it can get crowded on weekends (and, likely, school breaks).
$30-$43, Through September 18th, The Franklin Institute, 222 North 20th Street.
Extreme Deep: Mission to the Abyss at the Academy of Natural Sciences
While you’re hitting up every dino-lover’s favorite place, head upstairs to the museum’s new special exhibit, Extreme Deep, which focuses on deep-sea life, exploration and discovery. Fly a remotely operated vehicle over a model of the Titanic, enter a replica of the submersible Alvin research vehicle (and manipulate its robotic arm), learn about newly discovered lifeforms that live at the bottom of the sea, and learn the science behind all of it. The exhibit is included with admission.
$18-$22, Through July 24th, Academy of Natural Sciences, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Spring Break at the Museum of the American Revolution
The museum will host daily family-friendly crafts, in-gallery talks and stories to learn more about life on land and at sea during the Revolutionary War. The children’s discovery center Revolution Place — normally open only on weekends and holidays — will be open daily for hands-on activities, including a pretty extensive dress-up corner. Additionally, on April 16th, the museum will host an hour-long ticketed event called Spring Training, where kids will enlist in the Continental Army, put up an encampment, learn maneuvers, and more.
$13-$21 (free for kids 5 and under), April 9th-24th, Museum of the American Revolution, 101 South 3rd Street.
Rube Goldberg at the Please Touch Museum
The Please Touch Museum is a go-to place to occupy little ones all day long. This spring, you can also check out their temporary exhibit inspired by Goldberg’s original illustrations of contraptions that accomplish simple tasks in the most complicated and convoluted ways possible. Little kids will likely need parents’ help figuring out the not-at-all-simple machines, so you’re sure to have fun working together to activate and create the crazy chain-reactions, learning from your mistakes and getting it right (all good life lessons — we see you, Please Touch Museum!). For some added fun, head downstairs to the Makerspace for science experiments that teach cause-and-effect in a much more explosive way. All activities are included with admission.
$22, Through May 8th, Please Touch Museum, 4231 Avenue of the Republic.
Museum of Illusions
There’s no break-specific programming here, but this interactive museum is so new that you likely have not had a chance to visit and experience the mind-bending optical illusions and trickery (and photo ops) that fill this 5,000-square-foot space in Old City. Though highly Instagrammable, this immersive museum puts a STEM twist on “experiential” attractions by explaining the science behind every trick — from the mirror-filled Infinity Room to the disorienting Vortex Tunnel. Tickets are sold online in timeslots, and advance online purchase is recommended, as popular times sell out.
$15-$20 (free for kids under 5), Museum of Illusions Philadelphia, 401 Market Street.
Check Out the Cherry Blossoms
Spring break kicks off during peak cherry-blossom season. Head to Fairmount Park Horticultural Center from April 8th-10th for a free concert series, a kid- and dog-friendly beer garden pop-up courtesy of Parks on Tap, and prime sakura viewing. Want to catch the pink blooms sometime (or somewhere) else? The Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia put out this handy map with all the best spots.
Fairmount Park Horticultural Center, 100 North Horticultural Drive.
Play at Franklin Square
Take advantage of the nice weather and extended spring hours to play Philly-themed mini golf, take a ride on the carousel, climb around the playground and indulge in a Tastykake shake. Plus, the semi-hourly Franklin Square Fountain Show returns in April, with dancing water choreographed to the music.
Franklin Square, 6th and Race streets.
Take a Staycation
If you can’t get away, but still want those vacay vibes without the stress of the airport, book a hotel with family-friendly amenities. Two Philly hotels, in particular, go above and beyond with indoor “camping” packages tailored specifically for kids. Oh, and both hotels’ packages include a bottle of wine for the parents, because they get it.
The Logan Hotel’s Urban Campout takes place in the hotel’s corner Pennsbury suite, which offers expansive views of the Parkway, including Sister Cities Park and the Free Library. The suite is transformed into a little campsite for with a tent containing a sleeping bag and a star machine to turn on at night and complete the illusion. You’ll also get a s’more kit sent up to your room for that “campfire” experience on your living room floor. The package starts at $509 per night, and requires booking at least seven days in advance.
Similarly, the Hotel Palomar’s Little Explorers Package gives you a mini tent, a Palomar scavenger hunt and coloring book, a take-home backpack, and “kid currency” to exchange for snacks downstairs. Kids can also borrow cameras and Micro scooters to use during their stay. The package starts at $229 per night, and requires booking at least seven days in advance.
Spring Break Camps
If your kids are off, but you aren’t, here are plenty of camps to keep them occupied all day, whatever they’re into. Prices are per day.
Kids in kindergarten through eighth grade can spend their days playing sports and games in this massive indoor sports facility. Full-day ($50) and half-day ($30) options are available, and there is a 10-percent sibling discount.
April 4th-8th, & April 11th-15th, Phield House, 814 Spring Garden Street.
Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education
Nature explorers ages five through 12 will spend their days off hiking, playing games, and learning in the science lab. Camps are full-day ($70), with after-care available for an additional $20 per day.
April 11th-15th, Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, 8480 Hagy’s Mill Road.
Buddha Babe’s newish brick-and-mortar is our go-to for baby gifts, but did you know they also host kids’ sewing workshops year-round? For break camp, kids ages seven to 13 will work on new sewing projects daily, with a focus on sustainability and using repurposed materials. Camp is full-day, and will run you $65 per day with a discount for week-long registration.
April 11th-13th, Buddha Babe, 7101 Emlen Street.
Philly Art Center
Artists ages five through 12 can get creative in the studio at Philly Art Center’s Queen Village and Fairmount locations. Age groups are split up and guided by teachers who structure creative playtime. Camps are full-day ($84), with before- and after-care available for an additional cost.
April 11th-15th, Philly Art Center, 514 Bainbridge Street (Queen Village) and 2333 Fairmount Avenue (Fairmount).
Philadelphia Rock Gym
Philadelphia Rock Gym’s Fishtown location is hosting full-day ($80) and half-day ($45) camps all week long. Kids ages six to 15 (or as young as four, if you’re opting for half-day) will learn bouldering and top rope skills while strengthening their problem solving, communication, and teamwork. Lunch is provided for full-day campers. Extended care is available for an additional $10 an hour. Discounts are available for multiple-day registration. PRG’s suburban outposts in Malvern and Oaks are also hosting Spring Break camp.
April 11th-15th & 18th, Philadelphia Rock Gym Fishtown, 2412 East York Street.
The Cliffs at Callowhill
Even more climbing! The Cliffs will also be hosting a week of rock climbing, collaborative games, and new skills for kids ages six through 16. Camp is full-day for $100, with discounts if you sign up for three or more days.
April 11th-15th, The Cliffs at Callowhill, 1010 Callowhill Street.
Butcher’s Sew Shop
Kids ages five to 11 can explore the art of sewing using hand and machine projects at this Best-of-Philly-winning Queen Village spot. No sewing experience is necessary. Camp is $95, with extended care at an additional cost. Discounts available for full-week registration and for siblings.
April 11th-15th, Butcher’s Sew Shop, 800 South 8th Street.
Baseball Camp at Elite Sports Factory
Sluggers ages six through 13 can spend their days (or half-days, for $50) taking their batting and fielding techniques to the next level at this indoor sports facility just north of Manayunk.
April 11th-15th, Elite Sports Factory, 5050 Umbria Street.