Spring Break Breakdown: Everything to Do With Kids in Philly When School’s Out

From day camps to Disney to dinosaurs, here's how make the most of your week.

zoo dinosaur spring break

Dinosaurs are coming to the Zoo for Spring Break! / Photograph by Laura Swartz

Spring break is coming up (April 1st-9th for Philly public schools). 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 maybe even entertain you, too. From Disney to dinosaurs, here are all the ways to make the most of your week together.

Dinosaurs (and Giant Bugs!) at the Zoo

Beginning April 1st, the Philadelphia Zoo will host life-size animatronic dinosaurs and super-size animatronic insects in a new experience that’s sure to be a must-do for any little dino-lover — or budding entomologist — in your family. “Staying Power: Be Distinct, or Go Extinct!” Walk the “Dinosaur Trail,” with animatronic dinos like the 60-foot-long roaring Giganotosaurus, velociraptors, and even a giant aquatic Spinosaurus. (Of course, there’s also a T.rex.) Then pass through a giant magnifying glass into a larger-than-life “Insect Garden” with massive animatronic bugs. (Big yikes!)
$6 for Staying Power in addition to the zoo’s usual admission fee of $20-$25, runs April 1st through September 4th, Philadelphia Zoo, 3400 West Girard Avenue.

Museum Programming

Cinderella’s glass slipper at the Franklin Institute’s Disney100 exhibit / Photograph by Laura Swartz

Disney100 at The Franklin Institute

Celebrating 100 years of Walt Disney magic, Disney100: The Exhibition fills the Franklin Institute with 10 immersive galleries of stories, installations and information detailing Disney’s history, movies, theme parks and more. The interactive world-premiere exhibit includes more than 250 of Walt Disney Archives’ “Crown Jewels”: original artworks and artifacts, costumes and props, and other memorabilia. It’s a must for Disney lovers — kids and adults — so if you haven’t seen it yet, work it into your schedule this week. 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 August 27th, The Franklin Institute, 222 North 20th Street.

Emotions at Play (and build a cardboard city!) 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 special exhibit inspired by Pixar’s Inside Out.  The exhibit focuses on the five emotions featured in film — Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear — with hands-on experiences to teach kids how to recognize, express and manage those intense feelings. For some added fun, the museum is also hosting some special events during spring break. On April 1st and 2nd, the Big Ideas Festival explores “Building Community” with STEAM activities centered on invention, innovation and collaboration all weekend long — including building a cardboard city! Then on April 8th, they’re holding an Easter story time sure to get your little ones hopping like bunnies. All activities are included with admission.
$19-$22, through May 7th, Please Touch Museum, 4231 Avenue of the Republic.

Giant sand sculptures at Adventure Aquarium / Photograph courtesy of Adventure Aquarium

Giant Sand Sculptures at Adventure Aquarium

Through April 16th, super-sized sand sculptures take over Adventure Aquarium. Sand sculptor Matt Long and his team will transform 65 tons of sand into larger-than-life aquatic animals, including a gigantic penguin, a humongous hammerhead shark, and even the aquarium’s beloved Nile hippos, Genny and Button, rendered in sand!
$19-$43, through April 16th, Adventure Aquarium, 1 Riverside Drive, Camden.

Sail into Spring Weekends at the Museum of the American Revolution

Every weekend in April, the museum will host family-friendly crafts, in-gallery talks and stories to learn more about life at sea during the Revolutionary War. The weekends were designed with an eye toward the museum’s special exhibit, Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia, which tells the stories of the Philadelphia abolitionist and businessman, as well as his family and descendants, with artifacts, walking tours, family activities, theatrical performances and more. And while exhibit has an interactive kids’ section with dress-up and sail-making, you’ll find even more hands-on activities in the Revolution Place discovery center downstairs.
$13-$21 (free for kids 5 and under), weekends in April, Museum of the American Revolution, 101 South 3rd Street.

Get Outside

Cherry Blossoms in Fairmount Park / Photo by C. Smyth for Visit Philadelphia

Check Out the Cherry Blossoms

Spring break happens during peak cherry-blossom season. And while you’ll have to wait til April 15th and 16th for the festival, you can head to Fairmount Park now to see the pink blooms before it gets crowded! The Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia also 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. Bonus: Their free Easter Hop-Along Trail is Saturday, April 8th; reserve your spot here.
Franklin Square, 6th and Race streets.

Into the Woods

Into the Woods comes to Philly from Broadway April 4th-9th / Photograph by Matthew Murphy

Straight from Broadway — and with several actors reprising their Broadway roles — comes the beloved Stephen Sondheim musical that blends classic fairytales in a new story filled with humor, joy and magic.
April 4th-9th, Miller Theater, 250 South Broad Street.

Take a Staycation

Urban Campout at The Logan / Photograph by Laura Swartz

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.

Photograph courtesy of Buddha Babe

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.

Buddha Babe

Buddha Babe is our go-to for chic 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 variety of projects to choose from. Camp is full-day, and each day is $75.
April 3rd-7th, Buddha Babe, 7101 Emlen Street.

Phield House

Kids in kindergarten through eighth grade can spend their days playing sports and games in this massive indoor sports facility. Full-day ($55) and half-day ($35) options are available.
April 3rd-7th, 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 3rd-10th, Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, 8480 Hagy’s Mill Road.

Philly Art Center

Artists ages five through 12 can get creative in the studio at Philly Art Center’s Queen Village, Fairmount, Mount Airy and Cherry Hill 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 3rd-7th, Philly Art Center, various locations.

Philadelphia Rock Gym

Philadelphia Rock Gym’s Fishtown and East Falls locations are hosting full-day ($90) and half-day ($55) 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 camps.
April 3rd-10th, all Philadelphia Rock Gym locations.

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 17. Camp is full-day for $120, with discounts if you sign up for three or more days.
April 3rd-7th, The Cliffs at Callowhill, 1010 Callowhill Street.

Queen & Rook Game Cafe

Kids ages six to 14 will spend their day playing and learning about board games, card games and role playing games at The Keep at Queen & Rook Game Cafe. Registration has to be at least three days (for $195) and can be for up to five days ($325). Camp is full-day; extended care is available for an additional $25.
April 3rd-7th, Queen & Rook, 613 South 2nd Street.

Butcher’s Sew Shop

Kids ages five to 11 can explore the art of sewing using hand and machine projects at this popular 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 3rd-7th, Butcher’s Sew Shop, 800 South 8th Street.