Summer is coming, and so are Doc McStuffins, dragons and drag queens. Keep the kids busy all month with our picks.
It’s almost time for no more teachers, no more books … and lots more plans! There are a ton of fun things going on this month to keep your kids occupied, but here are the best of the best to add to your calendar.
June is Pride month, and there are so many ways to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, including plenty of family-friendly options, in Philly. The top things to do with kids include the Franklin Institute’s Family Pride Day (June 25th) and Drag Queen Story Time (various dates), where kids of all ages can enjoy stories of love, inclusion, and individuality read by your friendly neighborhood drag queen .
Doc McStuffins: The Exhibit
Time for your checkup, time for your checkup! An interactive exhibit based on the popular Disney Junior show Doc McStuffins is now at the Please Touch Museum through September 18th. Kids can don a white coat, diagnose stuffed-toy patients, and treat them at the toy hospital’s emergency room, operating room, and nursery. It’s all kinds of adorable, and a must-do for fans of the show (and aspiring doctors). Now you just need to get that song out of your head. Free with admission of $22, through September 18, Please Touch Museum, 4231 Avenue of the Republic.
The Philadelphia Flower Show
Last year, the Flower Show got a COVID update, moving the show outdoors to FDR Park, and shifting it from March to June. The result was much more spread out, kid-friendly, and eclectic. PHS is doing it all again this year. Spanning 15 acres in South Philly, the Flower Show features gorgeous garden installations, various food and merchandise vendors, and lots of room to run around (or push a stroller). Best of all, on June 19th (the final day of the show), they’re hosting the Family Frolic with arts and crafts, entertainment, and lots more things to do with kids, all included with the regular show ticket. $20-$50 (free for kids ages 4 and under), June 11th-19th, FDR Park, 1500 Pattison Avenue.
Kidchella at Smith Memorial Playground
Smith Memorial Playground kicks off another summer of music and fun with the return of its Kidchella concert series. It starts on June 17th with a Juneteenth-themed celebration featuring music by African drum and dance ensemble Troupe Da Da and lively kids’ music with Ms. Niki. The music starts at 6 pm, but come early, because starting at 4 pm there will be a youth arts zone with even more performances, plus crafts and food trucks so you can buy dinner to enjoy during the concert. Bring your own blanket or chairs (though your kids will probably be on their feet to the music), and get your tickets in advance online. $6-$12, June 17th, 4-7:30 pm, Smith Memorial Playground, 3500 Reservoir Drive.
In 2020, Pennsylvania finally added official statewide observance of Juneteenth, which celebrates the ending of slavery in the United States — taking its name from June 19, 1865, when news of abolition reached Galveston, Texas. Long before that, Philly institutions from the historic Johnson House to the Please Touch Museum to the African American Museum in Philadelphia had already been holding annual family-friendly celebrations, along with a parade and festival in West Philly. This year, there are more celebrations than ever before (stay tuned for our guide).
Wawa Welcome America
Back in-person (and back on the Parkway for its finale), Philly’s annual Independence Day bonanza kicks off on Juneteenth and runs through (you guessed it) July 4th. you get 16 days of free activities that not only celebrate freedom, but also highlight so much of what Philly has to offer. From free museums to “Go 4th & Learn” educational kids’ activities and events that spotlight our incredible local music and food (hello, Wawa Hoagie Day), it’s all on display and ready for the whole family to enjoy. Stay tuned for a full guide to the Philly festivities (including more things to do with kids), but for now, save the date for the Avenue of the Arts Block Party on June 25th, which will have live music and Broadway show performances, a zip line across Broad Street, food, games, giveaways, dance workshops, and more. Free, June 19th-July 4th, various locations.
Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival
After two years off due to the pandemic, Franklin Square will once again light up with giant, colorful sculptures of steel and silk. From the fan-favorite 200-foot-long dragon to ornate walk-through tunnels, to a giant swimming whale, they are a welcome, glowing spectacle after years of darkness. In addition to the lanterns, the festival includes stage performances showcasing Chinese dance as well as acrobatics, plus food specials and a beer garden. 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. $12-$20, June 21st-August 7th, Franklin Square, 200 North 6th Street.
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 heading to Dilworth to splash, make a reservation to skate there, too. The colorful, music-filled Rothman Rink is 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. Then, head south down the waterfront for even more fun and food, including a giant new restaurant attached to the Seaport Museum.
It’s not too late to plan an enriching and exciting summer, even if summer has already started. There are so many Philly-area camps that not only still have opening, but also offer the flexibility of week-to-week registration so you can mix-and-match a summer that will have your kids walking a tightrope one week, kayaking on the Delaware the next, and singing “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” after that. So, while we’ve given you plenty of things to do with your kids in Philly all month long, there’s no reason to tackle that challenge on your own. Check out our camp roundup and try something new!