Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Great family outings in Philly this week, including pop-up art in parks and Chestnut Hill’s ‘Night of Lights’

The Museum of the American Revolution opens a new exhibit about voting history, with a voting selfie station and 'I Voted' stickers for all.

Chestnut Hill lights its facades for nightly strolls along Germantown Avenue this month.
Chestnut Hill lights its facades for nightly strolls along Germantown Avenue this month.Read moreBradley Maule for the Chestnut Hill Conservancy

That saying about parents' days being long and the years being short is relevant only in hindsight. Days during the coronavirus pandemic aren’t just long. They’re grueling. Grueling enough to make you want to do absolutely nothing when the kids aren’t doing school and you’re not doing work — or dishes, or laundry, or paying bills, or pick your obligation.

Then again, we all need to get out of the confinement of home. All of us.

Escapes this week include a walk along lit-up Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill, a free art class in one of four parks, an exploration of a fascinating local glitch in women’s voting history, and a chance to breathe among the birds and trees outside the Wagner Free Institute, and a drive-in classic movie outside the South Philly IKEA.

Art Start in the Park

9:30–10:30 a.m. & 10:45–11:45 a.m. Wednesday–Friday Oct. 7–9, free, registration required at, (ages 2–3)

The Philly Art Center pops up with free preschooler art classes at Lemon Hill and Washington Square (Wednesday & Friday) and Cherry Hill and Fitler Square on Thursday to give wee artists and their grown-ups a taste of the coming five-week session, which starts Oct. 19 and costs $136. What to expect: They’ll learn about shapes and textures by drawing, gluing, painting, and sculpting clay. Maximum of 10 students per pop-up.

When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story

10 a.m.–5 p.m., Thursdays–Sundays (through April 25, 2021), $21 adults, $18 seniors, students, military, $13 ages 6 & up, reserve online at, (ages 6 & up)

Come to the new Museum of the American Revolution exhibit for the voting selfie station. Stay for a lesson in voting rights, including on-the-hour films and a family guide with a maze and a checklist of history-makers featured in the exhibition. Leave with an “I Voted” sticker — and feeling proud that our New Jersey neighbors were the first and only state in the union to allow at least some women and some free people of color to vote in the 18th century.

Fridays in the Field

1–3 p.m. Fridays through October (cancelled in case of rain), free/$3 donation requested, to schedule a visit, call 215-763-6529 x17 or email, (ages 6–10)

The Wagner Free Institute’s outside is nearly as alluring as its inside (which is temporarily closed, so it’s not like there’s a choice at the moment). On Fridays, the Victorian-era museum invites chaperoned kids onto its big-as-the-building lawn. The tree-lined site is a certified Monarch Watch monarch waystation, National Wildlife Federation wildlife habitat, Audubon-recognized bird habitat, and a native plant garden. A family guide offers help identifying birds, bees, butterflies, and trees. It’s a perfect spot for some plein-air art-making, too.

Night of Lights

7–10 p.m. nightly, Oct. 9–25, free, information at, (all ages)

At the end of some days, the family just needs out of the house. Chestnut Hill offers a great — and free — excuse to go for an evening walk, with lights and photographs projected along Germantown between Rex and Willow Grove Avenues and a mobile scavenger hunt and a “pastport” to be virtually stamped. The objects: teach a bit of local history; appreciate some architecture; have a walk.

'A League of Their Own’ Drive-In

6:30–9:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 10, donations of $40/car and up, reserve at, (ages 10 & up)

The Phils are done, but the Peaches play on in Penny Marshall’s 1992 family-ish film about a 1943 women’s baseball league. (It’s rated PG for language). The PSPCA is showing the classic comedy in the parking lot of the South Philly IKEA as a benefit for the pooches and cats in need of forever homes. Also: Crying in baseball? Totally fine. Healthy, even.