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.


The Fringe Festival ends with free classes and a performance --all virtual -- by the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts on Sunday, October 4.
Courtesy of Philadelphia School of Circus Arts
The Fringe Festival ends with free classes and a performance --all virtual -- by the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts on Sunday, October 4.

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 phillyartcenter.com, (ages 2–3)

The Philly Art Center is hosting free pop-up art classes for ages 2 and 3 in four parks, Wednesday through Friday.
Courtesy of Philly Art Center
The Philly Art Center is hosting free pop-up art classes for ages 2 and 3 in four parks, Wednesday through Friday.

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 amrevmuseum.org/visit, (ages 6 & up)

The Museum of the American Revolution's new exhibition, "When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story" tells the story of 1776-1807, when some women and people of color could legally vote in New Jersey.
Courtesy of the Museum of the American Revolution
The Museum of the American Revolution's new exhibition, "When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story" tells the story of 1776-1807, when some women and people of color could legally vote in New Jersey.

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 reservations@wagnerfreeinstitute.org, (ages 6–10)

During Friday afternoons "in the field," kids and their grown-ups can explore the nature that surround the Wagner Free Institute of Science.
Courtesy of the Wagner Free Institute of Science
During Friday afternoons "in the field," kids and their grown-ups can explore the nature that surround the Wagner Free Institute of Science.

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 chconservancy.org/night-of-lights, (all ages)

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

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 pspca.org/drivein2020, (ages 10 & up)

A League of Their Own. (Columbia Pictures Corporation/TNS)
Columbia Pictures Corporation /
A League of Their Own. (Columbia Pictures Corporation/TNS)

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.