Summer’s end feels different this year for those of us sending kids back to virtual classrooms. Days may be getting shorter, but vacation seems longer, maybe because school feels less real. If class doesn’t last a full day, what’s to stop a kid from making a lunch date with an aquarium-dwelling porcupine, or watching Trolls on a weekday night at the Fairmount Park drive-in?
Author Kwame Alexander is doing his part to get us back to business by teaming up with educational app Adventure Academy, but Philadelphia’s Parks & Rec will still keep us up past bedtimes on weeknights through September with drive-in movies. Need more proof Labor Day doesn’t mark summer’s end? The drive-through edition of Jurassic Quest lasts a full week past the holiday.
» READ MORE: How to summer in Philly: Our 2020 summer guide
Adventure Aquarium: Wild Things
12:30 & 1:30 p.m. Monday–Friday, 12:30, 1:30 & 2:30 p.m. Saturday & Sunday, 2 visitors for $60, 3 for $85, 4 for $110, plus admission ($32 adult, $22 ages 2–12, reservations required at adventureaquarium.com). Call 800–616–5297 to book (ages 5 and up).
Since you can’t responsibly invite a human child to a birthday party these days, how about taking an excursion to visit an Australian bearded dragon, lesser Madagascar hedgehog, large hairy armadillo, panther chameleon, sand boa or prehensile-tail porcupine? These creatures are now available for a personal, 40-minute, meet-and-greet at Adventure Aquarium. Each reservation comes with a biology team member (read: chaperone). Closed-toe shoes required.
WordPlay with Kwame Alexander
Premiering Tuesday, $60 annual subscription required to Adventure Academy app through adventureacademy.com (ages 8–13)
The Newberry-winning and Caldecott-medaling author of The Crossover and The Undefeated is making the educational gaming app Adventure Academy worth the (currently discounted) $5/month fee with a new live action-plus-animation show that’s all about writing. In a modern homage to Fred Rogers, Alexander changes sneakers upon entering his writing studio, then gets down to the business of building a story, interviewing a fellow writer, and, with help from rapper Toni Blackman and guitarist Randy Pressman, introducing a word of the day — all in 10 minutes or less.
Philly Drive-In: Trolls
9 p.m. Wednesday & Friday (parking lot opens at 7:30 p.m., rain date is the following evening), free, online reservations required via manncenter.org/thephillydrivein (all ages)
If it seems like everyone’s done a drive-in movie or concert except you, you’ve got one more chance before Labor Day. So, do this: Reserve a space, put them in their pajamas, brush their teeth, pop them in the back seat, and drive to West Fairmount Park for 2016′s original, wild-haired Trolls, as voiced by Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, James Corden, and friends. (School of Rock is scheduled for Sept. 9 and 11. The Lion King is Sept. 16 and 18. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is Sept. 23 and 25.)
Jurassic Quest Drive-Thru
11 a.m.–8 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.–8 p.m. Saturday through Sept. 13, $49 per vehicle of up to 9 people, online reservations at wellsfargocenterphilly.com, drive-up ticketing permitted (all ages)
This drive-through pop-up is turning the Wells Fargo Center parking lot into a scene from The Flintstones. The traveling show of 70 animatronic dinosaurs customarily occupies the inside of a convention center. (It was at the Oaks Expo Center as recently as January.) But this year, spinosaurus and T-Rex fans won’t need to leave their car seats to experience three prehistoric eras — plus baby dino puppets — on a 500,000-square-foot pavement field. Even the gift shop is drive-up. A kid will need a car and a driver to attend, and can bring as many friends as that car safely seats.