For family attractions, getting back to in-person business is a tough business. There are new rules, new signage explaining those rules, new hand sanitizer stations everywhere you turn. Interactive, especially-made-for-kids exhibits are temporarily off-limits. Please touch has become please don’t.
But there’s another question venues face: Do they increase prices to make up for lost revenue or revert to regular rates, even though they’ve limited access to what you can do there? This week’s offerings have an interesting mix of responses: Sesame Place and Treetop Quest are still splurges, while the Academy of Natural Sciences is doing a popular festival for free (virtually), and the National Constitution Center is offering free admission through early September. As for Johnson’s Corner Farm, well, thank goodness some things don’t change too much.
9:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. daily through Aug. 23, then weekends through Nov. 15, $35–$55, (ages 7 and up), reservations required at treetopquest.com (ages 7 and up)
A grove of tall trees in West Fairmount Park is now welcoming back climbers, zip-liners, and daredevils for 2 ½ hours at a time. With the temporary closure of the little kids’ course, climbers must be at least 7 years old — and feel physically and emotionally comfortable making like squirrels. Masks and gloves are required, and guests are encouraged to bring their own (or buy them on-site). Courage recommended.
10 a.m.–1 p.m. Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Saturday & Sunday (market 8 a.m.–7 p.m. daily; ice cream window until 9 p.m.), tickets required in advance at johnsonsfarm.com (all ages)
Five dollar hayrides are still rolling to the cornfield and peach orchard at Medford’s charming pick-your-own, pay-by-the-pound (or the ear) farm. If you’re lucky, you can get in on the tail end of their evening Sunflower Strolls — blooms are going fast; the event ends when they’re gone — with timed tickets (5 p.m.–6:45 p.m.) available a day ahead at $8 a pop, and stems priced at $1 apiece.
Monday–Sunday (Aug. 9), free, full schedule at ansp.org (ages 3 and up)
The Academy of Natural Sciences reopened to the public on Friday with new self-guided tours (but no butterflies, fossil dig, or Outside In exhibit) — but this week’s insect festival is happening virtually. Sad for those who were looking forward to snacking on fried crickets, not sad for the bug averse. There will be a 24-hour cockroach cam, roach races on Facebook Live at 11 a.m. Friday through Aug. 9, lessons in backyard entomology and bug drawing, along with video meet-and-greets with some of the academy’s smallest, crawliest residents. Select events — like an interactive “ask me anything” Zoom with an entomologist — require registration.
Reopening Wednesday, hours 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Wednesday–Saturday, free through Sept. 5, reservations required at constitutioncenter.org (ages 4 and up)
Know what makes a good family attraction even better? Free admission. Free is what this modern anchor of Independence Mall is offering through Sept. 5 — a giant bonus for those of us who can never predict when our little loves are suddenly going to hit their limit. Advance timed tickets get admission to the center’s signature 17-minute show “Freedom Rising” and selfies with the bronze versions of the U.S. Constitution’s signers. New exhibit on the 19th Amendment opens Aug. 26.
10 a.m.–6 p.m. Friday–Sunday, $50–$61 (ages 2 and under free), reservations required at sesameplace.com/philadelphia (all ages)