All denial has officially ended. Fall, for all intents and purposes, is here, corrupting weekends with [shudder] obligations. That said, it ain’t all bad. Among the endless harvest and Halloween festivals are new reasons to get out of the house, including a once-in-a-lifetime parade along Broad Street that’s so not the Mummers, a trio of fabulous illustrator exhibits, and both free and splurge-worthy pop-ups.

Look Up! Look In & Los Trompos (through Nov. 17, Kimmel Center’s Commonwealth Plaza). Officially opened already but too cool to miss, 10 vibrant spinning tops join ethereal overhead paper panels for a magical — and free! — art experience inside the Kimmel Center’s grand central plaza. (215-790-5800, kimmelcenter.org)

Candytopia (Sept. 19 through Jan. 5, Fashion District Philadelphia). If the dozen Wonka-esque rooms of this Gallery, er, Fashion District, pop-up look familiar, maybe it’s because you’ve liked them on Insta. Straight from Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, this $20-per-kid (aged 4 to 12; $28 per adult) sensory overload is more than just sweet — it’s made for social media. (888-718-4253, candytopia.com)

Free Movie Nights (Sept. 20 and 27, Sister Cities Park). Because outdoor films shouldn’t end at Labor Day, this new series shows PG flicks (Aladdin, Sept. 20; Hocus Pocus, Sept. 27) steps from Sister Cities’ pebble-bottom wading pool off Logan Square. Free popcorn to first 100 guests; grown-up drinks for the grown-ups. (215-440-5500, centercityphila.org)

Bubblepop (Sept. 21, Franklin Institute). Floating globes make a Saturday-long appearance — for science’s sake. Museum guests get to experiment with tools and materials, witness the soap-bubble monster, and inhabit their very own bubble. (215-448-1200, fi.edu)

Pops Goes to Hollywood: From Raiders to Gotham (Sept. 27-29, Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall). Not every Philly Pops concert takes aim at the youthful set, but this is one is for the grandkids — provided they’re old enough to watch PG movies and young enough to be cool with wearing superhero costumes into the Kimmel. Todd Ellison conducts pieces from the scores of Black Panther, Avengers, Wonder Woman, Jurassic Park, Star Wars, and more. (215-893-1999, phillypops.org)

Sugar Skull! (Sept. 28, Annenberg Center). New York City-based arts-in-education troupe Mexico Beyond Mariachi created this story — about a girl, her deceased abuelita, and a sugar skull that comes to life — to explain the true spirit of Day of the Dead. (215-898-3900, annenbergcenter.org)

In Sugar Skull! (Sept. 28, Annenberg Center), New York City-based arts-in-education troupe Mexico Beyond Mariachi tells the story of Day of the Dead.
Christopher Duggan
In Sugar Skull! (Sept. 28, Annenberg Center), New York City-based arts-in-education troupe Mexico Beyond Mariachi tells the story of Day of the Dead.

Blast Theory/Mütter Museum Parade (Sept. 28, South Broad Street). Though it commemorates 1918’s notorious Liberty Loan Parade, known for quickly spreading a deadly flu through the city, this public spectacle of light and sound — courtesy of British innovators Blast Theory — promises a memorable, disease-free marvel for all ages. (215-560-8564, spitspreadsdeath.com)

Occupied Philadelphia (Sept. 28 and 29, Museum of the American Revolution). The neighborhood around Old City’s Revolutionary War museum throws it back 248 years or so, using dozens of historical interpreters to recreate the nine months when British troops made Philly their own. Half-hour walking tours ($12; free for ages 5 and under) stop by Franklin Court, City Tavern, and Carpenters’ Hall. (215-253-6731, amrevmuseum.org)

On Sept. 28 and 29, the Museum of the American Revolution recreates British-occupied Philadelphia.
Courtesy of the Museum of the American Revolution
On Sept. 28 and 29, the Museum of the American Revolution recreates British-occupied Philadelphia.

Cinderella & Co. — Three Fairytales Reimagined (Oct. 5 through Jan. 5, 2020, Brandywine River Museum of Art). The premise of this exhibition — the comparison among traditionally inspired and modern 19th- and early 20th-century illustrations of Cinderella, The Three Little Pigs, and Goldilocks and the Three Bears — is likely lost on the pre-K set. But the stories and illustrations themselves, including by Jerry Pinkney, Lane Smith, and Mo Willems, will be comfortingly familiar. (610-388-2700, brandywine.org)

Very Eric Carle: A Very Hungry, Quiet, Lonely, Clumsy, Busy Exhibit (Oct. 5 through Jan. 12, 2020, Please Touch Museum). An immersive exhibit of works and play-in interpretations inspired by everyone’s favorite colorist — a story unto himself — invites the prolific author-illustrator’s target audience to feel all the feelings through the storybook animals he so brilliantly painted just for them. (215-581-3181, pleasetouchmuseum.org)

International Archaeology Day (Oct. 12, Penn Museum). With a month to go before the Mexican, Central American, and African galleries open, the Penn Museum brings its greatest treasures out from storage — its staff. Archaeologists, conservators, curators, and more specialists who’ve worked around the world give a picture of their day-to-day and, upon request, career advice. (215-898-4000, penn.museum)

At the Penn Museum's celebration of International Archaeology Day, curators, conservators, and more will be on hand to discuss their jobs. Here Dr. David Silverman, the Eckley Brinton Coxe, Jr. Professor of Egyptology, Curator-in-Charge of the Egyptian Section at the Penn Museum, discusses a statue of a sphinx from Memphis, Egypt.
CHARLES FOX
At the Penn Museum's celebration of International Archaeology Day, curators, conservators, and more will be on hand to discuss their jobs. Here Dr. David Silverman, the Eckley Brinton Coxe, Jr. Professor of Egyptology, Curator-in-Charge of the Egyptian Section at the Penn Museum, discusses a statue of a sphinx from Memphis, Egypt.

Site/Sound: Revealing the Rail Park (Oct. 12, 1023 Callowhill St.). Of all the days the year-old Rail Park activates, the second Saturday is kid-friendliest. Family-day programming includes Franklin Institute sound-science demos, pinhole camera-making, DIY shadow puppets with Spiral Q, and live performances from neighbors. (215-685-0750, muralarts.org)

Vendor Fest and Global Cardboard Challenge (Oct. 19, Smith Memorial Playground). Once upon a time, way back in 2012, a kid named Caine made a whole arcade out of cardboard boxes in his dad’s East Los Angeles auto parts store. Thus was born the Cardboard Challenge. Today, kids all over are building their own dreams with old boxes and such, including in Strawberry Mansion, where they’ll create alongside families vending kids’ stuff. (215-765-4325, smithplayground.org)

Witches and Wizards Festival (Oct. 19, Chestnut Hill). Who needs Universal’s endorsement when you’ve got Germantown Avenue’s charm? The family-est part of the fest is Saturday, with loads of crafts, a Quidditch tourney at Chestnut Hill College, a straw maze at Woodmere Art Museum, and characters who look suspiciously Harry Potter-esque. (215-247-6696, chestnuthillpa.com)

Head to Chestnut Hill on Oct. 19 for Witches & Wizards Weekend, the unofficial celebration of magical things.
Courtesy of Chestnut Hill
Head to Chestnut Hill on Oct. 19 for Witches & Wizards Weekend, the unofficial celebration of magical things.

Worst-Case Scenario Survival Experience (Oct. 19-Apr. 19, Franklin Institute). The bestselling book series turns 20 with an original new exhibit at the Franklin Institute that honors the genius of Philly authors Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht. It pays homage to real-life survivors and offers pro tips on picking locks, escaping quicksand, outlasting an avalanche, and more, in a “survival gymnasium.” (215-448-1200, fi.edu)

Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead (Oct. 26, Penn Museum). Fall’s CultureFest features sugar skulls, face-painting, live music and dancing, and an altar created just for that day, a rare chance for visitors, especially kids, to honor late loved ones by contributing a photo or souvenir. (215-898-4000, penn.museum)

Baby Shark Live! (Nov. 10, Academy of Music). Just when you thought you were getting the tune out of your head, Pinkfong turns its viral video into a touring production, tacking on Wheels on the Bus and Five Little Monkeys, along with a few more characters. (215-893-1999, kimmelcenter.org)

The WowWee Pinkfong Baby Shark family of singing plush toys has inspired a touring act of the viral children's song.
AP
The WowWee Pinkfong Baby Shark family of singing plush toys has inspired a touring act of the viral children's song.

Pigskin Peanuts (Nov. 19 through Feb. 9, Mercer Museum). Perhaps tailored more to the adult nostalgia than modern childhood interest, this exhibit shows 50 of Charles M. Schultz’s famous football comics (Oh Lucy, why so mean to poor Chuck?) alongside Bucks County gridiron memorabilia. Cute, right? (215-345-0210, mercermuseum.org)

The Rainbow Fish (Nov. 23, Merriam Theater). Marcus Pfister’s sweet children’s story about the beauty of sharing turns the stage into a shimmering underwater life lesson. The noon performance is sensory-friendly. (215-893-1999, kimmelcenter.org)

The Snow Queen (Nov. 27 through Jan. 26, Arden Theatre). The Hans Christian Andersen-penned inspiration for Frozen involves Scandinavian besties, ice, a dangerous journey, and a magical kiss — with significant plot differences. No matter: With The Snow Queen, Arden director Whit McLaughlin will surely do what he does best: cast the best of all possible actors to make a 19th-century tale accessible, engaging, and unforgettable for all ages. (215-922-1122, ardentheatre.org)

Wild Wizarding Weekend (Nov. 29 through Dec. 1, Drexel University’s Academy of Natural Sciences). More Hedwig than Harry, the Academy’s take on the world of J.K. Rowling focuses on non-human, non-mythical — but nonetheless magical — creatures such as owls, bats, and insects. After storytelling and games, everyone goes home with a magic wand and a dragon’s egg. (215-299-1000, ansp.org)

Drexel's Academy of Natural Sciences celebrates the Hedwig side of magic during Wild Wizarding Weekend.
Courtesy of the Academy of Natural Sciences
Drexel's Academy of Natural Sciences celebrates the Hedwig side of magic during Wild Wizarding Weekend.