The shift is on: In-person kids’ events now outnumber their virtual counterparts. The places — amusement parks, water parks, pools — that said they would reopen, did. This week, more follow suit, both indoors and outdoors.
First on the list for inside fun are Legoland Discovery Center and the Franklin Institute, with a new exhibit that definitely can’t be outside for long. Returning for outdoor enjoyment are Franklin Square and the Philadelphia Zoo. The above attractions are generally limiting days open, operating at 50% or less capacity, and requiring masks.
Then there’s the hybrid approach: Port Richmond’s beloved Portside Arts Center resumes camp, both in-person and online.
10 a.m.–noon and 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Monday, Thursday–Sunday; reserve tickets at philadelphia.legolanddiscoverycenter.com; (ages 2 and up)
Since last week, Plymouth Meeting’s mini Lego paradise has been luring back brick fans with low pricing: $15 for two hours of play, reserved in advance. Most everything is back: the ride that brings kids in, the 4D cinema, the pirate-theme play equipment, the ninja laser game, the immersive replica of Philly, and the inescapable post-session store. On hiatus: creative workshops, the green screen, and characters. Masks required for ages 3 and up. Also for now: Annual membership costs $49.
Opening Monday, July 6, hours noon–9 p.m. Monday, 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Tuesday–Sept. 7, info at historicphiladelphia.org/franklin-square (all ages)
At the kid-friendliest of Penn’s city parks, the carousel animals wearing masks are OK to ride, and the ones wearing blankets are not. Mini golf is back. Putters and balls are sanitized between uses. Masks required for both. Open and free: the playgrounds and the fountain show, taking place every 30 minutes from noon–9 p.m. through July 31. SquareBurger’s back too, Cake Shakes and all. This must be what normalcy feels like.
Opening Wednesday, July 8, hours 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday, reserve tickets at fi.edu, $23 adults, $19 for kids ages 3 and up, $7 for Madame Tussauds exhibit (ages 4 and up)
The Giant Heart is back (one visitor group at a time), along with exhibits Your Brain (climb-on structure is closed, however), Space Command and Electricity, and planetarium and science shows. Still closed: SportsZone, the IMAX theater, Sir Isaac’s Loft, and Air Show. What’s new: the semi-scientific, super selfie-friendly exhibit, The Presidents by Madame Tussauds, life-size, lifelike, American leaders rendered in wax on loan from the Washington, D.C. museum. In it: all 45 presidents, plus Ben Franklin (had to) and a few notables representing demographics conspicuously left out of 232 years of executive U.S. leadership: Martin Luther King Jr., Michelle Obama, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X. Advanced tickets and masks required. Selfies permitted.
Opening Thursday, July 9, (pre-opening for members Tuesday and Wednesday), timed entry slots 9:30 a.m.–3 p.m. daily, $20 per person, free for children under 2, reserve tickets at philadelphiazoo.org (all ages)
There are the obvious perks of the return of the zoo: a new sloth bear baby, black-and-white-ruffed lemur babies, a new Amur leopard, and a 50% less-crowded stroll through a lovely old garden housing rare animals from around the world. Then there are the less-obvious perks: Temporarily off-limits are face painting, train rides, carousel rides, and the ropes course, meaning less whining and begging, and definitely less spending. Other changes: Indoor exhibits are closed. BYO food is encouraged. Masks are mandated. Timed online reservations required.
Live and virtual summer camps started Monday, virtual Saturday classes for kids continue, evening family classes resume Friday, July 10, continuing every other week through Aug. 21, register at portsideartscenter.org (ages 4 and up)