Attractions are getting cleverer about using outdoor space, especially when it comes to kids. Some have taken a toned-down approach: The usually packed riverfront parks along the Delaware — Spruce Street Harbor Park, Summerfest, etc. — have nixed roller skating and games and instead are providing a spot to take a walk, have a seat, and eat. Malvern’s People’s Light is using its sprawling acreage to put on an original outdoor play for littles.
Other places worth the road trip: the Da Vinci Center in Allentown, which has encircled itself with a marine biology-theme Lego exhibit. Delaware’s Mount Cuba Center, for low-key, under-the-trees story times and kids’ yoga. Then, there’s Six Flags. As of this week, all three parks — amusement, water, and safari — have reopened. They’re taking temps at the entry, requiring masks, and sanitizing frequently. Your family bubble can self-isolate entirely in the reinstituted drive-through safari, windows up.
9 a.m.–4 p.m. daily, $20–$22 (ages 2 and under free) reservations required at sixflags.com (all ages)
It’s almost a throwback: The Jackson, N.J. amusement park has resurrected its drive-through safari after seven years of piling patrons into open-air trucks to visit the 1,200 animals on its grounds. The pandemic has made the three-hour tour self-guided again. There’s no stopping. No opening of doors. No downing of windows to sneak a banana to a baboon. Just drive on through, and hope to catch a glimpse of Julie and Heather, Siberian tiger cub sisters named for soccer stars Ertz and Mitts Feeley. (Their big sister’s name: Carli, of course.)
10 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Wed., 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Thurs.–Sun. through Nov. 1 (hours change in September), $16.95, reservations required at davincisciencecenter.org (ages 3 and up)
If there’s one thing people with little kids will travel for, it’s Legos. Worth the trip: An exhibit of 25 plastic-brick sea creature sculptures making its first U.S. appearance on the perimeter of Allentown’s Da Vinci Science Center. The one-way walk-through includes a 1,000-pound giant squid, a 62,553-brick mako shark, and three tented educator stations for peeping sea urchins and learning about ocean conservation. The whole shebang takes about an hour to explore.
Summerfest, 5–10 p.m. Mon.–Fri., noon–10 p.m. Sat. & Sun. Spruce Street Harbor Park, 5–10 p.m. Sun.–Thurs., 5 p.m.-midnight Friday & Sat. Cherry Street Pier, noon–9 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., noon–10 p.m. Fri.-Sun. Details and dining reservations at delawareriverwaterfront.com. (all ages)
Summerfest and Spruce Street Harbor aren’t the super busy, all-things-to-all-people spaces they’ve been other summers. This year, they and Cherry Street Pier have been remade for a stroll, a snack — or a meal, should you reserve a table at one of the seasonal pop-ups — and a spot to hang out by the water. Still, there are reasons to bring the kids: The RiverRink has become a sandy beach, umbrellas and all. There is also mini golf — and a chance the Ferris wheel will be back at some point. No hammocks hang from the trees at Spruce Street, but pretty lights do, and put on a nightly show.
10 a.m. Wed.–Sat. through Aug. 22, $30 for up to 5 people, reservations required at peopleslight.org (ages 2–10)
Malvern’s People’s Light campus is blessed with a lovely green between its two theaters. For four mornings a week for four weeks, that green will become an outdoor stage large enough for Eli Lynn and Charrell Mack to perform an interactive play — including physically distanced songs — inspired by First Nation and Korean creation stories. Up to eight groups of five or fewer audience members can book a circle on the lawn or a picnic table, and bring their own blankets. No umbrellas or lawn chairs permitted. Coffee, juice boxes, and breakfast pastry available for sale.
10 a.m.–6 p.m. Wed.–Sun. through November, $8–$16 (ages 5 and under free), reservations required at mtcubacenter.org, (story time ages 5 and under, yoga 4 and over)