Family & Pets

Top Holiday Attractions In And Around Philadelphia

November 10, 2014 8:00 AM

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(Credit: Matthew Lloyd, Getty Images)

(Credit: Matthew Lloyd, Getty Images)

Feeling more like the Grinch than Cindy Lou Who this year? Up your levels of holiday cheer at these local seasonal events. – Chelsea Karnash
(credit: Adventure Aquarium)

(credit: Adventure Aquarium)

Adventure Aquarium’s Holiday Celebration
Adventure Aquarium
1 Riverside Dr
Camden, NJ
www.adventureaquarium.com

Friday, November 28 – Thursday, Jan. 1

What’s more fun than twinkling lights, snow, Christmas trees…and Scuba Santa? Nothing! Add more than 8,500 adorable animals to the mix, and you’ve got a foolproof recipe for inducing that holiday spirit. Bring the whole family and you’ll enjoy character meet-and-greets, Gill’s Holiday dance party, photo opps with Scuba Santa and much more, as well as visits with all of the aquarium’s creatures at this festive time of year.

(Credit: Chelsea Karnash/CBSPhilly.com)

(Credit: Chelsea Karnash/CBSPhilly.com)

A Longwood Christmas
Longwood Gardens
1001 Longwood Rd.
Kennett Square, Pa.
www.longwoodgardens.org

Gardens: Thursday, November 27 – Sunday, January 11: Click here for times

Organ Sing-a-longs: Friday, Nov. 28 – Friday, December 5: Click here for times

While every season is beautiful at Longwood, there’s none as beautiful as the Christmas season. Get your fill of candy, gingerbread, lights, decorations, and of course, beautiful and rare flora at Longwood’s 40 indoor and outdoor gardens, before heading into the Conservatory for an organ concert or sing-a-long.

A Very Furry Christmas At Sesame Place
100 Sesame Road
Langhorne, Pa. 19047
http://sesameplace.com/

Saturday, November 22 – Wednesday, December 31

A Very Furry Christmas at Sesame Place opens on November 22nd and runs through December 31st. Sesame Place calls it a “one-of-a-kind family-friendly celebration with everyone’s favorite furry friends.” It offers special Christmas shows, dry rides, music and holiday lights. Plus, the streets glow at night with an illuminated Neighborhood Street Party Christmas Parade! Afterward, the fun continues with a special Christmas menu, super holiday shopping and of course, a visit with Santa. On New Year’s Eve, there are fireworks.

The big screen in the lobby of the Comcast Center shows the 2012 Holiday Spectacular. (Credit: Steve Tawa)

The big screen in the lobby of the Comcast Center shows the 2012 Holiday Spectacular. (Credit: Steve Tawa)

Comcast Holiday Spectacular
Comcast Building
1701 JFK Blvd
Philadelphia, Pa.
www.visitphilly.com

Thursday, November 27 – Thursday, January 1: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., every hour (except 5 p.m. on weekdays)

The world’s largest 4 mm LED display, located inside the lobby of the Comcast Center, is a site to behold on its own, but with the added factor of lights, snowflakes and the Christmas spirit, it’s truly magical. This year, dozens of animatronic snowmen will help greet visitors, who will then be treated to an animated depiction of “Carol of the Bells,” accompanied by the sounds of a 64-piece orchestra.

(Laurel Hill Mansion, rendered in gingerbread by Karen Boyd for last year's display.  Photo by Anthony Singoga for Charms of Fairmount Park.)

(Laurel Hill Mansion, rendered in gingerbread by Karen Boyd for last year’s display. Photo by Anthony Singoga for Charms of Fairmount Park.)

Fairmount Park Holiday Gingerbread House Display
The Shops at Liberty Place
1625 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, Pa.
www.parkcharms.com

Monday, November 10 – Friday, November 21: Mondays – Saturdays, 9:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Sundays, 12 – 6 p.m.

Break me off a piece of that…but no, seriously – we wish. Stop by the Shops at Liberty Place to check out 12 fantastic gingerbread creations modeled after the historic sites and homes in Philly’s Fairmount Park. Chefs like Diana Anello of Bredenbeck’s and Samantha Ross of Garces Group are participating, and the event acts as free preview for the Christmas-themed tours of six of Fairmount Park’s real-life historic mansions.

Franklin Square’s Holiday Light Show
Franklin Square
6th & Race Sts
Philadelphia, Pa.
www.historicphiladelphia.org

Thursday, November 13 – Wednesday, December 31
Daily, starting at 4:30 p.m. and running until 8 p.m. (weather permitting)

Franklin Square is bringing a healthy dose of holiday cheer to the city with its new electrical light show. Starting with a special Grand Illumination on Nov. 13, this dazzling light show features a ten-foot-tall kite and key lit by 50,000 LED bulbs and spotlighting Ben Franklin’s discovery. The show is programmed to winter-themed music (including some new songs from ‘The Nutcracker’) recorded by the Philly POPS and runs every half-hour from 4:30 to 8 p.m. Plus, every evening at 4:30 p.m., one lucky guest will be chosen from the audience to count down and “ignite” the first show! On Fridays, there will be an array of food trucks filling visitors with comfort food, and Santa visits the park on Saturdays. A winter beer garden complete with hot bevs is even in the works for the over-21 crowd.

Hersheypark Christmas Candylane
27 W. Chocolate Avenue
Hershey, Pa. 17033
www.christmasinhershey.com/

Friday, November 14 – Wednesday, December 31 (hours vary)

Feel the magic of the holidays at Hersheypark Christmas Candylane. It features two million lights, rides, festive decorations, and Hershey’s Characters dressed in their holiday best. There’s something for everyone, including two Christmas shows, shopping and even Santa’s reindeer!

Holiday Light Show at Shady Brook Farm
931 Stony Hill Rd.
Yardley, Pa. 19067
www.shadybrookfarm.com

Saturday, November 22 – Sunday, January 4, 2015

Millions of twinkly lights beckon from Bucks County’s Shady Brook Farm, where guests have the opportunity to either ride on an open-air tractor through the display or drive through in their car. After your tour through this holiday paradise, park yourself near a bonfire for hot chocolate and s’mores. Oh, and proceeds from the light show benefit the National MS Society, so you’ll also be spreading holiday cheer when you ride through, too.

Koziar’s Christmas Village
782 Christmas Village Rd
Bernville, Pa.
www.koziarschristmasvillage.com

Saturday, November 1 – Saturday, January 3, 2014; Open Evenings

This fantastic Christmas display has earned heaps of accolades, including being selected one of the Top 100 Events in North America for 2015 and one of the Best Outdoor Christmas Displays in the World by Display Magazine. More than a MILLION lights adorn the festive village, which includes everything from a gift barn, an old-fashioned bakery and a toy shop to a church and a “Christmas in Other Lands” section. Grab the family and make a night of it — this one is sure to get you looking forward to the season.

The Macy's light show has been a Philadelphia Christmas tradition since 1955. (Credit: Hadas Kuznits)

The Macy’s light show has been a Philadelphia Christmas tradition since 1955. (Credit: Hadas Kuznits)

Macy’s Holiday Light Show & Dickens Village
Macy’s Center City
1300 Market St.
Philadelphia, Pa.
www.wanamakerorgan.com

Light Show:Friday, November 28 through Wednesday, December 31; 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m., 8 p.m.
Holiday Hours:
December 24 (Christmas Eve): 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Christmas Day: Closed
Friday, December 26–Saturday, December 29: 10 a.m.– 7 p.m.
Sunday, December 30: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Monday, December 31 – New Year’s Eve: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Dickens Village: Open daily throughout the holiday season

It wouldn’t be Christmas in Philly without the Macy’s Holiday Light Show, an annual event since 1956. More than 34,500 LED lights bedeck the gigantic tree, and 65,000 more act as a glittering backdrop for the show, which is narrated by Mary Poppins, aka Julie Andrews. And in addition to being a veritable feast for the eyes, the light show is also one for the ears—the sounds of the Wanamaker Organ accompany the journey through classic holiday tales like Frosty the Snowman and The Nutcracker.

Finished watching the light show a couple times? Walk through the other Macy’s holiday attraction, the Dickens Village. Located in the 3rd floor’s “Egyptian Room,” the animated 1840s village is a 6,000-square-foot walk-through tour of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, complete with everyone’s fav grump, Scrooge.

Peddlers Village (credit: davidhanauer.com)

Peddlers Village (credit: davidhanauer.com)

Peddler’s Village Grand Illumination & Christmas Festival
Routes 202 & 263
Lahaska, Pa.
www.peddlersvillage.com

Kickoff to the Holidays:
Friday, Nov. 7 and 14

Grand Illumination:
Friday, November 21: 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Christmas Festival:
Saturday, December 6 – 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, December 7, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Jingles the Elf and Mrs. Claus will host mini-lightings around quaint Peddler’s Village on two Fridays leading up to the Grand Illumination on Nov. 21, when Santa switches on the Christmas lights at 6:15 p.m. sharp. Sip on free cider and toast marshmallows as you pay tribute to the start of the most wonderful time of year. Then, stroll through quaint Peddler’s Village, which will be decked out in Victorian splendor—complete with old school fruit wreaths and garlands of greenery.

(Credit: Mike Dougherty)

(Credit: Mike Dougherty)

Philadelphia’s Christmas Village
JFK Plaza
1500 Arch St.
Philadelphia, Pa.
www.philachristmas.com

Tree-lighting: Wednesday, December 3

Thursday, November 27th – Sunday, December 28th
Sunday – Thursday: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Friday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Thanksgiving Day (11/27/14): 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Christmas Eve (12/24/14): 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Christmas Day (12/25/14): Closed

Pretend you’re in Europe at the Philadelphia version of a German Christmas market. The month-long outdoor event includes more than 60 wooden booths selling traditional European food, sweets and drinks; plus artisans and retailers peddling ornaments, jewelry and quality arts and crafts. And if that—plus a hot mulled wine or two—doesn’t amp up your holiday cheer, you might as well start practicing your “bah, humbug” now.

Reading Terminal Holiday Railroad
51 N. 12th St.
Philadelphia, Pa.
www.readingterminalmarket.org

Friday, November 28 – Wednesday, December 31
Monday – Sunday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Closed Christmas

Reading Terminal’s Holiday Railroad, a Philly tradition, is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face—no matter your age. Watch as twelve working train lines chug through Center City, a Christmas village and the snow-covered countryside—all in miniature, of course!

Seaport Parade of Lights
Independence Seaport Museum
211 S Columbus Blvd
www.phillyseaport.org

Saturday, Dec. 13; 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

It’s a lovely spectacle on the Delaware during the 5th annual Parade of Lights at the Independence Seaport Museum. The fun starts at 11 a.m. with holiday arts and crafts, carolers, selfies with Santa, Nesquik Bunnyland and more. Then, at 5 p.m., a lighted boat parade featuring tugboats, working vessels and pleasure boats all decked out for the holidays will make its way down the Delaware — something you don’t want to miss!

Storybook Land: Christmas Fantasy With Lights
6415 Black Horse Pike
Egg Harbor Township, NJ.
https://storybookland.com/christmas/

Saturday, November 22nd – Tuesday, December 30
Park Hours: 2 p.m.- 9 p.m.

Holiday magic for all ages! At 5 p.m., Santa Claus arrives in his chimney, waves his wand and will light the park’s over 1 million lights! All of the rides, attractions, and snack bars are open through the holiday season, and Santa will be in his home until December 23rd.

Ice skaters at the Blue Cross RiverRink on Black Friday. (Credit: Cherri Gregg)

Ice skaters at the Blue Cross RiverRink on Black Friday. (Credit: Cherri Gregg)

Waterfront Winterfest at the Blue Cross RiverRink at Penn’s Landing
Columbus Blvd at Market St
Philadelphia, Pa.
www.delawareriverwaterfront.com

Winterfest: Friday, Nov. 28 – Sunday, March 1, 2015 (Tree-lighting ceremony on Dec. 5)
Daily, 11 a.m. – 1 a.m.
Special hours on Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day

Ice skating on the brain? You know where to go! Philly’s only outdoor public ice rink reopens for its 21st season on Black Friday. Slip on a pair of skates and glide around the rink, then head indoors to the heated snack bar for hot chocolate and snacks.

And again this year, the RiverRink is going all-out with a pop-up “Winterfest,” which is now a permanent part of the rink. In addition to an old-school light show, beer garden landscaping and a holiday market from Art Star, a pop-up restaurant called “The Lodge” will be open on the premises run by Iron Chef Jose Garces. Expect a number of scrumptious cold-weather goodies, fire pits, spiked drinks and more.

(credit: Gershman Y)

(credit: Gershman Y)

12th Annual Latkepalooza
Vie
600 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, Pa.
www.gershmany.org

Sunday, December 7

The Gershman Y’s signature event is back with a new lineup of chefs, a wonderful wine tasting, and a special program made just for kids and their families.

 (Credit: John Ostapkovich)

(Credit:John Ostapkovich)

2014 Mummers Parade
Parade Begins North Up Broad Street To JFK Boulevard.
Philadelphia, Pa.
http://mummers.com/

Begins at 10 a.m. on January 1, 2015

A yearly tradition that should not be missed! The Mummers Parade features men and women dressed in colorfully lavish costumes as they perform, dance and twirl up Broad Street. An undeniably wild tradition, but the performances promise fun for the whole family.

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