Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Sid the Science Kid: The Super-Duper Exhibit!

Sid the Science Kid is a very popular PBS KIDS series that focuses on learning and loving science.  The award winning program shares the basics of science in a way that children can understand and relate to with everyday places and problems becoming the basis for a new experiment or concept.  Now the show is headed to the Please Touch Museum with the fun and interactive Sid the Science Kid: The Super-Duper Exhibit!

One of the first things that we noticed when checking out this exhibit was how huge it was! Sid the Science Kid is the biggest special exhibit to ever be hosted by the Please Touch Museum. With so much to do and experience, extra space had to be opened up and cleared out in order to fit all the different stations. The entire exhibit is science based, so while the little ones will still love all the sensory play (especially the indoor playground and the reading corner!), older kids will get the most out of the educational parts of the exhibit.

Visitors are invited to explore Sid's world as he turns everyday moments and objects into easy experiments. We really enjoyed all the introductions to the scientific method - especially in the kitchen area where you can make predictions as to which jar will be heavier and then test your theory. While most areas test  pure fun and creativity (like the toy catapult and using non-standard measurement), there is practical application as well like the station designed to demonstrate the importance of seat belts.

We had fantastic time exploring the whole exhibit and definitely recommend multiple visits to get the most out of how much there is to do and learn.  From magnets and momentum to simple machines and pretend play, Sid the Science Kid is a wonderful way to introduce and dive deeper into STEM in a way that both younger and older kids will love.  It's definitely a must-see for Philadelphia families this spring!

Sid the Science Kid: The Super-Duper Exhibit will be at the Please Touch Museum through May 6th.
Look for extra exhibit events all season long!




Tuesday, February 6, 2018

StinkyKids: The Musical at the WST

The Walnut Street Theatre is known for its rich history in the theatrical arts (it's the oldest continually running theatre in the English speaking world!), and it's stage has seen many MANY famous talents, shows, and audience members.  With seasons so popular that seats are sold out months ahead of time, the Walnut Street Theatre is a cornerstone of the arts in Philadelphia.  Along with the their Mainstage and Independence Studio on 3, the theatre also offers a variety of family-friendly shows throughout the year with their Walnut Street Theatre for Kids program.  Daily Vacationer had the privilege to attend their current Theatre for Kids show, and we definitely had a great time!

StinkyKids: The Musical is based off of the popular StinkyKids book series by author Britt Menzies and follows the adventures of a girl and her group of friends as they deal with such issues as friendship, sharing, and trying not to disappoint their parents.  The show takes these problems that all children deal with and throws in fun musical numbers to help tell the story and let the characters work through things. Unfortunately for main character Britt, she has a big problem in this particular story as a wad of gum has gotten stuck in her hair as a result of not listening to her parents.  Will her and her friends be able to figure it out on their own, or will she have to tell her parents the truth and risk not being allowed to go to Captain Happy's Jumpy-Fun-Super-Bouncy Indoor Palace (a place the children speak about in excited reverence with a hysterical running gag).

The cast of StinkyKids make for some very authentic 6 and 7 year olds, relating well with an audience full of children.  With different interests, personalities, and ways of reacting to the same thing, the Stinky Kids cover a huge variety of possible problems and ways to solve them as well as lots of good times and all the many ways to enjoy them. The numbers are frequent and enjoyable (and cover such topics as "You're Not Gunna Get In Trouble" and "Maybe This is a Mistake") with the show moving along at a perfect pace for ages K - 6th (although we saw plenty of audience members both older and younger having a great time!).  One of our favorite parts of the show, besides the believability of the cast, was the discernible difference between intentional misbehavior and kids just being kids as well as the realistic portrayal of the consequences that come with either one.

Stinky Kids: The Musical with its strong cast (Jared Calhoun, Alexa Cepeda, Chali Cookie, Stephen Fala, Dana Orange, and Faith Sacher) is running at The Walnut Street Theatre through February 11th with tickets available at walnutstreettheatre.org.  Make sure to check out the upcoming Theatre Kids shows including The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley Jr. starting March 31st and Ivy Bean: The Musical opening June 1st.




Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Christmas at Glencairn

Just thirty minutes from the bustle of Philadelphia, Glencairn Museum provides an idyllic and serene setting to appreciate the beauty of the Christmas season. Built in the 1930’s, Glencairn was the family home of Raymond Pitcairn’s family. In 1980, it was converted into a museum where visitors can now see an extensive collection of religious art and enjoy learning about the family who once lived in this beautiful home.  

The museum’s “Christmas in the Castle” tour deftly combines these two elements as visitors view art related to the story of Christ’s birth and learn about how the Pitcairn family celebrated Christmas.  During the 45 minute tour, our knowledgeable guide showed us the family’s favorite Christmas table decorations, described how the huge table took up much of the great hall, and led us upstairs to see the beautiful master bedroom – complete with Mrs. Pitcairn’s favorite Christmas dress.  Along the way our guide also pointed out stained glass windows related to the Christmas story and talked about some of the family’s ornate and beautiful nativity sets.  Taking the elevator up to the tower was one of the tour’s highlights!  The enclosed tower room was nice and warm, while its glass walls allowed us to have a breathtaking view of the surrounding area.  Every wall, ceiling, and window offers something new and interesting to see on this fascinating journey, so we can understand why booking your tour reservation in advance is highly recommended!

In addition to the “Christmas in the Castle” tour, visitors will also enjoy the “World Nativities” exhibition and the “Do You See What I See?” exhibition.   The collection of nativities from around the world is stunning in its diversity and detail, with many cultures and styles of art represented.  The “Do you See What I See?” display shows examples from around the world of how different people in the Christmas story have been represented through art.  The scale and beauty of the museum’s main rooms offer a sense of peace and rest as visitors make their way around the exhibits.  

Daily Vacationer Jr says: Visiting the castle with children will be a delightful experience so long as they are old enough to understand some objects must not be touched.  Our tour guide made sure to point out objects of interest to the elementary-aged children in our group, and also took the time to discuss what life was like for the children growing up in this home. Riding the elevator up to the tower is sure to be a favorite as well!  We even learned that the Pitcairn’s grandchildren used to come over after school and do their homework up in the tower. Young visitors will also delight in completing the Word Nativities seek-and-find challenge, and they will even receive a prize for filling out their papers correctly (don’t worry – a friendly staff member is available to give hints if needed!)  Children are sure to enjoy the immense level of detail in the many nativity sets, and if they look under the Christmas tree they’ll even find a few sets they can play with.

"Christmas in the Castle" tours running through Sunday, January 7. Call 267.502.2990 or visit glencairnmuseum.org for dates, times, and reservations. Daily Vacationer highly recommends booking your tour as far in advance as possible.




Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Christmas Village in Philadelphia

Now in its 10th anniversary season, Christmas Village in Philadelphia's Love Park is fun way to join in the holiday spirit, and experience a market unlike all the rest!  Christmas Village is an authentic German Christmas market, full of food and vendors that are unique, bringing a European flavor to this park in the heart of Philadelphia. From traditional German Bratwurst and wooden nesting dolls, to Belgian style waffles and handmade hats and scarves, there is a ton to experience! 

With so many reasons to visit the Christmas Village, we put together a list of  our favorites:

1. Entertainment - the village has a constant schedule of free holiday music and dance performances, children's story times, tours, and concerts. There is something for every age group, at various times and days throughout the holiday season. We love the traditional German events, like the visit from St. Nikolaus, who fills the children's boots with treats, and the bratwurst eating contest! Or come for HoHo Happy Hour on Wednesdays, and stick around for live music and entertainment on the stage.

2. Food! Our favorites include the Baked Cheese House, and Helmut's Original Austrian Strudel. We also enjoyed visiting The Truffleist for a taste of truffle honey, and TorchBearer Sauces for some awesome tasty condiments. Also check out Chocoidea to see chocolate in shapes you would not have imagined! Chocolate bottle cap, anyone? And of course the bratwurst is worth a try! Top it off with mulled wine from Chaddsford winery, or a cup of hot cocoa on a souvenir mug! 

3. Shopping! A European market brings lots of unique treasures. We loved hand blown glass ornaments, the beautifully carved wooden figures and toys, and the tiny houses. If you are looking for something special to bring some holiday charm to your house, definitely check out the over 80 market vendors, as well as the traditional German gift shop located in the middle of the park. 

4. Location - Love Park is centrally located and easy to get to, and the market has no admission fee! When planning a Christmas trip to Philadelphia, this is a must see!

Check out the full schedule of events here: http://www.philachristmas.com/events/

Saturday, October 21, 2017

ASH Theater Company's Seussical

ASH Theater Company is a Philadelphia-based non-profit organization that strives to entertain and uplift its audience while fostering relationships and meaningful experiences for its students.  This month, ASH Theater takes a trip through the silly and stupendous world of famous children's author, Dr. Seuss, with the Seussical. This fun packed musical borrows from various Seuss books and twists them all up with catchy songs, memorable moments, and beloved story characters come to life.

The plot is propelled along by the mostly mischievous Cat and the Hat who is able to communicate with both the audience and the other actors on stage.  Not only that, but he is also able to take on other personas in a flash to fill the roles of a cheeky extra soldier, or a circus ringleader, or even a Dr. Strangelove-ish bird doctor.  He is quirky, quick witted, takes great delight in poking fun at the other characters, and the audience just loves him.  The Cat in the Hat's ridiculous nature is best seen at the beginning of the Act 2 when the curtain opens to just him dancing all on his own for awhile - obviously taking great pleasure in the mess he's been able to contrive on stage so far.

Seussical has a assortment of other wonderful characters including Horton the Elephant who bravely takes on both his stories and tries to save all the Whos living on their speck, as well as take care of an egg abandoned by an irresponsible bird.  Not only does he remain faithful 100% and is rewarded with friendship and love in the end, but his astounding singing voice rings of absolute sincerity every time he is on stage.  We never tired of hearing Horton's impressive vocals. Other cast standouts for us was the Jungle of Nool's Sour Kangaroo who had quite the powerful voice (we didn't get to hear her as often as other characters, but when she was there, she owned the stage!), We also enjoyed JoJo, the little thinker from Whoville, both Gertrude McFuzz and Mayzie La Bird, and General Genghis Khan Schmitz.

The entire production was a delight to experience with a creative approach to set and costumes (don't think we didn't catch the Wickersham Brothers sporting Planet of the Apes and Donkey Kong tees). We also appreciated sounds of the live orchestra that set the mood as the songs jumped to different tunes like the inspiring Oh, the Things You Can Think to the heart breaking Solla Sollew.  Funny, thoughtful, and entertaining through and through, Seussical is a show with something for everyone.

Tickets are still available for Saturday, October 21
and Sunday, October 22 at Venice Island.




Friday, October 20, 2017

Happy Hauntings at Dutch Wonderland

Happy Hauntings at Dutch Wonderland is a great way to explore the "kingdom for kids" during the fall season! Especially during mild weather, Dutch Wonderland is a comfortable park to walk around and enjoy some fall flavor and decorations while catching your favorite rides or even trying new ones! 

And if the rides and attractions are not enough, kids will enjoy dressing up and receiving treats on the dinosaur trail and checking out the dinosaurs themselves, appropriately decked out for the season. A couple of pieces of candy and stickers go a long way to make the line for a ride go quick! We especially enjoyed the car and boat rides on Exploration Island that highlighted some fun scenes, and catching another view of the dressed up dinosaurs!

Dutch Wonderland is an extremely popular attraction, so the park can feel crowded at times, however there is so much to see and do that its not hard to stay busy and having fun. The Merlin the Great show featured some very dedicated and talented characters, and was a nice break from the rides.  We also enjoyed the variety of rides that are good for all ages and can be enjoyed together, especially the train or monorail that give you a nice view of the entire park. 

All of the staff we encountered were helpful and positive, and we really appreciated conveniently located restrooms and benches. Nothing felt too far or cumbersome.  This is a park that truly is fun for the whole family, and is just the right size for enjoying in an afternoon and evening this fall!  Wear a costume and enjoy your time at Dutch Wonderland's Happy Hauntings.

Use our special promo code DailyVacationerhhBlog17 for discounted Happy Haunting Admission!

Happy Hauntings at Dutch Wonderland is open select weekends in October.





Tiny Titans at The Academy of Natural Sciences

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University has a new special exhibit now open through January 15, 2018, and we think it's the perfect mix of fascinating facts and interactive displays during the colder months of Philadelphia.  We were recently invited out to take a look, and we definitely plan on going back again!  The new exhibit, Tiny Titans: Dinosaur Eggs and Babies, explores the beginning and early stages in a dinosaur's life with a close examination of dino eggs, embryos, and babies with something new to learn in every corner.

Tiny Titans includes real dinosaur eggs and nests from all over the world  giving visitors a better understanding at how shape and size differed among the various species.  Each display is accompanied by loads of amazing information, and we found ourselves picking up quite a lot of new dinosaur facts.  The entire exhibit is interactive making it a hands on learning experience for all ages.

Daily Vacationer Jr says: Tiny Titans is a fantastic exhibit to bring kids! Nearly every part was labeled "Please Touch" with curious hands allowed to feel real dinosaur eggs, nests, and fossils (we were even allowed to touch the baby dinosaurs!).  There are multiple spots to play paleontologist and dig for bones, plus a fun area with toy dinos to move around.  Our little vacationers had the most fun in the dress up area, getting themselves rigged up into dinosaur costumes and protecting their pretend eggs.  With a low key, relaxing set up and hands on fun in every section, Tiny Titans is the place to bring the family on those cold or rainy days.

Tiny Titans is $5 for nonmembers in addition to general admission;
$3 for individual and family members.
Family plus members and above see it free.