Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Philadelphia Orchestra's Kids Christmas Spectacular

This holiday season, Daily Vacationer had the opportunity to experience The Philadelphia Orchestra's Kids Christmas Spectacular - a wonderfully festive show specifically put together with children in mind.  We weren't the only ones who recognized what a great experience this was going to be.  The Kimmel Center was packed with families of all sizes and ages - babies, toddlers, preschoolers, school-aged children, teenagers, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents - all milling around the Nutcracker Market anticipating the show.  The adults were excited to share the joys of a live performance with the kids, and the kids were excited just to be there.

The excitement continued to build as the doors to Verizon Hall opened,  As always, the Kimmel Center staff was friendly and helpful throughout the corralling of hundreds of children to their seats.  Festive lights lit up the gorgeous interior of the Hall, and onstage, the Orchestra was warming up - there was a lot to take in.  Then, before the young audience began to get antsy, Conductor Cristian Macelaru made his entrance and launched the Orchestra into "A Christmas Festival".  What a fun way to begin!  Next Macelaru introduced the younger crowd to the delight of "audience participation" during the "Radetsky March".  The sounds of joyful clapping filled the hall as we watched for our signals to start and stop.  A fantastic choice for a family concert.
 
The performance continued with the entrance of Michael Boudewyns and Sara Valentine.  With some creative props, a spark of imagination, and a lot of enthusiasm, they told the story of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" while accompanied by the Orchestra.  Then dancers from The Rock School for Dance Education took to the stage to bring selections from "The Nutcracker" to life.  The high flying moves of the Russian Dance, beauty of the Arabian Dance, charm of the Chinese Dance, and grace of the Sugar Plum Fairy delighted to audience to no end, while the Orchestra played the familiar tunes with ease.  As much as we loved the dancing, our personal favorite part was hearing "The Waltz of the Flowers" performed by a live professional orchestra - wow!

The orchestra began it's final piece with a rousing rendition of "Sleigh Ride", and suddenly Verizon Hall went nuts with the appearance of Santa Claus himself - what a wonderful surprise visitor!  He made his way through the audience and up on stage stopping to give cheerful greetings to those sitting close and waving to those even the farthest away.  After offering a couple of gifts to Macelaru, the conductor opted to receive a large plush teddy bear and stepped down to allow St. Nick to lead the Philadelphia Orchestra (endearing him even more to an audience who had been enjoying his warm, friendliness all the way through the concert).  Santa conducted with gusto, bringing the Kids Christmas Spectacular to a lively and memorable end.
 
A fun and entertaining performance, we recommend making the Kids Christmas Spectacular a family tradition - all ages are invited and welcome.  But don't despair if you don't want to wait another year to experience the Philadelphia Orchestra.  Not only do they have their Glorious Sounds of Christmas performances coming up Dec 18th - Dec 20th with conductor Bramwell Tovey, but they also have the extremely visual Cirque de la Symphonie Jan 3rd and 4th. 
 
The Philadelphia Orchestra also offers Family Concerts throughout the year running only an hour from 11:30am to 12:30pm with special Pre-Concert Adventures at 10:00am in the Perelman Theater.  February 7th, explore the fun and whimsical world of Dr. Seuss with "Oh, the Music You'll Hear".  March 28th, create an interactive musical story at the "Make Your Own Musical Event".  Then on April 18th, Michael Boudewyns returns to narrate the tale of "Peter and the Wolf".

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Philly Phlash Holiday Evening Loop

Here at Daily Vacationer we love (LOVE!) the Philly Phlash.  We're usually all over the place in Center City, so we're thrilled to have these purple buses that we can quickly hop on and off of to get around faster (for only $5 all day!) or when we're just tired and don't feel like walking all the way back to where we started (one way is only $2!).  Their route takes visitors all the way from Penn's Landing up to the Eastern State Penitentiary and the Philadelphia Museum of Art and back again with stops right next to or within a quick walking distance of Philadelphia's attractions and points of interest.  Hop off at Logan Square, City Hall, and a ton of stops along Market East.  Travelers can also ride the Phlash over to some Fairmount Park locations (including the Philadelphia Zoo and the Please Touch Museum) with a special bus that runs from the Perelman Building.
 
Macy's Light Show
We used the Philly Phlash to death this summer, so we were really excited to hear that it was coming back again DAILY for the holidays (Nov 28th thru Dec 31st - not running Christmas Day and only daytime service on Christmas Eve).  And not only would the regular daytime route be available to us, but this year the Phlash is introducing their Holiday Evening Loop!  Ride all evening from 6pm to 10pm for the same low prices Philly Phlash has always offered with a new route that takes you to all the holiday events and shows happening in the city.  With everything to see - Winterfest at Penn's Landing, the Rothman Ice Rink at Dilworth Park, Christmas Village at Love Park, the timed light shows at Franklin Square, Macy's, and the Comcast Building, the performances along the Avenue of the Arts - and all the holiday lights, shopping, and festivities in between, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out how to see it all without killing yourself running all over Center City on foot.
 
Christmas Village at Love Park
The Holiday Evening Loop runs from Winterfest at Penn's Landing up to Logan Square, but it has some new stops and sights to see along the way (here we come light shows!).  Stop H1 is at Franklin Square where their Electrical Spectacle: A Holiday Light Show runs every half hour from 4:30pm to 8:00pm.  Next hop off at Stop H2 to experience both the Christmas Village in Love Park and the Comcast Holiday Spectacular which runs at the top of the hour from 10am to 8pm (except 5pm on weekdays).  Stop H3 is the destination for some amazing holiday shopping from Rittenhouse Row to the Shops at the Bellevue, and at Liberty Place.  Don't forget to see Rittenhouse Square all decorated for the season as well.

Electrical Spectacle at Franklin Square
Ride up the Avenue of the Arts next to Stop H4 to get to the Kimmel Center and the Nutcracker Market.  Plan to see a show at least once this season (although with all that is being offered - The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Philly POPS, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, PhilaDanco, and the Pennsylvania Ballet - you might really need to do two or three).  The final new stop, Stop H5, brings you to the famous Christmas Light Show and Wanamaker Organ Concert at Macy's which runs every two hours from 10am to 8pm (no shows on Christmas Day).
 
Winterfest at Penn's Landing
The holidays in Philadelphia are designed to be for everyone with free events, locations, and shows going on all season long,  The Philly Phlash continues to do its part to make the city accessible to anyone who wants to explore and see the sights.  We were able to see everything in one evening! Daily Vacationer normally recommends the Phlash as one of the best ways to see the city during a normal day, but hands down, the new Holiday Evening Loop is the absolute best way to see Philadelphia during the holiday season!
 
-$5 All Day Passes can be used during normal hours and then continue onto the Holiday Evening Loop with no additional charge!
 
-Children 4 and under and seniors ride for FREE (wheelchair and stroller accessible)!

-SEPTA TrailPass, TransPass, one-day Independence Pass or Family one-day Independence Pass holders ride for FREE!
 
-You can buy your ticket ahead of time at Visitor Center locations or board with exact change at any stop!
 
-Park & Ride Discounts!
Park, ride, and save with discounted parking rates* at the following Philadelphia Parking Authority garages when you show your PHLASH Pass:
·         AutoPark: 2nd & Sansom Streets – $7.00
·         AutoPark: 5th & Market Streets – $10.00
·         AutoPark: 8th & Filbert Streets – $8.00
·         AutoPark: 10th & Ludlow Streets – $7.00
·         AutoPark: 10th & Filbert Streets – $6.00
*Please Note: From November 28-December 31, you must enter the garage by 9 a.m. and depart by 11 p.m. to receive the discounted rate.

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Monday, December 1, 2014

Have You Met Jr?


 
We are very excited to announce a brand new addition to Daily Vacationer - meet Daily Vacationer Jr!  Coming this January 2015, DV Jr will be exploring wonderful things to do and see in the Greater Philadelphia area with kids!  Follow along on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to find out about even more kid-sized Philly area fun.
 
Bring the kids and vacation everyday in Greater Philadelphia with Daily Vacationer Jr!
 
 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Upcoming Events: Christmas with the Philadelphia Orchestra

It's certainly Christmas time in the city, but there's a lot more to listen to than just silver bells in Philly.  Join The Philadelphia Orchestra as they celebrate with beautiful and festive holiday performances.  Daily Vacationer had the opportunity to attend our first Philadelphia Orchestra concert this year, and it was one of the best experiences we've ever had!  We can't say enough how much we think everyone needs to know what it feels like to sit in Verizon Hall in the gorgeous Kimmel Center and hear the amazing sound of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
 
(Photo: Pete Checchia)
Begin a new tradition this year by bringing the family to experience A Kids Christmas Spectacular on Saturday, December 13 at 11:30am conducted by Cristian Macelaru.  Arranged for children of all ages and their families to enjoy, the Spectacular includes holiday classics, sing-a-long carols, and even a visit from Santa Claus!  Listen to the festive sounds of the Orchestra while actors and performers bring pieces like The Nutcracker and 'Twas the Night Before Christmas  to life.  A Kids Christmas Spectacular is the perfect way to share the joy of classical music and  performing arts with the whole family.
 
(Photo: Jessica Griffin)
The memory making continues on December 18th as Bramwell Tovey conducts the Glorious Sounds of Christmas on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7:00pm.  Concert goers will enjoy traditional favorites as well as Tovey's own arrangements and improvisations with 'Twas the Night Before Christmas recited with music as one of the wonderful highlights of the performance.  The cheerful sounds and beautiful music will put everyone in the Christmas spirit and looking forward to hearing it all again next year!
 
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Upcoming Events: The Holidays at Glen Foerd

The holidays are coming to Glen Foerd on the Delaware River.  Historical and breathtaking, this location all done up for Christmas is bound is be absolutely enchanting!  Daily Vacationer loved our previous visits and are very much looking forward to experiencing a new season at the estate.  Glen Foerd has a wonderful calendar of events planned to celebrate the holidays and showcase a beautiful art exhibit.
 
Beginning on November 30th and running until December 21st, visitors will be able to enjoy  Shear Beauty: The Paper Cut Artistry of Margarethe von Glehn Luther.  Margarethe lived at Glen Foerd with her husband Fred who was the gardener and caretaker of the estate throughout the 70s when it was used as a retreat by the Lutheran Church.  The exhibit showcases for the very first time her Christmas paper cuts along with some botanicals and fanciful dragons.  Painstakingly created with scraps and tiny scissors, the images are so intricate that it's hard to believe they are not drawn.  A highlight of the exhibit is the illuminated manuscript of the Christmas Story from the King James Bible. An avid wood carver, her husband Fred created (and Margarethe handpainted) all the exquisite wooden ornaments that decorate the beautiful 7ft Christmas tree on display at Glen Foerd.  The exhibition will open on Saturday Nov, 29th from 3:00-4:00pm with a member's preview from 1:00pm to 3:00pm.  It will then be open to the public Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 11:00am to 2:00pm  and Tuesday evenings from 6:30pm to 8:00pm until Sunday, Dec 21st.  This exhibit is FREE!
 
Another reason to visit the estate on Saturday, Nov 29th from 3:00 - 4:00, Glen Foerd kicks off its holiday season with a festive concert.  Enjoy holiday classics performed by guitarist, Luke Honer, and pianist Kathleen Scheide as you enjoy the mansion's holiday decorations.  Tickets are $10 per person for ages 4 and up (3 and under are FREE) and can be purchased at the door.
 
Finally on December 6th, Glen Foerd gets even further into the holiday spirit with their family fun event, Christmas at the Mansion.  Visitors will be able to peruse the beautiful decorations while enjoying children's craft making, festive caroling, and ballet and musical performances  by the students of the Settlement Music School's Kardon Northeast Branch between 1:00pm and 5:00pm.  Then guests can join Santa Claus for some caroling and the outdoor tree lighting ceremony from 5:00pm to 6:00pm.  Refreshments will be available from The Dining Car (yum!).  Tickets can be purchased at the door for only $5 per person and children 3 and under at FREE

Daily Vacationer is excited to be able to share some of the Christmas festivities with you by GIVING AWAY a set of FOUR tickets to Christmas at the Mansion.
Enter below and GOOD LUCK!!
 
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Friday, October 24, 2014

Local Destination: Johnson's Locust Hall Farm

Daily Vacationer knows that we are very blessed to live in an area with such a variety of locations and places to go.  Forests and mountains, rivers and streams, history and culture, cities and farms - lots and lots of farms!  We've been to a lot of farms, especially during the harvest season, and some of them just manage to stick with us a little more than the others.  Recently during our travels we were fortunate enough to hear that the Johnson Family (from the super popular Johnson's Corner Farm) was opening a second location starting in September, so we made plans to go check it out.  We discovered a place that was brimming with its own personal history and just beginning its new life with the Johnsons. 

Johnson's Locust Hall Farm was originally constructed almost 100 years before the birth of the nation!  Named for a grove of locust trees, the farm's historic buildings are beautiful (the stone barn is absolutely breath-taking, inside and out!). and the grounds are extensive.  Unlike other farms, we loved how a trip to this place made us feel like we were visiting a friend or family member's home.  It was like going to a real farm and getting to see what really goes on.  Johnson's Locust Hall Farm is family run and operated, and it shows!
 
The farm is open daily 9:30am to 6pm with hayrides running out to the corn maze and pumpkin picking from 11am to 5pm on weekdays and 10pm to 5pm on weekends (look for apple picking in the future!).  For its kick off season, the farm is only opened thru the end of October (so don't miss it!), but we suspect visitors will be able to enjoy it for longer in the future as its popularity continues to grow and grow.  Along with the pumpkin patch and family corn maze, there is also plenty of fresh produce and baked goods in the market, as well as barn animal feedings out back.  (Daily Vacationer was very excited to have our name picked for one of the new goats, so whenever you visit, ask to have Yoda pointed out to you, and then tell the big-eared girl we say hello!)
 
The location is perfect for a hosting events (if anyone ever gets married there, please invite us just so we can see!), and we love the idea of having a kids birthday party in one of the spacious animal stalls.  The farm also encourages groups and makes for a fun outing for class trips, homeschool groups, and scouts and campers.  Don't forget the picnic blanket and camera, as Johnson's Locust Hall Farm is the perfect place to spend the day at one of the prettiest and friendliest farms we've ever come across in the Greater Philadelphia area!
 
 
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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Special Event: Diggerfest

If you're looking to spend the day with your family doing something different, look no further than Diggerland in West Berlin, NJ (Daily Vacationer loves this local destination)! This place has everything - an obstacle course, construction safaris, and even pint-sized excavators for the littlest construction worker in your life.
 

 
 
Right now during the month of October, every weekend is Diggerfest! Families can enjoy bonus fall festivities with general admission. Children get a special ticket to pick their own pumpkin from the Pumpkin Patch and can then head to the Pumpkin Decoration Station to really make it their own. There's also a maze, hay rides, live farm animals, and themed costume contests for the children (check out the event calendar to see the themes)! Oct 24th and 25th is the final weekend to get in on the fun, so head out to Diggerland to enjoy bucket loads of fall fun at Diggerfest!
 
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