Local families will find plenty of fun things to do in the fall in and around the city. On weekends throughout the season, a host of fall events take place in Philadelphia parks, neighborhood centers and area farms—the latter of which can make for excellent weekend getaways in PA. The best part is that a lot of these things to do in the fall are free, so you’ll have plenty of change left over at the end of the day to enjoy a just-for-mom beverage at one of the best bars in Philadelphia.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Philadelphia with kids
Things to do in the fall with kids
On September 10, Media’s Linvilla Orchards kicks off its annual autumn celebration, Pumpkinland, which has farm activities out the wazoo. There are two mazes—one made of hay bales, the other corn—a barnyard full of animals that kids can pet and feed, and 100 tons of pumpkins on display. For the ultimate country-living experience, hop on an evening hayride around the 300-acre farm; it ends at a campfire with s’mores and apple cider.
As part of its new family series, Quintessence Theatre Group dives into Aesop’s fables, sticking to its commitment to revive epic works of classic literature and drama for the modern stage. The ancient Greek tales are riddled with morality lessons, so bring that naughty youngun who may need some brushing up on the rules of right and wrong.
The largest environmental festival in the Philadelphia region hits Queen Village mid-September with 150-plus exhibitors and vendors showcasing the latest in green everything-you-can-imagine. Learn to live more sustainably as you browse booths of local-made green wares, attend ecocentric demonstrations and chow down on food from some of the area’s most environmentally responsible farms and food and drink purveyors. Live music and a host of family-friendly activities add to the festival atmosphere.
Story time with drag queens, mermaid-tail sewing classes and build-your-own teepee workshops: Those are just some of the creative kids’ programs at Lume, a community arts center that opened this summer on East Passyunk Avenue in South Philly. Lume is reaching out to moms and pops in the area this fall through an after-school arts program complete with pickup at schools within walking distance of the shop. The program is literature-based, with activities inspired by books the owner picks up from the local library each week.
The latest by director Thaddeus Phillips and visual artist Steven Dufala promises to be a “journey into an alternative universe for audiences ages 3 to 99.” The fantastical tale follows a father and son who jump into a portal to another dimension to retrieve a beloved stuffed whale. A dreamy soundtrack by Colombian composer Juan Gabriel Turbay accompanies.
Over in Yardley, Shady Brook Farm throws a seasonal shindig when the leaves start to turn. Called Fall Fest, the event welcomes families to its pumpkin patch for jack-o’-lantern picking and other activities that seem to nod to Charlotte’s Web. (Spiderweb climbing and pig races, anyone?) Starting September 30, the farm throws open the doors to its haunted attraction just for tykes: Barn of Horror Jr.
At this weekend-long festival, families participate in scarecrow-making workshops and ogle more than 100 other crow-shooing creations that decorate the grounds through October 29. Of course, no trip to Peddler’s Village would be complete without a romp through Giggleberry Fair, which features a three-story obstacle course, grand carousel and a snack shop called Painted Pony Café. If all of that won’t have them screaming “yee-haw,” nothing will.
Come together for an evening of dance featuring local and national acts such as dancer Terk Lewis Waters and youth from the Philadelphia Dance Academy. Proceeds from the afternoon performance benefit FSB Against Bullying, a nonprofit working to end harassment in our schools.
More than 20,000 people are expected to hit historic Old City for this fourth annual festival, which features 130 vendors and restaurants on top of an itinerary of circus performers, live music and a dedicated family fun zone for the little ones. Besides all the fun and games, Old City Fest doubles as an arty showcase of local culture. Keep your eyes peeled for an exhibition area featuring works from designers and art galleries and street performances by neighborhood theater troupes.
For three weeks this fall, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway will light up with glowing pedicabs that locals can ride along a route between Sister Cities Park and Iroquois Park. The interactive exhibition, which comprises 27 moving sculptures bedecked with glowing lanterns, is one of several events happening this fall in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Parkway.