NRG Energy Helps Philly Go “Green” and Gold for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation this Season

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Local media and “Swoop” at the 2nd Annual NRG Charity Game (and somehow I got in there too!)

You guys remember how I recently had the privilege of attending my very first Eagles game, right? And then what you may not know is that I was also so honored and thrilled to be invited to play a little charity flag football on the Lincoln Financial Field (you know, the very one where the Eagles play!) to help raise money for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. It was a media charity game sponsored by NRG and each of the players was raising money for their favorite charity. It was so much fun and a true thrill to be playing football on the field at the Linc. While I didn’t win MVP (there’s always next year) I WAS able to raise $1,000.00 for ALSF and I am delighted to say that I even got to have this incredible donation go to the ALSF end of year campaign in honor of Dan Hammond who lost his 13 year battle with cancer in February at age 22. While I wish I could do so much more, my heart is full from being able to play in this charity game because of NRG’s generosity and to have that wonderful donation be made in Dan’s memory.

And I wanted to share how cool it is that NRG is helping Philly be one of the greenest cities in the country because of their efforts to “green” The Linc!

Eagles Lincoln Financial Field micro-wind turbines and solar panels

Micro-wind turbines and solar panels installed at Lincoln Financial Field generate renewable energy

Check it out:
o  NRG’s smart energy installations at The Linc combine both wind and solar solutions.
o  Lincoln Financial Field has more than 11,000 solar panels.
o  NRG’s 14 micro wind turbines atop the stadium perimeter have become an iconic feature at The Linc.
o  The amount of energy generated by the solar arrays and wind turbines at Lincoln Financial Field annually is equivalent to more than 4 times the power consumed during regular season game days.*
o  At 3 MW of peak power, Lincoln Financial Field is the largest array of its kind in Philadelphia as well as any other football stadium.

Eagles Lincoln Financial Field micro-wind turbines and solar panels

Micro-wind turbines and solar panels installed at Lincoln Financial Field help Philly “go green”

Isn’t that incredible? I adore our great city and am so proud of Philly for so many reasons and this is just yet another reason to love us, right?

NRG is the Official Energy Provider that powers the Philadelphia Eagles and Lincoln Financial Field. NRG Home offers an energy solution that is customized for the Philadelphia Eagles Fan called the Eagles Fan Plan that lets you power your home and show your team pride all at the same time.

Thanks NRG for all that you do for Philly and for the incredible opportunity to raise money for charity again this year at the Media Charity Game. I already can’t wait till next year!!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received a pair of Eagles tickets for myself as well as a pair to give away to one of my lucky readers in addition to some other fun goodies and Eagles fan gear. I also received a $1000.00 donation to my favorite charity from NRG for playing an awesomely fun game of flag football. As always all opinions expressed about Philly being green, the Eagles being awesome, or donations to my favorite charity Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation being the best gift ever are my own.

Twin Hills Santa is Coming to Alaska This Year!!

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Can you feel it? This time of year there seems to be a little extra magic in the air, people seem to smile more, have longer conversations with people they don’t know, hold doors open, and seek ways to do more kind things for people – people they may not even know. It’s the holidays!

My friend Colleen, who happens to be a food blogger, had the idea to reach out to other bloggers as well as some of their collective contacts to pull off a fantastic holiday surprise for 21 children who live in a small remote village in Alaska where one can only get in or out by bush plane or a small boat via the rough Nushagak River. Over 20 bloggers from PA, NJ & DE jumped on board and #TwinHillsSanta began to take off.

A friend of Colleen’s named Dani took a position in the Twin Hills village teaching this year. Dani didn’t know what to expect when she packed up and moved from Pennsylvania, however she has already fallen in love with the people, their culture, and Alaska.

She has 16 students ages 4-13 and the village has 5 additional kids under 4. There are no places for the 76 residents to work or shop, so they live simply. They don’t have much. As a matter of fact while discussing Christmas and Santa recently one day in school, one of the younger kids said simply “Santa doesn’t come to Alaska.”

Let that sink in for a second….

This year…these kids have one heck of a surprise in-store for them!! We all reached out to some of our contacts and I am so humbled and thrilled to share with you that they hopped right on board!

Lee Jeans is sending clothes to the kids, those kids are going to be so excited and well dressed!!

CVS Pharmacy is sending all kinds of personal products from toothbrushes to scrubbies and body washes, & shampoos to chapsticks, candy, small toys and much more!

Nuby USA jumped in to send the younger children sippy cups, infant and toddler toothbrushes & toothpaste, toys and fun feeding plates & utensils!

Tyrrells English Chips (who has the most fun website BTW) sent cases of their crazy delicious chips – those kids are going to be happily crunching away with a new-to-them snack!

Pretzel Crisps sent cases of their crazy-good pretzels – Boy are the kiddos in for a tasty treat! I see new fans just ahead!

Educational Insights was happy to send the kids learning games, reading games, puzzle toys and more. These kids are going to be happy, busy and fine tuning their skills as they play!

Kind Snacks shipped some of their healthy AND tasty Kind Bars to the kids, those will get them pumped up and full of energy!

And DecoArt sent a bunch of craft supplies to the kids who I hear are LOVE making things and crafting any chance they get, they are going to be blown away!

How awesome are these seven companies who said YES to pay-it-forward! Huge thanks to all of these brands for their amazing support of this project and for helping this community!

Magic is in the air!! When people come together…great things happen!

All of the bloggers involved made sure every kids will get a new pair of pajamas, hats, scarves, gloves and more! Then additional friends, some bloggers and many not heard what was happening and either grabbed USPS flat rate boxes or hopped on Amazon to send stuff the kids way!

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I’m personally sending four USPS flat rate boxes full of DVDs as well as Pajamas I picked up for two of the children and some other things like socks and candy. Apparently, the community really enjoys coming together to watch DVDs because they don’t have cable or internet so they watch DVDs together and need more. Thankfully, we have all of our DVDs digitized now so I was delighted to share four boxes of movies with them to enjoy. I wish I could do more. But I’m so personally honored and grateful to be a part of this and hope the community enjoys their gifts as much as we enjoyed gathering and sending them.

We all can’t wait to share more specifics, which we will do in January once we get news from Dani as to how it all went. The pilot who flies in and out of Twin Hills with deliveries won’t know what hit him and neither will the post office!

Thank you Lee Jeans, CVS Pharmacy, Nuby USA, Tyrrells English Crisps, Pretzel Crisps, Educational Insights, Kind Snacks and DecoArt for making THIS a very special Christmas for 21 children in Alaska who we know are going to be so very grateful! 

If you are a brand or even just an individual who would like to participate in this pay it forward initiative, there is still time! You can still send toys, non-perishable foods, clothes, DVDs – whatever to this community. Contact me for the address and list of children and I’d be happy to share that so you can be part of the Twin Hills Santa project, too! 

Weekend Phillyfun Picks: Dec. 12-14

So much festive fun to be had in and around Philly this weekend with family-friendly theater, holiday shows and specialty markets – there’s something for everyone to enjoy!

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The Pennsylvania Ballet’s 2nd Annual Nutcracker Market

Friday Dec. 12th – Sunday Dec. 14th
The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
300 S. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA

The Pennsylvania Ballet’s Nutcracker Market is taking place this weekend running Friday December 12th – Sunday December 14th at the Kimmel Center. Enjoy three levels of indoor holiday shopping, entertainment and food and refreshments and cocktails from Garces Group too. Free.

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MUMMENCHANZ
Friday Dec. 12th – Sunday Dec. 14th
Annenberg Center
3680 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA

Don’t miss MUMMENCHANZ at the Annenberg Center this weekend running Friday December 12th through Sunday December 14th. This unique family friendly performance by Swiss troupe MUMMENCHANZ blends theatrical performance with silent storytelling in a way that inspires wonder and magic. Tickets $30 and up.

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The Christmas Village
Friday Dec. 12th – Sunday Dec. 14th
Love Park (JFK Plaza)
1500 Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA

The holiday fun continues at Christmas Village in Love Park this weekend. Feel festive as you wander through the authentic German Christmas market with over 60 vendors from all over the world offering crafts, food and more. Plus enjoy special entertainment and even visits with Santa! Free.

Holiday Garden Railway Morris Arboretum
Holiday Garden Railway
Friday Dec. 12th – Sunday Dec. 14th
Morris Arboretum
100 E. Northwestern Ave
Philadelphia, PA

Morris Arboretum’s Holiday Garden Railway continues this Saturday December 13th and Sunday December 14th. View the quarter mile of track featuring seven loops and tunnels with fifteen rail lines and more. $16 adults, $8 children.


Rothman Skate Rink Dilworth Plaza

Rothman Skate Rink at Dilworth Park
Friday Dec. 12th – Sunday Dec. 14th
Dilworth Park
Broad and Market Streets
West Side of City Hall
Philadelphia, PA

Icy fun continues at the new Rothman Skate Rink at Dilworth Park this Friday December 12th – Sunday December 14th. Philly families can now enjoy outdoor public skating against the backdrop of our landmark City Hall. Adults $4, children 10 and under $3, skate rental $8.

Blue Cross River Rink
Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest
Friday Dec. 12th – Sunday Dec. 14th
101 S. Columbus Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA

The Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest fun runs all weekend long with a magical winter landscape including a dazzling light show, winter garden and forest, shopping and refreshements in the new “Lodge” with indoor fireplaces, rustic décor and outdoor heat lamps plus shopping at ArtStar with gifts and handmade items. And of course, the outdoor ice skating rink as the centerpiece of all the fun. Admission to Winterfest is free. Skate admission $3. Skate rental $10.

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A Very Furry Christmas
Saturday Dec. 13th – Sunday Dec. 14th
Sesame Place
100 Sesame Road
Langhorne, PA

The seasonal festivities are still in full swing at Sesame Place this Saturday Dec.13th and Sunday Dec. 14th with A Very Furry Christmas featuring all of your favorite furry Sesame Street pals. The park is transformed into a Christmas wonderlands with millions of lights, festive decorations, plenty of rides and fun and of course special visits with all your favorite Sesame Street characters and event Santa in his Furry Workshop! Tickets $24 online, $29 at the gate.

The Philadelphia Orchestra A Christmas Kids Spectacular
A Christmas Kids Spectacular!
Satruday Dec. 13th
11:30am
Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall
300 S. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA

Join the Philadelphia Orchestra for holiday carols during this celebration of the sounds of the season on Saturday December 13th at 11:30am. Kids will enjoy a sing-along and a visit from Santa along with dancers and actors who help bring the music of the Philadelphia Orchestra to life at this A Christmas Kids Spectacular! Tickets $19 and up.

Franklin Square Electrical Spectacle
Franklin Square Holiday Festival and Electrical Spectacle
Friday Dec. 12th – Sunday Dec. 14th
Franklin Square
6th & Race Streets
Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia’s oldest square, Franklin Square, is transformed into a magical holiday setting starting this weekend with the Electrical Spectacle holiday light show and more. Plus new this year, shop for handmade gifts at the Holiday Market and sample local beers and snacks in Ben’s Bites and Brews, too. Festivities are offered 4-8pm daily. Entrance is free. Some attractions ticketed.

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Free Admission on Sunday Mornings
Sunday Dec. 14th
9:30am – 12pm
Brandywine River Museum
1 Hoffman’s Mill Road
Route 1
Chadds Ford, PA

Enjoy free admission to the beautiful Brandywine River Museum on Sunday mornings including this Sunday December 14th between 9:30am – 12pm. Free.

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Young Family Hanukkah Celebration
Sunday Dec. 14th
10am – 12pm
National Museum of American Jewish History
101 S. Independence Mall E.
Philadelphia, PA

Come out for a Hanukkah Celebration for Young Families at the National Museum of American Jewish History this Sunday December 14th from 10am – 12pm. Enjoy art projects, songs, sufganiot, a menorah lighting and learning about the story of Hanukkah complete with a visit to the Museum’s new ‘Twas the Night Before Hanukkah musical experience. $25 per family. Register at http://www.nmajh.org/

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PECO Family Jams: Gingerbread Art Environments
Sunday Dec. 14th
11am
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
1020 South Street
Philadelphia, PA

This month’s PECO Family Jams at the Philadelphia Magic Gardens on Sunday December 14th at 11am features the opportunity for kids and families to construct visionary art environments and create their structural gingerbread masterpieces followed by a family-friendly tour at 1pm or 3pm. Free with admission.

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Reindeer Romp
Sunday Dec. 14th
1pm
Norristown Farm Park
East Norriton, PA

Learn all about reindeer at the Reindeer Romp this Sunday December 14th at 1pm at the Norristown Farm Park in E. Norristown PA. Learn the difference between reindeer, caribou, and local white-tailed deer and learn about other animals of the icy far north. Plus listen to a seasonal story, make reindeer crafts and of course play reindeer games. $5, kids. Free adults.

MUMMENSCHANZ at the Annenberg

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Looking for something a little unique and magical to enjoy with your family this holiday season? Check out MUMMENSCHANZ at the Annenberg Center running through this weekend only.

Theatrical whimsy meets silent storytelling in the uber creative performances by Swiss troupe MUMMENSCHANZ. Using visual effects and props, universal stories are told with “witty madness…dazzling and delightful” (New York Times).

Here’s just a snippet of the wonder and magic of MUMMENSCHANZ.

Celebrate the holiday season by experiencing MUMMENSCHANZ with the whole family.

Shows run Friday 12/12 at 8pm, Saturday 12/13 at 2pm, Saturday 12/13 at 8pm, and Sunday 12/14 at 3pm. Tickets start at $30. Click here to purchase tickets or tickets are also available at the Box Office.

If you go:
The Annenberg Center is located at 3680 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA. Parking is available in the garage at the corner of 38th and Walnut St.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. As always all opinions expressed about live family-friendly theater in Philadelphia being a wonderful way to celebrate the holidays are my own.

Uniquely Philly Gifts for Families and Sesame Place Giveaway

 

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Need some inspiration for some unique gift ideas for local Philadelphia families? We’ve got you covered with our best picks for gifts that only insiders would know and everyone on your list will appreciate.

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Philadelphia Magic Gardens Membership

A Family Membership to Philadelphia Magic Gardens is a unique gift of the arts that will keep on giving as it offers local families free admission for two adults and up to three children for the entire year to one of the most unique and beautiful locations in the city. Plus get a guided tour and Q&A with Isaiah Zagar, free access to the PECO Family Jams series featuring fun and educational hands on crafts and family tours of the gardens, and other great perks. $60

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Flyers Santa Sacks

The Flyers Santa Sack is the Ultimate Philadelphia Flyers Holiday gift pack! It’s a perfect and easy way to give the gift of Flyers Hockey to your favorite fans! Includes two tickets to select Flyers games, an autographed Flyers puck, free game night concessions for two, a 2015 Flyers calendar and more Flyers-themed items to make for a great holiday surprise. Upgrade to the Captain’s Package for four tickets and an autographed Flyers stick by Flyers Captains Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds and Mark Streit. Click here to order or call 1-800-298-4200. $150 and up.

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DiBruno Brothers Cheese and Speciality Items

Give a gift of DiBruno Brothers cheese and other tasty delights to give them a true sense of a Philly classic! DiBruno Brothers is without a doubt a Philadelphia institution starting with the original shop on 9th street in the Italian Market and expanding to 5 shops now and even being able to pick up DiBruno Brothers cheese spreads and treats in many local grocery stores too. Why not give them the classic Antipasto Sampler for the perfect mid-range gift at $44.99? Or, how about the coffee and Biscoti set at $29.99? Go a bit bigger with the Cheesebox Favoloso at $149.99. With price and taste options at every range, you’ll find the perfect gift they’ll be thanking you for long after Dec. 25th!

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Tickets to the Arden Theatre Company

Tickets to the Arden Theatre make a wonderful holiday treat for local families this season. The Arden Theatre Company produces award-winning theatre in the heart of Old City. Currently running their stunningly acted and produced version of Beauty and the Beast for families, the Arden offers main stage and children’s theater productions each season that the whole family will enjoy. Tickets start at $16 for children. And, look for our review and giveaway of a four pack of tickets to the Arden Theatre Company coming soon!

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1732 Meats Bacon

BACON! I mean COME ON – what Philly family would not squeal with delight at some artisanal bacon handcrafted right outside of Philadelphia this holiday! Our friends over at 1732 Meats in Lansdowne offer the tastiest most wonderful bacon you’ll ever try. Get it in your choice of Black Peppercorn, Garlic Insanity, Jalapeno, and Spanish Smoked Paprika. This bacon will knock your socks off – trust us on this one. You can pick up 1732 Meats at any of these Philadelphia area locations.

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Spirit of Philadelphia Cruise

 

 

Let ‘em get their cruise thing on with tickets on the Spirit of Philadelphia! This is a unique and fun dining and entertainment experience along the Delaware River and is available for lunch, dinner or specialty cruises (such as the Full Moon cruise or the Santa Lunch cruise). These make a fun gift for parents and kids alike. We took our kids on a cruise last summer and they loved the great views and excitement of indoor dining and dancing, too! Tickets start at $24.95 for children.

 

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Tickets to Sesame Place

What local family with kids would not love the chance to check out Sesame Place in nearby Langhorne, PA with a gift of tickets this season? Sesame Place offers furry fun for the entire family with live shows, wet and dry rides, dining and character meet and greets that will delight all the little ones in your family and make for some great family memories. And now through December 31st, families can enjoy A Very Furry Christmas with special live holiday shows and a winter wonderland of lights, a fun holiday parade with sure to get you in the Christmas spirit, and festive decor. Plus get to enjoy Christmas menus, holiday shopping and even a visit with Santa in his Furry Workshop. Tickets to A Very Furry Christmas start at $24.

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2014 ALSF Holiday Ornament

Give the gift of giving with the 2014 Holiday Keepsake Ornament from Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. This beautiful ornament will shine even brighter on your tree this year since you know that by your purchase you helped children and families fighting cancer. This year’s ornament is inspired by the “Lemonade and Love for Sam” stand held each year in Grover Beach, CA to honor the memory of childhood cancer hero, Sam Jeffers. At 8 years old, Sam passed away from inoperable brain cancer, but his community continues to come together to raise funds and awareness in the hopes that cures will be found. Featuring pinwheels, polka dots and lots of lemonade – the stand’s design embodies Sam’s sweet and playful personality. Your donation of $100 or more to the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation’s End of Year Campaign will get you this keepsake ornament perfect for gifting free. Or, you can purchase directly for just $20.

 

We really hope you’ve gotten some ideas from this roundup of unique gifts for Philly families!! What should we add to this list that you love to give to local families on your holiday lists? We’d love to hear your fave gifts for families this season!

GIVEAWAY

Now one lucky phillyfun4kids reader will have a chance to win a family four pack of tickets to A Very Furry Christmas happening at Sesame Place now through December 31st. Simply enter the easy rafflecopter form below for your chance to win!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and happy gifting this season!!!

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. As always all opinions expressed about Philly having unique gifts for families are our own. We are grateful to Sesame Place for providing tickets for giving away to one lucky phillfun4kids reader this season! 

Weekend Phillyfun Picks – Dec. 5-7

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Frozen Winter Party
Saturday Dec. 6th
duck duck goose
702 Haddon Ave
Collingswood, NJ

Anna & Elsa will be at the Frozen Winter Party for crafts and pictures with kids from 10am -1pm on Saturday December 6th at duck duck goose toys in Collingswood. Free.

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Jingle Fest Holiday Baaar & Family Fun Festival
Saturday Dec. 6th
Greater Philadelphia Expo Center
100 Station Ave
Oaks, PA

Head to the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at 100 Station Ave in Oaks for the Jingle Fest Holiday Bazaar and Family Fun Festival starting at 10am on Saturday Dec. 6th. Activities include visits with Santa and Olaf, horseshoe painting, holiday crafts, balloon animals, moonbounce, sandy candy, shopping, crafters, food, refreshments and more. 100% of the money raised benefits Horse Power for Life, a non-profit organization that provides a 16 week therapeutic horsemanship program for those with cancer. Free to attend. Activity costs vary.

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FrostFest
Saturday Dec. 6th
10am – 2pm
Sister Cities Park
18th Street & Benjamin Franklin Pkwy.
Philadelphia, PA

Celebrate the winter season at FrostFest happening Saturday Dec. 6th from 10am – 2pm at Sister Cities Park with family-friendly activities, free carriage rides around the park, ice carving demos, visits with Santa plus a special visit from the Franklin Institution Traveling Science Show, costumed carolers from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and hands on crafts from the Philly Art Center. Free.

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The Christmas Village
Friday Dec. 5th – Sunday Dec. 7th
Love Park (JFK Plaza)
1500 Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA

The holiday fun continues at The Christmas Village in Love Park. Feel festive as you wander through the authentic German Christmas market with over 60 vendors from all over the world offering crafts, food and more. Plus enjoy special entertainment and even visits with Santa! Free.

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Christmas Festival
Saturday Dec. 6th
10am – 8pm
Peddler’s Village
Routes 202 & 263
Lahaska, PA

Head to beautiful Lahaska, PA for the Peddler’s Village Christmas Festival happening Saturday Dec. 6th from 10am – 8pm and Sunday December 7th from 10am – 6pm. Santa arrives in a special parade to welcome children for visits and enjoy hot cider, toasted marshmallows, and more.

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19th Annual Peace Around the World
Saturday Dec. 6th
11am – 4pm
Penn Museum
3260 South Street
Philadelphia, PA

The 19th Annual Peace Around the World event takes place this Saturday December 6th at the Penn Museum from 11am – 4pm. All are invited for the celebration and will receive a “passport for peace” upon arrival and then journey through the Museum’s galleries to explore holiday festivals, history, cuisine, and traditions from countries around the world. Free admission.

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Lucia Fest and Christmas Market
Saturday Dec. 6th
American Swedish Historical Museum
1900 Pattison Ave
Philadelphia, PA

The annual Lucia Fest is happening at the Amercian Swedish Historical Museum this Saturday December 6th with Lucia processionals at 1pm and 3pm. Drop in for the processionals as well as Swedish Christmas Market with traditional holiday items, decorations, and gifts. $10.

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Holiday Garden Railway
Saturday Dec. 6th – Sunday December 7th
Morris Arboretum
100 E. Northwestern Ave
Philadelphia, PA

Morris Arboretum’s Holiday Garden Railway continues this Saturday December 6th and Sunday December 7th. View the quarter mile of track featuring seven loops and tunnels with fifteen rail lines and more. $16 adults, $8 children.

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Rothman Skate Rink at Dilworth Park
Friday Dec. 5th – Sunday Dec. 7th
Dilworth Park
Broad and Market Streets
West Side of City Hall
Philadelphia, PA

Icy fun continues at the new Rothman Skate Rink at Dilworth Park this Friday December 5th – Sunday December 7th. Philly families can now enjoy outdoor public skating against the backdrop of our landmark City Hall. Adults $4, children 10 and under $3, skate rental $8.

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Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest
Friday Dec. 5th – Sunday Dec. 7th
101 S. Columbus Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA

The Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest fun runs all weekend long with a magical winter landscape including a dazzling light show, winter garden and forest, shopping and refreshements in the new “Lodge” with indoor fireplaces, rustic décor and outdoor heat lamps plus shopping at ArtStar with gifts and handmade items. And of course, the outdoor ice skating rink as the centerpiece of all the fun. Admission to Winterfest is free. Skate admission $3. Skate rental $10.

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PNC Grow Up Great
Saturday Dec. 6th
11am
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Commonwealth Plaza
300 S. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA

Little music lovers get to go on a journey through jazz at The Kimmel Center during PNC Grow Up Great this Saturday December 6th at 11am. Kids will learn about America’s unique musical style, jazz through an interactive hour-long session with musicians and instruments. Geared for ages 3-5. Free.

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A Very Furry Christmas
Saturday Dec. 6th – Sunday Dec. 7th
Sesame Place
100 Sesame Road
Langhorne, PA

The seasonal festivities continue at Sesame Place this Saturday Dec. 6th and Sunday Dec. 7th with A Very Furry Christmas featuring all of your favorite furry Sesame Street pals. The park is transformed into a Christmas wonderlands with millions of lights, festive decorations, plenty of rides and fun and of course special visits with all your favorite Sesame Street characters and event Santa in his Furry Workshop! Tickets $24 online, $29 at the gate.

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Fairmount Park Gingerbread House Display
Friday Dec. 5th – Sunday Dec. 7th
The Shops at Liberty Place
1625 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA

Don’t miss the Fairmount Park Gingerbread House Display featuring 12 gingerbread houses handcrafted by Philadelphia chefs and made to look like historic sites in Fairmount Park including Strawberry Mansion, SMITH Playground and more. Free.

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Franklin Square Holiday Festival and Electrical Spectacle
Friday Dec. 5th – Sunday Dec. 7th
Franklin Square
6th & Race Streets
Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia’s oldest square, Franklin Square, is transformed into a magical holiday setting starting this weekend with the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show and more. Plus new this year, shop for handmade gifts at the Holiday Market and sample local beers and snacks in Ben’s Bites and Brews, too. Festivities are offered 4-8pm daily. Entrance is free. Some attractions ticketed.

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Christmas On The Farm
Saturday Dec. 6th
12 Noon
Howell Living History Farm
70 Woodens Lane
Lambertville, PA

Santa, his elves and his sleigh arrive at the Howell Living History Farm at 12 Noon on Saturday December 6th to visit with kids and give out treats. Children can board a horse drawn wagon for a ride to the woods to take turns cutting down Christmas trees with a 2-man saw. Everyone helps decorate the tree with natural ornaments and then enjoy cookies and hot apple cider. Bring an unwrapped toy to the farm to donate to Toys for Kids. Free.

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Free Admission on Sunday Mornings
Sunday Dec. 7th
9:30am – 12pm
Brandywine River Museum
1 Hoffman’s Mill Road & Route 1
Chadds Ford, PA

Enjoy free admission to the beautiful Brandywine River Museum on Sunday mornings including this Sunday December 7th between 9:30am – 12pm. Free.

Join the #LemonForce to Help Fight Cancer

Today is officially #GivingTuesday and there are so countless and wonderful ways to give back during this holiday season. Most of us are so lucky to have a roof over our heads during the cold winter months and to know that our children are healthy and safe. But some families and children are not so fortunate. Families like Danny Hammond‘s family are not so fortunate this holiday season. After a 13 year battle with cancer, this will be the Hammond family’s first holiday without their funny, thoughtful, beautiful son Danny. Dan lost his long battle with cancer this past February 2014 after 13 years of treatments and fighting the fight through multiple rounds of surgery, full cranial and spinal radiation therapies, and the loss of his vision and balance. Despite all he had been through Dan never lost his sense of humor or his strength or his courage. Even after a grueling day in treatment he would look at his mom Jody and say “Today wasn’t so bad.”

Can you imagine celebrating the holiday without your child this year? I can’t… It is unthinkable.

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Liz Scott, Mom of Alex and Founder of the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and Jody Hammond, Dan Hammond’s mom share why funding research into childhood cancers is critical.

I was fortunate enough to be invited to a special meeting of local bloggers to meet with with Danny’s mom, Jody, and Liz Scott, Co-Founder of the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and mother of Alex Scott who lost her own life to cancer at age 8.

We were invited to the new headquarters of the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation to learn more about their annual end of year campaign to raise $40,000 before Dec. 31, 2014 This year, they are devoting the end of year campaign to honor the life and legacy of Dan Hammond who loved Marvel comics and super heroes and dedicated the final years of his own young life to helping end childhood cancer by raising money to find a cure.

Donations to the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation have helped fund 500 research projects that are saving real lives of real children. Children like Lily Adkins… 

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A framed photo of my hero Lily along with a quote from her mom, Trish hangs on the walls of the Alex’s Lemonade Stand offices.

This is my friend Lily. She is amazing. Lily is a a childhood cancer hero who was diagnosed at just 14 months old and herself endured years of surgery, treatments and therapies and had to re-learn how to walk. Today is a thriving beautiful feisty funny little 8 year old girl full of life and hope and promise who dances, plays lacrosse, ran in a ColorRun and is the reason why every cup of lemonade sold, every donation counts.

Join me on the #LemonForce in this fight to end childhood cancer!! 

Won’t you please consider a donation of any size to the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation this season as part of their end of year campaign to avenge cancer? Your donation will help fund new research that might possibly save a child’s life by offering new life-saving treatments. Together with your generous support, we can honor the memory of Dan’s heroic fight, celebrate the promise of children like Lily who are living miracles thanks to cutting edge research and new treatments and avenge childhood cancer for all these superheroes and their families!!

LemonForce

Local bloggers join the #LemonForce

If you donate $100 or more during the end of year campaign you will receive a complimentary 2014 keepsake Alex’s Lemonade Stand ornament too. So cute and perfect for gifting!

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Please join us on the #LemonForce to support Dan’s campaign this season!! Donate today.

S&E_LemonForce

Weekend Phillyfun Picks – Nov. 28-30

The long holiday weekend means extra days for even more family fun! The seasonal festivities continue this weekend with so much to do in Philly. Take a break from all that deal hunting and pie eating to enjoy some quality fun with your family on this last weekend of November!

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Downtown Ardmore’s Holiday Celebration

Saturday November 29th
10am
Downtown Ardmore
Ardmore, PA

Ring in the holidays at the Downtown Ardmore Holiday Celebration taking place Saturday November 29th starting at 10am. Shop local businesses for Small Business Saturday and enjoy a flurry of seasonal fun including Santa’s arrival, a scavenger hunt and lots more. Plus enjoy a tree lighting ceremony and caroling at 5pm. Free.

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The Christmas Village
Friday November 28th – Sunday November 30th
Love Park (JFK Plaza)
1500 Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA

The Christmas Village in Love Park is now open and ready to help you feel festive as you wander through the authentic German Christmas market with over 60 vendors from all over the world with crafts, food and more. Plus enjoy special entertainment and even visits with Santa! Free.

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Holiday Garden Railway Grand Opening
Saturday November 29th
1-3pm
Morris Arboretum
100 E. Northwestern Ave
Philadelphia, PA

It’s the Grand Opening of the Holiday Garden Railway at Morris Arboretum this Saturday November 29th from 1-3pm. Bring the whole family out for kid crafts, carolers, holiday photo opps and of course the seasonal garden railway complete with a quarter mile of track featuring seven loops and tunnels with fifteen rail lines and more. $16 adults, $8 children.

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Rothman Skate Rink at Dilworth Park
Friday November 28th – Sunday November 30th
Dilworth Park
Broad and Market Streets
West Side of City Hall
Philadelphia, PA

Icy fun continues at the new Rothman Skate Rink at Dilworth Park this Friday November 28th – Sunday November 30th. Philly families can now enjoy outdoor public skating against the backdrop of our landmark City Hall. Adults $4, children 10 and under $3, skate rental $8.

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Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest
Friday November 28th – Sunday November 30th
101 S. Columbus Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA

The Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest is now open with a magical winter landscape including a dazzling light show, winter garden and forest, shopping and refreshements in the new “Lodge” with indoor fireplaces, rustic décor and outdoor heat lamps plus shopping at ArtStar with gifts and handmade items. And of course, the outdoor ice skating rink as the centerpiece of all the fun. Admission to Winterfest is free. Skate admission $3. Skate rental $10.

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A Very Furry Christmas
Friday November 28th – Sunday November 30th
Sesame Place
100 Sesame Road
Langhorne, PA

The seasonal festivities continue at Sesame Place this weekend with A Very Furry Christmas featuring all of your favorite furry Sesame Street pals. The park is transformed into a Christmas wonderlands with millions of lights, festive decorations, plenty of rides and fun and of course special visits with all your favorite Sesame Street characters and event Santa in his Furry Workshop! Tickets $24 online, $29 at the gate.

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Fairmount Park Gingerbread House Display
Friday November 28th – Sunday November 30th
The Shops at Liberty Place
1625 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA

Don’t miss the Fairmount Park Gingerbread House Display featuring 12 gingerbread houses handcrafted by Philadelphia chefs and made to look like historic sites in Fairmount Park including Strawberry Mansion, SMITH Playground and more. Free.

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Franklin Square Holiday Festival and Electrical Spectacle
Friday November 28th – Sunday November 30th
Franklin Square
6th & Race Streets
Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia’s oldest square, Franklin Square, is transformed into a magical holiday setting starting this weekend with the Electrical Spectacle holiday light show and more. Plus new this year, shop for handmade gifts at the Holiday Market and sample local beers and snacks in Ben’s Bites and Brews, too. Festivities are offered 4-8pm daily. Entrance is free. Some attractions ticketed.

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Jan Brett Children’s Book Signing
Sunday November 30th
9am
Children’s Book World
17 Haverford Station Road
Haverford, PA

Meet Jan Brett, author of the children’s book The Animal’s Santa and have the book signed by the author. Jan’s tour bus will be parked in the store parking lot on Sunday November 30th starting at 9am and families may take photos outside the bus which is wrapped in artwork from The Animal’s Santa. Book must be purchased at Children’s Book World to be signed. The first 100 families in line will receive a free Jan Brett poster so arrive early!

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Free Admission on Sunday Mornings
Sunday November 30th
Brandywine River Museum
1 Hoffman’s Mill Road
Route 1
Chadds Ford, PA

Enjoy free admission to the beautiful Brandywine River Museum on Sunday mornings including this Sunday November 30th between 9:30am – 12pm. Free.

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Magic by POLY!
Sunday November 30th
2pm
Parkway Central Library
Montgomery Auditorium
1901 Vine St.
Philadelphia, PA

Kids will delight in the Magic of POLY! this Sunday November 30th at 2pm at the Parkway Central Library. Poly will wow the whole family with his fun filled magic program with illusions, comedy, and audience interaction and participation too. Free.

Top Toys for Kids Gift Guide

Top Toys for Kids 2014
This post contains affiliate links. 

We know you’re so on the ball you probably have all your holiday shopping done already, right? But if you’re at all like me and still not sure what to get your kiddies this season look no further!  Here are our top picks for the hottest toys and gifts this season to help make shopping a bit easier!

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LeapTV by Leap Frog

The LeapTV Educational Game System by Leap Frog is the hottest toy hailed by parents and kids alike. For parents it’s the one game system you can truly feel good about letting your kids have because it’s focused on learning combined with physical movement – awesome huh? My kids and some friends had a chance to give this game system a try recently and everyone loved it. This is definitely a parent fave that’s a huge hit with the kids, too!! Retail $149.95.

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Crystal Kingdom Vanity from Disney

So um, did you guys see Frozen? ‘Cuz it was kind of a big deal. And yeah, kids still want anything and everything Frozen themed this holiday season. Thankfully, there are so many Frozen toys and gifts to choose from out there (no shortage of Frozen merch now, huh Disney??). But our money is on the Frozen Crystal Kingdom Vanity as our pick for the the hottest Frozen item under the tree this year. Inspired by Elsa’s ice castle, the vanity comes with fun beauty accessories, including a hair extension, comb and necklace and can be stored in the vanity’s pull out drawer. Press the gem button for sound effects and to see Anna then Elsa magically appear in the mirror as the vanity plays “For the First Time in Forever

Retail $49.99.

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Doc McStuffins Mobile Cart from Just Play

The Doc is in!! One of the hottest toys this year is the new Doc McStuffins Mobile Cart with working light and sound EKG, horoscope and thermometer to give give on-site checkups and fix boo boos with the built in bandage dispenser. Future docs can even call in the diagnosis using the built in CB and secure their patients for rolling rescue using the gurney and side patient seat! Retail $58.95.

 

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Razor Jr Monster Kix Scooter

The Razor Jr Kix Scooter from Razor is the newest scooter in the Razor family and is so stinking cute that even I want one!! Razor Jr Kix boosts youngsters’ balance and coordination while they have fun, on appropriately sized scooters sized just for them. These come in Unicorn, Cowboy, Monster and Zombie styles that give your little ones scooter that extra personality! Retail $44.95, Available now on Amazon for about $26.50.

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Puppy Surprise from Just Play


Puppy Surprise
 
from Just Play is such a cute little toy this season and if you can find it will be sure to delight your little animal lovers. This is a little stuffed puppy dog mama complete with (surprise) PUPPIES too! Each puppy has a different number and combination of puppies so you are never quite sure what you will get. These are hard to find so if you see one, grab it! I’ve seen a few still on the shelves at BJs recently and they are available stillon Amazon, too. Retail $24.95. Seen this week at BJs for $19.99. 

 

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Tiggly Shapes

Tiggly Shapes and Tiggly Counts are the latest interactive apps from newcomer Tiggly. I had a chance to see these in action and they are so fun and interactive. Designed by world-class educators, Tiggly Shapes and Tiggly Counts are the premier tablet learning toys for toddlers and kids! Tiggly Shapes (designed for ages 18 month – 4 years) comes with 4 elegantly designed geometric shapes, 3 free apps, and 1 felt carrying pouch for easy storage and transportation. Tiggly Counts (ages 3 and up) comes with 5 elegantly designed magnetic counting rods that interact with learning apps on iPads & select android tablets. Tiggly apps are available in the App Store and can be experienced in 8 different languages, including English, Spanish, and Chinese (Mandarin).One of TIME Magazine’s “toys that will make your kids smarter,” Tiggly Shapes develops motor skills, spatial thinking, creativity, and language. Winner of the Tillywig Brain Child award, Tiggly Counts helps develop early numeracy, counting, and math operations. Retail $29.99.

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K’NEX 70 Model Building Set

 

What little builder wouldn’t love the K’NEX 70 Model Building Set This set lets kids build all 70 models – or anything they can imagine with over 700 pieces including building ideas for a hot air balloon, boats, trucks, a sand castle and more! Set includes a convenient storage treasure chest, large enough to fill with other K’NEX sets! Even better, K’NEX is a local to Philly company so you can feel good supporting them too! Retail $44.99 Now on sale on Amazon for $23.99.

 

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GoldiBlox Action Figure

Ya’all know about GoldiBlox, right? If you don’t you should! These toys are awesome are designed to encourage spatial skills, basic engineering principles, confidence in problem solving in young girls! There are great kits like GolideBlox and the Parade Float, GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine, and GoldieBlox and the Dunk Tank with different construction activites but new this year, GoldiBlox is offering a new alternative to traditional girl figures with their new GoldiBlox action figure! Check out this so cool GoldiBlox Action Figure with Zipline! LOVE HER! I know this is one toy my two girls will be getting this year for sure! Retail $24.99

 

What do you think? Which of these is your fave? Leave a comment to tell us what your top toy picks are this year!!

Best Picks for Holiday Fun for Philly Families


HolidayFun
The holidays are here and there is just so much fun to be had in and around Philly during this magical time of year that you don’t want to miss a moment of the celebrations! To make it easier for you, we’re compiled our list of the best and most festive family fun to be had at the holidays this season – enjoy!!

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest
Enjoy ice skating and fun down on the Delaware River with outdoor skating, shops, and fun. Opens 11/28. Admission $3, skate rental $10.

Rothman Ice Rink Dilworth Park
Philly’s newest seasonal attraction offers public ice skating against the backdrop of beautiful City Hall as well as ice skating lessons, birthday parties, and more. $4 for adults, $3 for children. $8 for skate rental.

Elmwood Park Zoo Ice Skating
Elmwood Park Zoo’s new outdoor artificial skating rink opens just in time for the holidays on 11/28. Adults $10.95, children $8.95. Skate rental $4.

Christmas Village
Philly’s own German style outdoor holiday market with more than 60 booths selling food, crafts, gifts and more. Opens 11/27. Free admission. 

Macy’s Holiday Light Show
A not to miss Philly tradition since 1956, take the kids Macy’s Center City to see the stunning indoor light show inside the historic Wanamaker Building with an LED display featuring 100,00 LED lights dancing to holiday music and the famous Wanamaker organ. Free.

Dickens Village
Don’t leave Macy’s without a visit to the 3rd floor to check out the Dickens Village with 100 fully animated figures re-enacting classic scenes from Charles Dickens holiday classic A Christmas Carol. Free.

Zoo Noel
For three weekends of the season, the Philadelphia Zoo is transformed into  Zoo Noel offering a unique experience with Santa as he travels to exotic places such as the rainforest, the outback, the arctic, the safari, and back down on the farm. Free with Zoo admission ($16).

Scuba Santa and Bumble Lights the Tree 
Adventure Aquarium’s live I Believe In Scuba Santa show features Santa’s #1 Helper who tells the story of Christmas Celebration and puts the final touches on the decorations with the help of a very special guest – Scuba Santa himself! Families will also enjoy a special live show with a visit from the Bumble who puts the star atop the tree. Free with admission ($25.95 for adults, $18.95 for children).

Comcast Holiday Spectacular
This beautiful light show experience on one of the largest high resolution LED screens in the world will immerse the whole family in holiday scenes and exciting computer animations. Free. Starts Thanksgiving Day and runs every 15 mins. every hour on the hour from 10am t0 8pm (except 5pm weekdays). Free.

Adventure to Santa – A DreamWorks Dream Place
This newest addition to the holiday fun in Philly includes a unique Santa visit experience at the Cherry Hill Mall in partnership with Dream Works Animation. This unique interactive experience (and the only one of its kind in the Philly area and only 1 of 8 in the country) starts with Shrek and ends with Santa and seamlessly blends storytelling and cutting edge technology. Opens 11/28. Free.

Holiday Railway Train Display at Reading Terminal Market
500 sq. ft. model train display at Philly’s historic Reading Terminal Market with 12 working train lines running through nearly a third of a mile of track. Runs 11/28 – 12/31. Free.

Holiday Garden Railroad at Morris Arboretum
A quarter mile of track and fifteen trail lines are sure to delight train lovers of all ages at the beautiful Morris Arboretum. Opens 11/29. Free with admission ($16 for adults, $8 for youth, free for under 3).

~ A Little Further Afield But So Worth the Trip ~
And if you’re up for a little road trip here are some of our top picks for seasonal fun a little further afield (but so worth the trip!) too:

A Very Furry Christmas
SesamePlace in Langhorn, PA offers a magical holiday experience for the whole family at A Very Furry Christmas complete with holiday shows and unique meet and greets with your favorite furry friends. Admission $24.

Hershey Park Christmas Candyland
Hersheypark Candylane in Hershey, PA brings the holidays to life with two million twinkling lights, beautiful decorations, rides for all ages and Hershey characters dressed in their holiday best. Admission $12.

Peddler’s Village
Christmas in beautiful Peddler’s Village in Lahaska, PA includes the dazzling lights illuminating the village, gingerbread house displays plus a visit with Santa and special holiday offerings from the merchants, too. Free. 

Christmas Fantasy with Lights
Storybook Land in Egg Harbor Township NJ offers a dazzling holiday light display that will transport you to a magical Christmas Fantasy Land with over a million lights around the park that Santa Claus “turns on” every evening at 5pm. Tickets $24.50.

Frozen Ice Palace at the Mall at Short Hills
Don’t miss a uniquely Frozen holiday experience in at this spectacular, interactive Ice Palace, where you can sing “Let it Go” just like Elsa, see special scenes from the movie, create a “Frozen” handprint, take a photo with Olaf on his ice throne, and lots more all within a 30-foot ice dome. End 12/24. Free.

Be sure to have the phillyfun4kids app installed on your iPhone so you can find updated seasonal fun fast when you’re out and about too!!