Go play: Family destinations for summer

Go play: Family destinations for summer

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It seems like just yesterday we were complaining about the excessive amount of snow clogging the streets.

And if you have a family, right about now you are freaking out about what you can do to keep your brood entertained and engaged until school starts up again. Lucky for you, we’ve assembled a quick-and-dirty list of places you and the family can visit to keep everyone (including yourself) amused and excited during those three long, hot months.

For some good family-oriented artistic fun, the Kimmel Center, 260 S. Broad St., starts its annual Summer Solstice celebration at noon June 22 with a giant drum circle followed by an afternoon of kid-friendly activities and classical, jazz and dance performances. If you want to come back without them later that evening (and why wouldn’t you), the party really kicks into high gear with indie bands, singer-songwriters, club dancing and a drag show. All of which last so far into the evening that you’ll probably need to stash the kids with a grandparent to take everything in.

If you want to wear your kids out hard and fast without any shred of culture or education, salvation is close at hand thanks to nearby theme parks like Sesame Place (www.sesameplace.com) and Hershey Park (www.hersheypark.com). If all the physical activity combined with the late-day sugar crash doesn’t have everybody under age 14 passed out in the backseat on the ride home, you did something wrong.

If the amusement parks don’t provide enough Muppet/puppet action for the family this summer, check out “X•tink•shun: a wild puppet x perience” (www.xtinkshun.org), a multimedia puppet show presented by The Philadelphia Zoo and the Jim Henson Company, telling the stories of endangered and threatened species through Oct. 31.

For some LGBT-themed reading for the young ones this summer, check out Rainbow Rumpus (www.rainbowrumpus.org), the online magazine for kids and teens with LGBT parents. The site is launching a free series of downloadable books designed to fight bullying and promote acceptance. Each book tells a story about a child with LGBT parents, and gives parents and teachers tools for talking about family diversity.

If you’re seeking out a great camp for children of LGBT families, don’t forget the good people of Mountain Meadow (www.mountainmeadow.org), which runs Aug. 13-22 this summer. Space is limited so register soon.

If you can’t wait until Halloween to spook the family, you can explore Eastern State Penitentiary, 2027 Fairmount Ave.; the abandoned prison is open until 8 p.m. Fridays June through August. To sweeten the deal, Eastern State is partnering with local businesses to offer “Fridays in Fairmount,” a series of special neighborhood offerings in conjunction with the tours, pairing dinner or happy hour with a twilight tour of the prison.

If time-travel tourism is your cup of tea, you can take the little ones on a tour of a time when speakeasies, gangsters and the Charleston were hot, aboard the Roaring ’20s Trolley Tour in Atlantic City, N.J. This fully guided, three-and-a-half-hour tour takes place aboard a Victorian-style trolley every Thursday from June 2 through the fall, traveling the length of entire city and treating passengers to the colorful history and stories from the time. If the gangsters and bathtub gin turn you off, try the Gingerbread Tour of Cape May, a six-and-a-half-hour tour of the National Historic Landmark. This tour includes a wine tasting at the Cape May Winery and Vineyard followed by time on your own to stroll through Cape May’s Washington Street Mall. Reservations are required for all tours. For more information, call 609-884-7392 or visit www.gatrolley.com.

If you really want to impress the family this summer, take to the seas with Pride Family Cruises (www.pridefamilycruises.com), which offers family-friendly LGBT cruises to the Caribbean.

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