Playtime for Grown-ups: Adult Nights at Your Kids’ Favorite Spots
Enjoy some of the most popular local attractions, kid-free (and with wine).
You’re out and about watching your kids have the time of their lives, and suddenly the thought creeps into your head: “this place would be amazing…if not for all the small people…and also with wine!”
Well, you’re in luck. Some of your kids’ favorite spots have had the same thought, and have come up with genius programming that give adults the chance to do just that. From a beer garden under a dinosaur to adults-only Lego parties, there are so many creative nights out to be had. So hire a babysitter, and don’t forget to flash your family membership at the door. Because why should kids have all the fun?
222 N. 20th St., Philadelphia
Arguably the institution that started this fantastic trend, the Franklin Institute puts on monthly “Science After Hours” events exclusively for adults ages 21 and older. Each event in the series features a cash bar and has a different theme (like Speakeasy and Wizardry, a wildly popular event) with appropriate experiments, demonstrations, games, and more to go along with the night. You can explore the entire museum and also enjoy live performances, surprising challenges, and unexpected extravaganzas depending on each evening’s lineup.
These nights are always popular and frequently sell out, so plan ahead. And if you’re planning on going to their Prom in April, don’t skimp on the evening wear!
500 W. Germantown Pike, Plymouth Meeting
Legoland Discovery Center at the Plymouth Meeting Mall holds fun “no kids allowed” events periodically throughout the year (generally on Thursday nights). You must be at least 18 years or older to attend, and the night includes access to all the Center’s play experiences, the ride, and 4D movies. You can also participate in themed build activities (think: Lego Star Wars Night), meet and greets with the Center’s Master Model Builder, and more.
101 S. Third St., Philadelphia
During “History After Hours” events, the Museum of the American Revolution has extended evening hours from 5 – 8 pm, happy hour food and drink specials, hands-on activities, games and trivia, and full access to the museum’s exhibits. The nights are centered around themes like “Fierce Females” and “Power of the Press,” with learning and activities geared towards those topics.
1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia
Four times a year, the Academy of Natural Sciences will hold its newest event: Door 19, a quirky science-themed soiree, set against a backdrop of live performances, music, potent libations, and (of course) dinosaurs. You’ll have the opportunity to go behind the scenes and see specimen collections usually off-limits to visitors, and hear from “rogue scientists” who will share some adults-only knowledge — from Prohibition-era mixology to dinosaur foreplay. Each night has a theme (like “Boozy Botanicals” or “The Mating Game”), and features a partnership with a local distiller or brewery for some fantastic drinks.
Another nighttime option at Academy of Natural Sciences (though kids are allowed at this one) is the more laidback Dinos After Dark, which features a “Dino Drafts” beer garden and taco stand under the dinosaurs! The museum also stays open late, and you can participate in fun activities throughout the exhibits. The first one was even more popular than the museum anticipated, so they are adding more bars next time around, as well as the option to skip the bar lines by registering online.
2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Maybe your kid is more into dinosaurs than Degas. But with all the Art Museum’s incredible family programming — from Baby Bird Playdates to Sunday family festivals and the amazing summer ArtSplash program — it’s more and more kid-friendly. Enter “Friday Nights,” which are louder, livelier, and looser than your typical day at the museum. You’ll discover different musical acts each week and a new theme every month, along with cocktails and tapas-style dishes. The museum’s galleries also stay open until 8:45.
Artsy Date Nights
With all the great art centers and classes for your kids, it’s no surprise that some of them hold special adults-only events for you to get creative with your date or friends (and some adult beverages).
Allens Lane Art Center holds monthly “Clay Dates” which are BYOB (with snacks provided by Allens Lane) and feature a different themed project each time.
Similarly, the Clay Studio has Friday Date Nights that include glazing, firing, and shipping of two pieces that you make to your home. Beer, wine, light snacks, supplies, and shipping are included.
Sue’s Art Class holds adults-only BYOB workshops like wine glass painting, jewelry making, knitting, and more. You and your date can even make something special for your home!
Special Events at Kids’ Venues
In addition to these events throughout the year, certain places have very special events that are only open to adults, and only happen once a year.
The Please Touch Museum, for example, holds its Imagination Ball every Fall, while Smith Memorial Playground has its Party in the Playground every Spring. Both events are adults-only, and benefit their respective non-profit venues that are traditionally just for kids.
The Philadelphia Zoo, meanwhile, has two beer-themed festivals — Summer Ale Fest and OktoBEARfest — that are just for ages 21 and older.
Photographs by Laura Swartz.