Robots, tractors, Halloween at the zoo, and more great family fun in Philly this fall

Photos - local - fa1fam18z-c
"Robot Revolution" marches in to the Franklin Institute on Oct. 8 and runs to April 2.

So the kids are back at school, and parents can breathe a relaxed sigh. But you know you'll soon miss spending time with them. Here are some choice options, from trucks to skeletons to mermaids.

Disney's Beauty and the Beast Jr. (Walnut Street Theatre, Sept. 24-Oct. 2). The classic tale about not judging by outward appearances is made even more special with Alan Menken's music and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice. (215-574-3550, walnutstreettheatre.org)

Rumpelstiltskin (Broadway Theatre of Pitman, Sept. 30 and Oct. 1). It all starts with a lie about spinning straw into gold - and, no, it has nothing to do with presidential politics. A musical version of the Brothers Grimm tale. (856-384-8381, thebroadwaytheatre.org)

Truck and Tractor Day (Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, Oct. 1). The former Delaware estate of Henry Francis du Pont is jam-packed with antique Americana, but good luck getting a kid excited about a Queen Anne chair. Now, a McCormick Farmall - that's a different story. Throw in firefighters, a chance to get hoisted into a tree like an arborist, and milking a mechanical cow, and you've made a Winterthur fan for life. (800-448-3883, winterthur.org)

Robot Revolution (Franklin Institute, Oct. 8-April 2). Meet your future overlords - er, helpful pals - at an exhibit of mechanical marvels from around the globe. Among them: Robots that play soccer and tic-tac-toe, a baby seal bot, and humanoids so real they could be . . . you. (215-448-1200, fi.edu)

Boo at the Zoo (Philadelphia Zoo, Oct. 22-23, 29-30). Halloween is happening again at the zoo's popular annual event. Put on your costume and have some treats (but watch those orangutans - they're tricky!) (215-243-1100, philadelphiazoo.org)

Day of the Dead (University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Oct. 29). Celebrate Mexico's Día de los Muertos with music and dance, puppetry and storytelling, and arts and crafts. (215-898-4000, penn.museum)

Shanghai Acrobats (Kimmel Center, Oct. 30). The amazing troupe performs astounding stunts and acrobatics in Verizon Hall. (215-893-1999, kimmelcenter.org)

Mermaids (Adventure Aquarium, Nov. 5-13). See a mermaid impersonator swim with the sharks, then visit with her on dry land. There are also pirates - aaarrrr! (856-365-3300, adventureaquarium.com)

Wild Wizarding Weekend (Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Nov. 25-27). Learn about the real animals that inspire wizard wonder (yep, there's an owl), play a Bunny and Broomsticks game, make a magical wand, and take home a dragon's egg. (215-299-1000, ansp.org)

A Year With Frog and Toad (Arden Theatre, Nov. 23-Jan. 29). Based on Arnold Lobel's beloved books, this musical - ideal for wee ones ages 3 to 10 - follows the woodland buddies as they garden, eat cookies, fly a kite, and write letters. (215-922-1122, ardentheatre.org)

Odd Squad Live (Merriam Theater, Nov. 25-26). The team of math-whiz agents presents an interactive adventure needing your help to decipher and unravel clues - with the world at stake! Perfect for ages 4 to 8. (215-893-1999, kimmelcenter.org)

Disney on Ice (Wells Fargo Center, Dec. 23-31). OK, this one happens just after the winter solstice, but it's never too soon to start planning. This year's theme is "Follow Your Heart." (800-298-4200, disneyonice.com)

mharrington@phillynews.com

Continue Reading