Winter, the season when you fear your child might, like Shel Silverstein's "Jimmy Jet," grow into a television set (or, at least, a tablet), is mercifully on the wane. Spring promises a slew of shows and such that will get you and yours out of the house and back into the real world. Or, if not the real world, at least back to imaginative productions within gathering spots populated by other living, breathing, desperate-for-interaction humans (and dinosaurs, insects, and crocodilians.)

Sid the Science Kid: The Super-Duper Exhibit! (through May 6, Please Touch Museum). Another season, another interactive, play-packed homage to a PBS KIDS kid — or, in this case, Muppet (no relation to Bill Nye the Science Guy). On loan from esteemed St. Louis kids' museum the Magic House, the exhibit, which opened last week, aims to get kids ages 2 to 8 to explore the everyday opportunities for STEM learning at home and on the playground. (215-581-3181,

Crocs: Ancient Predators in a Modern World (through May 6, Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University). The resident walking-stick bugs and soft rabbit in the Academy's Outside In room might be fascinating, but there's no comparison to the real, live, crocodilians in residence. This exhibit, which also opened last week, reveals how the fearsome, stealthy, 200-million-year-old — and increasingly endangered — species communicates, socializes, and parents. It also shows the creatures themselves, including a broad-snouted caiman, Siamese crocodile, West African dwarf crocodile, and American alligator. (215-299-1000,

A live dwarf croc in “Crocs,” now at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.
Peeling Productions
A live dwarf croc in “Crocs,” now at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.

Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes (Feb. 16-19, Wells Fargo Center). Dirt-bike riding, rope-dangling, explosion-dodging parkour experts become the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and the bad guys — 20-some Marvel characters in all — in this made-for-arenas mix of spectacle, stagecraft, and cosplay. The plot: Dr. Strange is trying to protect a magic wand from falling into the wrong hands. Action ensues. (800-298-4200,

The Elves and the Shoemaker (March 6-18, Storybook Musical Theatre at Gratz College Theatre). The beloved Abington troupe returns to the stage with a Brothers Grimm tale about a soon-to-be-evicted shoemaker and the elves who magically kickstart his career. (215-659-8550,

The Peking Acrobats (March 9-10, Annenberg Center). In an Olympic year without gymnastics, this vibrant, proud Chinese troupe brings the jumps, stunts, and absurd backbends in a performance that's more authentic than Cirque and as family-friendly as can be. (215-898-3900,

Peking Acrobats
Tom Meinhold Photography
Peking Acrobats

Erth's Dinosaur Zoo Live (March 24, Annenberg Center). This Aussie production hits the sweet spot for younger dino fans. Puppeteers ply lifelike creatures — a titanosaur, triceratops, baby dinos, more — and use audience reactions to amp it up, tone it down,  and make it personal. (215-898-3900,

Game Masters (March 31-Sept. 3, Franklin Institute). As though kids needed more reason to accumulate screen time, this video-gaming visitor promises 100 playable diversions, old-school to brand-new. Sure, there's science, too, mostly design-centric. But let's face it: This one's about beating the high scores. (215-448-1200,

TreeTop Quest (March-November, Chamounix Drive and West Ford Road). This Georgia outfit has planned a new, four- to five-acre, tree-slung obstacle course for West Fairmount Park that's bigger than the Elmwood Park Zoo's but not quite as elaborate as Go Ape in Bear, Del. Zip lines, tightropes, rope swings, bridges, and more promise physical and natural education for ages 4 and up. Stay tuned for the precise opening date. (

TreeTop Quest comes to Fairmount Park in March.
TreeTrop Quest
TreeTop Quest comes to Fairmount Park in March.

The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley Jr. (March 31-April 14, Walnut Street Theatre). The book, the take-home school project, the series, and, now, the musical, flattens a 10-year-old boy, sends him around the world, and brings him home again. In the theatrical production, kid-centric pop culture references — to Star Wars, Harry Potter, superheroes — abound. (215-574-3550,

Snow White (April 4-June 3, Arden Theater). Playwright Greg Banks (who's done Pinocchio and The Jungle Book at the Arden) returns to Old City to direct his world premiere. Banks' twist on the fairy tale boils down the characters, dwarves and all, to just two actors. The duo tackling the parts are local stage star Doug Hara and New Yorker Nastassja Whitman. (215-922-1122,

On Your Feet (April 10-15, Academy of Music). Gloria and Emilio Estefan's Broadway story traces their immigration from Cuba through their musical takeover of Miami, with the struggles, successes, and salsas in between. Recommended for ages 8 and up. (215-893-1999,

Disney Junior Dance Party on Tour! (April 20, Tower Theater).  On a Friday night, just an hour or two before bedtime, Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, the Lion Guard, and the old guys — Mickey, et al. — sing their songs and do their dances. It's not Orlando, but it's close enough. (800-745-3000,

Peter and the Wolf (April 21, Kimmel Center). Philadelphia Orchestra family concert transforms a bird into a flute, a grandfather into bassoon, a wolf into French horns, and a boy into strings. Prokofiev's classic piece about human and animal nature. Vadim Repin solos on violin. Michael Boudewyns narrates. (215-863-1999,

Sound of Music (April 24-29, Merriam Theater).  Lancaster's Jill-Christine Wiley stars as Fräulein Maria (the future Frau von Trapp), a role Julie Andrews memorialized in the film. Audience members be warned: Your kids will disown you should you be unable to resist singing along. (216-893-1999,

Paw Patrol Live! The Great Pirate Adventure, at the Merriam Theater May 4-6.
Kimmel Center Presents
Paw Patrol Live! The Great Pirate Adventure, at the Merriam Theater May 4-6.

Paw Patrol Live! The Great Pirate Adventure (May 4-6, Merriam Theater). Nickelodeon's puppies-plus-emergency-vehicles juggernaut goes for the gusto when Marshall, Chase, Zuma, Skye, Rocky, Rubble, and Ryder team up on stage with ever-goofy boat Cap'n Turbot and  happy, singing human heads appearing behind the pups' hats and helmets. Parents: Expect questions. (215-893-1999,

Aladdin (May 9-20 and July 10-21, Gratz College Theater). Kids accustomed to having Google do their bidding won't bat an eye when a genie pops out of a lamp to grant poor Aladdin his wishes. Storybook Musical Theatre's hour-long rendition of this time-tested romance is clear about who's good, who's bad, and who'll live happily ever after. (215-659-8550,

Metamorphoses (May 10-13, Adrienne Theatre). Theater by children that's anything but childish: That's the MacGuffin in a nutshell. This time, the tiny, mighty troupe takes on very some grown-up myths from Mary Zimmerman's modern adaptation of Ovid's classic — greed, forbidden lust, and all. (215-922-1141,

Philadelphia Children's Festival (May 17-19, Annenberg Center). Having dropped international from its name, this three-day celebration of live arts for kids gives equal play to local talent. Standouts this year include locals — "Hip H'opera" by Opera Philadelphia and Art Sanctuary, Enchantment Theatre Company's heartfelt "My Father's Dragon" — and contagiously interactive national acts Timbalooloo and Mayhem Poets. Also, all three days promise Philly-centric fun at outdoor PiazzaMania. (215-898-3900,

X-Treme Bugs (May 26-Jan. 21, Academy of Natural Sciences). Microscopes not required when 20 massive, animatronic insects alight upon the academy for an extended stay. The idea: Experiencing vastly larger-than-life butterflies, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, and bedbugs makes them less creepy-crawly, more relatable.  (215-299-1000,

Ivy + Bean: The Musical (June 1-10, Walnut Street Theatre). Author Annie Barrows' best-selling beginning reader chapter books about two unlikely, unstoppable 7-year-old pals demonstrates its girl power on stage in this sass-filled one-hour production. (215-574-3550,

Juneteenth Music Festival & Parade (June 22-23, African American Museum in Philadelphia & Penn's Landing). Now in its third year, Center City's dignitary-studded commemoration of slavery's end has grown into a two-day family event. Day one: Live music and memorial at AAMP. Day two: Parade from the South Philly CAPA to Penn's Landing, site of a Peco multicultural festival complete with live entertainment, an African children's village, and a marketplace. (215-732-6518,