Holiday Events for Families at the State Museum of Pennsylvania

By Kat Dinsmore, publisher, December 3, 2019

The State Museum of Pennsylvania announced holiday programing for families in December.

Museum Store Sunday, December 1, 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM
The State Museum Store will hold a storewide sale in conjunction with Museum Store Sunday, an event that includes more than 1,000 museum stores in all 50 states, 15 countries, and four continents to date. Museum Store Sunday offers a special shopping experience in one-of-a-kind stores, showcasing broad assortments of highly curated, unique, mission specific gifts.

StoryTime: Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter, Friday, December 6, 10:30 AM
The children’s book Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter by Kenard Pak will be read in the museum’s Mammal Hall followed by an exploration of the exhibit to observe the changes in nature as autumn turns to winter. StoryTime is the museum’s popular reading series for children aged 3 to 5 and is included with general admission.

Nature Lab: Pennsylvania State Symbols, Thursday, December 12, 11:30 AM
Museum educators will discuss Pennsylvania’s state symbols and how they came to be icons of the commonwealth. This program is included with general admission.

Curiosity Kids: Old-Fashioned Christmas, Thursday, December 19, 11:30 AM
Children can experience an old-fashioned Pennsylvania Christmas in the museum’s Village Square and make a Christmas craft from the past. Curiosity Kids is a program that bridges the fun of Curiosity Connection with the wonders of The State Museum of Pennsylvania. Museum educators guide parents and their children, aged 3 to 6, on fascinating trips through history. Hands-on experiments in science and art offer enlightening views of our world. Curiosity Kids is included with general admission, but space is limited to 20 curious kids per program. Sign-up is at the Ground Floor Information Desk at the entrance to the museum.

December Museum Closures: The State Museum and Planetarium will be closed Wednesday, December 25, 2019, and Wednesday, January 1, 2020, for the holidays.

Noon Years – Monday, December 30, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
A family-friendly Noon Years event will be held at the museum during special Monday hours. Rand Whipple of Box Of Light Studios will present Burble, Fizz, KaBoom!, serving up chemical reactions, solutions, molecules and phase changes with a good sense of humor at 11:00 AM. ZAP! Electricity will present something that’s fun, fast and absolutely shocking at 12:30 PM. The whole event culminates with the museum’s famous firefly and balloon drop in Memorial Hall at 12:00 noon.

StoryTime reading of Secret Pizza Party, written by Adam Rubin and illustrated by Daniel Salmieri. Nature Lab will feature a program about raccoons. Librarians of The State Library of Pennsylvania will discuss robotics. Children can challenge their artistic skills by building their own robot in Village Square. Children can make their own celebration headband or get a balloon animal or headpiece from Trist’n Shout Balloon Artists.

The Planetarium will be showing C.O.L.E & C.A.M.I. Explore the Planets at 10:30 AM, 11:00 AM, 11:30 AM, 12:30 PM and 1:00 PM. Viewers can join two friendly robots as they explore the planets and find out what makes each planet unique. Admission to the Planetarium is $3 per person in addition to general admission.

Curiosity Connection will have limited timed tickets and will close at 2:00 PM that day.

Visitors can preregister for the event from December 2 through December 13 for a discounted rate of $5.00 per person. Contact Museum Reservations at 717-772-6997 or email

The event is included with general admission. Standard admission fees will apply on the day of the event at the door.

The Planetarium at The State Museum of Pennsylvania: The planetarium is offering two shows from December 4 through March 1.

  • C.O.L.E. & C.A.M.I. Explore the Planets (Kindergarten to Grade 2)
    • Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 11:00 AM; Saturday, 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM; Sunday, 1:00 PM
    • In this production of The Planetarium at The State Museum of Pennsylvania, two friendly robots take young viewers on an exploration of the planets to show what makes each one unique.
  • Constellations (Grade 4 and up)
    • Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 1:00 PM; Saturday, 12:00 noon and 2:00 PM; Sunday, 2:00 PM
    • What are constellations? How were they created? These are just two of the questions covered about these night-sky images in this production of The Planetarium at The State Museum of Pennsylvania. Viewers will learn about what a constellation really is and who is responsible for creating them and explore each season to find which basic constellations can be found in the Pennsylvania night sky.
  • Planetarium shows are $3 per person in addition to general admission. Planetarium admission is free to members of the State Museum Affiliate and the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation. Planetarium shows are subject to change without prior notification. Please check Event Calendar for the latest show dates and times.

Museum hours are Wednesday through Saturday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and Sunday 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Admission is $7 for adults (ages 12-64), $6 for senior citizens (ages 65 and up), and $5 for children (ages 1-11).

The State Museum has joined other museums across the country in Museums for All. This program enables low-income families to visit participating museums for a nominal fee of $2 per person with the presentation of an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card and identification. This offer is for general admission only and excludes special programs or events.

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