Cool (and Free) Things to Do in April

April family adventures include a mussel hatchery at Fairmount Water Works; skipping the line at the Barnes and free admission for kids at a New Jersey theater.




Mussels at the hatchery at Fairmount Water Works in Philadelphia.

There is a mussel hatchery at Fairmount Water Works. Mussels don’t create much of a ruckus, so you can be forgiven for not knowing about it, but more than 19,000 people have found the hatchery since it opened last year.

Spring is a pretty good time to head down to the Schuylkill River with the kids, take a stroll along its banks, watch the rowers glide by and learn how these bivalves can improve water quality.

It may not, however, be the best time to tell the kids how mom and dad also love mussels in a bucket washed down with some Belgium brews.

Kids get to cut the line at Barnes Free First Sundays

If you’ve ever gone to the Barnes museum in Philadelphia on a Free First Sunday, you know that the wait to get tickets can be pretty long.

But now, if you bring the kids along, you can skip to the head of the line.

Last month, the Barnes Foundation and its sponsor, PECO, renamed the first Sunday of each month Free First Sunday Family Day and gave priority access to families with children under 18. They also are adding lots of family-focused activities, all of which will be more pleasant for not having had to keep the kids happy while standing in line.

Free shows for kids in West Cape May

Watching a live theater performance can be an inspiring experience for kids who are used to getting their entertainment on a screen. It can also be expensive.

The East Lynne Theater Company in West Cape May, NJ, however, makes it easier on families since anyone 12 or under is admitted free to their performances. Maybe that next rainy day at the shore, try a live show instead of a movie. The kids will see that special effects can include watching a real person just a few feet away trying to connect with an audience.

Kids can learn to type on a typewriter in West Mount Airy

Where do kids learn to type? On their phones of course. But if you’re nostalgic for the feel and sound of an old-style keyboard, W.P.M. Typewriter Shop in West Mount Airy offers a class for kids to learn touch typing on a typewriter.

First, you’ll have to explain to your kids what a typewriter is, why it doesn’t have any emoji and, no, it won’t insert a gif. WPM owner Pamela Rogow believes using a typewriter can make for better writers because it forces you to focus; deleting and rewriting isn’t easy. We’re not sure about that. But fingers flying and setting letters onto a printed page can be a satisfying experience, especially when you rip the finished version off the roller and either admire it or crumble it into a ball and toss it into the trash.

Have a suggestion for something cool to do in May? Email it to editor@MetroKids.com

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