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September 21, 2015

10 ways to spend your pope 'snow days'

Avoiding the festivities? Here's what to do instead

In the coming days many Philadelphians will flee the city or work from home to avoid the potential craziness that will arrive with Pope Francis and the World Meeting of Families. For those who will be stuck in the city and live closest to the nucleus of the papal festivities - or within the dreaded traffic box - but don't intend to partake in the events, boredom might seem inescapable. Like snow days without the snow, getting out and about this week will take careful planning and maybe some stalking of the #OpenInPHL tag.

"Popemania" will essentially be unavoidable. To start, many local institutions have scheduled religious-themed exhibits, events and tours to honor Pope Francis' visit. But for those who have no religious or cultural ties to the special event, plenty of local businesses have used the pope's arrival as an excuse to host special deals and parties. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right?

Find options for occupying yourself this week below, then read our guide to the papal visit to ensure you're fully prepared

Look Dope for the Pope

Salon Thalia is offering a discount on services so you can look spiffy for Pope Francis' visit, but, of course, those who aren't attending can still take part. All services - which include makeup, hair, facials and waxing - will be 10 percent off.

Now through Saturday, Sept. 26
Salon Thalia
1520 Locust St.
(215) 790-0200

Adventure Aquarium

People watch as a hippopotamus named Genny looks back at them at Adventure Aquarium, Thursday, May 29, 2014, in Camden, N.J. (Mel Evans/Associated Press)

Yes, the Adventure Aquarium will be open leading up to the pope's visit. Aside from Sunday, Sept. 27, and Monday, Sept. 28, when it will close, the Aquarium will be open for normal hours. That means you can see hippos Genny and Button all week. If you plan to go over the weekend, be aware that inbound Philly traffic restrictions begin at 6 p.m. Friday and a trip on Saturday, Sept. 26, will require a ride on the RiverLink ferry with a special papal pass

Aquarium closed Sept. 27-28
Sundays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. | $18.95-$25.95

1 Riverside Drive, 
Camden, NJ
(856) 365-3300

Popedelphia Circus Camp

Family Circus Day
Family Day at PSCA. (Philadelphia School of Circus Arts)

For school-aged children who have to stay home this week, the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts is offering a twist on their "Summer Circus Camp." Kids ages 6-14 can join for one to three days of trapeze, tightwire, juggling, acrobatics, games and guest artists. As PSCA suggests, let your kids climb on their equipment rather than your walls. 

Wednesday, Sept. 23 through Friday, Sept. 25
9 a.m.-3 p.m. | $80 per child per day or $230 for all three days
Philadelphia School of Circus Arts
5900A Greene St.
(215) 849-1991

Street Art at Paradigm

Kid HAzo Insecurity
"Insecurity" by Kid Hazo. (Courtesy Paradigm Gallery)

Beloved Philadelphia street artists Kid Hazo and Joe Boruchow are currently showing their work in a new exhibit called "Intersections" at Paradigm Gallery + Studio. "Subsidized Starvation," an exhibit with works by artist Abby Elizabeth, is also opening up. Both exhibits will have two receptions Thursday, Sept. 24, and Friday, Sept. 25, to accommodate papal traffic concerns. 

Thursday, Sept. 24 and Friday, Sept. 25
5:30-10 p.m. | Free admission
Paradigm Gallery + Studio
746 S. 4th St.

Popeapalooza at Fall Fest

Morgan's Pier
Morgan's Pier sits along the Delaware River under the Ben Franklin Bridge. (J. Fusco/Visit Philadelphia)

Popular summertime destination Morgan's Pier will be extending its hours into fall with Fall Fest beginning Wednesday, Sept. 23, and lasting through Halloween. They'll have a new fall-inspired menu and beer list, too. For the pope's visit, they'll have themed menu items as well as themed beers and drink specials. For every person who enters Morgan's Pier during "Popeapalooza," they'll donate a dollar to one of three charities of the attendee's choosing: Francis Fund, Mil Mujeres or PennEnvironment. 

Friday, Sept. 25 through Sunday, Sept. 27
Opens 4 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. Saturday-Sunday | Pay-as-you-go
Morgan's Pier
221 N. Columbus Blvd.
(215) 279-7134

Holy Spit

Russet will host a special pig roast in honor of Pope Francis. Beginning at 11 a.m., chef Andrew Wood will sell porchetta sandwiches with Roman potato salad, braised greens and pickled hot peppers for $15 per person until they sell out. They'll be available for eating in or to-go with additional nonalcoholic beverages for purchase. The regular restaurant menu will not be served. 

Saturday, Sept. 26
11 a.m.-sellout | $15 per sandwich
1521 Spruce St.
(215) 546-1521

Philly Pope Crawl 2015

Thousands have claimed they are "going" to this event on Facebook. If they all attend, then 20 of Philly's least exciting bars will be very, very packed all day. First drinks are free for attendees and participating bars - like Drinker's Pub, Irish Pub, Tir Na Nog and the other Irish Pub - will have drink specials all day. On the bright side, a portion of ticket sales will be donated to Philabundance

Saturday, Sept. 26
Noon-8 p.m. | $5-$10
Center City - Locations vary

Pope Block Party at the POPE

Pope in EPA
"Pope Francis" visits East Passyunk Avenue. (EPA BID)

Finally, the acronym for Pub on Passyunk East has reached its full potential. The bar will host an outdoor block party during Pope Francis' visit, complete with food and drink specials at local restaurants, music, games and a life-size cardboard cutout of the man of the hour. Philly Brewing Company, Vault, Nodding Head, Forest & Main and others have made special beers for POPE for the occasion; the rest of the bar's draft lines will be filled with religious-themed beers.

Saturday, Sept. 26 and Sunday, Sept. 27
11 a.m.-5 p.m. | Pay-as-you-go
1100 block of Dickinson Street

New on Netflix

If you'll be hiding at home while hundreds of thousands of visitors come into town, pull open Netflix and see what's new. The first season of Fox's Batman-prequel series "Gotham" was recently added to the streaming service, as were films "Moonrise Kingdom" and "Reservation Road." Oscar-nominated film "Philomena" will be added Tuesday, Sept. 22, and the final season of NBC's "Parenthood" arrives Friday, Sept. 25. Better buy some popcorn. 

Try Out a New Recipe

Want to curl up and make some warm fall chili? Still trying to hold onto summer and need a light salad? Looking for dessert or a tasty cocktail? Head over to our recipes section for some ideas, then grab new ingredients when you stock up on other "snow day" essentials.