There are all sorts of activities for families this fall — from children's theater and kid-friendly concerts to a circus and farm tours.
One event of note this fall: A game by the Harlem Globetrotters will be the first family performance at Allentown's new PPL Center.
Here are ways to keep the children busy all the way through December:
Dinner theater for kids
A new touring children's production premieres Saturday at Pines Dinner Theatre in Allentown.
"Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun" teaches children in pre kindergarten through third grade to treat others with respect and accept differences. It features music co-written by Oliver Platt of Pines Dinner Theatre. The show includes the choice of a lunch of either spaghetti or a hot dog and chips.
The show, based on the book "Spaghetti in A Hot Dog Bun: Having the Courage to Be Who You Are" by Maria Dismondy, is about Lucy, a girl who is a little different, and Ralph, who picks on her. But when Ralph needs help, Lucy steps up.
It is presented by the New York-based Stars Within Reach Productions. The music written by Platt and Brandon Wood draws from different styles of music and includes "I Know Funny" and "Ralph's Rap."
Lunch is at noon and the show at 1 p.m. Tickets are $15. Info: http://www.pinesdinnertheatre.com, 610-433-2333.
Peas and Q's at ArtsQuest
The free family concert series at ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks is always a good bet for Saturday morning entertainment. It's presented weekly at 11:30 a.m. either inside the center or outdoors at Town Square.
This Saturday, math becomes fun when 2+1 Math Rocks! performs. The group, made up of middle school teachers, combine classic rock songs with original lyrics and PowerPoint slide shows to teach math concepts, from basic counting to algebra.
Upcoming shows are StarFish, Sept. 20; Pennsylvania Youth Theatre, Sept. 27; We Kids Rock, Oct. 4; Miss Maggie Sings!, Oct. 11; Meg's Melodies, Oct. 25; Nina Music, Nov. 1; Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania, Nov. 8; Lolly & Yo Yo, Nov. 15; Erin Lee & the Up Past Bedtime Band, Nov. 22; Ratboy Jr., Nov. 29; Kira Willey, Dec. 6; Bethlehem Kids Co-Op, Dec. 13 and Sing 'n Move, Dec. 20.
Cops 'n' Kids Reading Room Stars
Another great free series takes place in the Cops 'n' Kids' Reading Room in room 403 at Northampton Community College Fowler Family Southside Center, Bethlehem. One Saturday a month, programs, often featuring authors of children's books, are held 10 a.m. to noon. Preregistration at 610-861-5526 is requested. Children also may choose a free book from the Reading Room to take home.
Next up on Sept. 20, author Ann Cerino shares "Carmella the Cat," a true story about a stranded kitten, the kind woman who rescued her and a veterinarian who saved the kitten's life.
Upcoming programs include Susan Master with her book "What is Mr. Peepers!" Oct. 11; math fun with Sarah Rusnock and Natalie Miller on Oct. 25; "The Amazing Brain" with Cecilia Fox, director of the Moravian College Neuroscience Program Nov. 8; author Debbie Dadey with "Mermaid Tales — A Royal Tea," Nov. 15; and "Pip the Mouse" with authors Robert Croesus and Laura Klotz, Dec. 6.
Dolly & Me at Kemerer
Little ones ages 3-7 can bring their dolls or favorite toy to learn about history with Historic Bethlehem Partnership's free "Dolly and Me" program. It's at the Kemerer Museum, Bethlehem, noon to 3 p.m. on the fourth Saturday of the month.
On Sept. 27, learn about "Fall Leaves" as you match leaves to the correct trees, learn the names of native trees and do a fall leaf craft. The rest of the year's programs are "A Color of His Own" Oct. 25; "Thanksgiving" Nov. 22, and "Dollhouse Christmas" Dec. 27. Children are free with adult admission of $12. Info: historicbethlehem.org or 610-691-6055.
Harlem Globetrotters at PPL Center
The legendary Globetrotters will bring their one-of-a-kind show to PPL Center in Allentown at 7 p.m. Oct. 3. The show will showcase the players' ball handling wizardry, trick shots, comedy and on-court fan interaction. After the game, stars remain on the court for autographs and photographs with fans. Tickets are $21 to $93. Info: http://www.pplcenter.com, 800-298-4200.
Dog thrill show at State Theatre
Dubbed a canine cabaret, "Mutts Gone Nuts" comes to the State Theatre in Easton 1 and 3:30 p.m. Oct. 5. Scott and Joan Houghton present a humorous family show with nine trained dogs that had been adopted from animal shelters and rescue groups. They catch Frisbees, walk a tight-wire, dance and perform magic. One of the performers is known as Sammie the Talking Dog.
Tickets are $20, adults and $10 for children age 10 and under. Info: statetheatre.org, 1-800-999-7828.
Dinosaurs at Da Vinci Science Center
"Be the Dinosaur" comes to Da Vinci Science Center in Allentown Oct. 11 to Jan. 19. The exhibit features video game technology that allows families to control digital dinosaurs and explore what their world was like. The exhibition includes full-sized dinosaur fossils.
Admission is $12.95; $11.95, seniors; $9.95, ages 4-12.
Info: http://www.davincisciencecenter.org, 484-664-1002.
County Open Gate Farm Tours
A free annual event offered in both Northampton and Lehigh counties, the open gate farm tours include dozens of local farms that are open to tour. See animals, farm machinery at work and learn about agriculture. Many of the farms offer additional activities including hayrides, mazes, pumpkin patches and more.
Northampton County Open Gate Farm tour is 1 to 5 p.m. Oct. 11. The tour in Lehigh County is 1 to 5 p.m. Oct. 19. Info: extension.psu.edu/lehigh/events
Glow-in-the-dark family musical
"John Tartaglia's ImaginOcean" returns to Miller Symphony Hall in Allentown for an encore presentation. The live black-light puppet show will be performed 1 and 4 p.m. Oct. 19.
The undersea adventure features puppets Tank, Bubbles and Dorsel, who find a treasure map and swim off in search of clues. The show includes music ranging from swing to big band and rhythm and blues.
Tickets are $20, adults and $10, children. Info: http://www.allentownsymphony.org, 610-432-7961.
Scary magic at State Theatre
Moore Township magician David Caserta brings his family show "Haunted Illusions" to Easton's State Theatre at 7 p.m. Oct. 25.
In the Halloween-themed magic show, he levitates, makes people disappear and performs other illusions accompanied by music and lights.
Tickets are $20; $10, age 10 and under. Info: statetheatre.org, 1-800-999-7828
The Greatest Show on Earth
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey presents a show called "Super Circus Heroes" at Lehigh University's Stabler Arena Oct. 30 to Nov. 1.
The circus says it will showcase superhuman athleticism, Asian elephants, horses, camels and more alongside acrobats, aerialists and clowns in a one-ring show. You can meet the performers one hour before the show.
Shows are 7 p.m. Oct. 30; 11 a.m., 3 and 7 p.m. Nov. 1 and noon and 4 p.m. Nov. 2. There is no show on Oct. 31.
Tickets start at $25. Info: lehightickets.com, 1-866-734-6204..
'Rainbow Magic Live'
Rainbow Fairies, from the "Rainbow Magic" series of children books, are featured on the stage of Allentown's Miller Symphony Hall in "Saving Fairyland," a new musical production at 1 and 4 p.m. Nov. 9. Best friends Rachel and Kirsty help their fairy friends hunt for magical moonstones and tackle naughty goblins.
Laurie Berkner in Bethlehem
The queen of "kindie rock," Laurie Berkner, comes to ArtsQuest Center in Bethlehem at 3 p.m. Nov. 16 for a solo holiday show.
Berkner, whose career as a children's performer took off after she appeared on "The Today Show" in 1999, became the first recording artist to appear in a music video on Nick Jr. She was featured on the channel's "Jack's Big Music Show." Berkner has released nine CDs and three DVDs of her catchy original songs.
Tickets are $25-$60. Info: http://www.artsquest.org
Holiday fun with Junie B. Jones
Junie B., an energetic first-grader from Barbara Park's series of books, celebrate the holidays in the live production "Jingle Bells, Batman Smells" at 2 p.m. Nov. 29 at Allentown's Miller Symphony Hall.
When the students in Room One plan for the classroom holiday party, Junie B draws the name of her nemesis for her Secret Santa Gift and decided to give her "what she deserves."
Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum holiday exhibit
The Allentown museum kicks off its holiday exhibit with a screening of the classic film "It's a Wonderful Life," at 1 p.m. Nov. 22. After the film, Mary Owen, daughter of the film's star Donna Reed, will talk about the film. The holiday exhibit, which runs through December, includes model train layouts, festive decorations, Thomas the Tank Engine and more.
Admission is $8, adults; $3, children. Info: lehighvalleyheritagemuseum.org, 610-435-1074.
Holiday Train Exhibit
A musical presentation of "The Little Engine That Could" on Dec. 7 is one of the events planned during the Holiday Train Exhibit at America on Wheels in Allentown. Star of the Day Productions performs a show based on the classic children's' book at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Reservations suggested by calling 610-432-4200, ext. 14.
The trains will be on display Nov. 28 to Jan. 4. The exhibit, which benefits Toys for Tots, features model trains stationed around the museum's galleries. Bring a new, unwrapped toy and it will be placed on the Mack Truck for Toys for Tots. Trains run Thursdays to Sundays.
Info: 610-432-4200, http://www.americaonwheels.org.
'Pip: The Mouse Before Christmas'
Visit the puppet show that was a fixture in the former Hess's department store in downtown Allentown for many years. Now the vintage show has been restored and will be presented 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, from Nov. 28 through Jan. 3 at Liberty Bell Museum in Allentown. No admission but donations are appreciated. Info: http://www.libertybellmuseum.org, 610-435-4232.
PYT Christmas show
Pennsylvania Youth Theatre will present "PYT's Holiday Spectacular" at the Ice House in Bethlehem Dec. 5 to 21. The original show by John Anker Bow features traditional holiday music in a story about Emma, who gets separated from her foster family at the mall on Christmas Eve, and is whisked away on a journey across the globe to find the true spirit of the holiday season.
Tickets are $20, VIP; $15, adults; $12, children ages 2-12 and seniors; $5 for lap-sitters.
Info: 123pyt.org, 610-332-1400.
Sing for America's 'A Little Princess'
The five siblings of the Gilbert family of Easton are producing "A Little Princess, The Musical," Dec. 17-21 in Bethlehem.
The musical features music by Andrew Lippa. It's based on the 1905 children's novel of the same name by Frances Hodgson Burnett in which the young privileged girl Sara is sent to a boarding school in London but then forced to be a serving girl after her father dies in Africa.
Info: http://www.singforamerica.net, 610-417-2189.
The two-day free family festival returns to SteelStacks in Bethlehem Dec. 30 and 31, with activities inspired by Peeps the marshmallow candy made by Just Born of Bethlehem. Events include a Peeps chick drop and fireworks on Dec. 31.