Releases: Expanded View
New Look, New Features For Two Major Philadelphia Attractions
Franklin Institute & Philadelphia Zoo Complete Major Renovations In Time For Summer Season
Two of Philadelphia’s most popular attractions, The Franklin Institute and the Philadelphia Zoo, are undergoing massive renovations and will unveil dramatic new looks just in time for the busy summer travel season.
Philadelphia’s big cats will soon have an overhead outdoor trail system at the Philadelphia Zoo. When the see-through mesh trail system, called Big Cat Crossing, is complete in April 2014, visitors will be able to see lions, tigers, jaguars and other large felines roam 14-feet above the ground of America’s first zoo. This innovative, first-in-the-world campus-wide trail system, designed for a wide variety of species, is revolutionizing the zoo experience for animals as well as visitors. Smaller primates are moving through Treetop Trail, the first trail of the zoo’s three-tiered exploration system, which opened in 2011 and expanded in 2013 to include KidZooU. And larger primates such as orangutans and white-handed gibbons are moving through the Great Ape Trail, which opened in 2012. philadelphiazoo.org
Slated to open on June 14, the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion will add a 53,000-square-foot wing to The Franklin Institute, one of the nation’s first hands-on science museums. The massive new space will complete the original 1930s vision for the building and bring with it permanent and temporary exhibition space and educational facilities. The centerpiece of the new wing: Your Brain, an interactive exhibit that delves into a range of topics in neuroscience and psychology. Visitors can climb through giant neurons to learn how the brain functions, test their brains with interactive teasers that demonstrate why seeing isn’t always believing and participate in other activities that reveal the inner workings of human gray matter.
The Franklin expansion will also include a rain garden and a larger exhibition space for traveling engagements. First up: Circus! Science Under the Big Top (June 14-September 1) and 101 Inventions That Changed the World (June 14-October 26). Outside, a Shimmer Wall, created by internationally renowned artist Ned Kahn and comprised of 12,500 clear anodized aluminum squares, will create an ever-changing work of public art that changes in response to the wind. fi.edu
Visit Philadelphia™, formerly known as Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, makes Philadelphia and The Countryside® a premier destination through marketing and image building that increases the number of visitors, the number of nights they stay and the number of things they do in the five-county area.
Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com make up the most-visited website network out of the 10 biggest U.S. cities. Visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.
- Donna Schorr, (215) 599-0782
Aspiring Citizens Get Study Help With New Americans Trail
Prepping for the U.S. citizenship test is no small task, but Philadelphia’s self-guided New Americans Tour makes learning easier—and a whole lot more fun. The city contains approximately half the answers to the 100-question citizenship test study. This means aspiring citizens and others students of U.S. history can glean the knowledge they seek simply by paying visits to Philly’s historic sites and attractions. Best place to start: the Historic District, the original city—and a very pedestrian-friendly one at that. The trail is available at visitphilly.com/newamericans.
Here’s a look at the 16 tour spots:
- Betsy Ross House,
A First-Timer's Guide To Philadelphia
While Philadelphia offers a variety of authentic and top-notch attractions, exploring this vibrant city takes some planning—especially for first-time visitors. With so much to see, do and taste, it’s challenging for a novice to know where to begin. From the historic Liberty Bell to the deliciously indulgent cheesesteak, here’s a look at Philly 101:
- Independence Hall – While historical attractions abound in Philly, Independence Hall has particular significance to the development of the nation. In this building in 1776, the Founding Fathers came together to sign the Declaration of Independence. Eleven years later, representatives from a
What's In The West Philly Neighborhood?
Every resident knows (and secretly loves) Will Smith’s Fresh Prince of Bel Air lyric “In West Philadelphia, born and raised … ” Not obvious from the 1990s theme song is the dynamic culture that thrives inside the large area—due to historic characteristics, large educational and research institutions and new developments and residents.
Separated from Center City by the Schuylkill River, West Philadelphia resembles a microcosm of the city itself, with a number of smaller, distinct neighborhoods inside it. Many of its attractions and events—community gardens, Ethiopian restaurants, offbeat performances and the like—were created to benefit the people living in the...
Philly Tours Explore History, Art, Food, Bridges & the Supernatural
Visitors to Philadelphia can choose from an assortment of options to explore the region, including those of the air, automotive, audio, culinary, self-guided and water-based varieties. And the sightseeing fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. Those who come out at night can join tours that feature behind-the-scenes action and, if so desired, spirits from beyond. Here’s a selection of tours available throughout the region:
History Lessons By Day & Night:
- Bow Tie Tours – Learning about Philadelphia’s—and America’s—history through the true tales of real-life characters who walked the city’s streets is the secret to the success of
What's In The Logan Square Neighborhood?
Logan Square’s personality defies a single definition. What’s there? Corporate and municipal office buildings; the museum-packed Benjamin Franklin Parkway; and green spaces, including the square that gives the area its name. Once called Northwest Square, Logan Square—one of the city’s original five squares—was renamed to honor 18th-century mayor James Logan.
City Hall is a natural focal point of the Logan Square neighborhood. Its elaborate architecture and ornamentation makes people stop and take notice—and photos. The sprawling building is adorned with carvings of allegorical figures and is capped off with a massive statue of William Penn, all of which was designed...
What's In the Chestnut Hill, Germantown & Mount Airy Neighborhoods?
Diverse and historic, Chestnut Hill, Germantown and Mount Airy are urban neighborhoods in northwest Philadelphia. Each enclave has a distinctive style, feel and highlights that represent the communities’ past and present. All are worth day trips, and fortunately, getting there is a cinch via SEPTA, Philadelphia’s public transportation system. Check bus and regional rail schedules at septa.org before heading off to explore these vibrant neighborhoods.
Chestnut Hill (via the Chestnut Hill East/West train lines or the #23 Bus):
With a higher elevation than the rest of the city, Chestnut Hill, a National Register Historic District, was once a vacation
Even Gardening Is Historic In Philadelphia
Greater Philadelphia’s horticultural history took root just after Quaker pioneer William Penn founded Pennsylvania. Inspired by the promise of the region’s religious tolerance, Quakers followed their spiritual leader to the newfound city. There, they sought to know God through nature. Their gardening tradition thrives still today. Greater Philadelphia claims North America’s oldest botanic garden (Bartram’s Garden), the oldest garden in its original plan in America (at Wyck), the site of its first Japanese garden (Shofuso) and other botanical beauties that wow researchers, home gardeners and nature lovers. With more than 30 gardens within 30 miles...
Fall Means Cutting-Edge Theater, Cabaret, Outfest & More In Philly
Fall in Philadelphia is always a thrill: Theaters debut productions. Festivals invigorate city streets. Charitable events unite the city. This year, autumn’s arrival offers even more for LGBT visitors. The season begins with it the Fringe Festival, a 17-day citywide bonanza of cutting-edge contemporary live arts—many of which spotlight the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender experience. From September to December, Bearded Ladies Cabaret artistic director John Jarboe resurrects his irreverent and bawdy cabaret series Get Pegged. And that’s just on the stages. Come October, Philadelphia will host the nation’s largest coming out party in OutFest and put on the city’s...
Fact Sheet: 31 Top Philadelphia Region Attractions
* Note: Most attractions were listed in the Philadelphia Business Journal Book of Lists 2015. Those that were not are marked with an asterisk.
Historical Sites & Attractions:
- The African American Museum in Philadelphia*, founded in 1976, is the first institution built by a major U.S. city to preserve, interpret and exhibit the heritage and culture of African-Americans. The museum takes a fresh and bold look at the stories of African-Americans and their role in the founding of the nation through the core exhibit Audacious Freedom. Other exhibits and programs explore the history, stories and cultures of those of African