Releases: Expanded View
Regional Attractions Open Up The Skies To Amateur Space Explorers In Town For The Only-In-Philly Galileo Exhibit
Philly’s More Fun During The International Year of Astronomy
Visitors in Philadelphia for Galileo, The Medici and The Age of Astronomy, appearing only at The Franklin Institute Science Museum only in 2009 (April 4 through September 7), will find the region loaded with places that provide a greater knowledge of the stars. Not only can visitors enjoy Galileo-inspired lectures and family-friendly workshops at The Franklin, they can also check out the region’s many space marvels, including planetariums, star-gazing parties and other after-dark activities during the International Year of Astronomy. Here’s a look:
About Space At The Franklin:
- The extensively renovated Joel N. Bloom Observatory on the rooftop of The Franklin is open to visitors daily (weather permitting) during museum hours. But on the second Thursday of each month, Chief Astronomer Derrick Pitts guides visitors through Night Skies in the Observatory. Participants experience one of the world’s only examples of a cutting-edge Zeiss refractor, which allows them to view objects in the sky with uncanny digital accuracy, as well as objects normally too faint to observe.
- Several space shows are in permanent rotation for display on the 60-foot, four-story dome ceiling at The Franklin’s Fels Planetarium, celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2008. And every second Wednesday, the Rittenhouse Astronomical Society hosts free public lessons about space at 7:30 p.m. rittenhouseastronomicalsociety.org
- On permanent view at The Franklin, Space Command includes 30 hands-on activities that explore the history, uniforms, technology and equipment of space exploration. Budding astronauts can locate their homes using a satellite home-tracking device or embark on a mission to find a lost space probe.
- On April 23 during The Franklin Institute Awards, The Franklin Institute will present the 2009 Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science and its $250,000 prize to a leading astronomy researcher. The grand black-tie gala will conclude a week-long celebration of science, featuring lectures, symposia and other educational opportunities for audiences ranging from school children to scholars.
Outside In: Planetarium Power:
- Every second Friday night during the school year, the West Chester University Department of Geology & Astronomy hosts a free show open to the public inside its planetarium at Schmucker Science Center. Each hour-long show includes an overview of what is visible in the current night sky and a special focus on an aspect of astronomy. Reservations required. Church Street between University & Rosedale Avenues, West Chester, (610) 436-2788, wcupa.edu
- On most weekends, the Julia Fowler Planetarium at Eastern University plays space-centric planetarium shows for the public on its new digital full-dome projector, one of only 30 such installations in the world. Past shows have included Astronaut, Star of Bethlehem and Emmy-nominated children’s-program-turned-science-show The Zula Patrol: Under the Weather. 1300 Eagle Road, St. Davids, (610) 341-1390, eastern.edu
Observing the Night Sky:
- The Advanced Technology Center Observatory and Observational Deck at Montgomery County Community College hosts free community nights once a month from March through November. On certain nights, professors bring out some special treats—a Coronado 40 mm Solar Telescope and other Coronado Personal Solar Telescopes to allow as many hands-on experiences as possible. 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, (215) 641-6300, mc3.edu
- If the sky is clear on the second Tuesday of each month, Swarthmore College opens Sproul Observatory to the general public for an hour beginning at 8:00 p.m. (9:00 DST). 500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, (610) 957-6335, swarthmore.edu
- Members of the public can take advantage of Villanova University’s observatory from 7:00-9:00 p.m. (8:00-10:00 p.m. DST) every Monday through Thursday when classes are in session. The observatory boasts a weather station and image-processing facilities, and visitors can use the 12-inch Meade telescope. Mendel Hall, 800 Lancaster Avenue, Villanova, (610) 519-4820, villanova.edu/artsci/astronomy
Partying With the Stars:
- On one Saturday night per month from March through November, the public can join the Delaware Valley Amateur Astronomical Society for a “star party.” Gazers use the society’s telescopes and binoculars to catch a glimpse of distant constellations, galaxies and planets. The free star parties are held at Valley Forge National Historical Park’s model airplane field, and they run from sunset until 11:00 p.m. dvaa.org
- The Chester County Astronomical Society hosts free monthly observing sessions in the Myrick Conservation Center. The sessions, which are planned around the new moon, are open to the public, with telescopes and binoculars available for loan. 1760 Unionville-Wawaset Road, West Chester, ccas.us
- Every August during the weekend closest to the new moon, the Chesmont Astronomical Society hosts StarFest, a free public star party in Warwick Park. Guests can get their hands on more than 70 telescopes, listen to guest speakers, win door prizes and see a meteorite display. During the society’s monthly parties at French Creek State Park, observers watch a sunset transform into a star-laced sky and view planets and star clusters through telescopes and live-view star cameras. 675 Park Road, Downingtown, chesmontastro.org
- The Bucks-Mont Astronomical Association hosts free StarWatches for members of the public between March and November. Web site lists dates and locations. bma2.org
- Located in the north central part of the state, Cherry Springs State Park is home to Pennsylvania’s first official Dark Sky Park and the flagship park for the National Public Observatory’s Stars-N-Parks Program. Their star-gazing weekends feature guest lectures, public star gazing and astronomy equipment vendors. Dates for 2009 will be determined based upon the astrological calendar for the year. PA 44, Potter County, (814) 435-5010, dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/parks/cherrysprings.aspx
The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) makes Philadelphia and The Countryside® a premier destination through marketing and image building that increases business and promotes the region’s vitality.
For more information about travel to Philadelphia, visit gophila.com or uwishunu.com, where you can build itineraries; search event calendars; see photos and videos; view interactive maps; sign up for newsletters; listen to HearPhilly, an online radio station about what to see and do in the region; book hotel reservations and more. Or, call the Independence Visitor Center, located in Historic Philadelphia, at (800) 537-7676.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year—especially in Philly, where iconic traditions and new festivities add sparkle to the season. Highlights: Last year’s blockbuster attraction, Waterfront Winterfest, returns to Penn’s Landing for an extended run, and the famous Mummers Parade tries out a new, spectator-friendly route. Of course, the calendar is packed with favorites such as Macy’s Christmas Light Show and New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront.
Lovely Lights, Jaw-Dropping Displays & High-Tech Shows:
- Set amid the evergreens, Morris Arboretum’s Holiday Garden Railway showcases a miniature winter wonderland complete with a quarter-mile of model-train track; seven loops
Festivals, athletic events, art shows, parades and cultural events keeps art lovers, garden enthusiasts, film connoisseurs, music aficionados and sports fans keep coming back to Philadelphia year after year. Here’s what’s going on in the region in 2015:
- Thousands of decorative strutters kick off the New Year by marching along Broad Street in the festive daylong Mummers Parade. One of the five Mummers divisions, the Fancy Brigades put on two elaborate Broadway-style performances for ticket holders at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. January 1. phillymummers.com
- The region gets revved for the Philadelphia Auto Show. The Pennsylvania Convention
While rumors persist year-round of real ghosts and goblins inhabiting some of Philadelphia’s most historic sites, it’s during Halloween season when other-worldly creatures emerge from all corners of the region to make it a happily haunted time of year. Families with wee ones get gentle thrills at the Philadelphia Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo and Morris Arboretum’s Scarecrow Walk. And for serious thrill-seekers, several of the area’s haunted houses (think Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary) have earned acclaim for their Hollywood-quality special effects, animatronics, pyrotechnics and teams of horrifically talented professional actors.
Here are some spots that...
Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 278-7200, barnesfoundation.org
- The first comprehensive survey of the painter in nearly half a century, William Glackens brings together 45 paintings and about 25 works on paper from public and private collections throughout the U.S. The exhibit concentrates on the most pivotal, adventurous and distinct works, including At Mouquin’s and The Soda Fountain. Fun fact: Albert Barnes and William Glackens attended Philadelphia’s Central High School together and were close friends. Glackens encouraged Barnes’ appreciation of modern French painting. November 8, 2014-February 2, 2015
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), 128 N. Broad Street,...
Fun, food, arts and cultural activities highlight this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15) festivities in Philadelphia. Chocolate lovers can barter cacao seeds in an Aztec Market at the Academy of Natural Sciences, while revelers can catch the celebratory spirit at Penn’s Landing’s Mexican Independence Day Festival and the Puerto Rican Day Parade on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. For event updates, follow @PhillyTeAma on Twitter for all of Philly’s Hispanic Heritage Month happenings.
Festivals & Parades:
- It’s all Mexico—food, music, dancing and crafts—all day during the annual Mexican Independence Day Festival at Penn’s Landing. The family-friendly affair includes
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 dozen
Historical Sites & Attractions:
- Wannabe sailors can visit the nation’s most decorated battleship, the Battleship New Jersey, and take tours of the ship, ride the 4-D flight simulator, climb into the onboard helicopter and sleep in the sailors’ bunks as part of its award-winning Overnight Encampment program. 62 Battleship Place, Camden, (856) 966-1652, battleshipnewjersey.org
- America’s most famous flag maker greets guests in her interactive 18th-century upholstery shop at the Betsy Ross House. Visitors learn about Betsy’s life and legend from the lady herself. Summer brings a weeklong, annual Flag Fest celebration with free events every day. Also,
VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s newest marketing effort—entitled Towns of the Philadelphia Countryside—encourages locals and visitors to explore 15 of the quaint neighborhoods and towns dotting the five-county region, and there’s no better time to explore these towns than during festival season. Some of these events are quirky—think tens of thousands of folks coming together to honor the mushroom. Others celebrate the culinary talents of their hometown chefs or the creative handiwork of local artisans. While still others harken back to the town’s proud role in American history. Whatever the topic or the time of year, local festivals are a great way...
Every day is geek day in Philadelphia. Brainiac activity abounds in University City, a vibrant section of West Philadelphia that boasts numerous institutions of higher learning, including the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University, along with 51,000 college students and groundbreaking advances. Outside of the classroom and on the other side of the city, startups and co-working spaces dot North 3rd Street between Old City and Northern Liberties, earning the corridor an amusing and appropriate nickname, N3RD Street (read: “nerd street”).
Bucking stereotypes, Philadelphia’s nerd population is social, creative and downright fun, following the example of the original Philly...
Sport fishing fans will fall hook, line and sinker for the 2014 Bassmaster Elite Series Professional Tournament, taking place on Philadelphia’s Delaware River August 7-10, and just one of the many ways locals and visitors can enjoy life on the water in the Philadelphia region this summer. The catch-and-release competition marks Philadelphia’s first-ever major pro fishing tournament and will include launch-area activities on Penn’s Landing: concerts, vendors, military and veterans’ activities and an Expo Festival with family-friendly games and activities.
The competitors aren’t the only ones enjoying Philadelphia’s water-based activities. Making a splash this summer: a new pop-up park on...